From the cellar of my house, in a village population of just over 10,000, I am sitting in front of a blank word document and wondering what to write about. For a magazine based in a city 95 miles away, I decided the most interesting contribution I could make would not be on current issues in politics or our generation, but simply an insight into living in the village of Knowle.
Democracy in a village (or not)
Important for people of my age is the looming 18th Birthday, and whilst many are just excited for the age at which they can drink without a fake license, I am most looking forward to being able to vote. Finally, I will be considered responsible enough to have an opinion on who should run our country, despite already having been able to drive for one year, and having had the option to get married for the past 2 years. The problem for me, however, is that in the recent local elections, Knowle accumulated 2144 Tory Votes, compared to 382 Green, 371 Labour and 218 Lib Dem. The official results table states this as a Conservative Hold, which it has been for a long time. Adding up all non-Tory votes gives a meagre 971; i.e. there were less than half non-Tory votes as there were Tory. As someone who will not be voting Conservative until she is old and cynical and no longer bothered about others*, this does little to inspire confidence. Of course, I will still vote and will always vote, because people died for my right and it frightens me when so many my age say they won’t bother, and I suppose I can feel some pride in fighting for the overwhelming minority. Having said that, just knowing that my vote will not do anything does make me frustrated.
The latest village scandal involved my school and the flying of a German flag on the anniversary of D-Day. It was later discovered that we would be welcoming German exchange students that Monday and the timing of a flag was unintentional, but nevertheless local residents filed their complaints and our school ended up in the Daily Mail. It worries me that there are people who will immediately associate the German flag with the Nazis, and perhaps indicates an underlying prejudice towards Germany that should have been forgotten years ago. Maybe it was bad timing to fly a German flag on that particular day, and perhaps it is me who is over reacting, but it definitely shows the extent to which the Mail can take half stories and blow them up into shocking events. I would be interested to know other peoples views on this, because most of the reactions were just that it was quite funny but we must not talk about it until the news story had been archived and the exchange students returned. Either way, I suppose this is not the sort of thing that would happen in quite the same way in London – living in a village can be very interesting too!
*author’s own views!
@martha_rowe, 17, Knowle