First of all, let’s vote!
I know that sometimes it can feel as if our one tiny vote makes no difference, but collectively, we can and do make a difference.
I am so glad that we took a celebratory photograph of our sons’ first votes.
Why do our votes make a difference? Because they help decide what sort of country we want to live in. By showing how much money we are willing to spend, how we want to spend it and what balance we want between private and public spending - yes, taxes!
If we have a budget to balance we can increase income from the richest companies and individuals instead of cutting spending.
We are, despite all, an incredibly rich country. Yes, some of us are struggling, for all sorts of reasons, but partly because our precious public services are under such stress.
Those unsung heroes that keep things functioning, and protect us when we fall on hard times.
I am thinking, of course, of our health and care services, but also our police and prisons, education and other support for young people, welfare in unemployment and disability, regeneration for poorer areas, all those things that local government tries to do for us. Many of these workers are saying that they cannot carry on any more. Maybe there are special interests here, but just maybe they are the ones that can see first hand how bad it is getting.
There are also slow burning issues that will have an even bigger effect on the future of our children and grandchildren. I am thinking especially of increasingly insecure employment, saving for pensions and the shortage of decent affordable housing .
Above all, I would like us to elect a government that will work for all the people, not just those who voted for them. A healthy opposition, putting forward a range of views, is essential, both outside and inside the party of government (whatever it may turn out to be). I feel, sadly, that we do live in a divided country. Let us find ways to make us feel we really are all in it together.