My brother-in-law is the only person who has asked me to explain why I have never voted. I argued that the issues were too complex; that no one understands the issues (even people who have spent their professional lives trying to understand them); that everyone who does vote is using the evidence to justify an emotional decision; that the evidence could be used to justify anything - except a decision based on evidence.
My brother-in-law hasn’t stopped voting and I haven’t started so the argument was probably never relevant - for some reason he votes and for some reason I don’t. I don’t have faith in my argument that it is all too complicated - it could be used to justify not getting out of bed in the morning - but it has become my excuse for not getting involved. At least not as a voter.
I am afraid to step into this arena now. I fear that my opinions are half-formed, adolescent, embarrassing. I am afraid that if I try to express a view on the issues, rather than my lack of confidence in the system, my ignorance will be exposed and ridiculed. Politicians and the people who surround them appear to spend a lot of time exposing and ridiculing each other and I assume that they would happily do the same to me.
Now, having set it up as an act of selfless bravery, I reveal that on Saturday, I went to the first political event I have ever been to in Hackney – apart from a couple of council meetings.
The reason I could stomach it – or even contemplated going at all – was because of this blog. I assumed it would allow me to hide behind the cloak of journalism. There was another reason too: on Thursday I found out that I might be made redundant and I didn’t feel like sitting around thinking about it.
So going to Hackney Unite’s 'candi-dating' event wasn’t really a tentative step in my journey toward democracy but I’m aiming to write up the experience over the next couple of days.
Here’s the Socialist Party of Great Britain's candidate’s take on the day and a quick mention by the Lib Dem candidate.