I remember many years ago having a good chat to my father about why it is important to vote, whenever the opportunity presented it. The discussion was around the simple fact that at least in this nation, we have the democratic right to vote. Sadly in many nations this is not always the case, indeed history is littered with examples where whole nations have been subjugated by others who have ruled with iron fists, who intimidate and suppress people’s to the point where the idea of voting in legal and fair elections is simply a pipe dream.

The conversation ebbed and flowed around the whole principle of cherishing the principle of democratic elections, something that we have been fortunate enough to enjoy throughout many centuries. The other point that my dad made was the fact that in his lifetime two world wars had been fought and won on the principle of freeing the world of tyranny, and evil as personified by the Nazis during World War Two, a war that both my dad and uncle had taken part in, my dad serving in the RAF, and my uncle his elder brother Roger, serving in the Royal Navy, an experience that almost killed him. For those who lived through the generation that required people to fight in wars. My generation is actually quite unique in that we have never been conscripted to fight to defend democracy, and by so doing possibly lay down their own life to protect that most basic of freedoms. I always find it sad when people say things like “ I don’t bother voting, there is no point”. To me they have missed the point, imagine if yo7 told those same people, actually you can no longer vote, you have lost the right. And this of course underpins the whole point. Namely that in this society people who have registered to vote should use their democratic right to select their next government. It also upholds the basic right to defend whatever view a person chooses to select, no matter how fundamentally opposed you might feel, the point is that it is about upholding the right to choose your political stance irrespective of how abhorrent they might be to you as a person. It is all about the right to have an opinion, and a means of expressing that opinion in a climate that is safe and free, and transparent for all to see. That is why voting is so important, and in my view everything should be done to encourage maximum participation

So, the next time you feel fed up about the futility of the election, just spare a thought for all those millions of people who do not have a voice, or indeed a choice. Other than to do what they are told to do, in a society where protesting and dissent are simply not allowed. Worth having a little think about next time someone else is slagging off this nation and bemoaning their lot, worth remembering there are always many people who are a lot worse off than we are.

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