The Importance of Voting

Something a little bit different today – that I think is probably a bit of a touchy subject in the UK generally, let alone the blogosphere. But political attachments aside, this is an issue that is really important, regardless of what country you are in. Actually voting is just as important as having the right to do so. And I think it’s something that needs to be talked about a lot more by those who have given themselves a soapbox (read: blog) to yell from. I’m not saying divulge who you’re voting for, but perhaps talk about why you’re voting. Politics (still) isn’t a big part of the curriculum at pre-university stage, so when we get our first chance to vote, we are horrifically uneducated about political parties, what they stand for, and why voting is important.

I’m not a Politics student at university (despite what some of my module choices this year might claim…) and I’m definitely not going to tell you who to vote for, because that’s up to you. I’d like to take this space to tell you why I’m (going) to vote, an why it’s important to stay sort-of tapped in politically, because these guys who seem like they’re majorly out of touch with the rest of us (not disputing that), run the country. 

So yeah. Grab a cuppa and have a read?

This whole post idea came from the fact that, if you keep tabs on the news/current UK affairs, David Cameron (our Prime Minister) has said he doesn’t want to appear on the televised electoral debates unless the Green Party candidate (Natalie Bennett) is allowed to do so.

Ok, you’re thinking, but why is this important?

Representation. Representation is important.

Regardless of what Labour, Liberal Democrats and UKIP say about it, and regardless of the PM’s actual motives to invite the Green’s to the debates – apparently if he’s getting pressure from UKIP, the Lib Dem’s and Labour should have pressure from the Greens – I think him calling for increased representation in the debates is a good thing. Having another alternative present other than UKIP is also a very good thing, but that’s none of my business *sips tea*.

So why is representation important?

Well, having more candidates to debate doesn’t just increase running times, it also gives those of us who have to vote our ‘main’ options, in an easily accessible format. Opportunities to hear policies from people other than the major 3 parties that may resonate with us more than them. At the last general election – the one that saw this current coalition government come into power – more students than ever before voted because the televised debates helped them hear the party policies and decide who to vote for.

If I had been at voting age, I would’ve voted in that election. It was also the first time that the Conservative and Labour parties had not held majority for ages – because, and this is quoting my dad, ‘the Lib Dems came out of nowhere. Students.’ Which, for the most part, is pretty much how a lot of people saw that election.

The Lib Dems appealed to an as yet untapped voting body, us students, who were fresh out of high school and really had no idea what was going on in the political world. They promised things like ‘scrapping unfair university fees’ in their 2010 manifesto, and promised not to raise them on the TV. Which, as a student, sounds pretty ace. (Ha though. Haaaaa.) They jumped in polls because us students decided we didn’t want the Tories (Conservatives) and we didn’t want Labour in power again either. The  Lib Dems were what we saw a lot of, the ‘alternative’ so we went ‘oh ok’.

So yes, having the Greens in the debates offers more on the ‘alternative’ side of things. I think the Prime Minister is right to call for the Greens to be invited.

Unfortunately, having everyone present their party arguments’ on TV isn’t feasible, since we’d have programmes hours longer than they already are, but it does seem silly that the Greens haven’t been invited to take part when UKIP have.

So why is voting important? What if i don’t want to?

Well, first up I’d say you’re being a bit silly. It may seem like your one, single, solitary voice in a country of millions may not change much, but it’d change more than if you didn’t vote. It’d also give you actual rights to really complain. You can’t complain about things if you didn’t try to change them.

If you’re a girl, well, people actually died trying to get us the right to vote. Not that I’m using that against you, it’s just… well people died. Voting was, still is, an important way for the normal folk of a country to have some say in who controls it. Only allowing half of the population a chance to say who did what was pretty shit, things weren’t accurately represented. People fought to change that.

Abstaining from voting isn’t really going to give any one person a larger voice. It may seem like a good thing to do, you’re standing up for what you believe in, which is great! But in reality it’s only going to make those who do vote, possibly voting for the things you’re disagreeing with, have a louder voice. Because they went and let their voice be heard.

Voting is important like that – it gives a collective group of people, who may not necessarily know each other in person, a chance to sound their voice on issues they feel resonate with them.

If you really, truly don’t want to vote, then go ahead, come polling day. I can’t force you to. But if you do, and I really hope you do, and want to know a little bit more about the parties, then I strongly suggest watching the TV debates (once an agreement on the whole thing is reached) or finding a little bit more out about the parties.

I’m still not telling you who to vote for. 😉

Anywaaaaaay – how has your week been so far? How did you view political stuff when you were at school, or how do you see it if you’re still there? Have a great rest of the week!

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8 responses to “The Importance of Voting”

  1. Rebecca Ellis says:

    Politics has always been a touchy subject in Ireland, our family refrained from voting a long time ago because we always find it such a hassle 🙁 plus were lazy haha 🙂

    • Fii Cridland says:

      Haa yeah I can imagine – less so in England but it's treated like you need to handle it with kid gloves. I was taught growing up you never asked a person who they voted for, same way you never ask a woman her age. I just wish more people would talk about it, takes a lot of the hassle away when there's more transparency 🙂 x

  2. Suki and the City says:

    Great post – it's really important that people are aware and have the knowledge xxSuki and the City

    • Fii Cridland says:

      Thank you :). I wish I was more knowledgeable about these things myself, but starting the conversation on a platform that is so influential is a good start! :DFii x

  3. Han says:

    Such an interesting discussion, I'm 18 and I'm taking part in my first vote in May. It's so important that we take advantage of having the ability to contribute to our nation! great post. xxx

  4. Anonymous says:

    You are amazing for writing this! I've always been too scared to get all political on my blog. Mainly because the majority of my posts are bogged down with sarcasm therefore I don't think it'd come across very well… And I suppose on top of that, I feel I simply don't know enough just yet… I worry I'd get it all wrong! I have to say though, that you put this post together so perfectly. I really admire that! Plus it was so refreshing to come across this instead of the usual steady stream of beauty/fashion stuff on my feed. I've only recently found myself engaged in politics (I'm twenty three now, so I suppose it's taken me a bit longer than some) but I wish I'd known more about it before. The thing is, it passed me by until I read a graphic novel that touched on the subject! Perhaps it was me being ignorant but I suppose I just wasn't super exposed to it before then (I left school at sixteen and worked as a make up artist until I was twenty, so I was busy fiddling about with that – politics certainly never came up during that period – just a lot of mascara talk)… However the main thing that deterred me for so long was the fact that if I ever dared to ask a question regarding politics, I often found myself being met with a similar response. A response that went along the lines of a rather judgemental 'ER WELL YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT.' This is why I really, really appreciate the way you wrote this. At no point did I feel that you were being unfair or patronising (something that political chat is often bogged down with). So yes, basically, I really admire this post and thank you for writing it! I certainly would love to read more!

    • Fii Cridland says:

      Thank you so much! I'm touched that you found this admirable, it took a while to write when I should have been revising, but politics just isn't something you see a lot of when you're under 25, really. I think it's important, not just to prove to those who condemn the blogger collective as vapid people spending money they don't have, but because we have a platform where we can yell our little lungs out and maybe someone will listen. I think it's a good thing for the blogger collective to have a go at – especially those with a huge following, or a target demographic of younger readers/viewers. Mostly because we take, or would at least try to take, out the condescending tone that happens with the political chat. We're normal people, most of the people reporting on politics have had pretty privileged backgrounds, and it does show. It removes the relatability, which is a real shame. Ahhhh I've had three goes at answering this and and I don't think I can any better right now but I am so thankful for your thoughts, really I am.Fii x

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