I pledge to give power back to the people if Labour are elected (The Mirror)

Do you vote? Perhaps you feel that marking your X won’t make any difference.

It may be you are one of nearly a million people who have gone missing since the way we register to vote was changed by this Government.

But without you, our democracy dies. And this is the very time when you are needed most.

That’s because we are now at risk of having a zombie democracy roaming around a one-party state.

No, I haven’t been binge-watching Doctor Who. But I have been watching with ever more worry how a right-wing Conservative party is grabbing the chance to lock itself into power for generations.

When my colleague, Gloria De Piero, our shadow minister for young people, met a group of young women recently to discuss what place politics had in their lives, it was no great surprise to learn that they had no faith in politicians.

Of these eight young women – all intelligent, all doing their bit for society – seven had never, ever voted.

To them, they are merely abiding by the cynical old wisecrack: ‘don’t vote, it only encourages them’.

Across the western world, younger people are making clear they are fed up with the raw deal that they are getting.

A lifetime’s worth of debt, sofa surfing or stuck at home. Lousy jobs, insecurity and a planet in crisis because of previous generations’ leaders. This is not a happy future to bequeath our kids.

For the first time in modern memory, our children will be worse off than their parents.

The eight young women, brought together by charity the Young Women’s Trust, may see politics as ‘boring’ or politicians as ‘liars’.

But they, and countless fed-up would-be voters like them, are needed more than ever because we now face nothing less than a defence of British democracy.

Next week, the Conservative Government will press on with the latest bid to tighten their grip on power.

Their anti-worker trade union bill will come before the Lords, most of whom see it as a spiteful, needless act that will only undermine long-standing efforts by decent employers and trades unions to improve industrial relations.

The bill has been ripped to shreds by everyone from the business paper, the Financial Times – which describes it as a backwards move – to the Government’s own advisers who described it as “not fit for purpose”.

Sensible Tory MPs have denounced it as something you would expect to find in the Spain of dictator General Franco.

So why does the Government press on with something almost universally attacked as bad for Britain?

Because it fits with their bigger project. Just as they are skewing economic life so that wealth is funnelled towards the 1% and away from working people, so now the party of privilege is taking us back to the days when the people were locked out of power.

Put together their attacks on unions with their rush to redraw parliamentary constituency boundaries so that the Tories have an easier path to stay in office in 2020.

Add in their moves to starve all opposition parties, not just Labour, of the few quid in state money that they rely on to function – while doing nothing to trouble the high-rolling donors who dance the night away at the Tories’ Black and White Ball.

Then there is their menacing of the BBC and their sinister message to charities to shut up or be shut down.

Current moves in Poland to unpick freedom of speech and spare the government scrutiny have so alarmed MPs there, they warn of a “creeping coup d’etat”.

But this week, the United Nations warned our Government that its moves to destroy free trade unions are in breach of international law. Time then that those who care for British freedoms find their voice too.

We always knew it was an embarrassingly hollow claim when the Tory party claimed to be the party of the working people. But now we can see that it is also deeply unpatriotic.

These islands are rightly known across the world as a cradle of free speech. Our history sings with the voices of protest and opposition, from the Peasants’ Revolt in the 14th century to the 1930s Jarrow and hunger marches to the million-strong demonstration against the Iraq War.

The movements that sprang from our streets and workplaces have won the only advances ever made by working people.

We have had less than a century of votes for all in this country. Our rights to vote and give voice to our concerns and demands are precious and very much part of what marks Britain out as a free and modern nation.

That’s why the commitment I give to you is that a Labour Government will put the people back in power.

We will declare an annual Democracy Day, when my government stands before Parliament to declare what we have done to roll back Tory attacks and advance the rights of the common man and woman.

So I beg of you: do not choose inaction over rightful anger. Don’t be silenced. Register to vote. Defend your trade unions. Be a thorn in the Government’s side. Stand up against the one-party state.

The defence of our liberty begins today.

#NoVoteNoVoice, vote.mirror.co.uk