Tomorrow is May 7th, 2015, it’s a Thursday, and if you’re in the UK, it’s the day of the general election. You know, just in case you’d managed to miss that fact over the past month or so of campaigning. I’m very invested in politics and I feel like it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t say something about it!
If you’re registered to vote but weren’t thinking of voting tomorrow I just really want to take a couple of minutes to try and change your mind. We live in a world where, as long as you’re 18 years old or over, you can register to be able to vote, to choose someone to represent us in international forums and to try and do their best to help out our country in a way they see as appropriate. I think that’s really amazing! I turned 18 five months before the last general election, but I had kept up with politics for years before that. So if you’re undecided who to vote for, not thinking of voting, or think you’ve figured out who you’re voting for but aren’t 100% certain about it, let me give you some help!
1) Read the manifestos
I’m sure we’re all really sick of hearing the word manifesto by now! If you’re not sure what it means, it’s basically a long list of all the things the party wants to do for us. So the bit where they’re talking about cutting taxes, lowering tuition fees, changing the way we interact within Europe, all of that is a manifesto. That slab of rock Ed Miliband had carved, those points were Labour’s manifesto! Each of the parties’ manifestos can be found on their websites, and it’s really worth reading them through.
2) See who the candidates are in your area
So we live in boroughs known as ‘constituencies,’ and when you vote, you’re voting to elect the candidate in your area, and giving that party a seat in the House of Commons, and the more seats, the closer that party is to gaining power. The way the voting works is known as ‘first-past-the-post,’ which is where the person with the most votes wins, and then if one of the parties gets 326 of the 650 seats available, they win an outright majority. Any less and it’s known as a ‘hung parliament.’ But it’s good to know who you’re voting for, since they’ll be representing you in Westminster regardless of which party is in power of the whole country. You can find out who’s standing in your area either by going through each of the parties’ websites and typing in your postcode, or by looking on the UK Political Info website which gives you a list of people, but little information about them.
3) If you’re still unsure, try this policy voter
It can be hard to make an informed decision when you’re influenced by the personalities behind the parties. I think it makes it even harder when celebrities are out there ‘urging’ people to vote one way or the other. This is why I absolutely love the Vote For Policies website. You choose the matters you consider to be most important, read through all of the proposals on those policies and choose the one you most agree with. The results can be a little surprising, so if you’re wavering this could either cement your thoughts or completely unsettle them. Luckily if that’s the case, you still have a bit of time to go reading manifestos and exploring who your candidates are! When I took the quiz I was really satisfied with my outcome – I won’t say what it was because the point of this post is to inform and not to bias anybody in one way or the other, although several of my friends already know who I intend to vote for.
All that’s left to say is that I really hope you consider casting a vote tomorrow, regardless of who it’s for. It’s really important that everyone lets their voice be heard when presented with the opportunity to do so and I think it’s fantastic to be able to take advantage of that! It’s been documented that if all the people who didn’t turn up to vote for whatever reason, did cast a vote, they have the power to completely change the outcome, and I think that’s a huge encouragement to get out there and put your X on your ballot paper!
I hope my post has helped you out a little bit, feel free to leave any questions and I’ll be happy to try and answer them the best I can!