While sharing a lunch time with a business friend, we touched on the subject of these interminable political party conferences. To my utter surprise,she said her husband was “fed up with the lot of them, they were all the same, equally as bad“… and, she continued, he wasn’t going to bother to vote for anyone come the general election. This business man is considered to be clear-headed. When he decides he’s had enough of all-comers, alarm bells need to be ringing. The lady was also taken aback by this. She felt it was her duty to vote. The voting choices apart, for women, she said, obtaining the franchise of the vote was a hard fought right, one that should not be easily relinquished. Many women make the same observation.
‘The common man’ did not always have the franchise of a vote in the UK. With limitations, that right was given in 1884. Universal male suffrage was given in 1918 when all men over the age of 21 were given the vote. The current voting age is eighteen.
It might be that men are not so aware of the history of gaining their right to vote, their enfranchisement. It is by no means the first time I have heard men choosing to not use their voting power. Some make it sound like a positive virtue not to do so. It would be interesting to know the public gender breakdown of votes caste in elections. If men were better informed on how they acquired their right to vote, would it make any difference?