I am surprised how emotional I am when it comes to voting. The private walk to the polling station, a few moments to think through what I really want and the responsibility of marking an X on the ballot paper.
I remember turning 18 and being so delighted that just a couple of months later there were European elections and I could vote! The privilege! The honour! I've never been quite so excited about the European elections before or since.
This time I had to queue! I guess that the school run is bound to be the busiest time when the polling station is in a classroom. My most recent voting experience was for a local council election and involved walking to a portakabin on a scrap of land that previously I didn't know existed. Last general election we were living in Zambia. Whilst I could have gone through the procedure to get a postal / overseas vote I didn't. It was a lot of fuss and a very early deadline and I could only vote in the last constituency I was registered at, which I didn't really care about at all.
But, for me, the real frisson of excitement comes with actually entering the polling station and holding the stubby pencil attached to a piece of old string, and making a cross on the paper. I am actually able to make a statement of my beliefs, with no coercion (if you excuse the media and politicking of the last four weeks) and no risk of retribution. No-one need ever know how I voted and nobody can tell me I was wrong. It is my democratic right.
It is a great privilege.
So, thank you Ms Pankhurst et al for fighting for this freedom of mine. And thank you, UK, for your democracy, despite its flaws. I enjoy voting, every time, even if my choice doesn't get in. Thank you.
(And no, I wasn't quite dressed like that!)
Picture taken from iTelegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1542248/Suffragettes-were-like-al-Qaeda.html): all copyright remains with them.