It is impossible to write this post impartially. But to all those who chose not to vote, or thought that it didn’t matter, I hope you take this to heart – whether you are happy or sad with your new MP and Prime Minister.
For you see, I along with a good part of Great Britain have taken the whole thing very personally indeed: shocked that the current Conservative government has been handed the keys to No. 10 once more – this time without the restraint of the Liberal Democrats.
But it is not just the rule of Westminster that has led to such concern being expressed – this time around it has really hit home.
The MP for a constituency in my city was chosen by 27 votes. Twenty-seven. He is now the first Conservative MP for Gower in 100 years.
Let me put that number into context: 27 is less than an average classroom size. It’s seven houses on my street. It’s a small pack of sweets. It’s the number of people who could have changed the outcome for Gower.
Gower is my home. It’s where I grew up and where my family still live. Yes, the majority may have spoken, and yes, the MP may very well be the right man for the job. I’m not here to judge his skills, or comment on his personal political preference but the Conservatives do not represent my views. Pre-election, I would have told you that the party did not represent the area at all, and I did not believe that they would give the local people the right voice. Apparently I am wrong.
However, if it weren’t for a margin of 27, I wouldn’t be writing this blog post. If it weren’t for those 27 people voting Conservative then Gower would not now be blue. If the 30.73% of people who didn’t vote in Gower had voted, it could have been a completely different story – although all it needed was for a handful to change their minds, not the nearly third of people who didn’t visit the polling station.
Someone close to me, a strict Labour supporter for life, originally said they would not vote in the election, purely because they did not agree with the party’s decision to introduce all-women shortlists. It had nothing to do with the fact that the lists were purely female, but this person wanted the right candidate for the job to be chosen to represent the party in the constituency – and that no one should be ruled out because of their gender.
So that’s one person, and that 27 votes now becomes 26.
Another handful I know chose to vote for smaller parties because they weren’t really sure who they wanted as an MP. I’m not here to talk about how we all should have tactically voted, dismissing smaller parties in favour of the ‘best of the worst’ as the two biggest parties might be seen – but that 26 is now 21, and considering turnout was just under 70% for Gower, you really start to see how things could have changed.
When your new MP that you do not agree with stands up in Parliament and votes for something that goes against your morals and the rights you wish to hold, I want you to remember how much you really can make a difference. Just one cross in a box could have changed everything.
I hope the one thing that comes out of this election is that any dissenter will see they matter. You can make a difference, you just need to use your power – no matter how little you think it may be, your vote really does count.