There was a knock at the front door this morning and I opened it to be greeted (by name) by one of the candidates standing in our local by-election. He was friendly, seemingly genuine and personable. He asked who I would be voting for in the upcoming election and I answered truthfully that I was likely to vote for an opposition candidate. He proceeded to explain that he is (and always has been) local to the area and he made a few other attempts at turning my vote. I know the visit was purely tactical but I was rather impressed. In fact, I was so impressed that this evening I did something I have never done before; I researched each and every candidate who is standing in the election.
Regular readers of this blog will be aware of my recent interest in politics and the decisions politicians make that affect people here in the UK as well as those globally. For this reason I have made it a priority to learn as much as I can about the issues that matter. So, what better way to put my newly acquired interest into practice than by starting at the grassroots level? If I am totally honest, my voting in the past has always been mostly uninformed and even occasionally superficial (‘He has a serious haircut. It must mean he is a serious politician.’). At the risk of repeating much of the same information as week #31 I will keep this post short and sweet.
Something that really stuck with me from the Global Poverty Ambassador training weekend was the idea of getting to know your local politicians because you never know what sort of influence they might have in time. Yes, right now the biggest battle the local councillor will face is whether or not the opening of Tesco will mean the commencement of the High Street’s demise. But you never know what sort of decisions they will have to make in the future. That is why I have decided to vote for someone whose values I respect rather than just vote for someone because they are from a particular party. I know it is not a ‘politically correct’ way to vote but sometimes we need to turn things on their head to really start making a difference. I have come to realise that my vote counts – not just for myself but for the millions of people around the world who are not privileged enough to have a say about the circumstances in which they find themselves. And that is why my vote matters.