Last week Theresa May called for a general election to confirm her mandate for hard Brexit. This comes after she personally promised that this categorically wouldn’t happen until 2020; I think it’s fair to say we’re all a little surprised and confused at the news.
A general election is big; it’s all over the news, with facts, figures, policies, predictions. It’s easy to be a little put off by it all, so here are my six top tips for dealing with this years election.
Vote, vote, VOTE!
Voter fatigue is a painful side effect of recurring elections and referendums, and I think it’s fair to say even those of us who actively take an interest in politics are feeling a little tired of it all.
In 2015 only 66.1% of the electorate cast their votes. That means 33.9% of the electorate either forgot or couldn’t be bothered to turn out on Election Day to tick a box that could change their future.
This election will affect each and every one of us, which means it isn’t something you can opt out of. It’s YOUR taxes, YOUR rights, YOUR wages, YOUR country’s future.
Get out there, vote. Do your bit.
You can make sure you’re registered here: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
If you know you can’t make it on June the 8th you can choose to vote via post, filling in the form on the link below.
Do Your Research
I know this may make some of you yawn, and maybe even put you off getting involved at all. But, politics is important. This means it’s just as important to vote for the right candidate for you, as it is to vote at all.
DON’T just vote for a party because you always have, or because your family always have. Their policies change constantly, each leader brings a new political stance whether they’re acting under the same party name or not.
DON’T simply read your favourite newspaper and believe everything you see.
As much as we all want to believe the papers we read are gospel, we know they’re not. They’re biased, they have a political stance, and they want you to follow it.
DO check out various sources; there are plenty out there and it doesn’t have to take you hours and hours and hours. Watch the news, read mandates, watch television debates.
DO talk about it with those around you and engage in political debates- they help us all to learn and see other perspectives.
Vote for who YOU want
It’s easy to follow the politics of those around you. It’s easy to listen to what they say and believe that’s what you want. And if it really is, great! If it’s not, this is a secret ballot for a reason.
You can vote for who YOU want to vote for. Who you REALLY want to vote for, not strategically, not who you think will probably win anyway. Follow your heart, follow your own mind.
Tick the right box for you.
Don’t believe the polls
I learnt this the hard way following a year of Brexit and Trump. Before each vote I felt hopeful- the polls didn’t suggest either result. Each time I was disappointed, heartbroken by the results.
Currently, polls suggest Theresa May will win a landslide victory for the Conservative party, giving a strong mandate for hard Brexit. If this isn’t what you want, don’t let this dishearten you. Don’t think “oh we’ve lost already”, look at this as an opportunity to change the political future. If this is what you want, don’t be complacent. Vote anyway. Polls aren’t conclusive and recently we’ve seen that they’re not necessarily going to be right.
Don’t be disheartened
Disheartened is often an understatement, particularly in the current political climate. If the outcome isn’t what you were hoping for, don’t let it get you down. Yes this is big, it’s important, but a general election isn’t the final say.
We have so many opportunities for political action. We can vote in referendums and by elections, we can protest and sign petitions. These are all ways of having your voice heard, especially after an election result you aren’t happy with.
Remember, we’re lucky
It might not feel it at times with cut after cut, but we have the power to change our future. We have the chance to vote at least every five years. While the country is FAR from perfect, now is a time to reflect on our rights and to use them. This time 100 years ago a large proportion of the UK didn’t share these rights. In some countries, people have no choice over who leads them and therefore the decisions that are going to affect their everyday lives, whether its how much money you earn at work or whether you even have the right to work at all.
We have just over a month before the big big day! Do a bit of Googling and debating, go out there and get really excited about ticking that box, and let’s all cross our fingers for a positive outcome. May the odds be ever in your favour.