Voting is a basic human right. It is what people fought for in racist countries like South Africa and Zimbabwe, while in our own country we remember what organisations such as the Chartists and Suffragettes did to try and bring about democracy.
It proved to be a lengthy task. From the Great Reform Bill that wasn’t of 1832 to Universal Franchise in 1928, 96 years had elapsed before all British men and women could vote regardless of their wealth and status.
But sadly, the Tories want this progress to go into reverse. For according to the Queen’s Speech, in future the electorate will have to show photo proof of identity before being allowed to cast their ballots.
This is supposed to cut potential voter fraud, which the authorities are correct to be concerned about. And doesn’t everyone have a driving licence or passport these days? So then, there’s little to worry about.
Wrong! Like many throughout North East Lincolnshire I don’t have a car, travelling by public transport instead. Thus, I don’t have a driving licence.
Similarly, the last time I left these shores was a day trip to Monaco from Humberside Airport well over 20 years ago. Thus, I allowed my passport to lapse, as it wasn’t needed.
So how will I be able to show who I am? Even if the system allows people to purchase other forms of photo ID, this will presumably come at a cost, deterring the least well off who will have other spending priorities.
Thus, the likelihood is that if the appropriate Bill goes through Parliament, many disadvantaged people will lose the right to vote. And surely it is not mere coincidence that such individuals are more likely not to vote Tory? TIM MICKLEBURGH