Today people across the UK are voting in the General Election. It’s shaping up to be the closest contest in decades with Labour and the Conservatives neck and neck in the polls.
I voted Liberal Democrat in the last election. I made my mark with passion and conviction. Nick Clegg himself would be my MP and it was easy to feel motivated when the very man I’d be voting for was on television and in the papers making noble promises, promises that seemed incredibly feasible and hopeful. I wasn’t even disappointed when the coalition agreement was made because the man I’d put my faith in would be, in some small way, running the country.
I’m not in the anti-Nick Clegg camp. He isn’t my MP anymore as I’ve since moved, but it isn’t just my address that’s changed since 2010.
I’m now a parent.
My son is the most important thing in my world. He owns my heart completely and I spend my life striving to give him everything he needs to thrive. I feed him, I change him, I comfort him, I bathe him. I help him achieve in all the ways I can. I protect him from the dangers outside and I try to do it without holding him back. I encourage him to grow up to be accepting, tolerant and kind.
But I can’t protect him from the world itself.
Climate change is the single most important issue we face today. All the talk of debt and benefits and immigration and even equal pay and the NHS, things I care passionately about, is irrelevant in the face of a crisis that as it stands will certainly destroy civilisation as we know it. And if we don’t do something now, if we don’t send the right people to Paris in December, all will be lost. It will be our children, my child, and his children, who will pay the price.
A planet in crisis doesn’t win votes. A problem so big it’s hard to look it in the eye doesn’t win votes. Scapegoating wins votes, creating the illusion that all the problems the country faces can be explained away with something small (and usually poor or foreign) wins votes. It’s easier to sleep at night when you ‘know’ there’s a monster under your bed that you can scare away or pay off or feed to Nigel Farage, but I promise it’s much harder to sleep at night when your whole bedroom is falling apart around you. Monsters aren’t so scary then.
Today I will be voting from my heart, and because my heart belongs to my son I have to vote for the world he’ll inherit. I will leave the polling station with my head held high, knowing that my voice will be heard. I am a number that will make a difference, if not now then in the future, because this crisis is already underway. I am a proud ‘X’ next to the only choice I have.
This election I will be voting Green.