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A long time ago, in a coal town far, far away, there was an uprising. Newport in south Wales saw the last serious uprising in the United Kingdom, as the Chartists marched and fought for the right to vote. They hoped, perhaps, to take over the town and spark a series of similar uprisings across the country; instead, soldiers shot them. Twenty chartists died and universal suffrage had to wait a few more decades.

Why the history lesson? This. In the poorly advertised and poorly organised Police and Crime Commissioner elections, one ward in Newport polled zero votes, and nationally the turnout was under 20%. This is what you get when democracy is held in general disdain. "don't vote, it only encourages them," goes the joke. Dustbins have "vote here" scrawled on them. The three main parties here are led by youthful PR men, barely distinguishable except by the colour of their ties. Why bother voting in such an atmosphere? You might miss something on the telly if you did such a thing.

Time for a change, I think.

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