Empowered and mobilised through her life in the Scottish Borders, and work as member of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Jenny Marr sees the full potential of women in politics, making significant positive change for all a reality.
Jenny addresses us all as members of the #ScotWomenStand campaign, and movement, with mighty words of encouragement to register and use our votes!
Using your vote… It’s another thing to add to the to-do list, isn’t it?
And of course first you have to register to do it.
Then there’s the wading through of manifestos, trying to understand policies, which are not exactly the work of Shakespeare. Then there's the appeal of Love Island, or similar, which are just too all-consuming to consider anything else.
Been there, got the t-shirt. Trust me, I understand.
But what is the alternative? Be left out? Let your voice go unheard?
I know its certainly true that many politicians need to be better at keeping in touch. But don’t allow the laziness of some to block your participation.
Your voice is worth so much more than that.
Women have the right to tell their story, and have fought for that right - some are still fighting. And part of that is through putting a cross on a ballot paper in the privacy of the polling booth.
It’s your school, it’s your health centre, it’s your money. And it goes deeper than that. It’s your grandma who can’t get her flu jab this year, it’s your child whose classroom is too small, or their resources too few. It’s your hard-earned taxes.
Don’t exclude yourself from the narrative. Don’t overthink it. Don’t leave it to someone else.
Sometimes someone in your life is a bigger influence than they were ever able to know. My Grandad, who died when I was just eight, was a Cllr in the North of England. He was an advocate for, and passionate defender of, local democracy and local government.
He believed in “parish pump politics”, of chewing the fat in the Market Square and fixing problems as a community. Before local government was reorganised, and Councils became much bigger, he said “We have our grumbles and grouses, but at least the system had a soul.”
More than that, the community had a voice, and used it.
They used it by voting.
Politicians are like everyone else. They have their strengths and weaknesses and certainly none of them are perfect. And if you want to make sure the right ones are hired and fired coming polling day, you can.
By voting you can turn round to them and say I voted for you, I put my trust in you. You really can hold them to account.
The best thing is – apart from how quick and easy the process is – you don’t even have to pick any of them! Leave your ballot blank, spoil it, write a message. All ballots have to be verified, so it will be seen! My favourite was a drawing of a cat, and believe me, that’s not the strangest thing I’ve seen!
Voting plays its part in determining who we are - as a person and as a nation. What we stand for.
If you’re disillusioned, you have every right to be. But disengagement won’t fix it. Don’t make it easier to be ignored.
Play your part. Because progress is often achieved by small, but not insignificant acts. Like clicking on this link. Or by registering for a postal vote and walking the 2 minutes to the post box. It matters, because you matter.
You can follow Jenny, and all of her community empowering work, over on Twitter @BordersJen.
Read more about Jenny’s recent selection by her party, the Scottish Liberal Democrats, to stand as the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk constituency. It’s an extra dose of inspiration, to raise your voice and be heard in the forums of political decision making!