I've a shocking confession to make. I'm not voting in the General Election on June 8. It's a wonderful thing that this actually feels like a shameful secret, because that means that it's becoming the norm for people to get out to the polling stations.
Ordinarily I am a passionate supporter of voting and would encourage everyone to exercise this right. I've turned up for pretty much every ballot since I could legally vote. But not this time.
This is absolutely not apathy. I care deeply about our country and what happens to it. I've agonised over the decision for weeks leading up to the election, read the manifestos, followed the news (much of it mind-bendingly biased in both directions depending which media you read) and watched the leaders' interviews.
The result? I'm not convinced by either of the main parties or their leaders. I feel Theresa May is a stronger and more capable leader and I'd trust her more to steer us through these god-awful Brexit negotiations (I did turn up for that vote - Remain, by the way). Yet her manifesto is brutal; could I in all good conscience vote for those policies?
Labour's manifesto makes for much lighter reading. Too light, in fact. I don't buy into Corbyn's socialist dream. He seems like a very genuine fellow whose views I share on a lot of issues. I'm sure we'd get along swell over a few beers. But do I want him to run our country? Probably not.
His ideas are very noble but I'm not convinced they are achievable on the whole, costed as they are through higher taxes on the rich and corporations. Most working folk have no sympathy with these people of course, myself included, but we do kinda need them. We live in a capitalist country, not a socialist state. Tax them to death and they will go elsewhere. The pitfalls of socialism are for another essay. It's a potentially disastrous social experiment.
So you see, my dilemma is this; is it worse to vote for something or someone you don't believe in or not to vote at all?
I'm exercising my right not to vote. Because Britain is a democracy, I can choose, and I choose to send my message by abstaining and writing down my reasons here for all to see. This is my protest. I want politicians to see how an engaged voter has become so weary of the soap-box-drum-banging-mud-slinging that they'd rather not take part at all. I want them to see how much I fear whatever is coming next for our country and how much I hope there is another way.
I'm making this decision with a heavy heart. Whether I will regret it, time will tell. But I have to sleep at night.Suggest a correction