So an election, eh? Didn’t we just do that? No, wait, that was us switching leader without an election. So now we get to choose the leader we didn’t choose a few weeks ago. Why didn’t they just let us do that in the first place? These are very confusing times.
Don’t let yourself get confused. This is your chance to influence directly how your country is run. However disillusioned you are with politics, however disenchanted you are with politicians, if you don’t care enough to participate, the system really is broken. Also, we won’t listen to you complaining about the result afterwards.
Think none of this is relevant to you? It’s all relevant to you. Schools. Hospitals. Roads. Rail. Tax. Energy. The environment. Arts funding. Brexit – of course Brexit. From what I’m hearing, even our little world of theatre is being directly affected by all the uncertainty, with projects being put on hold. This shouldn’t be an election just about Brexit, but it is because Brexit affects everything else.
Now is not the time to stop paying attention and let unscrupulous people sneak bad things through
It’s easy to be tired of this, to tune it out. But now is not the time to stop paying attention and let unscrupulous people sneak bad things through. Consider this: there’s still no clear guidance on what will happen when travelling to Europe. It’s likely that your passport will lose six or more months effective validity for those trips as the rules for us become the same as for other non-EU countries. When it comes to moving goods into Europe – lighting or sound gear on tour – there is still no clear guidance. Free health care in Europe if you get sick? Probably not.
Closer to home is the matter of protected working hours. That guidance comes from Europe. It’s unclear whether it will survive Brexit, having been moved by Boris Johnson from the formal ‘agreement’ to the government’s informal ‘list of things we’ll stick to – probably’. Personally I like the fact that overnight tech sessions are now quite rare. I don’t trust informal government lists.
You wouldn’t tune out during the fourth tech session just because you’d already heard the song three times. While making a show is a serious business, choosing who runs the country is more serious still.
So, please pay attention. Be informed. Above all, make sure you are registered to vote – the deadline is November 26. And since it feels like we’re always either working dawn to dusk or travelling for work, make sure you can actually cast your vote. That might mean a postal vote. It might mean sending someone else to cast your vote for you (a proxy vote). Deadline for registering for the latter is December 4, the former, November 26. Be aware that for a postal vote the ballot paper won’t be sent out until about three weeks before election day. If you’re away for a while, using a proxy might be safer.
These deadlines are fast approaching. However you choose to vote, just vote. It’s too important.
Rob Halliday is a lighting designer and programmer. Read more of his columns at: thestage.co.uk/author/Rob-Halliday