Kate Livingstone: Making our mark is so important

Have you ever had to fill in a postal vote?

I must admit until this week, I’ve not but I was helping my mum with her’s and I must admit that it wasn’t the easiest thing in the world.

And that was before we got to who she wanted to vote for!

“I put a cross,” she said, trying to hide where she was about to make her mark – which is pointless as she has been very vocal about her political allegiances for years to everyone and anyone who wanted to listen.

“No you don’t,” I told her. “It’s numbers you use. Start with the one you want the most and put a one, then after that a two for your next favourite and so on ...”

Whereupon I was abruptly interrupted with the retort: “But I don’t like the rest of them.

“Why would I want to vote for them? I don’t know most of them and those I do, certainly won’t be getting my vote, except for ...”

I’ll stop there to protect the character of all involved but for someone who moments earlier was trying to keep her vote secret, she had certainly changed her tune.

But we managed to get the voting paper into envelope A and then put that into envelope B.

I was given the responsibility of posting it which I have duly done so mother has exercised her franchise once again.

Much easier to turn up at a polling station but a handy system for those who aren’t able to for whatever reasons.

Now I just have to deal with her ballot paper for the general election!

I don’t know about you but it seems we’re never away from the polling station these days.

It’s a real concern that people will be so fed up with politicians and elections that they won’t bother to turn up.

However, remembering that woman took to the streets and even died to give women like me the right to vote, it’s something that I always do – even if I sometimes shut my eyes before selecting who to vote for!

I’m a great believer in local politics that you should vote for the person who is going to do the best for your community, but it’s not always as easy as that I’ve discovered.

If they’re not in the ruling group or party then it’s not always easy for them to do that, however, well meaning their intentions.

With the Holyrood and Westminster elections it can be very confusing knowing what the person elected can do for you.

But my biggest challenge is to get my mum to understand that next time she votes it’s with a cross!