THE BLOG

To Vote or Not to Vote... That'll Be the Question

27/04/2016 13:01

Come a few weeks time I, and many others, will be asked to trudge down to a local polling station to share an opinion on who we think should run London, followed by a vote on the EU. Many people across the country will vote on even more things, such as the Police and Crime Commissioner and council members. It's voting season.

So the question we need to ask is this 'who to vote for, if at all?'.

Now the fact I'm asking this question will surprise a lot of people. Party politics has paid my bills and launched my career. But bad experiences have lead me to question blind allegiance and yes men. I have decided to unlearn and work out what I think.

I've a bit of luxury when it comes to the decision to vote. Many will tell you that people died for the right. But as I'm neither of BAME heritage, nor a woman, I am more enfranchised than most. Politician's pander to voters like me and many white middle class males take that for granted. It's my belief, for example, that this whole huffing and puffing about immigration is lead by the white middle class, perhaps afraid of loosing their monopoly on privilege.

So, privileged to be able to consider not voting, I ask "should I bother?".

This time round it isn't because I think the system is kaput and nothing will change, but simply because I've no idea who to vote for.

According to the blue hued union-flag card on my desk my x should land next to Goldsmith. But it's not that easy for me. I certainly won't campaign for him.

I have told many people, especially my parents, that if you don't know who you want then decide what's most important to you and follow that. This advice to myself leads me to vote Khan, as Goldsmith supports the campaign to hurt the UK by taking us out of Europe. But vote for Labour? I KHANT. It's just against so much that I believe in and I couldn't ever endorse the faux compassion of socialism. My own advice has failed me, a single issue vote won't do.

So you see my dilemma. If it's not Khan or Goldsmith then who? There is no one I passionately support, except in the referendum.

Amongst the self exploration, the hatred of yes men, the vagueness of polices and my negative experience I still, however, believe that I should vote. If I withdraw from the world of politics then it looses one more person keen to change the way things work. I don't consider myself a future star of Westminster, but I'd like to think I can make an impact.

The question about whether I vote or not isn't going to be about whether I think the system is bust or not, instead it's about whether I am going to remain an engaged and involved citizen. Too often we see people refuse to vote and to then spend years complaining. Christians in Politics ran a great campaign during the General Election encouraging Christians to stop shouting from side-lines and to 'Show up'.

Days after the election thousands marched on Downing Street and shouted "tories out". They did it again a few weeks ago. They ignore a democratic system where the public made their decision. I don't want to be one of them.

By making the commitment to vote I demand more of myself. Because I value our system I'll force myself to read up on who thinks what. I'll force myself to watch shouty white men ask 'tough questions' of politicians on TV and I will read every leaflet that drops through my letterbox. Because I'm involved, and because I care, I'll call out injustice and I'll work to make things better.

Don't like any candidate? Then get involved and help pick better ones. Think the system is unfair? Then campaign. But don't get into a habit of not giving a hoot about an election outcome, because then you put yourself in a place where you no longer matter.

As we continue to celebrate 400 years of Shakespeare it's worth remembering that we live in a country where we are all able to voice our concerns and complaints. The bard held back very little when it came to his opinions on our leaders, and we should take a lead from him. But to be rightfully allowed to do this I have to make a choice on polling day. Not voting changes nothing. It increases disenfranchisement, as politicians stop valuing you as their boss and it makes Westminster and Brussels all the more distant.

Us white men are often told how privileged we are. So I better make use of that. How much more insulting to the BAME and women voters could I be that I value my position so little?

So, come decision day I'll vote. I may need to cut out parts of me that are close to me heart. Maybe I'll need to fight a tempest .

Or perhaps I'm just making much ado about noting.

*you can read more of David's blogs on www.DigitalGruel.com

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