I usually avoid Party Politics, not because I’m indifferent, but because I’m a liberal. I think the best of people and believe that they look at the whole picture and make the best decision for themselves and the country.
Unfortunately, recent political events have made me rethink my position and I’m more of the belief that many of my fellow voters cast their ballot based on rhetoric. After reading many of the comments on Facebook and elsewhere around the Internet it also seems that people don’t understand what they’re even voting for.
So, let’s get the first thing clear. Unless you live in a Party Leader’s constituency, you don’t vote for the Prime Minister.
I’ll just repeat that. You. Don’t. Vote. For. The. Prime. Minister.
You’re voting for your local MP. The person that you believe will represent your needs in Parliament. The person who you want in your corner, who’s beliefs most closely match your own.
Depending on how you vote, you might vote for a government (although that’s usually dependent on you voting either Labour or Conservative). But you don’t have a say in who is PM, only party members have any sort of say in who leads them.
So if you have strong opinions about the leaders of the parties, forget them. Look at your local candidates. If you want to find out more about where they stand on the issues, ask them, read the literature that they provide, and check their party’s website too. Because this is a hugely important election.
Read websites like fullfact.org, as well as news websites like Channel 4 News and BBC News. The print media is generally very partisan, so I don’t usually use them as my primary source (they’re usually my initial source for a story, and then I look into it further). I’ve found less bias in some of the TV based news channels – it’s still there, just not as heavily.
In her speech today, Theresa May talked about the fact that the Labour Party (the opposition party) were opposing her government on parts of the Brexit “negotiations” that the Conservatives are running. Again, I’m going to repeat that, she was complaining that the opposition party were voicing an opposition! This is part of the checks and balances that our political system has to make sure that the government is held to account.
Let me ask you a question. If you’re making a decision, truly believe that it’s the right one, and have evidence to support it, do you complain when people ask about it? Or do you revel in the opportunity to demonstrate the hard work that you’ve put into researching it?
She’s also complained about the House of Lords and the fact that they’re questioning her government too. In fact, I think that the Lords have been the closest thing to an opposition that she’s faced. Yes, they’re unelected, but don’t you think that says a lot more about our government than it does about them? When the unelected house is standing up for the rights of the citizens instead of the elected government doing so then something’s not right.
This is partly down to the electoral system that we use. First Past The Post (FPTP) is an old and outdated system, designed to benefit a two party system. The person who wins the most votes in a constituency becomes the MP. This means that someone with less than half of the votes could represent you in the House of Commons. But the discussion about Proportional Representation (PR) is one for another day.
Do you know who the most truly democratically elected political representatives are? MEPs. They use a form of regional proportional representation. This is why we have more UKIP MEPs than they do MPs.
So, before you go to vote, read up on who you’re voting for, check their party manifesto and make an informed decision. (I’ll be posting a bit more about the issues in a later post, but I think that this post is quite long enough at the moment!) It’s a long walk to the polling booth, but this one is possibly one of the most vital elections I’ve seen in my lifetime.