Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Not voting

Residents of Eaglescliffe ward might have noticed that recently we've been doing quite a bit of canvassing opinion, not just about which way you might vote in the council elections coming up but also about preferences for green waste bags, what's good and bad about the area and our voting system for MPs.  Opinions have varied enormously, except for one thing:  What's good about Eaglescliffe invariably includes the good schools, the Park and it being a good place to bring up children.  People don't want to see that spoiled.
But then I look at voting intentions and see a disappointing number of people who say they won't vote. I think back over the history of this country and reflect that only 100 years ago I wouldn't have been able to vote, along with all other women.  Only in 1928 did all women over 21 get the right to join the men in the polling station queue.  To get to that point a small number of women suffered horrible pain and imprisonment and even death - yet there are people today who think that voting is too much trouble or not worth doing.  What a short collective memory we have.
Across the Middle East at the moment similar battles are being fought - people, ordinary people, want to have a voice in how the country is run. 
So, if we want Eaglescliffe to remain a green and pleasant place to live with good schools and a beautiful park what do we do?  Stay at home and hope someone else votes for the right people and the right policies?  Or rouse ourselves and have our say?  Is it too hard to put a cross in a box on a ballot paper?

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