Tuesday, 3 May 2011

V is for vote

It's an exciting week we have in prospect here. No, really - it is! There's an election to vote in, and what could be more exciting than that? Perhaps an election and a referendum?

This Thursday sees another election day. In Scotland these days elections are a fairly regular occurence - not because of any fragility in our political structures, but because there are just so many opportunities to vote. Last year was the Westminster (UK) election, this year it's Holyrood's turn (Scottish Parliament) - and the special Brucey Bonus of a referendum on what system we should use to elect our Westminster MPs. And next year, the local Councils in Scotland get their chance. No doubt there'll be a European election in there somewhere some time soon too. Sadly the very local level doesn't seem to attract enough interest to generate elections for Community Councils - which is a pity. But I'm pleased to see that the Youth Parliament elections this year were well contested - at least here in Stirling - so maybe the future's not completely bleak for political activism!

As regular readers will know, I'm a big fan of voting, particularly for women, for whom the right to vote is still enough of a novelty for us to cherish it. I don't really mind whether you use your vote wisely or foolishly, or if you even just go along a spoil your ballot paper, that's your choice. The most important thing is that you take part.

I haven't decided yet how I'll vote on Thursday but I do know I will definitely be voting. And as I'm doing it I'll be thinking about the women who fought - and in some cases, died - to make sure that I could. I'll be thinking about the countries where people walk miles, sometimes for days, and queue for hours to exercise their right to vote, often in dangerous situations. And I'll be thinking about those other places where the universal right to vote is still a distant pipe dream.

I hope you will too. It's your right. But it's also your responsibility. Don't waste it and don't shirk it.

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