Tuesday, 6 April 2010


A few people have complained that I haven't posted in a while. They're right, of course, but I have a good excuse. There's been a huge project on at work so I've been working almost every weekend on top of all the other things I do, and on the occasions I did manage to carve out a little time for myself I spent it recovering instead of blogging.
However there are some things important enough to bring even the most reluctant out of retirement, and one of them has just occurred. Gordon Brown has announced a general election to be held on May 6th.
Now this isn't a political blog and I won't presume to tell you how you should vote, but I am very concerned that you do.
You see, I've been hearing a worrying number of people recently saying they "don't think they will bother", and though I'm a mild-mannered man I'm afraid that sort of sentiment makes me indignant to the point of shouting.
Our vote, the privilege we have to influence the way our country is run and by whom, is one of the most precious things we posess. Yes, they might be all as bad as eachother. And no, your vote might not change the outcome, particularly if your allegiance is to a minority party, but you should thank God with all your heart that you have the freedom to cast it.
Thank God you live in a democracy, and not a dictatorship or a one-party state with an all-seeing secret police and a nice network of labour camps for those who don't agree. Some people don't have the opportunity you view as such a light thing. What would they say to your apathy?
'Use it, or lose it' springs to mind.
Think I'm being extreme? Do you not feel a debt to the dead of two world wars who fell amid unthinkable, inhuman carnage so you could have the privilege you now treat with such indifference? If you are a woman, do the heroic struggles of the suffragettes mean nothing to you? Or the sacrifices of so many who have fought and died to buy your freedom down through the ages?
Shame on us if we have become so self-absorbed as a society and individuals that we "can't be bothered" any more. Shame on us if these things no longer move us. Shame on us if through our apathy and indifference we allow an unsavoury candidate or government to take office and then go whining about the consequences. If we can't be bothered to vote, we get the leaders we deserve.
Make the effort, then. Turn off the TV, log off Facebook for half an hour, leave Twitter for the birds, let the grass grow and the carpet stay dirty. Don't even read my blog. Take your children with you to the polling station and explain to them what you're doing and just how important it is. Get out there on May 6th and, when you hold that ballot in your hand, reflect for a moment and give thanks.
Then cast your vote with gratitude and pride, but don't - whatever you do - tell me that you "can't be bothered".

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