Because as the son of a father born in the shadow of revolution and who suffered greatly at the hand of the Nazis I feel it a duty to support the democratic process. At times when the BNP is on the ascendancy the task is all the more urgent.
Because by participating in an activity that the whole country is engaged in I feel part of the country, part of the democratic process that governs this country and part of the excitement that is politics. I am excluded, part by choice and part by the company I keep, from the main activities that glue this country together. I don't generally follow sports and have never attended a major sporting event, I don't own a TV and am not animated by Big Brother or The Apprentice and other programs that has the nation glued to its seats (though I was a tad moved by Susan Boyle's first, and only first, appearance), I rarely visit a pub and when I do it is miles away from home where I know none of the locals, I don't place a wreath anywhere on Remembrance Day, I don't put up holly in my windows before Christmas and I don't even visit Ikea on a bank holiday (I prefer the quiet on a workday evening).
That doesn't mean that I don't feel part of this country. The problem however is that I have few outlets where I can participate and genuinely feel one with my countrymen and women openly and comfortably. I feel precluded from activities on the above list, which is by no means exhaustive, because they are alien to my upbringing and culture as well as because they are avoided by fellow orthodox coreligionists. If there are cultural activities I enjoy I do them covertly due to fear of censure by the locals but in any event seeing a play or watching a film doesn't give you a sense of belonging you get by discussing what is on every TV in the land.
So I follow politics and I vote. It's kosher. It's exciting. It's driven by ideas. And it gives me a sense of belonging and an affinity and connection to the man on the street, to the reports on the radio and in the press (no TV, remember) and to the way this country is governed.
And finally because I look at what is done in the name of religion to politics in Israel where the Rabbis who care not one tshulent bean for democracy and would abolish it overnight if we were so unfortunate to witness the Messiah they pray 3 times a day for, yet they exploit it and corrupt it to the core when it suits their avarice and greed. Every one of them makes our MPs and the moats and duck ponds look like saints compared to their corruption and there is no chance in the world of them ever being caught.
So I grab my polling card, lift my eyes to heaven and thank Him above than, unlike His faithful in the Holy Land, none of His servants on this sceptered isle dictate how and for whom to vote and on this day, the anniversary of the massacres in Tiananmen Square, I am able to express my view on who I want to represent our country in the EU parliament.
Long Live Freedom and Democracy!