‘My vote is my voice… and the voice of all who struggled, so that I may have my voice.’ – Lydia C. Obasi.
On 4th June 1914, a woman stepped out in front of King George V’s horse Anmer in the Epsom Derby and suffered injuries that proved to be fatal four days later. That woman’s name was Emily Davison and she was protesting her right, as a woman, to vote.
Emily Davison was one amongst hundreds of suffragettes who protested vehemently for the women’s right to vote. These women knew that to be able to vote was an entitlement owed to everyone, not just a few. Today, it is our privilege to live in a society where each and every single one of us, over the age of eighteen, can go out and vote democratically in a fair and peaceful manner to elect our politicians.
For one key day, every single citizen in the UK holds the power in their hands. It is our vote that decides who will become the next Prime Minister, which party will be in government and what policies and laws are likely to be implemented in the coming years.
This year, the general election is more important than ever.
These are extraordinary times. The next government will be in charge of the immensely important Brexit negotiations and will be guiding us through those murky waters as we exit the EU and move into new and unchartered territory. In addition, many of our public services are at breaking point. The next government will be responsible for safeguarding the NHS and social services, for the education and the future of the next generation, for ensuring that elderly and disabled welfare does not suffer and for seeing that our police and armed forces continue to get the funding and support they need to protect our society. The next government must see us through some tricky times ahead in the next five years.
I am not here to sway your vote or to tell you how I will be voting. But I do have a plea, and it is this:
If you are over the age of eighteen and registered to vote, please, please make an informed choice and go to vote tomorrow. It is vitally important. Every single vote counts – please don’t be under any illusions that your vote is not significant. You are helping to decide the future of our country.
Encourage your friends to vote. Ensure that your family members vote. If your grandparents can’t drive or walk too far, offer to take them to the polling station. If it is the first time that your children are voting, go with them to the polling station and explain the process if necessary. This is one of the most important general elections we have had in a long time.
Please. Don’t waste your vote. It may be the single one that makes all the difference.
NB: Polling stations are open on Thursday 8th June 2017 from 7am – 10pm. You do not need your polling card to vote. You can watch the results on the BBC Election Night Special, starting when the polls close at 10pm.
Oh, and if you want a laugh after my altogether quite earnest plea for you to get out and vote, try reading this post that my clever sister E put up yesterday… It’s very funny and will definitely give away my political bias but I don’t care. Enjoy!