So the votes are in and counted, almost, and we’re looking at a hung parliament but there’s everything still to play for in terms of the ultimate outcome. Looking back over the past 24 hours the thing that stands out for me, is the queues of voters at polling stations across the country some of them unable to vote. Some turned up at the eleventh hour, some had been patiently queueing for a long time in the rain and were turned away as 10pm as electoral officers struggled to make a judgement call on the legal position and the right to vote. You had to be in the building by 10pm apparently. Thank goodness, there wasn’t a problem in the caravan that stood as polling station in my area – as it was the electoral officers could quite clearly see who people voted for if they so wished!
Is that democracy? Over the years, statesmen/women and politicians have boasted proudly of Britains democratic system of government. We’ve been at war in three countries in my life time in order to (allegedly) promote and uphold the need for democratic rule. But last night our system was proved to be irrefutably faulty. If you wish to vote in the UK, you have to register and receive your voting card or submit a postal vote. Postal votes have gone missing, polling cards have not arrived and electoral returning officers were last night offering the fact they had run out of ballot papers and the fact that so many first time voters turned up to exercise their democratic right to vote as the reason why hundreds of people last night were unable to vote. It’s 2010 we have solar energy, digital communications, women have been to the moon and back – but we can’t offer a secure and effective voting procedure?
The conservatives won the most votes but not by a big enough margin and they do not want electoral reform, in the face of all evidence to the contrary they want to continue with the current electoral system, flawed as last night proved it to be. That to me does not bode well. A strong party would recognise that what the people want is their voice to be heard, they want change, they want reform not arrogance, tunnel vision or bullishness. This election will be recorded in the history books, let’s hope that common sense and a common goal – the best interests of the country and the people who live within it prevail.