Today, as millions (hopefully) go out to vote in the European elections, I’d like to offer a new message. Anyone familiar with my writing will be used to me telling you what’s wrong with the world- today I’m going to tell what’s right. Today I’m going to tell you to be for something, rather than against, to reflect on a battle won, rather than prepare for one that must still be fought. And above all, today, I am going to vote.
We are often reminded around election times of those brave men and women who laid their lives down to defend our democracy, who crawled through the mud with bullets flying and artillery cascading down upon them, because they believed in something. Of the Suffragettes, some of whom were abused and ridiculed and died- because they believed in something. These are important things that should be remembered, for the battle for democracy was a long and hard one- starting in the debating halls of Athens over 2,000 years ago, and still continuing in some parts of the world today
But the marvel that I really wish us all to reflect upon today is evolution. I find it absolutely incredible that something that crawled out of the ooze hundreds of millions of years ago has reached this point. We have evolved from simple primates, whose thoughts were filled with instant gratification, to a species that recognises everyone is equal and that we should all have a say in how we’re governed. How powerful, and beautiful, is that?
The very existence of a democracy is testament to what we as a species can achieve- of the good that there is in us. I’m constantly being told we’re all selfish, in it for ourselves, that we should compete, that self-interest is the way forward. Nowhere is this more true than in politics- there is a huge disjoint with politics and people, so much so that the majority of the people in this country are happy to believe all politicians are selfish liars. But look how far we have come- there is good in us. And there is good in politics- even if it is a little hard to find sometimes.
Having a vote should be a right, but sadly in comparison to other parts of the world and in historical context, it’s a privilege. A vote is a powerful, beautiful, unique thing. Today I’m not going to tell who’s right and who’s wrong. I’m not going to tell you which colour rosette will bring the hope and change we so desperately need. What I am going to tell you is to vote. Get to that polling station and make your voice heard. Make Westminster and Brussels tremble at the power of the people and the sound of your voice.
Yes, politics is a murky, corrupt water that it isn’t always pleasant to drink out of, But the more of us than can stand the bitter taste now, the more likely it is that we will eventually be able to dilute it, make it pure again. Don’t accept the easy choice of abandoning politics to the elite- it should be for all of us. Have your voice heard.
What happens next, is up to you.