#GE2017 Update to UK General Election 2015

Photo of the Palace of Westminster

The Palace of Westminster. By Arpingstone (Arpingstone) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This is a quick update to my 2015 blog post about why it is important to vote. We should only have to vote in a general election every 5 years, but here we are 2 years later having to make the weighty decision on Thursday 8th June 2017. You will find links to all of the party manifestos here. It is common practice in the UK to vote “tactically” whereby we vote for a candidate who may not be our first choice, but is the most likely one to defeat a candidate we really don’t want (we do not have proportional representation in the UK). For tactical voting guides go here, here and here.

If you really don’t know which party best represents your interests or World view then you can take a quiz to find out, here. Please do take the time to become informed and exercise your democratic right to vote. This isn’t just about “Brexit” this is about choosing a government for the next 5 years (probably!) that will be making decisions that will directly influence your life and the lives of your loved ones. This election will shape the future of the NHS; education; policing and anti-terrorism; social care; employment; transport and the environment to name just a few.

What follows is the original post from 2 years ago, the links are out of date, but if you are interested in my ramblings you may read on, otherwise click on the above links and get voting!

In the United Kingdom it is common practice to not discuss religion or politics. We have a long and bloody history of disagreements on these topics. Consequently we have had centuries to perfect discussing the weather. However, the unsavoury task of electing a new government is upon us and it behoves us to make an informed choice.

The election is in 3 weeks, on 7th May 2015. I believe people have until the 20th April to register to vote, if they have not already done so, there are further details here. Personally I feel that, although it should never be mandatory, it is important to vote. People have died for the cause of universal suffrage, from the English Civil War, the Chartist movement and the Suffragettes. If you really feel that there is no candidate that you can support, then you can write “None” across the ballot paper – spoiled ballots and their reasons are counted and recorded. At least this way you cannot be accused of “voter apathy”, there are more details on protest voting on this site here.

Illustration of troops firing on Chartists

Troops opening fire on Chartist rebels. By http://www.oldukphotos.com/monmouthshirenewportpage4.htm [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I also feel that people should be aware of what they are voting for, or against, so I am listing below the links to the main parties of Great Britain and their manifestos. I appreciate that this may be heavy reading, so you could choose which topics are most important to you such as NHS, economy, welfare, education, the environment etc and type these into a search engine along with the name of the political party. Of course, once you have listened to what the parties are promising and pledging, you then have to decide if you believe that they will deliver on what they offer.  For the next five years these people will be making important decisions about our lives.

I do not fully understand why we have “demographics” whereby a certain party will chase the votes of elderly people for example. Don’t many elderly people have grandchildren? Surely they should care about youth unemployment, education and child benefit. Conversely, many young people will have grandparents and should care about issues such as social care and pensions. We are all individuals, but individuals that live together in a society. We should think about what sort of a society we want to live in, rather than just how a particular policy will affect us as an individual. There is an online survey that you can complete which aims to match policies that you support with political parties. You can find it here.

Photo of Emily Davison being struck by horse

Emily Davison, killed after being struck by the King’s horse, Anmer. By Arthur Barrett [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It is also worth remembering that you are voting for a local MP whose duty it is to serve you, their constituent.  So the character of the public servant you are about to elect is important as well as their party’s policies.

Photo of suffragette being arrested

Arrest of Dora Thewlis. By Daily Mirror photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

There seems to be a great deal of disillusionment with our politicians at the moment, they seem to be unrepresentative and distant; unable to grasp the reality of the lives of those they are meant to represent. It can seem difficult to engage with politics and even more difficult to know who to vote for. Perhaps the answer is, for those people who feel that they are on the outside of the system, to set up their own political parties, or to stand as independents. I hope that when May 7th 2015 arrives that people will at least be making an educated choice, whatever their choice may be.

Main Political Parties of Great Britain (excluding N. Ireland)

Labour Party website manifesto

Conservative Party website manifesto

Liberal Democrat Party website manifesto

Green Party website manifesto

Scottish National Party website manifesto (not available at time of writing)

Plaid Cymru website manifesto

UK Independence Party website manifesto

If you feel very strongly about the National Health Service, there is the National Health Action Party website

Illustration of parliament

By Thomas Rowlandson (1756–1827) and Augustus Charles Pugin (1762–1832) (after) John Bluck (fl. 1791–1819), Joseph Constantine Stadler (fl. 1780–1812), Thomas Sutherland (1785–1838), J. Hill, and Harraden (aquatint engravers) (Plate 21 of Microcosm of London (1809)) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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