Right now, our news bulletins are full of the horrors of war in Ukraine where a people who have known the taste of democracy are fighting to avoid the yolk of dictatorship.
Watching the news last night, I have to confess tears when the video of a laughing baby was shown against the background of the news that its life had been cut short at 3 months along with the life of its Mother and Grandmother.
It brought to mind the often misquoted “One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic”, but the Father’s reaction of continuing the fight for democracy was a reflection of the importance of the ability to vote for the Government of your choice.
That same news bulletin carried the news of President Macron’s victory in the French election and this morning the bare statistics of that victory are published. The headlines offer the news that he won with 58.54% of the vote versus Le Pen’s 41.46%.
But the real story is the 28.01% of the voters who did not vote – it means that realistically, President Macron leads one of the most powerful countries in Europe with just 42.14% of the French voters wanting him!
It is the flaw of democracy if people do not get involved – as we approach the Local Elections on May 5th it becomes very relevant to everyone on a local level. And for people on the eastern side of the London Borough of Sutton, we only need to look over the border at bankrupt Croydon to understand why we need to think hard about what faces us and who we vote for.
And let’s just analyse the last bit of voting we had locally. That was at the by election in 2019 for Wallington North where the winning vote represented 38.24% of the votes. But with a turnout of 31.36%, that winning vote actually represented a shade under 12% of the voters of Wallington North, or put another way, Wallington North is represented by someone that 88% of the voters did not vote for.
Not knocking the individual, that is not the object – it is an electoral system that was established for universal suffrage but one where politicians have set their own agenda thereby creating voter apathy.
Why bother when they all sound the same?
That in turn has allowed us to get to a situation where those same politicians can align themselves with a small, special interest group (sometimes radical) to deliver the small margins that get them elected.
There is only one solution – if you want your opinion to count, use your vote.
In Sutton, we have had continued rises in Council Tax – the ruling Liberal Democrats blame Central Government but if that were the case, Sutton’s rises in Council Tax would not be the 4th highest in Greater London, if it was the Government’s fault, we would all be in the same boat!
They praise their initiatives in SDEN, the London Cancer Hub, Sutton Works etc – but it is the residents are underwriting those initiatives to the tune of £100+ million. A great legacy for our children and grandchildren!
It is a signal that change is needed – the agenda needs to be set by the residents not politicians – but the only way to change that is to use your vote.
You may have noticed a distinct lack of posters and other election paraphernalia – it is because the Ruling Group want you to stay at home so they can get their small number of supporters to deliver their comfortable seats.
Let’s surprise them and turn out in numbers on the 5th May and VOTE!