13 reasons why… you should vote this general election

on June 8, 2017

Polling station

Hey, it’s Leeford. Leeford Dean. It’s me. Live and in Stereo. No return engagements, no encore, and this time, absolutely no requests. Get a snack. Settle in.

And before you ask, yes this is your tape.

All jokes and Netflix’s ‘13 Reasons Why’ references aside, earlier this April Prime Minister Theresa May announced a snap general election on June 8th to “make a success of Brexit” and hopefully unite her party and the country behind her during her time in office. As she said whilst the “country is coming together, Westminster is not.”

Whether Labour, Conservative, Lib Dems or UKIP June 8th marks the day of change and if you’re still indecisive whether you are going to vote, here are 13 reasons why you should vote in this general election.

Tape 1A: It gives you the power to create change.

Voting in general elections gives you the power to decide how the UK is run and whom by.

You have the ability to choose a candidate that best suits your views and represents you on a national and local level.

Until 2010 Labour had seen itself in Parliament for three continuous terms: this was only possible by the public getting up and voting, this is also why their run came to an abrupt end in 2010 when the public voted for David Cameron.

It’s the purest definition of democracy, you’re able to have a say in who you wish to govern your country and the town and city you may live in.

Tape 1B: Politicians begin to work for you

Campaigners

Politicians carefully craft their policies to help reflect everyone in country and best helps everyone, (so they like to think anyway) one main thing they take into account is voter turnout.

If a certain demographics’ turnout is high, low or on the rise they tend to make policies which either keep the already higher demographic happy, or try to appeal to demographics on the rise, this is to win their votes from other parties or retain their support.

The most recent and perfect example would be the ‘Young Vote.’ Following the slow increase of the ‘Young Vote’ since 2010 Labour has proposed in its 2017 manifesto to scrap university tuition fees and reintroduce maintenance grants for students.

Tape 2A: Voting is important regardless whether your candidate wins or doesn’t.

And before you ask, even Hannah Baker can agree this is a voting contest that everyone should be fully supportive of and should get involved.

Over the years it’s become common that a safe seat constituency equals no point in voting, simply because one’s vote won’t accumulate to any change. However, you couldn’t be any more wrong.

The constituency of Crewe & Nantwich was a safe seat for over 25 years until 2008. If this ‘no care’ attitude becomes a thing with everyone change cannot simply occur.

In addition, the electoral system will never change to benefit third parties if only voters of the big two turn out.

If change is wanted we the public have to go out and show there is a demand for other parties’ ideas such as Lib Dems, Green Party, UKIP and more.

Tape 2B: Consider whom and what has allowed you to have the ability to vote.

The democracy we live in today wasn’t always like this, many had to work, earn and fight for their right to vote.

Whether protest, movements, petitions or brute force, the democracy today would be very different if it wasn’t for the Suffragettes or the Representation of the People Act 1969 the woman vote or the ability to vote at the age of 18 just wouldn’t be a thing. Even the Black Suffrage and Equal Suffrage Act 1982 giving the rights to black & ethnic minorities.

Some believe it’s disrespectful for us as the public to not evoke our right to vote. We owe it to our history and the people before us who fought for our right, to in fact do so.

Tape 3A: Voting allows decisions to be made promptly at a local level

When voting you vote for an MP in your local area who will then represent your views in parliament. The elected MPs job is to raise local issues, concerns and views of their public in parliament and help make the necessary changes and suggestions to help benefit you in your area.

By voting you are enabling direct decision making to start directly at a local level first, whether that is keeping your current MP in or trying to remove an incumbent due them failing to represent you.

The changes and decisions to help your way of living will start at a local level and then you can go to your MP and seek advice or ask for him/her to propose ideas to parliament.

Tape 3B: Are you a supporter of smaller parties or the Electoral Reform? If so you should be voting!

voting slip

The Electoral System we have will never change without people rising to make a change.

There have been many calls for a change of the UK’s First Past the Post electoral system. This is because the FPTP system has voters vote for candidates in their area to become their representing constituents. This is repeated 650 times across the UK.

As every MPs will be elected with different levels of support, the proportion of seats a party gets in Parliament will rarely reflect the proportion of votes they received.

Parties that are thinly spread out may only get the largest number of votes in one or two areas but might get millions across the whole country.

Likewise, parties that are geographically concentrated may get fewer votes across the whole country but get the largest number of votes in more constituencies.

Unfortunately, this system usually generates two large historic parties, without a geographical base smaller parties find it much more difficult to win seats. With more than two parties competing, governments can be elected off a very small percentage of 35% or 37% of the vote, as in 2005 and 2015.

Only votes that get MP’s elected matter, this is why they prioritise specific voters to win seats. The FPTP system creates ‘safe seats’ where parties don’t bother trying to campaign in those areas as there is no chance of a possible seat change.

Tape 4A: Be a part of your community

One consistent thing about general elections is it usually gets most people in your local area out of the house and all centred in one area throughout the day. (with peak times being after work).

If you’re not community-minded voting is a rare chance to not only meet up and socialise with your neighbours but an opportunity to see inside churches, community centres and much more which you usually wouldn’t be able to.

Tape 4B: If you don’t vote you can’t get what you want or complain

Many argue the point of “why should I vote, they’re all liars” or “they don’t help me” however choosing not vote doesn’t help the situation. Politicians find it increasing difficult to know what we as the public want and realistically how would they know? They’re not telepathic.

If you don’t show the government how you want your country to be run they will decide for you, but you can’t then complain at parliament because you couldn’t take a mere trip to vote in an election that matters to you.

Also politicians don’t sit at home binding their time all day, they campaign and speak to people for a very simple reason – every vote really does count.

Tape 5A: Get out and go represent your age group!

Protesters

Whether young, old or middle-aged your vote helps represent your age bracket. If not enough people from all the different kind of British people vote we get a dilemma where parliament won’t be an accurate representation of the country. This means laws created won’t reflect the people its created for.

It’s very simple: while during Brexit Conservatives campaign was more aimed at the elderly, Labour’s 2017 campaign has predominately been aimed at young people. There is a clear absence of voters in each age group.

It all boils back down to if you don’t vote your views and perspectives can’t be taken into account.

Tape 5B: It’s so easy to vote!

Yes, it is and that’s not an even argument.

At the age of 16 you are able to register to vote. This process takes 3 minutes online; these are 3 minutes which are spent doing tedious procrastinating acts every single day.

What makes it worse is by the time the next general election comes around you are nicely greeted to a polling card in the post in which all you have to do is follow the instructions.

Then after this all you have to do is visit your polling station which tends to be a local school hall or church usually 10-15 minutes away maximum and is open from 7am – 10pm.

In reality, it couldn’t be any easier and yet some many people, especially young people refrain from doing it. If it was any easier they’d fill the ballot paper out for you, but where’s the democracy in that?

Tape 6A: Democracy isn’t something to be taken for granted

Cuba, Vietnam, North Korea and Vatican City. What do they all have in common (Or lack)? True, free and pure democracy. Many tend to forget what a privilege it is to have democracy, to be given that opportunity to vote, and vote freely at that.

Many places in the world do not given their people the opportunity to vote, or at least vote freely. In the UK you have a chance to say how your country is run, the real question begins to creep in, why wouldn’t you vote?

Tape 6B: Keep them on their toes

Protests

What we tend to forget is, by voting we keep our politicians on their toes all the time. Think about it, participating in general elections, especially if you’re area isn’t a safe seat seat MP’s have to be working to keep their people happy and pleased all the time as there is a fear they can be straight out of their new position in a heartbeat.

In safe seat areas such as Birmingham which is Labour which certain Conservative areas, it came to a shock to Jill Knight in 1997 when Gisela Stuart from Labour took her spot she had held for 31 years!

As philosopher Edmund Burke said: “All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”

7A: Leaving the ballot blank still counts

 

ballot box

Not in the way you may think however. Just because you chose to scribble all over your ballot or tick multiple boxes doesn’t give every candidate a vote, it more sends warning bells to the lack of interest.

By not marking anything you not only break away from that statistic of ‘Staying at Home’ talkers, it presents that you are uninterested. You actively went to the polling station an actively didn’t mark anything, becoming a voice for the disengaged. Blank and Spoiled Ballots are read out at the count with the results and are presented with the other data post-election. Your apathy towards the political parties will not be on deaf ears, you begin to create a demand in an area of the disengaged, displace and unrepresented sector.

Nevertheless, June 8th marks an important day, the day where the British public goes out altogether and vote for who they think will best represent them for the next 5 years to come.

Regardless of the result after Thursday one should be proud that they invoked their uncodified constitutional right to vote on what matters to them, and hey if you don’t vote this year which would be a big shame, remember there’s always 5 more years from now.

1 Comment

  1. keithbracey

    June 8, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    Well said Leeford…..!!!!!

    My 24 year old son has a first class honours degree in Sports Psychology and a Distinction in his Sports Psychology Masters.

    He works as a Sports Performance Intern at WBA not being paid a penny.

    He works there for nowt and hopes that his WBA Sports Psychology experience will impress employers on his CV.

    He will NOT be voting as in his opinion the current ‘Baby Boomer’ generation have done NOTHING for the younger generation of students like him.

    This is his Existentialist Philosophy coming to the fore…..as today’s generation CANNOT afford to buy event the smallest studio flat, car insurance is prohibitive for kids of his age with quotes of thousands of pounds just to drive the smallest of cars……there are NO jobs and kids that want to get on and study and are academic like him are saddled immediately with debts approaching £40000 EACH if they choose to better themselves and go to University or college…..

    My generation as I am his Dad and I am 59 have been selfish and only thought of themselves and feathered their own nests…..

    My son asks WHY the hell should he vote for these folk who have only looked after themselves and their own interests????

    And as for the Metropolitan Political Class and their attitudes and behaviours…..for him they are only in politics for what they can get out of it with their noses in the political trough….!!!!

    Frankly if I were in my son’s position I would also seriously consider NOT voting….as it is I shall be voting CONSERVATIVE for the very FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE as I have always voted LABOUR in the past but have deserted the Labour Party as I do NOT trust Jeremy Corbyn.

    Corbyn will NEVER place his finger on the Nuclear Trigger as I believe he would NEVER use it in a dangerous world as a former Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) member.

    Corbyn is also an Anti Jewish and Pro Palestinian MP and a past apologist for both IRA atrocities and murderous Palestinian action against Israel.

    What Corbyn and his fellow travellers like the number blind Diane Abbott MP has done in making Labour Anti – Jew and Pro Palestinian is nothing short of scandalous……Labour was always a pro-Jewish political party and had MANY Jewish MP’s and members.

    The former ‘Father of the House’ (of Commons) the late Gerald Kaufman MP must be turning in his grave at Labour turning its back on the Jews.

    After all Labour had led the fight against Oswald Mosley MP’s Fascist Right Wing Black Shirts in the East End Anti – Jewish riots in 1930’s East London……

    SHAME ON YOU CORBYN…… I and many others will not be voting Labour after the way you have turned a largely Social Democratic Party under Bliar and Brown into a hard left party.

    VOTE TORY! It’s the only way for a STRONG AND SECURE BRITAIN !

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