Letters

Letters: ‘USE IT, DON’T LOSE IT’

Dear Orkney News,

As your readership will be aware, we have an election coming up on 6 May 2021. No doubt many people will (soon) get fed up with the amount of coverage it receives. Historically it seems that politicians will promise anything to win our vote (whilst little of their sweet-talk ever materialises). Yet the ‘First Past The Post’ voting system seems rigged to prevent meaningful change unless we vote ‘tactically’.

No wonder so many folk switch off from it all and decide not to bother voting at all.

But the right to vote was a hard fight for our forebears and we should never forget that what has been won can also be lost. Simply removing the right for people to vote would be condemned in international law, so the easiest way to disenfranchise large swathes of the voting public – if one was minded to do so – would be to simply discourage voting. A subtle process of disenfranchising the electorate in this manner seems to be growing in strength: often only a third to a half of all those eligible to vote in elections actually do so.

As soon as someone decides not to vote, they send out a very clear message: ‘do what you want, I don’t care’.

Democracy is not perfect, neither are democratic elections, but our system actually makes it incredibly easy for everyone who is entitled to vote to do so, whether by post, proxy, or in person. Plus, the forthcoming Scottish elections use a form of Proportional Representation (PR) in the Regional list vote, so no-one needs to vote tactically, everyone can vote without compromising their beliefs.

Given this, please consider voting differently and choose transformative politics that put justice for the environment and society at its core. A vote for the Scottish Green Party, as your second Regional list vote, is not a wasted vote. We Greens have steadily grown support, helped by PR and the excellent reputation our candidates are building to do politics consensually. The Scottish Green Party is not funded by lobbyists, nor big corporate donors, so we don’t have the resources of the larger parties, but we are all genuine people who care passionately about how Climate Change is affecting our world and the communities that we live in.

Please don’t give in to apathy – the Scottish Greens haven’t – please register to vote and then use it! Thank you.

Helen Woodsford-Dean, Orkney Greens Co-Convenor

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