After a rather long absence from my blog, the impending local elections have spurred me on to compose this entry. By nature I am a passionate advocate for things I love, be it my art, my family, my genealogy and by no means least my politics. Those of you who follow me on Twitter are probably well aware of this, I’m not exactly the shy retiring type when BBC Question Time rolls around. I do not apologise for this, in fact it is a part of my character which I hold dear and am incredibly proud of. Before you all start to worry that what may now follow is a political diatribe about why you should or shouldn’t vote for this party or that party, you can stop, this isn’t what this is about. Those of you who find yourself curiously intrigued by my political leanings can pop on over to my Twitter feed, it should be plain for all to see. What I want to discuss in this post is the simple act of voting, that small mark on a piece of paper that carries with it such weight.
Before I dive headfirst in to this topic I want to furnish you all with a little context. When I first considered starting a blog I made the decision that I would stick to discussions about my art and the interests that inform it, such as genealogy and history. I thought if I started to just babble about absolutely anything with no sort of filter, confusion was sure to follow, both for me and for anyone who should happen to read it, (that’s what Twitter’s for!). Looking back at my previous posts I think I’ve stuck to this pretty well and although at first glance this post may seem like a departure, I would beg to differ and here’s why. Fundamental to my upbringing is the way my mum instilled the importance of political convictions. She did not preach or lecture to my sister or I, nor did she pressure us in to following in her political footsteps, it just so happened that it turned out that way. The strength of character that this freedom to think fostered in both my sister and I continued the line of strong women that is contained within both sides of my family tree. A family tree that has and continues to play a vital role in my working practice. The very fact that I can type a sentence that contains the words “my working practice” is in no small part down to the introduction of a Woman’s right to Vote. A right which I’m passionate about and find myself enraged by when either due to political apathy or sheer laziness people do not exercise it. It is with this in mind that I am typing these words. I do not pretend to be some great political doyenne. I am no great philosopher or social commentator, but I do have an opinion. No more or less important than anybody else’s, but one I wish to share none the less, and for this moment in time my blog shall act as my soapbox.
The right to vote has and continues to be fought for worldwide, so for those of us lucky to have been freely given this right to flippantly toss it aside with a simple “I can’t be bothered” or “I don’t do politics” is both insulting and scandalous. Lets not kid ourselves folks, people have died for this, they’re still dying. The ability to put pencil to paper and have your voice heard and count for something, anything is no small thing. It is not trivial, nor should it be taken for granted and brushed aside. Now for those of you who find yourself disenchanted with politics and politicians in general I understand if you feel frustrated by the choice you face at the polling station. The important thing is that you actually make it there, whether you vote for a mainstream party, some guy dressed as a pirate sporting an eyepatch, or even spoil your ballot in protest, just make sure you make a mark on that piece of paper. Quite frankly if you can’t be bothered to put one foot in front of the other and make your way to a polling station on Thursday 3rd May you loose the right to complain about pretty much anything, whether you like it or not politics plays a part in everything we do, no matter what walk of life you’re from. So why don’t you do yourself a favour and vote, then you can gripe and grumble to your hearts content. I can’t always promise I’ll agree, but I can promise I’ll respect you enough to listen.