Dear Little Ones,
We’re all going to the polls again and guess what…..it’s more of the same! We’re hearing stuff such as
“Jeremy Corbyn is a poo poo head”
“Theresa May looks amazing in Thigh boots. We know this because her other job is being Evil Lyn from He-man!”
Not heard anything yet about how anybody is going to run anything. Or do their job. Only hearsay and rumour. And thigh boots. And poo poo heads.
The politicians are talking to the people who want to listen to them. The press are spouting the agendas of the parties their shareholders are going to vote for.
Well enough already. It’s quite tiresome. We want some facts in bitesize and entertaining portions. Something that’s not insanely biased towards the elite and wealthy or those fighting the elite and wealthy. We want some amazing documentaries from some of the incredible people out there who make incredible documentaries. Where is Simon Reeves right now? Can we get him back to do something??? Can he do it in time??? Quite frankly an election special on Peppa Pig might do more good than a party political broadcast at this stage.
Until the Peppa Pig Script writers give us that, here’s a script for a generic kids TV show that could work instead!
Daddy, Mummy, Pippa and Gary are in the kitchen.
“Daddy” says Pippa. “Who are you going to vote for?”
“I’m going to vote for the Conservative Party” says Daddy.
“But why?” says Pippa. “I heard they’re taking money from the poor and giving it to the rich.”
“Well I don’t know about that but I believe in choice. Rather than paying taxes and being offered 1 version of a service I would rather keep my money and be offered lot’s of different options for that service in a competitive environment. I want to choose how I spend my money. So that’s why.”
“Mummy” said Pippa, who was obviously a bit bored by Daddy’s answer, “are you going to vote contermative?”
“Conservative Pippa” laughed mummy, “and no, I’m not.”
“WHHHATTTT” yelled Pippa
“DIGGER” yelled Gary
“It’s all well and good having a choice of where you spend your money if you actually have any. But a lot of people in this country don’t have money and they are better off putting what money they do have together and buying services that way. It’s kind of like when we go to the supermarket. If we buy more of something, we get it for a cheaper price. I still like a bit of choice between private business and state run services so I’m going to vote Liberal Democrats.”
“Ooooooooooo” said Pippa.
Just then the doorbell rang.
“Hello Pippa. What have you been up to?”
“I’ve been asking my parents about the election. What are you going to vote Granny?”
“I’m going to vote Labour.”
“Ooo why?” asked Pippa.
“Because I just tried to get here on public transport and it’s taken a day and a half. It’s not the same since they sold off the railways. Also I’m getting old so I need the NHS to be functioning. I don’t mind paying a bit more tax to get these things. A socialist organisation such as the NHS is safest in the hands of a socialist party.”
“Or the Liberal Democrats” said Mummy
“We have private healthcare through work” said Daddy. “And I don’t think you pay tax anymore!”
Everyone ignored him.
“Well I’m voting green” declared Grandpa. “I want to make sure that you have clean air to breath, a renewable source of energy that won’t destroy the planet and lot’s and lot’s of unpolluted puddles to jump in.”
“If we’re jumping in puddles we must wear our wellies!” said Pippa. Everyone put on their boots and went to the park to find puddles.
Instead they found Mad Uncle Dave.
“Oh crap” whispered Daddy under his breath.
Pippa heard him.
“Why did you say that Daddy?”
“Pippa, It’s probably best not to ask Mad Uncle Dave who he’s going to…”
“HELLO EVERYBODY” shouted Mad Uncle Dave, who is only mad because he’s absurdly posh. “JUMPING IN PUDDLES?”
“Yes” said Pippa.
“IF YOU VOTE FOR UKIP THEN THOSE PUDDLES WILL BE EVEN BIGGER, EVEN BETTER AND YOU’LL HAVE THEM ALL TO YOURSELF.”
“OK thanks” said Mummy “but we must be heading off now. I’ve just remembered I need something from the shops.”
“WAXING STRIPS IS IT?” yelled Mad Uncle Dave as they ran away from him.
Tell me you’re not enlightened by that!!! I mean, come on. It was amazing!!!
The second saddest thing about elections is when people vote for a party for the entirely wrong reasons. “Because everyone I know votes that way” is not a good enough reason. What if you are the shining diamond in a big pile of dung? Don’t vote dung just because you’re surrounded by it!
There are quizzes on the internet which ask questions on policies. Personally I think this is how we should vote at the polls. Not crosses by a name – an indepth questionnaire that takes 5 minutes. Imagine how enlightening that would be. We have the technology……
But the saddest thing about elections, and this one I suspect will see a lot of it, is the number of people who won’t vote because they don’t think their vote will make a difference. Their lives may be jolly, but all too often they’re not. These people frequent food banks and job centres and they feel like the system has let them down. Why should they be bothered with a system that isn’t bothered with them?
The answer of course is because if they all voted then the system would change. The system, democracy, is brutally honest. It may bring you sweet victory but it can also bring you the harshest of defeats. Politicians know this. They get up, dust themselves off and throw themselves back into the ring. It’s their job. Sometimes it’s a bit harder to do that when you’re a muggle.
You get what the majority of ‘askers’ ask for. That’s not the same as what the majority of the country needs. We only measure those who put their hands up. Other countries don’t. Some make it law that you vote and some have a massive quiz that you fill out during the voting process. Surely we could do this on google forms!!! If somebody invents the app we’re all there.
But then some horrible sausage will hack it.
I don’t know the answer. I don’t think this is it though.
I shall be voting this time round, because I always do. I shall take my girls with me to the polling station when my husband and I go and cast our votes. We’ll tell them how important it is.
And then I’ll sit back and see if my vote made a difference. It may be the only difference it makes is to inspire your generation to have more faith in democracy than mine. I’ll settle for that. Your future is going to be amazing because growing up in tough times makes you tough. You will come out of these times as super humans; adversity is a gift in that way.
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SARAH CANTRILL is a woman on a mission to inspire every young child to become a reader for pleasure. She is the Artistic Director & Founder of STORY STORKS, a social enterprise that delivers interactive story workshops to early years children and their grown ups, that help kids to fall in love with stories and develop their early language skills meaning that they have an easier time of learning to read when the time is right. Infact 85% of the kids who come through STORY STORKS are right where they should be or ahead in terms of progression through the reading book scheme once they get to school and the ones who are behind are trying hard because they know that it’s worth it – that to read is to unlock a whole world of fun and adventure and learning and imagination and they might take a bit longer to get there but they’re determined that get there they will.