For the first time ever, I may not cast my vote in elections – and here’s why – Blaise Tapp
It won’t come as a surprise to anybody who has met me, or read this column on at least one occasion, to learn that I was an unusual child.
Yes, I collected football stickers, recorded the weekly top 40 countdown from the radio and held an inordinate number of schoolboy crushes –all, naturally, unrequited – but I was also a bit of a nerd.
As well as being able to name the grounds of all 92 professional English football clubs I was also, from a young age, obsessed with politics.
Maybe it was the discussions around the kitchen table or possibly Sunday nights spent watching Spitting Image, but whatever the reason, I was hooked early on.
That obsession has endured the last throes of Thatcherism, the grey days of Major, Blair mania, the grim Brown years and the unlikely love-in that was Cameron and Clegg. During that time I have soaked up most scandals, crises and major party conference keynote speeches like they were all part of a Coronation Street love triangle plot.
Since I was old enough I have also exercised my democratic right to vote in every election and I have done it enthusiastically, going out of my way to put my cross next to the name of the local candidate who has impressed me the most, rather than doggedly voting along party lines.
However, I find myself in a quandary because I am genuinely not sure I will be able to make the effort to get to the polling station this year.
This year could see us go to the polls three times – Town Hall elections (May 2), European elections and we can’t rule out a General Election.
Any self-respecting political junkie should be positively giddy at this prospect but not this one as my enthusiasm for the ritual of exercising democracy has been eaten away by the current tragicomedy which is being played out on a daily basis in Westminster and Brussels.
There was a time when I would shout from the rooftops about the importance of everybody exercising their right to vote, but I can’t do that. Maybe when election day comes I may feel differently about it all but the shenanigans of many of our national politicians over the past couple of years has made this nerd fall out of love with politics.