Paul Stainton: Why these votes demand attention

They are the two words that parents across this city have heard time and time again; a phrase that you dread on every car journey and encounter at least once an hour, every day during the school holidays: 'I'm bored.'

Sunday, 24th April 2016, 10:00 am
Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host -

You can be enjoying the best day of your life, strolling through Ferry Meadows in glorious spring sunshine or ambling along the embankment, lost in the meanderings of the river, when your idyllic day out is suddenly shattered by a murmured grumbling from behind.

I get the impression that today’s children have far less time to be bored than we ever had, considering the number of contraptions and devices that compete to entertain them. But the more they appear to have, the less fun they seem to create; how would they cope with just a ball, some jumpers and a few salmon paste sandwiches for lunch?

Apparently more is less for our snotty nosed little cherubs and it is the same for us when it comes to elections; we have three on the way in the next couple of months and according to at least one national newspaper we are already starting to yawn widely at the prospect.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Much is at stake though over the coming weeks; the future direction of our local council, the shaping and control of our police force and our relationship with Europe, all of which require us to be enthused rather than apathetic.

Of course it is easy to become bored and disengaged by politicians and their dull barrage of facts, figures and rent a quotes but don’t let them put you to sleep. That’s exactly what some of them want.

Apathy will only lead to the status quo being preserved and if that is what you desire then fine, but if change is what you crave then it requires action.

A few hundred votes here or there will decide most of the wards on Peterborough city council and I am sure some candidates are relishing a low turnout and a comfortable stroll back into the Town Hall.

Imagine their faces when we all turn up to stuff the ballot boxes and ensure that our voice is heard; imagine what you and your friends could accomplish by simply turning up to vote; imagine the change that you could help instigate.

You may not agree with the office of the police and crime commissioner and you may think that the money spent would be better thrown at front line policing but that argument is for another day.

Last time around the turnout for this vote was so low that I could have won dressed as Scooby Doo, if all the listeners to the Big Conversation on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire had voted for me.

Of course I am not standing as Scooby Doo or in fact as any other crime fighting, cartoon character; I wouldn’t want that job for all the Scooby snacks in Shaggy’s pocket, but somebody has to do it and you need to ensure it’s the best person for the job, not some lackey, whose only allegiance is to his political masters in Westminster.

As for the Euro referendum in June, there is no dressing up required, it is quite simply the biggest and most important vote I have ever known in my life.

Whether you are in, out, or just shaking it all about, do not let the deliberately confusing nature of the debate prevent you from having a say.

The Lighthouse Family are boring, people who talk endlessly about celebrities are too and I have found that most people called Derek can have you snoring within ten minutes of meeting them.

This vote on Europe is not boring. It will shape your future and that of your children; it deserves and demands your full attention.