YOUR MP WRITES: Chris Evans, MP for Islwyn
4:02pm Monday 19th August 2013 in News
This past month saw the Chartists recognised within the Palace of Westminster.
Islwyn has a strong link to the Chartists with the South Wales leaders of the movement meeting at the Coach and Horses in Blackwood to plan what became known as the Newport Rising in 1839.
Some 22 people lost their lives outside the Westgate Hotel in Newport simply for, amongst other things, fighting for their right to vote. In the wake of their sacrifice, it is sad that these days most people do not use their vote.
Turnout at all elections is falling all the time. It appears that some people do not feel engaged or inspired by the political process. For those of us who are interested in democracy that is a real worry.
However, when I speak to School Councils, there are always young people who care passionately about their environment and who are keen to change things for future generations.
Nearly every town in Islwyn, from Pontllanfraith to Risca, has a number of community groups and residents associations determined to make the best of where they live.
Taking an active role in our community is something which comes naturally to many.
Therefore, it is easy to forget that in some countries something as simple as electing a local representative is a matter of life or death.
When we look at news reports of the violence in Egypt or the re-election of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, marred by allegations of fraud and intimidation, it brings home how important it is that the voice of the people is heard.
That is why when I speak to young people and I am asked how they can make a difference I tell them that Nelson Mandela fought for 78 years to vote because he knew that was the only way to change things; he even went to prison because he believed in democracy so strongly.
It is thanks to people like Mandela, the Chartists and those like them around the world that we enjoy the right to vote; it is for this reason that it is so precious.
With the next General Election less than two years away there is no better time to make sure that everybody in your household over the age of 16 is on the electoral register.
Anybody who is not sure whether they are on the register can call Caerphilly Electoral Services on 01443 864 204.
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