Speaking to friends, colleagues and other professionals the overwhelming response to this General Election has been one of fatigue. Other words frequently used include; boring, hassle, ‘not another one’ and frustration.
Overall not a great range of words to describe exercising our democratic rights, however I can understand exactly why these words are springing to mind. The country has seen a major election almost every year in recent history: 2014 Scottish Referendum, 2015 General Election, 2016 Brexit and now 2017 another General Election. It seems too much.
You can understand why people are becoming less engaged and less willing to interact with the political system. Voter fatigue is kicking in, even if the Brexit vote last year proved that your vote can really make a difference. I too have become disillusioned; the way elections seem to be fought, the media coverage, the seemingly never ending one-up-man-ship, the lack of my own political views being represented and the same slogans again and again. It is tiring and rather repetitive. However, every time I catch myself feeling this I remind myself about our democracy.
I have always been passionate about voting. People across the world have fought and died for the right to vote. The suffragettes and suffragists seem like a world away but it wasn’t so long ago that they were campaigning for the right for women to vote in the UK. Something that all too often we take entirely for granted. Today many people still do not get that right and we forget how lucky we are to live in a democratic society.
Whilst I often worry about why people to vote, and the reasons they do it, I hold firm to my belief that everyone should be encouraged to vote, and have their say. No democratic system is perfect. Right from when I studied Ancient Greece, and the supposed first real democracy, it was obvious there were flaws. There have since been many variations on the system, with many changes over time in different eras, and today different countries use democracy in different ways – all of which can be criticised – but I hold firm to my belief that our democratic system works.
The fact it is not perfect does not change the fact that our democracy is a vital part of our country, and key to our individual rights. We need to engage and express our opinion, even when for some it may mean spoiling their ballot paper. Whilst the divide between ‘politicians’ and ‘normal people’ seems ever to be heightening, we need to ensure people exercise the right to vote, even if often it seems easier to let voter apathy take over.
Melissa Barnett, Account Director
Email Melissa: Melissa@mailpbconsulting.com