I find it so sad just how much prejudice there is around. I have always felt that it is every woman's duty to vote even if only because women died almost within living memory in order to get the vote. My father's generation could remember a time when 'the common man' did not have a vote. Now it is everyone's right.
Yet there is a degree of prejudice against women still. A male politician who is 'bullish' is seen as an admirable man - one who will fight to get things done. A female politician however - well that's a different matter - so people like Nicola Sturgeon are seen as pushy. People comment on her clothes - how red suits her and makes her stand out in a crowd. I have not heard anyone comment on suits any of the men wear, or the ties, or the way they do their hair.
A little of the prejudice disappeared with the advent of Margaret Thatcher and her era, but that time has disappeared. Until people stop commenting on whether a politician is a man or a woman, but just that they are a person standing for Parliament, then it won't have gone away. And that applies to all aspects of life -equal pay, equal rights. Sadly it won't happen in my lifetime. Maybe not in yours.
And that brings me on to another, if anything more serious form of prejudice. That is prejudice against the colour of anyone's skin.
I have been a couple of times with the farmer to Baltimore and it is a beautiful city. I am glad I am not there now - the racial tension is terrible and a disgrace in this day and age.
The farmer and I live in a constituency with one of the safest Conservative majorities in the country - farming country, plenty of rich landowners. For years our M P has been Rt Hon William Hague - much to be admired by everyone in his constituency whether they were of his political persuasion or not, becase he was such a jolly good constituency MP. Well, he is retiring and we have a new Conservative candidate.
A charming young man, a real live wire, a businessman, a family man, educated at an English Public school, followed by Cambridge. His father a GP and his mother a Chemist - so far it all sounds so good. But many in The Dales have doubts about it all. Why? I am ashamed to say that it seems to be because of the colour of his skin.
He has an Indian name and I believe his parents were first generation incomers to this country. He himself was born here and is English.
I have lived in a large Midlands multi racial city, taught in a multi racial (Sikh, Jamaican and local children) school for almost twenty years. Most of the time it worked - folk worked together and race didn't matter - wasn't often spoken about.
Up here it is rare to see anyone who is not white and English. I am horrified by the attitude of some people - I had not thought such attitudes existed up here, but now I find out that they do.
To people who say they are 'worried' about the colour of skin I would like to point out our two very good hospitals. The Friarage, our 'local' hospital in Northallerton and The James Cook University Hospital, a much larger establishment in Middlesbrough. If you removed any Consultant with a foreign name (of African, Caribbean or Asian descent) from the list of people you can see for every illness, then there would be very few left to see. The treatment one gets at both hospitals is first class, the Consultants are charming men and women and instil the patients with that sense of hope and trust that is so essential to recovery. These same prejudiced people are not so likely to reject treatment when their health is at stake.
Please note that I am not a Conservative - to date I have little or no idea who I shall vote for next Thursday - too many issues, too many candidates, indecision on my part. But one thing is for sure - vote I shall for sure. And the colour of anyone's skin will not make the slightest difference to my choice.
On a lighter note, my hairdresser asked me to have a bet with her on the following:
If the Royal baby arrives on Election Day, which story will be the Headline News on the BBC Six o'clock News in the evening? Like to have a bet on it?