Thursday, 30 October 2014

voting again!

I'm trying to be balanced with my bumf, but I'm afraid
the Tories didn't waste any paper on me. And there's
nothing for the independent candidate either.
I've been at the polling station again today. 

A local councillor died, and we're having a by-election to replace him.

On the matter of voting, I completely disagree with Russell Brand, who says that we should not vote because none of the parties are actually interested in representing the people (although I would welcome an option for 'none of the above'). Rather, I agree with the fictional American President Jed Bartlett: “Decisions are made by those that show up.” I want to be one of the people who shows up.

According to the Electoral Reform Society's website, Scotland is the only part of the UK which uses Single Transferable Voting to elect local councillors. I like it. It feels more likely that someone tolerable will get in. I feel the blank spaces by the people I tell my children are the 'bad guys', have merit.

These days you can vote by post, which is allegedly convenient, but in reality, a bit of a faff. However, most people still go to their polling station to vote, on the Thursday that polling takes place.

Why a Thursday? I've covered that before, here, so I'll not go into it again.

But while we're questioning things, why do we vote in the places we vote? 

Clearly, we need a big, indoor space, which can be used all day. Village Halls, Theatres, and Community Centres are great for this. However, schools in term time are terrible. According to the North Ayrshire Council website, they have moved those who would normally vote at one church hall in Largs to the theatre, because that church hall was fully booked. Yet, they are still using a primary school, and giving the children a day off (with all the childcare ramifications). Surely the school must be considered booked as well? Parents are told they may not take children out of school in term time, but a school can be closed to pupils to serve as a polling station. In some places it might be the only option, but here there are four church halls and a masonic hall, as well as the theatre, and various other community spaces. Of course, school closures could be dealt with by weekend voting.

It's difficult to shift from the way we've always done things, but I think it's time we thought about it.

What do you think?

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