Can't be bothered to vote? Think of the dead

Next Friday our thoughts will turn to another battle for Europe '“ the bloodiest ever.

Thursday, 23rd June 2016, 6:00 am

July 1, 1916, marked the start of 141 days of horror – the Battle of the Somme.

By the end of that first day 19,240 British soldiers were dead.

That is about 2,000 more than the current population of Hayling Island. Just one day.

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Perhaps you had a relative who died in the battle of whom nothing identifiable remained to be buried?

Think about those men today if you are one who cannot be bothered to walk a short distance to your polling station to help the nation make the biggest decision it is likely to make for generations.

And what have those French killing fields to do with today’s referendum?

The slaughter in France, the democracy of the trenches, finally broke down many class barriers in Britain and led directly to the Representation of the People Act 1918.

It brought more than eight million women into the electorate and, for the first time, enfranchised more than five million men over the age of 21 regardless of their class or whether they owned property.

Of course, we do not forget the Suffragettes whose deaths, jailings and railing-chainings did so much to eventually give all women the vote.

Leading Brexit campaigner Michael Gove was in Portsmouth yesterday and, love him or loathe him, we applaud him when he says: ‘You might not have liked some of the things that have been said or done in the campaign, but put that to one side.

‘This vote is not about politicians and it’s not about the campaigns – it’s about democracy.’

Leave or Remain, we are not bothered which way you vote.

Just make sure that today you use that right, the one tens of thousands died for 100 years ago just so you could.