Suffrage and why it’s important

As someone who has been involved with local government for the last eight years, I can speak with some experience of why voting is important. I have also exercised my right to vote since I came of age. My first real memories of an election campaign was that of the 1979 General Election. Though to be honest, I never thought I would ever stand for election let alone be elected.

You might think the UK and it often name-tag ‘Mother of Parliaments’ has been an exemplar of democracy. It has not. Until 1832, only 10% of the population in the UK had the right to vote. After this date real reform started to take shape. However still in 1884, a man with the wealth of £10 could only vote. In today’s money you would have to have near £1000 (historic standard of living to buy household items like food etc) to vote.

Then in 1918, all men over 21 and women over 30 could vote. This changed in 1928 when the universal age of voting was set at 21. It was not until 1969 when the age of voting was reduced from 21 to 18. That’s a quick history, but now on to the point of the blog post.

I often hear why bother to vote. It changes nothing. This often comes from those who do not vote. I can tell you voting does change things. I know from my own experience how this happens. But one thing can be sure is not voting will not change a thing. Is that what people want? If so, then stop moaning.

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Sometimes when a person is giving me their opinions on the Government, town council and the local authority, I ask did you vote? When the answer is no, then I say why are you moaning when you having been bothered to take 10 minutes out of your day maybe once every few years and put a tick in one, or if you want ‘spoil your ballot’ which is seen as exercising your vote but not voting for ‘none of the above.’

Today in Cornwall we can vote in the European Elections, but for many parts of England there are local elections too. So take 10 minutes of your day, walk/drive to your polling and exercise your vote.

It might be stating the obvious, but others have given their lives both in the real sense and those who have and are still campaigning to make democracy work and allow people suffrage. Which sadly does not exist in many parts of the world.

Go Vote and make a difference

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