Seb Reilly: The Times They Are a-Changing

Every year, I always find it incredible how much Thanet changes when the temperature increases slightly.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Thanet in the winter: stunning sunsets chilled by a cold wind; frantic waves storming the promenades; the dead-calm mirror-glass sea that occurs when the weather lets up and the air is still.

No matter the season, Thanet is always inspiring  and I write about it often. But as soon as the clocks go back – and spring springs into action – the isle is suddenly covered in blossom trees and sunshine, and we all come out for a barbecue.

It’s something that all residents need to get used to, I suppose. Every weekend the scent of smouldering coals is inbound from one direction or another, carried on the breeze and making your washing smell smoky; unless it’s you that’s cooking, in which case your neighbours will be smelling it. Not that there are many complaints; barbecues must be close to frying bacon on the list of smells that most people love, even vegetarians.

What is odd, however, is that this period of change is bringing another with it. Whilst our days get longer and the weather gets warmer, so the political landscape of Thanet – and Kent, and the country as a whole – is about to go through an upheaval. We are about to vote in the Kent County Council elections, meaning we will decide who will represent us in KCC. Most of the candidates have taken the time to write profiles to give an insight into what they will bring to the table, should they get elected.

A month later we will be facing a rather hastily-convened General Election and even though Nigel Farage has said he will not be fighting for the Thanet South seat, it is likely that the area will gather notable press coverage.

With each election, some people will vote by party. Others will weigh up the statements and intents of the individual candidates and vote for who will serve the area best. But many will not vote at all, either forgetting to register in time, because they think their vote won’t count or matter, or simply because they have no desire to vote.

All three of these are not excuses and everyone who is able should vote.

Elections are opportunities for us to have more of a say in what goes on than simply talking to our neighbours over the fence whilst they have a barbeque. The results of these elections will do more than make our washing smell a bit smoky.

It is our right, our responsibility, and our duty to vote in both. To squander a vote is to renounce your voice, and therefore removes your ability to complain about it after the fact. Whatever your opinion of what happening in the country, in the county, in Thanet; this is your chance to be part of the decision, to even change it. After all, you can’t alter the weather. Why not worry about what you can have a say in?