As we move ever closer to the general election on June 8th, we find ourselves amidst the constant debates between party leaders, parliamentary candidates and other political activists who blame other parties and politicians for their actions, promising to change things in the next five years should they be elected into Government. Now, you have an opportunity to influence both your local constituency and the nation as a whole, by voting in the general election.
Us Brits are well known for complaining. It’s true – we’re a nation of moaners. Whether it’s the dreadful weather, cold callers, overcrowded trains or the disastrous fact that IKEA have sold out of meatballs, we really can be grumpy at times. We can also complain as much as we want about politicians and political parties, but unless every single one of us takes action and vote, then there will never be any change. If you want something to change, you cannot sit back and wait for it to happen. You’ve got to show up, speak up and stand out.
It’s well known that many 18 to 24 year olds do not register to vote and therefore miss out on their chance to have their say. Going back to 2010, non-voters outnumbered the supporters of each political party: 15.9 million non-voters compared to 10.7 million Conservative party supporters, 8.6 million Labour party supporters, 6.8 million Liberal Democrats party supporters and 3.5 supporters of other political parties. The numbers speak for themselves, and there really are no excuses. You don’t even have to go to a voting station if you don’t want to. I registered to vote as soon as I was 16, and opted for postal vote as soon as I was 18. It really couldn’t be more straight forward – I open the envelope when it arrives, select the individual I support, sign to confirm and pop it into the post box. Choosing not to vote is irresponsible and disrespectful to the thousands of people who died to earn us the right to vote.
“One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” – Plato
If you’re still undecided who to vote for in the upcoming general election, The Guardian have produced this handy Manifesto guide, detailing the key pledges made by the Labour party, the Conservative party and the Liberal Democrats party. I also stumbled across TheyWorkForYou.com, a great website that enables you to search for MPs, see how they have voted and what they have said in debates. This is particularly important in your decision to see whether your local MP truly reflects your values and opinions.
However, time is running out to vote in the general election on June 8th. You will need to register by 11:59 pm on Monday 22 May 2017 to be eligible to vote. It’s easy to do and takes next to no time. Simply visit https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
“Anyone who says they are not interested in politics is like a drowning man who insists he is not interested in water.” – Mahatma Gandhi