Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 19 March 2015


On 30th March parliament is dissolved. The government continues in skeleton format, but there are no longer any MPs. This phantom situation continues until 7th May when a fresh lot of MPs are elected, hopefully including myself for the sixth time.

My simple message is this: please vote. I am not asking you to vote for me (although obviously I would love you to), but please vote. Please help keep our democracy alive. There are plenty of examples around the world of dodgy democracies where people do not get a genuine say in who they elect. In China you can vote only for candidates approved by the Communist party. In North Korea – only one candidate. In Zimbabwe – well it doesn't matter much because whoever you vote for, Mugabe wins. And so on around the world.

Here in SW Devon you will be given the choice of 5 candidates.

Some people say they are disenchanted with modern day politics. It seems to be a surprise that elected representatives are just as imperfect as the rest of society. We are human beings too. Most people at Westminster are there for the right reasons and want to make the world a better place. It remains the case that compared to almost any other country in the world, Britain is well run and our democracy works.

You sometimes hear people say that they are not voting because politics has nothing to do with them. Politics is about how to look after elderly people, when to go to war, how much tax to raise and what to spend it on. How often to cut the grass on our roadside verges and whether to collect it. When to pick up rubbish. When to grant planning permission and when to raise council tax. Politics is about everything.

Some people say that they don't vote because nothing ever changes. Tell that to the dozens of MPs who lose their seats (and livelihoods) every election. The power at election time rests with the people.

At the last election 70% of constituents voted and it would be great to see an increase this time. About 35% of people aged 18 to 24 voted last time – again it would be good to see a significant uplift. Remember if you have not registered, you cannot vote. You can register online these days – so it could not be easier. You can choose to vote by post.

Our democracy is worth saving.

posted by Gary @ 12:24