John Howells
John Howells (Submitted)

We now know that the general election will be on July 4. For the next few weeks we will be bombarded with election promises. Eventually we will all have the opportunity to put our cross against our preferred candidate. This is called democracy at work.

In many ways our electoral system is democratic in so far as one man/one woman gets a vote. It does come with problems. Our first past the post system means it is possible for one party to get more overall votes yet still lose the election. Without proportional representation many will feel their vote has counted for nothing in the grand scheme of things. In America Hilary Clinton gained more of the popular vote but due to their electoral system in the USA she lost the presidential race to Donald Trump. 

What is important is that we do all use our vote. Many courageous women fought for the rights of women to vote. It was a long hard struggle before universal suffrage was obtained. If you decide not to vote you cannot then complain at the outcome. In Australia if you are old enough to vote the law says you must participate. 

Whilst the opinion polls give an indication of the likely outcome the only vote that matters is on Election Day. Despite the polls saying he would lose, John Major confounded the pollsters and won against the odds. It is never over until it is over. This time the gap in the two major parties has been consistently large to suggest the polls are highly likely to be correct and a Labour government will be formed on July 5. If this comes to pass there will be a major shift in some key areas. Immigration law will be changed. Planes will not go to Rwanda. The economic position indicates that things will not suddenly change for the better. Recovery is a long hard road. 

With now over 110 sitting MPs leaving Parliament the make-up of the house will look very different from today. 

The big question of the moment is why the Prime Minister called for a July election. Many of his own party were unhappy at this decision, hoping things would be better domestically by the autumn, giving them as better chance of survival in marginal seats. Others have suggested that things were only likely to get worse over the summer. With the inflation figure down now was as good a time as any to prevent a complete wipe out. 

It matters not a jot as to the rationale for an earlier than expected election. What really matters is that people have their say as to who should govern the country. The current Prime Minster is in power by virtue of a Conservative party vote not an endorsement by the whole electorate. Whoever wins can now claim they have the backing of the people.

Power belongs to the people. Despite its obvious limitations our parliamentary democracy is at work. Vote.