I’m not arrogant enough to tell you how you should vote in the upcoming referendum on the Alternative Vote – if you’ve managed to find your way here, then you’re more than likely an intelligent, autonomous human being, capable of making decisions based on the information that has been presented to you. Good luck with that.
What I am arrogant enough to tell you though, is that whatever your political persuasion, whether you lean towards Yes or No, whether you’re one of the many Don’t Knows or the many more Don’t Cares, it is of the utmost importance that on Thursday, you scrabble free from whichever hole you find safest, head to your local polling station and put an X in a box.
This referendum is the first time in a very long time that we, the good, bad and average people of this country have been given a chance to have our say on how we should elect our leaders. In the scheme of things, it really doesn’t get any bigger than this. We may not have been given the best two options out there, but the important thing is, we HAVE been given options. It’s a sad state of affairs when turn out in some areas is expected to be as low as 15%, because this referendum could and should have focused on the political apathy that’s blighting this country.
People are disenfranchised not just with the political system, not just with the political “elite” but with the whole concept of politics. The word has taken on such monumentally negative connotations in recent years that it’s almost become an insult. “Urgh, what are you? A politician?” That negativity has spread, festered and become an attitude of indifference. Not an election goes by where we don’t here the bemoaning cry of “makes no difference what I vote, they’re all the same”.
Except this time, they’re not. This time, you have a choice between two radically different views of how governments should be elected. That means that your vote could have a very real effect on the outcome of the referendum. If you decide to stay in on Thursday, then you’re wasting a chance to make your voice heard, to actually stand up and be counted.
I’m not arrogant enough to tell you how you should vote on Thursday, because that’s a personal decision. Weigh up the facts, do some research, decide for yourself what you think is the best way forward for this country. Because that’s what this referendum is, it’s a turning point, a chance for everyone in the country to have some effect over their future. You can make a difference, your vote does matter, so get out there and use it.