Teen election column - ‘voting has cost many dearly, so use it’

Young people are writing election columns for The Star. Pictured is Lara Ferguson.
Young people are writing election columns for The Star. Pictured is Lara Ferguson.
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So, why vote?

With the General Election looming, many people are currently questioning why they should bother to go out and vote - has Britain turned into an apathetic nation?

Let’s be honest here, your individual vote won’t, and never will, make a difference, will it?

Surely it would be easier to sit in bed watching Thursday night Hollyoaks while reading Russell Brand’s autobiography.

I mean all politicians are corrupt anyway, aren’t they?

So why should you make the effort?

At the risk of sounding like your patronising year 10 history teacher, I’m going to tell you a little bit about the Suffragettes.

Hopefully you have heard of Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of the Suffragette movement.

She organised demonstration after demonstration, handed out flyers until she feared for the trees, and attended many meetings consecutively.

Still women were thwarted, ostracised, and left without a vote.

It took direct militant action with the Suffragettes fighting back hard, chaining themselves to railings, burning ministers’ homes, vandalising shops and golf courses.

Finally, in 1910 Pankhurst, was incarcerated, however, her protesting did not stop.

For years women have battled for electoral equality.

As a liberal young feminist, this is something I feel exceedingly passionate about.

On June 4, 1913 Emily Davison gave her life to the cause by jumping under the King’s horse in a desperate protest for women’s suffrage.

Aged just 40, she sacrificed her life so you could vote.

Many take the ability to vote for granted. You can decide freely whether or not to use your vote, but others still do not have this luxury even today.

During 2012 Libyan citizens voted in the first election since 1964.

Thousands of exiled voters, young and old, travelled to the nearest city in search of a polling station.

Many people before this day, are reported to have believed voting was no more than a fantasy.

However, the festive spirit and celebrations didn’t last long.

Polling stations were stormed by heavily armed gangs, ballot papers were burnt and protesters shot.

Despite the evident risk of death, large numbers of votes were cast throughout the day.

So now I ask, what’s stopping you? You have one vote.

It has cost many dearly to give you this freedom; please use it.

n Make sure you register to vote at sheffield.gov.uk