Voting in the General Election

As you may or may not know, the general election fast approaching on May 7th, a time for anyone over the age of 18, who has registered before April 20th, to head down to their local polling station and tick a box to determine which political party gets the responsibility of running the country.

I think that it's completely up to you whether you choose to vote or not, and there really is no right and wrong in regards to this, but it does really bother me when people make out like others are in the wrong for using their free will and opting not to vote. Some may say 'oh, but people in the past have fought to give everyone the equal freedom to vote' and they are undoubtedly right, but there are also other people who have fought for your freedom and free will to choose not to vote. Enforced, compulsory voting is sadly something that is still common, especially within a lot of Africa, because some people believe that it will bring about a 'more stable, legitimate and genuine government which would benefit the individual even if their preferred candidate isn't elected into power' and also cases of people being threatened into voting for a particular candidate, taking away their freedom to vote entirely. Obviously this is not the case in the UK but doesn't everybody deserve the right to withhold their vote without judgement from others?

Don't get me wrong, I think that using your vote is important. You actually have a say in what the next 4 years (minimum) of your life are going to be like, since a lot of different aspects of everyday life are going to be dictated by the next government party that comes into power. I won't pretend to be the most knowledgeable person when it comes to politics as I find it just as mind numbing and dull as everyone else does, but I myself have started to make a concious effort to get to know the different parties and their manifestos, even if I do choose not to make a contribution in deciding who gets overall power of the country.

I understand people's anger when politicians make empty promises or fail to deliver on certain manifestos that they deliver, blaming the economy and such but never themselves. You put a certain amount of your trust into them when using your vote and sometimes politicians completely take advantage of that, making impossible promises to cheat and deceive their way into power. However, there is never going to be a perfect party policy that pleases absolutely everybody in the country, so you're always going to be voting for the party that you dislike the least rather than one with your ideal policy. Is it really a good idea to use your vote just because a party has one aspect that you agree with, even though you don't really feel passionate about most of the other policies? Is there really much point in doing absolutely no research and randomly voting for a particular party because you feel like you have to, basing your decision on the colour of their logo or how much you like the party leader?

One thing that I do recommend is to always do your research before making your vote, to make sure that you vote for the right party for you. Don't let the media propaganda sway you into using your vote on a particular party, just because they are 'more likely to win the election' because that may not even be true, considering no one party is guaranteed votes to win, Vote for a party that you share similar beliefs with and deem worthy of making a positive change to the country. If you are considering whether or not to vote you can read an completely unbiased summary of the political parties over on the BBC website here. There are a few main aspects that you should probably consider thinking about when voting, which most parties normally outline in their manifestos:

- Taxes and economy
- The NHS
- Security, defence and foreign affairs
- Immigration
- Jobs
- Education
- Housing
- Law and order
- Benefits and Poverty

Some people may decide that if you don't vote then you don't really have a right to complain, but does shunning the political system of democracy in favour of using our hearts, minds and energy to make a real change in society really sound like such a bad thing?


Amber Davey said...

Great post :) totally agree with you that people have the freedom to choose not to vote! I hate when it's aimed at women and they're given shit for all the women who fought so they could get the vote but the point is they fought to give them the choice! And it's their own free will to choose not to! My Dad never votes, he thinks they're all shit so he says what's the point and gets on with his life, which is fair enough. I will be voting for green party. And to be honest I almost think this time it is important to vote for at least someone, just so UKIP don't fall into power. That would be horrendous! xo

James Bickle said...

I think green party actually have the most valid points, especially on health and education, but like I said people will be put off from voting for them as they are not considered to be a 'big party' which annoys me so much! There are a few points that I don't agree with, but I think it's always going to be a case of voting for the party that you disagree with most, and hoping that everything turns out ok! Unfortunately, I am predicting a Conservative/UKIP coalition since I think conservative will come out on top but won't be able to gain a majority vote again, with UKIP similar to Lib Dems last time out :/ plus, half of UKIP are former conservatives and they share some similar points..fingers crossed that doesn't happen!

Grandiose Days said...

Finally, somebody speaking out and saying that it's okay NOT to vote. I agree with you and think that it is important to vote but only under the circumstances where you're fully informed (or as informed as one can be). I don't agree with voting just for the sake of it. Before I cast my vote this year, I plan to weigh up the pros and cons of all the parties- I'll hold my hands up and say that right now, I have some serious studying to do!
I always find it sad when I hear of how people don't vote for the party they really believe in because they believe it would be a wasted vote, so instead they give their vote to one of the bigger parties. Imagine how many people do this? And if all of them stuck to their guns and voted for the 'minority' party, they may actually have a chance of power!
Great post :)
Tasmin | Grandiose Days

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