Baldrick: “Lord Nelson’s got a vote”
Blackadder: “No Baldrick, Lord Nelson has a boat”
Blackadder has to be my favourite sit com of all time. Fawlty Towers and Only Fools and Horses come mighty close but Blackadder just shades it for me. Apart from the general hilarity of it all, I love the historical basis of each series. I’ve heard some say that Blackadder Goes Fourth does more to bring the true facts of WW1 to the generations that followed than many factual documentaries.
But back to the election in Dunny on the Wold. If you remember the episode, Dunny on The Wold was a ‘rotten borough’ with a population of 3 rather mangy cows, a dachshund named Colin and a small hen in its late forties. The plot in this episode highlighted the corruption and lack of true democratic process during the Regency era.
So why am I reminiscing (and smiling) about this slice of comedy gold? Well, in a small way it makes a big point about the value of every single vote (and in the case of Dunny on the Wold, it literally was a single vote!). Our right to vote is something I feel very passionate about. You may have seen our series of blogs about the big referendum. Should we stay? Should we go? This piece isn’t about which way to vote. It’s simply about the act of voting.
My biggest concern here is that the decision is very likely to be based on the views of those who don’t vote as much as it will be on those who do. And that seems to be a failure somewhere in our system.
I’ll let you into a secret. I didn’t vote in the recent Mayoral and IPC elections. It had been a long day (a long week!). We had a few bits to do that evening. I didn’t particularly care for any of the candidates for Mayor and, frankly, I’d never heard of any of the IPC candidates. So we gave it a miss. It wasn’t until the polls had closed and it was too late that I felt terrible about this. Essentially I’d let the ‘stuff’ that fills our lives these days get in the way and take precedent over exercising my democratic right. I still feel bad.
The upcoming poll is a big deal and I wonder how many will feel like I did a few weeks ago? How many people will be getting on with other ‘stuff’ rather than going down to the local polling station? I’m especially worried about the younger generations who, we’re told, are much less likely to go out and vote. If that turns out to be true, it’s bad news. If they don’t vote in this referendum, when will they vote?
The constant scare mongering and name calling that seems to be part and parcel of the political landscape in the UK doesn’t help when we’re trying to engage people to take and interest and register their vote. Likewise, a process that now seems archaic where an individual needs to physically go to a venue and write a cross on a piece of paper must have a bearing on the turn out. What if it’s raining?
But we are where we are so my plea to everybody is simply this, get out and vote!