If we want change, we have to engage. As the great anti-slavery campaigner Fredrick Douglas said, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning.” That struggle is waged outside parliament, for example, by workers in trade unions campaigning for decent wages and conditions, by people trying to raise awareness and solidarity about climate change, or Third World Debt, or Palestine.
But that struggle can also waged inside Parliament as well. One of the great weaknesses of the anti-war movement was that while we had plenty of supporters on the streets, we had few inside the House of Commons. That needs to change. Parliament needs to be more representative of the people.
On May 6 this country will elect a new parliament. If you want Britain to be more committed to values of peace, justice and equality, you need to put politicians into parliament who will advocate on your behalf. But in order to vote you have got to be registered to vote. The closing date to register is April 20. The General Election is an opportunity to effect change. My advice would be, don’t waste it.