Thursday, 6 May 2010

She hadn't yet decided....

Well I'm sorry.
I'll only mention it this once. The election of course.

I have Been and Gone and Done it. Voted.

After weeks of agonising about who to vote for this time I still only made the choice when the pen was actually in my hand in the voting booth. Despite feeling disillusioned with all the major political parties over the last few years I've still been deliberating endlessly on where my vote is going to go.

Having a small business which often balances the tightrope between profit and loss, and living in the often politically overlooked countryside, being concerned about food security and a lack of support for farmers, lots of people would think it natural to vote Conservative.

Having a mum who survives frugally on her state pension and values her free bus pass as a wonderful gift ( particularly last year when she has having to use it to take three busses a day to visit her partner in the Hospice,) it would seem fair to vote for the Labour Party who made it possible.

And anyone who thinks electoral reform is important; and that people who struggle by earning less than £10,000 a year shouldn't have to pay income tax, and that the banks deserve a good hammering for messing up big time and then not lending to good businesses in the aftermath (oh dear: I feel a rant coming on.....) would have to vote Liberal Democrat.

I can't help thinking that my vote doesn't matter in the least anyway, and why on earth am I taking it so seriously? My friend Alice remarked yesterday that her two nieces at university weren't going to bother to vote, and that her own daughter of 15 was appalled at their decision. I can't help thinking that the 15 year old schoolgirl is a lot wiser than her older student cousins.

It also makes me wonder what the point of a University education is if it results in such apathy? As Alice mildly pointed out, some people in Africa walk for days to get their polling station because they see their vote as being so important. Afghani's and Iraqi's face bombs in order to vote. So many people bemoan the state of Britain and say things are so awful, but surely things can't be so bad for many if they can't be bothered to vote. And it must be the sign of a stable nation free of serious strife where people assume that everything'll be ok whether they vote or not.

My daughter Eliza has been interested in the election , as have the children of my friends , which is interesting. When I was eleven it all just passed me by, really. There was little political conversation in our household. It mostly amounted to my dad swearing under his breath whenever Margaret Thatcher appeared on the news. (But hardly surprising in view of the fact that he had been made redundant three times in not many more years as the factories in our Northern industrial town closed down , one by one.) His hatred for the Tories didn't prevent him from joining the town's Conservative Club to drink their cheaper beer, though, as most working men seemed to in our area!

Eliza couldn't believe it when we said that women had died in the early years of the 20th C so that we could have the vote. And it wasn't too much earlier that ordinary working men with no money behind them didn't have the power to vote either. So it seems frivolous not to exercise our right to vote however excruciating , or easy, the choice may be, or however obvious the result may seem to be.

And as a footnote to all this, I do wish that they would put up some big signs in the polling stations saying that it's a cross you must put in your chosen box, and not a tick. I had to triple check with the ladies behind the table at the station this morning. Because a tick is precisely what I entered on my polling card as a politically fired-up eighteen year old using my right to vote for the first time in the 1980's. Rendering it vote null and void. And I've been mortified about it ever since.

Well that's my journal entry to mark the election, and I shan't speak of it again...

Next time, lots of jolly, lightweight stuff about chicks, lambs and the dawn chorus.

Over and out !

9 comments:

Wendy said...

I've just come back from voting - my first vote ever in the UK and thus very important for me, and do you know, I hesitated about whether to put a tick or a cross? (I put a cross in the end...phew!) Seems silly to wonder, but all they say is put your 'mark' in the box of your choice so really, it could be anything.

All your points are so valid, especially about women dying to get us the right to vote.

Lisa said...

Great post.
How could a vote not be valued?
Lisa

Itch2stitch.com said...

I have voted too, but gosh it seemed hard this time, not helped at all by the fact I don't really have faith in any of them! suzie xxx

SARAH said...

Yes, as someone said on radio 4 this morning, "The people have spoken. But we're not quite sure what they've said!"

Vickie said...

Our youngest voted in this last election and she walked out of the booth so proud that it made Mommy proud too!

It ALSO made Mommy feel old!!!

Vickie in Michigan :)

Kate said...

Sounds like our elections here in the states. Many are very unhappy with our government right now, but just like in the UK, we don't have alot to choose from when it comes to candidates. They all do what they want after they are elected anyway. My husband and I got up at 5:30 a.m. to vote last week because we still think it is very important.

Nostalgia at the Stone House said...

Hello Sarah,
I have just realised, after having it brought to my attention by my friend Lizzie (the washerwoman), that hubby and I have just spent a wonderful two nights at your glorious farm! Wish I had known at the time, as I would have spoken to you more (I said 'Good Morning' on Monday morning and shared the dining room with you at breakfast!)
We had a wonderful stay - thank you kindly, and I shall now add your link to my most recent blog post.

Just to say I agree with everything that you wrote here - the election was a very difficult decision this time - each party had their 'fores and againsts'! I hovered as I made my mark before finally coming down on one side...but where has it got us?!

Good luck with your wonderful business. I hope it goes from strength to strength.

My best wishes,
Niki (and Dave!)
PS: LOVE your hens!

Carol said...

PLEASE stop worrying that your first vote didn't count because you put a tick. I was a presiding officer, counter and finally a count supervisor and the rule we followed (and I am sure this happens at every count) that the vote is counted AS LONG AS THE VOTER'S INTENTION IS CLEAR.
Hope that helps you feel better.
I do so agree that everyone should exercise their right to vote.

SARAH said...

Carol, thankyou for telling me about the ticks: I've had that on my conscience since I was 18 !
Sarah

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