28 Mar 2015

Don’t care about your vote? Beware the alternative

There is a UK election and it begins in earnest now.

At which news, once more, I feel a little bit like the outsider looking in.

For much of my working life I suppose I have been a war correspondent. But here I am bound for Scotland: rosettes, doorsteps, grip ‘n grin and suits. Lots of suits.

But if, if my outside experience can lend one thing as the campaign begins then please let it be this: a rage against the grey cynicism of indifference.

Because I’ve been and seen what fills the void when politics fails.

Because of the memory of the woman dragged lifeless to a stretcher in Bosnia after the shellburst, across the tarmac.


Because of the stoned kid in west Africa who giggled, red eyes dilated, waving his red-stained machete in a hum of flies.

Because of the smell of burned meat in that shed in Libya, where 30 or more had been burned to death.

Because of the baby girl on the living room carpet in Croatia, her right hand still gripping the small, bloodstained wool teddy.

Because of them.

Because of this.

Please pause and take another look at what we have. Cherish it, respect it, even if you can’t love or even like it.

Remind yourself in the coming weeks that there are other ways of conducting power and politics – even though you may have been lucky enough not to have seen them.

And go to vote on 7 May.

Because there are other ways.

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