Ladies, 6 February 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the Act of Parliament granting 8.4 million women over the age of 30 the right to vote. How much do we take this right for granted? Do we always use the vote which the Suffragettes – who endured imprisonment, force-feeding and even, in Emily Davison's case, death – campaigned so fiercely to win on our behalf?
Those brave women fought for our right to be involved in the government of our country. Let us use that power. Don't let our MPs off the hook, whether we voted for them or their opponents. Get involved, write to them or email them on topics that we feel strongly about. For example, the Catholic Education Service drew our attention recently to the fact the government had promised to lift the current 50 per cent cap on admissions for new Catholic Schools. Unfortunately, the feedback from the former secretary of state for education, Justine Greening, was that she was thinking of not honouring this promise. How could we open new Catholic schools and agree that only half the number of pupils should be Catholic?
Catholic ladies, let us do our bit, therefore, and write to Damian Hinds at Secretary of State for Education, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA – or via his email email@example.com – and let him know what we think (in a very polite way, of course). You could also contact your own MP.
While you have your pens out, you could perhaps give a thought to the following suggestion: why not jot down your own history – a record of what your childhood was like – to hand on to to your own grandchildren or other young relatives? It could be small, seemingly insignificant things. Did you wear hand-me-downs/have an outside toilet/share a bed/eat cocoa and sugar from a screwed-up piece of paper? So many of such things are disappearing into the remote past, and these thoughts come to me often when I hear eulogies at funerals, where distant relatives come up with nuggets of information that the deceased's family knew nothing about. We are now being told that emails, discs and even iCloud will fade away, so why not write it down? There's a challenge for 2018 for you.
I look forward to seeing you at the Business Meeting on Saturday 17 February at 1pm at the Metropolitan Cathedral.