So after about a year of saying how the UK needed stability, thus she would not call a General Election until it was due in 2020, Theresa May has called a General Election in the interest of stability.
If that statement rings alarm bells, good. But that’s by the by because today we will be offering you (the apathetic among us – those who are uninterested in politics for whatever reason) a guide to the election for you to follow and help you make the best decision for you and those you care about – That’s a lot of ‘you’s but that is basically what politics is about.
I will be describing what you see, what you think you know, and what you really ought to know, with that unique Terminal Context spin, but maybe a touch more seriousness than usual.
The first category of people, however, do not need much space so part 1 shall be short.
“Voting’s pointless! It changes nothing!”
“Voting just encourages the unfair political system!”
“I’m not going to vote. I don’t really know anything about it and it won’t really affect me.”
Tell that to your workplace whose treatment of you is in-part determined by government legislation.
Tell that to your University staff who have seen the disparity of pay between them and governers skyrocket.
Tell that to yourself when you get caught short in need of a loo and all your public conveniences have been closed due to cuts.
Tell that to your local small businesses.
Tell that to your refuse collectors.
Tell that to your utility providers when they try to up their prices once again.
Tell that to your neighbour.
Tell that to your friend who is a migrant to the UK.
Tell that to the pensioners, parents, children, anyone in your family.
Tell that to the thousands of junior doctors with uncertain futures.
Tell that to the many disabled people who have lost mobility allowance and had their benefits cut but who literally cannot find work. Even if they wanted work, few workplaces are willing to make the sorts of concessions those people need.
Tell that to the carers leaving the care and social work sector in their droves because they are overworked and underfunded.
Tell that to the billionaires raking in more money off the current government’s decisions, and the destitute losing out because of it.
Tell that to the NHS departments now having to fight private healthcare providers to give the best possible care to their patients, but who are at a disadvantage of being unable to lie and massage their running costs like the privates are.
Tell that to the minimum wage worker being told they are paid a ‘living wage’ when they can barely afford to get by.
Tell that to the zero hours workers with uncertain pay packets who still have to be supported by the state but magically don’t get put on the government figures as ‘on benefits’.
Tell that to the schools seeing constant change and destabilisation often running counter to education research, pushed through because of an idealogically, as opposed to rationally, motivated government.
Tell that to the conservative party driving instructor who is absolutely fed up of demonstrating when it is and isn’t appropriate to do a U-turn and finds the government doing them all the time anyway.
Tell that to me, whose promising young life was battered with health problems and who has seen his paths to recovery in terms of healthcare and opportunity found wanting.
Whether you want it to or not, politics does affect your life – and the lives of everyone else around you. You know I mean it, I put it in BOLD. If you don’t vote, you are literally saying “Someone else can have unchallenged control of the lives of myself, my family and my friends.” You’re not helping break up the elitest hedgemony, you’re giving them a firm mandate that they can do what they like to you without it affecting their grip on power. You’re not promoting true democracy, you’re supporting tyranny!
Your vote shows the government you are watching them and are willing to oppose them.
For example, if you’re a student in the UK wondering why you seem to have been ridden roughshod over by successive governments, try looking at the voter turnout for your age group (such as in this report by the Intergenerational Foundation – around 45% for 18-24s in 2015!? Really!?). Then be shocked. Then encourage as many of your peers as possible to make the measly effort of going to put an X in a box. You can even do it by post for crying out loud!? What more do you need? A bloody poll on twitter!? Get off your arse! Vote! Make a difference!
It’s not just young people, though. Average voter turnout in the most recent elections has been around 60-65%. 35% of people eligible to vote are not voting! Some might have reasonable excuses like “I was having emergency surgery at the time.” but unless you have a valid excuse you’re just tacitly forgoing your need to participate in politics and shoving that burden onto the shoulders of others. Stop that! Get up and bloody vote! It’s really important!
Let this government, and the next government, and the government after that know that your group is an important group to keep happy. That your voice, and the general population it represents, is holding them accountable. Fight for the representation of your interests. It might not be the voice you want, but it is one of the few you have and good luck increasing your personal power without engaging in the current system. Your vote is your tool. Use it.
There’s a common quote, attributed to many people, along the lines of “If voting changed anything they wouldn’t let us do it.” But if voting changed nothing there would not be so much money spent on elections.
Cui Bono – Who stands to gain?
If you don’t vote, I know for a fact it is unlikely to be you. Sort yourselves out and get to the damn ballot.