Voting in a general election is a moral duty.
With a general election looming in the UK, I, like many other disaffected voters, am struggling to raise enthusiasm, let alone reach a decision as to which way to vote. Recent media exposure of politicians across the board flagrantly abusing the system for their own gain has left respect for them at an all time low. Parliament here needs a radical clean-up.
However, I do feel strongly that it my duty to vote, especially when I think of Emily Pankhurst, the suffragette who famously chained herself to the Prime Minister’s railings, protesting for women’s rights to vote. Indeed, women only achieved full voting rights here in the UK as recently as 1928, which happens to be the year that my dear father was born, only one generation ago.
Also, a fact that is frequently overlooked is that full voting rights for all men were only granted ten years earlier in 1918. Previously, voting had been the privilege of the aristocracy and middle class landowners. Indeed, the Reform Act of 1832 only empowered one in seven men, the Act of 1867 two in five men and the Act of 1884 two in three men.
Democracy, as we know it, has existed for less than a century. It is a salutary lesson to look at the map of freedom around the world http://www.democracyweb.org/new-map/ to remind ourselves of how we should value our freedom of choice.
So where does this lead me? Back to where I started in that I feel there is a moral duty to vote, but for whom? Last night’s TV debate (the first ever in the UK) helped to rouse more interest and there was some validity in each of the candidates, but no-one has, as yet, won me over. Maybe the next two debates will help...
At this stage, however, the only thing of which I am certain is that vote I must.