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Don't waste your vote in the real life European Game of Thrones

PUBLISHED: 11:35 22 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:43 22 May 2019

Rachel Moore urges you not to waste your vote in the European elections

Rachel Moore urges you not to waste your vote in the European elections

Archant

Our grandparents would turn in their graves if they knew we weren't voting in an election, says Rachel Moore, who urges you to vote in the European elections

Accustomed as I am to feeling in the minority, I've never seen an episode of Game of Thrones.

This week, you can't escape the outcry about the ending of the final episode.

Apparently, it didn't end as its fans wanted. A faction is so outraged at the route it took, it is demanding that the scriptwriters are now sacked, replacements immediately engaged and the final series is rewritten and reshot with an ending that satisfies them.

That's the me, me, me culture gone mad. Disappointed viewers demand a say in shaping the end of a drama. A story written by someone else.

Contrast that huge fuss about fiction with the reality of the elections for MEPs today.

An election we can have a say in and play a part in shaping the outcome by communal votes, but so many won't even bother to turn out and vote.

The people who "cba" to vote would be the first to shout out if the right to vote was withdrawn and decisions made for them. Probably the very people who feel they have a right to have a say in the ending of a drama.

Whatever the frustrating mess that has gone before today's election, we are at the centre of what will be viewed as one of the biggest turning points in political history.

However pointless or futile we might think our individual vote is, to cast it is to be part of this emerging story.

To not care about the right to vote is criminal. Opting in and out when the mood suits should never be an option.

We've got out of the habit of voting - or feeling our individual voices count - and have grown a derisory 'take it or leave it' attitude to such an important right.

Our grandparents would turn in their graves. Voting was an occasion for them. A big event.

Young people can't wait to turn 18 and cast their vote. It's the middle-aged and younger that are causing the voting gap.

An election was such an occasion, couples would walk to vote together, mindful of the long painful fight to achieve it, the loss of life and social change. Some kept their vote private, even from their spouses.

They valued that right and were proud to take that step into a polling booth.

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Casting a vote in general, local or even parish elections was viewed as a privilege hard won and a right to be preserved in a land of democracy.

People believed they counted, were shaping their own future, involved, and knew, as a force, their votes could be a force for change

I've lost count how many people have told me they're not "going to bother" with today's elections. For some it's a kind of protest. A thumbs down to Westminster - and who cares anyway about Europe when we're coming out.

But not voting is never a protest. It's apathy and opting out. It's the weak way out.

Social media and news sites have been full of guides of tactical voting and how to make your vote count, whichever way you lean.

Today, those who do make the journey to polling stations might be voting for parties they never dreamed they would - or would even exist - to try to send a united message to our leaders.

It's become a fascinating game how things might turn out when MEPs take their seats on July 2 - an event we never envisaged when the UK voted for Brexit, now scheduled for October 31. Suitably Halloween.

Whatever we think about the leave vote three years ago, our domestic politics have sunk into crisis, crumbling, stumbling and a general farcical embarrassment.

Today, along with 27 other countries, we'll be doing what we never thought we would again in the world's second biggest democratic vote.

Turnout is usually quite low for the once in every five years election - 35 per cent in the UK, compared to 42.61 per cent average across the rest of Europe - and is expected to be worse today.

Amid calls for a second referendum or another general election, today's vote is the closest we could come, and as significant for the future of our homeland politics as for Europe.

Ballot papers will tell the story of the frustration around Brexit and our domestic politics- a long list of new parties born out of the mess.

But this long list is a message of hope back to the voter - that there are alternatives; that people care enough to try to bring about big change for the people who have the right to have their say.

Today is a hand-delivered opportunity for Europhiles and Brexiteers to send a message to political leaders.

Please value this opportunity and your right and turn the predicted low turnout on its
head.

It's not a proxy referendum, but it is chance we never expected would come to air what you think about the twists and turns of the last three years and where we are now, and where we are going.

Why would anyone want to opt out and waste such an opportunity? Vote today.

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