In the lead up to the election, comedians Melanie Bracewell and Angella Dravid take a journey through the voting process in Make Me Tick, The Spinoff’s four part video series with the Electoral Commission. Today, Angella visits the voting booth.
Last night, I forced myself to walk to the post box to submit my enrolment form. I had to do it tonight because I’ll be away for a month. On the way back, I was thinking about my comedy show and whether there’s actually any comedy in it. I figured there isn’t any comedy there; just tragedy. And tragedy made me think of politics
See, as a kid, I never found voting or politics interesting. I just wanted fairy tales. My favourite story was Arabian Nights. It’s still my favourite story – a woman faces a death sentence and uses wit and charm to get out of it. Unfortunately, when I was 22 and I was convicted of a crime and facing deportation from the United Kingdom, I wasn’t anything like the heroine from Arabian Nights. I’d like to give you a tale from the UK criminal justice system, a tale that makes me want to vote.
At the bail hostel I was remanded to, one of the local MPs came in and chatted with us. One of the hostel staff said that I should speak with him because he may be able to help me. He seemed like a nice guy. He had a huge head, white hair and a booming voice. About 20 residents of the hostel sat around this Messiah. He talked about how our opinions mattered, and how we need to be heard. Halfway through his speech, I was thinking about our future kids’ names. I was converted.
I stayed after the sermon and asked him if he could support my immigration application. I’d submitted an application for leave to remain but the processing time would overrun my visa date. I’d be in the country illegally and without a passport. He took note of my immigration application number and left. I was glued to early morning parliament TV in the hostel for the next few months. I eventually received a rejection letter from the House of Commons and a personal letter from the MP apologising that he couldn’t help me.
Voting is important and is a chance to contribute to how the country handles these massive things like immigration and criminal justice. Voting is a big fucking deal. You might think that’s why I looked so serious during the video.
It’s not. Mel farted in the polling booth. That’s why I’m so tense.
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The Make Me Tick series is brought to you by the Electoral Commission in collaboration with The Spinoff. Head here now to make sure you’re enrolled and ready to vote on September 23rd, and for any other questions you need answered.