A week from now, polls across the UK will be getting ready to close.
Millions of us will have been out and cast our votes, some of us with pride, some with frustration and some with indifference.
We’ll be heading home to wait, while the results roll in overnight. By the time we wake up on Friday morning, we could have a new Prime Minister. Established MPs might lose their seats; constituencies that were red could turn blue, and those that were blue might switch to red, or even yellow or green.
I don’t want to debate politics; we’ve had enough of that lately.
And I’m certainly not going to tell you how to vote, that’s for you to decide.
But I do want to encourage you to cast your ballot, because your voice matters.
The last year or so has been difficult politically, not just in the UK but around the world.
We’re bombarded every day with stories of discord, of laws torn down and rights trampled. We’re living with uncertainty and fear and we’ve been conditioned to blame others for our problems, or the things that are missing in our society.
It’s easy to become disillusioned, to feel like there’s no one out there who represents you or the things you believe in. The idea that politicians lie doesn’t even shock us anymore; we’ve become immune to it.
We expect it.
We read the manifestos and so many of the pledges focus on the things we want to hear. We want more money for the NHS and schools. We want to see tuition fees scrapped and transport infrastructure improved. We want to believe that our economy can get better and we’ll finally be able to get a pay rise that might make the cost of living bearable.
But even as we read the promises, we know that not all of these things will happen.
It’s enough to make you despair, to switch off altogether.
But it shouldn’t be enough to make you give up.
Next Thursday, get out there and vote for the candidate you believe in. If you’re not convinced by any of the potential PMs, focus on choosing a local MP who is going to look after your interests and has a good track record.
Vote with your conscience. Vote with your heart. Vote against your better judgement if you like.
Cast a protest vote if it feels like the right thing to do.
Make a tactical choice.
Just get out there and vote.
If enough of us take an active interest in politics, it’s harder for the politicians to make empty promises.
We should be proud of our country and determined to make it great, for everyone. We should be determined to have our say, whether or not the outcome is what we want.
Go to your polling station and cast that vote.
And always remember how privileged we are to have the right to hold our politicians to account. Even when things aren’t going our way, we can make our voices heard.