I was talking with a colleague yesterday who is very fired up about the election and doing her best to motivate people to make the effort and turn up at the General Election this week. However, she seemed to think voting for anything other than the two main parties was a wasted vote.
I think this is probably the same feeling quite a few people have at the moment. Either they haven’t made up their minds, or cannot stomach the idea of having another five years of the same slash and burn policies, returning the UK to the Victoria era where fundamental things such as homes, education, healthcare are at the heart of the country before profit but can’t see the other main party putting forward any credible policies.
Like me this colleague also feels the party with the most credible policies that would get the UK back on its feet again is a minority party and I’m going to say the same here as I said to her.
Vote for who you think is going to do the best for the UK, not just for a few privileged, but for communities across the country. This is the only time you will see politicians actually panicking over their jobs and begging us to vote them back in. This has a knock-on effect on what they promise, and they will promise the earth, the sun and the stars and, of course the moon on a stick. Ignore these promises, they are the promises of an insincere lover. Look at the policies put forward in the previous five years and judge on those alone.
Most importantly, go and vote at the polling station. Put your X against the name of the party you think will do its best for the country. Every single vote cast counts towards your party gaining a seat in parliament. If its a minority party, that vote counts even more. Every minority MP voted into parliament is one more minority MP who will work for the community who will hold the red team or blue team to account and stop the worst excesses. This is where voting really matters. This is where voting really counts. Politicians know this, which is why they are so desperate to promise you anything you want so you’ll elect them back into the jobs they want.
There is no point in staying at home complaining that nothing gets changed, because you can’t be bothered. Until 1918 very few people were allowed to vote, before that only property owners could vote from 1856, before that only landed gentry could vote in the UK. Although the main political parties are doing their best to look, dress and sound the same and have similar policies, their default position is to look towards corporate bodies for support. The fewer ordinary people actually get out and vote the easier it is for the politicians to say, turnout is so low we shouldn’t even bother having elections, or if we do, let corporations alone vote.
There is some logic to this. If we, ordinary people don’t value the vote enough to make the effort, get out to the polling booths and put our X against the party we think will do its best for the country, the vote will be withdrawn from us the same way it was granted. Less than 100 years ago our great grandparents were given the vote. Less than 100 years on we are spurning their sacrifices because we’d rather watch telly than go out and vote. Make a difference this time, get out and vote.