Three of my friends this weekend claimed to have never voted before, for anything. Ever.
This is a lie because I at least know that two of them voted Shanahan for class president 2003 (a landslide victory I might point out), but let's assume that they were referring to actual, important politics. Like the one coming up in Britain on May 6th. You will hear the television shouting at you, proclaiming that this is the most important election in the history of our fine country - which simply is not correct, look to the 1918 General Elections, Churchill or even Thatcher for that.
What is important about this election however, is that for the first time in 13 years the political make-up of this country has a good chance of actually changing. 2001 saw the 'Quiet Landslide' victory of Labour and the re-election of Tony Blair, followed by the much closer, some might say squeaky victory of 2004 where the Conservatives were hot on their coat tails. Fast forward a few more years and you have Mr Brown running the show amidst one of the worst economic battlefields we have ever seen, a situation he may or may not have worsened himself depending on where you stand. I for one like him, and feel as sorry for him as I do for ol' GW Bush, inheriting their respective countries in arguably their crappiest times. But whether or not he is to blame is mute at this point, what is important is that for whatever reason the election could swing in the other direction and we could be left with a new regime in charge. The price of cider might rise.
I won't say who I will be voting for come May, partly because I don't have a fully formed answer for that yet. Mr Brown, Mr Cameron and Mr Cloggers all have ticks and crosses in their 'pro' and 'con' columns - and the fact that British politics these days is no longer a case of black and white, or left and right, but shades of grey and central policies does not make things easier. What I will say, is that I know none of you will judge myself or others for choosing one party over another, especially without having done the research yourself. If you know your party's causes, feel free to label all Conservatives evil super villains, and Labour supporters' tree hugging fools, have at it. I would listen much more attentively to a person who had visited each party's policies before making up his/her mind, as opposed to someone who has just followed their parents/friends/the television.
I would hope that you all tune in April 15th for the first of three televised debates between these three men, when they will be discussing Domestic Affairs heading into the General Election. After they finish debating, a steel cage lowers from the ceiling and they all do battle for physical supremacy. There are dragons (not of the den variety) too, and cheerleaders with light sabres. This would make things a lot simpler, I know I would vote for Nick Clegg if it were based purely on this knockout round - there's just something dangerous about a man with no religion; he has nobody to answer to.
Not to bore you with the same lines that we have all heard many times before, but the right to vote is an important one, and something that shouldn't be taken for granted. The political franchise (apparently, also called The Franchise according to Wikipedia - yes, it does sound like a Kanye West album) would not be available to you today had it not been for the massive sacrifices laid down by older generations. What I will give you is this handy little article. And yes I know, the men of 1928 made a mistake when we allowed women the vote, but we are only human and prone to the odd gaff.