Something a little bit different today – that I think is probably a bit of a touchy subject in the UK generally, let alone the blogosphere. But political attachments aside, this is an issue that is really important, regardless of what country you are in. Actually voting is just as important as having the right to do so. And I think it’s something that needs to be talked about a lot more by those who have given themselves a soapbox (read: blog) to yell from. I’m not saying divulge who you’re voting for, but perhaps talk about why you’re voting. Politics (still) isn’t a big part of the curriculum at pre-university stage, so when we get our first chance to vote, we are horrifically uneducated about political parties, what they stand for, and why voting is important.
I’m not a Politics student at university (despite what some of my module choices this year might claim…) and I’m definitely not going to tell you who to vote for, because that’s up to you. I’d like to take this space to tell you why I’m (going) to vote, an why it’s important to stay sort-of tapped in politically, because these guys who seem like they’re majorly out of touch with the rest of us (not disputing that), run the country.
So yeah. Grab a cuppa and have a read?
This whole post idea came from the fact that, if you keep tabs on the news/current UK affairs, David Cameron (our Prime Minister) has said he doesn’t want to appear on the televised electoral debates unless the Green Party candidate (Natalie Bennett) is allowed to do so.
Ok, you’re thinking, but why is this important?
Representation. Representation is important.
Regardless of what Labour, Liberal Democrats and UKIP say about it, and regardless of the PM’s actual motives to invite the Green’s to the debates – apparently if he’s getting pressure from UKIP, the Lib Dem’s and Labour should have pressure from the Greens – I think him calling for increased representation in the debates is a good thing. Having another alternative present other than UKIP is also a very good thing, but that’s none of my business *sips tea*.
So why is representation important?
Well, having more candidates to debate doesn’t just increase running times, it also gives those of us who have to vote our ‘main’ options, in an easily accessible format. Opportunities to hear policies from people other than the major 3 parties that may resonate with us more than them. At the last general election – the one that saw this current coalition government come into power – more students than ever before voted because the televised debates helped them hear the party policies and decide who to vote for.
If I had been at voting age, I would’ve voted in that election. It was also the first time that the Conservative and Labour parties had not held majority for ages – because, and this is quoting my dad, ‘the Lib Dems came out of nowhere. Students.’ Which, for the most part, is pretty much how a lot of people saw that election.
The Lib Dems appealed to an as yet untapped voting body, us students, who were fresh out of high school and really had no idea what was going on in the political world. They promised things like ‘scrapping unfair university fees’ in their 2010 manifesto, and promised not to raise them on the TV. Which, as a student, sounds pretty ace. (Ha though. Haaaaa.) They jumped in polls because us students decided we didn’t want the Tories (Conservatives) and we didn’t want Labour in power again either. The Lib Dems were what we saw a lot of, the ‘alternative’ so we went ‘oh ok’.
So yes, having the Greens in the debates offers more on the ‘alternative’ side of things. I think the Prime Minister is right to call for the Greens to be invited.
Unfortunately, having everyone present their party arguments’ on TV isn’t feasible, since we’d have programmes hours longer than they already are, but it does seem silly that the Greens haven’t been invited to take part when UKIP have.
So why is voting important? What if i don’t want to?
Well, first up I’d say you’re being a bit silly. It may seem like your one, single, solitary voice in a country of millions may not change much, but it’d change more than if you didn’t vote. It’d also give you actual rights to really complain. You can’t complain about things if you didn’t try to change them.
If you’re a girl, well, people actually died trying to get us the right to vote. Not that I’m using that against you, it’s just… well people died. Voting was, still is, an important way for the normal folk of a country to have some say in who controls it. Only allowing half of the population a chance to say who did what was pretty shit, things weren’t accurately represented. People fought to change that.
Abstaining from voting isn’t really going to give any one person a larger voice. It may seem like a good thing to do, you’re standing up for what you believe in, which is great! But in reality it’s only going to make those who do vote, possibly voting for the things you’re disagreeing with, have a louder voice. Because they went and let their voice be heard.
Voting is important like that – it gives a collective group of people, who may not necessarily know each other in person, a chance to sound their voice on issues they feel resonate with them.
If you really, truly don’t want to vote, then go ahead, come polling day. I can’t force you to. But if you do, and I really hope you do, and want to know a little bit more about the parties, then I strongly suggest watching the TV debates (once an agreement on the whole thing is reached) or finding a little bit more out about the parties.
I’m still not telling you who to vote for. 😉
Anywaaaaaay – how has your week been so far? How did you view political stuff when you were at school, or how do you see it if you’re still there? Have a great rest of the week!