I AM, at the moment, several thousands of miles from home, but I have voted by post in Kirklees, as I always do when away on business.
Why? Because thousands, maybe millions, of people have given their lives fighting to give me the chance to express my political views openly and freely.
I would not give those brave people a slap in the face by not voting. This is a huge privilege and one I take most seriously.
I am willing to bet that significantly fewer than half of the people eligible to vote today will have done so.
This means that no matter what, whoever is elected, and wherever they are elected, they cannot possibly represent ‘the people’. This is a travesty of democracy.
Millions of people did not die so that others could enjoy the so-called privilege of apathy.
I believe voting in Britain, both at local and national elections, should be compulsory, as it is in most parts of South America, Central Africa and Australia.
Voters can spoil their paper or write ‘none of the above’ if no candidate appeals to them. And failure to vote (if no good reason for that failure can be shown) should involve a significant fine, added to council tax the following year.
An option should be to pay a fee and go on a ‘naughty voters’ course in much the same way as drivers caught speeding have the option to avoid a fine and points on their licence.
And on a final note – why do we tolerate national political parties at local elections, and a party-biased ‘whip’ in local council decisions thereafter?
Voting locally should be for the best candidate to get things done, not for Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats or whatever.
Rudi de Groot
Why we must vote
MY great-grandmother was born at a time when women could not vote.
By the time women were granted the right to vote she was old enough, so didn’t experience the rejection at the ballot box women before her experienced.
A lot of my friends say they’re not going to bother voting today, cannot name their local councillors and do not even know which ward they live in.
Just imagine if, today, we were told we could not vote simply because we are women.
We don’t know how lucky we are. And we don’t know how silly we are to not even bother.
To men and women, use your right, because a lot of people fought for us to get it.
The best of the worst
TODAY I will cast my vote, but I won’t feel content doing it.
For the first time in many years I feel like it’s a case of ‘better the devil you know that the one you don’t’.
I can’t say the election leaflets I’ve received through the door have inspired me.
Why can’t politicians not just concentrate on what they will do, not what other people have done or may/may not do.
Do they have no confidence in their own abilities to simply promote themselves, rather than using bully-boy tactics to criticise others who they fear might ‘beat them’ to the post?
I’ll vote because I think it’s right to, but if there was an option to get rid of the lot, I think I’d pick it.
To those who ‘win’ today [with the results announced tomorrow] don’t celebrate, just know you ‘won’ because you were the best of the worst.
Is chip the best idea?
WITH reference to the subject of microchips and dangerous dogs which has been in the media of late, does this not pose two questions.
1) Will the irresponsible people who own these animals actually be bothered to have them done?
2) Even if they do, how will this prevent the animal from attacking anyone?
I have read recently, that in 1919 “a rabies scare led to 850,000 dogs being muzzled”. Surely this would be a far more practical solution to the behaviour of these animals.
It would also be far easier for “the authorities” to spot such a dog without a muzzle (and perhaps impose a £1,000 fine!)
Who can see whether a dog has got a micro chip or not?
WE now know the outcome by the committee of MPs’ into the phone hacking scandal by the media owned by the Murdochs.
The committee ruling states that Rupert Murdoch was not a fit and proper person to run the media company. The vote on this damming report was not unanimous, the Tory group within the committee voted against that particular statement within this report, as I understand it.
This raises serious questions in my view.
Who was responsible for compiling the report?
Why was this particular disagreement within the committee not raised during the reports preparation?
Was the report agreed by all committee members before making it public?
Or was there a significant change in political landscape as far as the Government was concerned which could have raised real concerns on leading members of the government as far as the close relationship and courtship of the Murdoch’s and the media empire.
Was it the fear of Murdoch after reading the report by further naming and shaming, which swayed the Tory members within this MP’s committee to vote against that particular part of the report, as not to rock the boat into deeper water to which some leading members would not and could not survive?
Quite clearly all the members of that committee heard all the evidence in relation to producing this report, one can only wonder why or what changed to bring the Tory group within this committee questionable attempt trying to distance themselves from the its damming report.
Had they been whipped or are they protecting their leadership?
WITH great interest and sadness I read the obituary of Fred Maltas published in the Examiner on May 1.
I knew Fred personally, which might surprise people because I’m a German national.
Fred didn’t talk about his war experiences with me much, but he tried to remember the bits of German he learned in the camps and spoke German to me.
He was a very remarkable man, and will not be forgotten, especially not by me.
Despite his experiences as a POW he encouraged his daughter Michele to take part in an Yorkshire-Westphalia school exchange. This is how I met Fred.
He became a dear friend to me and my family, he met my parents and he and his wife attended my wedding to a Yorkshireman.
His daughter introduced me to a university friend of hers which led to a binational marriage.
My husband Graeme and I now have a daughter, who is bilingual.
We always visited Fred when we were visiting Yorkshire.
He will be missed by all who knew him.
Guide for the blind
WITH many blind and partially sighted readers not knowing where to turn for help with housing, money matters, transport or employment; Action for Blind People has produced a free guide, called Getting On, which acts as an A-Z directory.
It’s designed to help local people with sight loss to access services and support from voluntary and statutory organisations best placed to give them a helping hand.
In some cases, the provider will be Action for Blind People. We’re experts in employment and training, welfare advice, housing, and services for visually impaired young people.
But for other support, we recommend a host of organisations; some well known like Guide Dogs and RNIB, others less familiar, like Vision Aid – who provide practical advice to families of visually impaired children.
We also give details on a range of schemes designed to make a difference; from assistance and discounts on public transport, to multi-format billing, offered by utility companies.
Action for Blind People is a not-for-profit organisation. We want to be at the heart of the community, working alongside other charities, businesses and individuals to help people with sight loss retain their independence and get on with their lives.
Readers can order a free copy of Getting On and find contact details of Action for Blind People’s local team by phoning 0303 123 9999. You can download Getting On from http://www.actionforblindpeople.org.uk/about-us/downloads
Action for Blind People, West Yorkshire