VotePosted: May 3, 2012
My blog has so far been largely about pregnancy/parenthood as this has been and is such a big part of this chapter of my life.
However, today in between battling a vile migraine and entertaining a vibrant toddler, I have found myself climbing on to a different soapbox. Politics of all things! I will say straight away that I am not terribly politically minded, I do keep abreast of current affairs and am a huge Question Time fan but I am neither a political party member nor activist. I just trust who I trust, like who I like and believe in what I believe in. Possibly, a bit like your average person.
Today saw the local elections take place in England, our chance to choose who represents us in parliament. I am very keen to have my say in these elections, perhaps more so than even the national events as I feel that they affect my day-to-day life, my home, my street, my child, my neighbours. The big boys at the top can sort themselves out. I am pretty disillusioned and apathetic like many people, fed up of the bickering, tit-for-tat politics that we see on TV, the scandals and sleaze, the old boys club.
But I do care deeply about the wonderful little town that I call home, Leigh-on-Sea. I care about the ‘little things’ that affect us, policing, community centres, children’s centres, litter, parking permits, the local airport, renovations of landmarks, neighbourhood watch, schools. The list goes on. Most of these issues have been discussed at length recently in our local newspaper, in school playgrounds and in social media.
So, when I trotted into the local polling station and was met with tumbleweed, I was surprised. Where were all my fellow Leigh residents? The man on duty told me that it was the lowest turn out that he had ever seen. Shocking stuff, I thought. I even offered to let my baby scribble on a polling card if it would up the numbers.
I think the blame lies in two places. Firstly, the politicians. As a housewife, I am home a lot and I have not seen any candidates knock on my door or drive by with a loudspeaker. I have barely had anything through my letterbox. I’ve not seen them on our main shopping street talking to their voters. Where are they? As I walked out of the solemn polling station, I thought to myself that if just one of the candidates had been there with a smile and a hello, engaging me and caring about the place we mutually call home, then I probably would have voted for them. As I said before, I am less concerned with the overall Westminster party politics and more concerned with what’s in front of me day-to-day. I want someone to represent me who understands my needs, my life, my locale. People won’t vote for you if they don’t know who you are. Am I wrong? Not rocket science? These local politicians should have been out engaging with us and making themselves known to us. Why should voters bother if the politicians don’t?
And on that note, my second vote for blame lies with everyone who couldn’t be bothered today or thought that it was irrelevant to them. It’s not! All the issues that I mentioned above affect your life in some way. Every one of them. Even something trivial like your bin collection! This is our chance to be heard and make a difference. If we all vote then we can make changes happen. But if you don’t then what right do you have to moan afterwards? I liken it to big charity events like Comic Relief. I remember someone told me recently that they hadn’t donated as “what good would my pound do?”. Well, what if everyone gave a pound? That’s how they make millions. Same thing, everyone needs to give their own little vote and the overall result could be something huge. Fair enough, if you work away or are sick and can’t make it, get a postal vote or vote by proxy.
There’s just an hour left to vote today and have our say in our streets. Please speak up.
There, that’s me done, I have had my rant. And with that, I shall return to my normal service of mummy-blogging. The toddler has woken up.