In case you haven’t noticed there is an election on the way. Something which some people care about but a large number seem to be swatting away like an irritating fly.
I’m definitely not going to come over all po-faced about whether you vote or not. Absolutely we all should otherwise we are ignoring the whole process of democracy but as you or I know, making politics apply to our own lives can sometimes seem, well, vague. And the logistics are impractical – I’m not even sure how I’ll get to my local primary school to vote as I’ll be working long hours covering the blummin’ thing.
But here in the neighbouring Lancaster and Fleetwood and Morecambe and Lunesdale constituencies, two of the most marginal seats in the country, you can cut the political atmosphere with a knife. Here the old cliche ‘every vote counts’ is actually true and the old campaigning traditions of bitterness, mudslinging, question avoidance and spinning until everyone is confused keep flooding our newsdesk from all parts of the political spectrum.
Meanwhile, the reporters are being kept busy meeting the sudden flood of high-profile political visitors and their celebrity supporters who have never been seen in our neck of the woods before. The pressure is most definitely on.
Of course the reality of deciding how to vote is a tough one. You can vote for a political party or you can vote based on your assessment of the promises and pledges made by individual candidates for your area. Not every party member is the same, that’s for sure.
You can also vote based on specific issues – from student fees to health to fracking – and how it would impact your life, should that MP or party come into power. But with straight answers not exactly forthcoming, and with many complex issues debated using language and politicking indecipherable to the average human being, it seems hardly surprising that the many millions of people who, for example, signed a petition to save Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson, will not bother to vote for the next government. Frightening but it means those who do vote, really do have a say.