Grantham Journal column: Use your vote, don’t opt out
The General Election is only a few weeks away and the national newspapers and television are full of comments and articles about how it will all play out and whether the TV debates should be one thing or another.
At election time, the politicians are very keen to tell us what the British people think or want. I imagine they do talk to many people in their jobs but I have never understood how they can claim to know what we all or even most of us want for the future or what we think on the many issues in the public eye.
There are surveys of course, but the election is the one big survey and this time there seems to more doubt than previously about the results.
The Left say our unequal society is getting more unequal and that this is one of the factors that has to be addressed before deficit reduction is considered.
They also disparage the rich Tories usually described as being privileged who they imply should not be governing us because they are not representative and are out of touch with the common man.
Whilst the Bible makes clear that the rich will find getting into the kingdom of heaven a bit of a task, is being rich (however defined) unhelpful to being in government? If rich people made it by their own efforts and talents can we say this is wrong?
If they were helped on the way by supportive parents is this also to be condemned? Some might call this privilege and the result of inequality.
Trying to improve your life chances sounds a good idea but will it make you more privileged and less equal than your neighbours and friends? Will they all be jealous and does it matter?
Isn’t the choice between having people in charge who will govern us well, not how rich they are?
Now what about inequality? It is clear that people in the less well off parts of the country seem to enjoy less years of good health and lower life spans than those in the better off parts of the country.
I do wonder if well educated people also live longer and do they have more fulfilling lives.
The commentators seem to say so and they appear to be well educated and quite well off. However, we do have universal free school education in this country so that on the face of it everybody has the opportunity to benefit if they choose to.
Of course these choices are affected by the lifestyles of our parents and friends, not to mention their views and experiences, and many would say where we live. But I think the opportunities are there for the majority, but hard work and effort is required and you need role models who think the same and who will influence you.
We have record low interest rates but Vince Cable says we are not borrowing enough to invest in the country’s infrastructure (those dammed potholes maybe) or even in education where we seem to languish in the international league tables.
Clearly there are so many bewildering issues upon which the politicians will seek to persuade us.
When I listen to the local radio or read the letters in the Journal it seems most voters who comment have already made up their minds.
I get the impression that the Left are angry and the Right rarely comment, so I guess we will all have to decide for ourselves.
However I do hope you will decide and will use your vote. It will be more difficult to complain later if you just opted out.