Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have noticed that there’s an election afoot today. Actually, there’s two; both parliamentary and local council elections are being held to decide both national and local government. Who we elect today will have a profound effect on our lives for some time to come, so it’s worth taking time out to vote.
I was reminded to post this today after seeing the above cartoon by the wonderfully talented @RachelCreative, Lichfeldian local artist and top tweeter. Check out her blog and online Folksy shop when you’ve got five.
I’m not about to suggest who anyone should vote for. I don’t actually care what your political preference may be – all I urge you to do is to exercise your democratic right and help to shape the future of both your country and town. Some may scoff, but people died in order that we may take part in the democratic process, one that is denied so many of the world’s population. Our democracy and political scene are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s the best we’ve tried so far and has provided years of relative stability for both us and our forbears. If we want things to change, we have to involve ourselves.
To those who suggest that voting doesn’t change anything, or that not voting is a legitimate form of protest, I say this: your vote matters. It matters that we engage with the system. It matters that we register our position. How can one possibly complain about the outcome of a process if we do not participate in it? Another canard is that all the candidates are the same. They are not, and to claim as much is just lazy thinking.
At a local level, think about the candidate you’re voting for – have they been good to you before? Have they supported causes you feel strongly about? Have they been available for your consultation and ready to help? I honestly think that such factors are more important that party loyalty. Walsall has had good councillors and bad, right across the political spectrum. What matters is that they care.
You can catch up on the local and national elections over at the indispensable YamYam, whose coverage has been, and remains stellar. Don’t forget to follow @walsallcouncil on Twatter or Facebook, where a doubtless tired and bleary Dan Slee will be endeavouring to provide you with up to the minute info.