A private soldier’s registration to vote following the passing of the 1918 Representation of the People ActBy MRA-UK: This is a shameless bit of advertising. I have made my first – and possibly last – foray onto YouTube.
The epochal 1918 Representation of the People Act will have its centenary in February 2018. This Act gave the vote to the majority of women for the first time in the UK. It also gave the vote to a far larger number of men than any other kindred Act. It is right that it should be celebrated. But it should be celebrated as a triumph for the principle of democracy – that the Parliamentary vote is a matter of right, not a matter of wealth.
My concern is that it may be celebrated for the wrong reasons. So my videos are a pre-emptive strike.
Most obviously, nearly half of men did not have the vote prior to 1918. So, whilst it is valid to celebrate the Act because it gave the vote to women, it would be inappropriate to celebrate only that aspect of it.
I suspect it will no longer be possible to hide the fact that most men/boys who died, or were maimed, in World War 1 did not have the vote. But it may still be possible to misrepresent, or downplay, the true motivations for Parliament passing the Act.
I argue in the videos that the wholesale deaths of men in the World War1 trenches was the impetus behind the passing of the Act, due to a wave of egalitarian feeling arising from this slaughter. This is a truth which has been buried.