Vote damn you, vote

Justice and judgment lie often a world apart.

Right that’s that done for another four or five years. My civic duty in exercising my democratic right to help decide the future of this country. I’ve done my bit for the election 2010.

As far as I am concerned, voting is an absolute given and I trust that everyone reading this who is entitled to will have cast their vote by 10pm this evening.

It drives me mad to hear people say that they couldn’t be bothered to vote, or that they didn’t get around to it or that they forgot their polling card so they would’ve had to go back to the house for it or politicians are all liars and scum so what’s the point? And my particular bug bear : ‘it doesn’t make any difference who I vote for as (insert party name here) always get in in my area.’ That’s not the point!

It was only 16 years ago that free elections were held in South Africa; before that the majority of the population was denied the franchise because of the colour of their skin. In the UK women were only allowed to vote in 1918 and that was only if they were over 30 and wealthy. In Switzerland it was 1971 that they were given the right.

I read a great blog yesterday on this very subject which quoted an American lecturer who would only allow those students who had voted (in the relevant age classes obviously) to express an opinion.

That’s what it’s all about. We have this hard-won right which is still denied to a great many people, legally and illegally.

This stuff really, really matters. Incidentally, the quote I’ve used above is by Emmeline Pankhurst, the woman who, it can be argued, won the right to choose their leader for just over half the population.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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