Are You a Tactical Voter? Or is it Time to Change? #Election2015

I must admit I am a little excited about the General Election in the UK this year. Politics has always been something of a mystery to me. When I was younger I didn’t understand it at all. My parents told me I should vote because it is important, and I always have done, but try as I might, none of it seemed to make much sense. I think perhaps I never really considered the importance of policies and practices. I mean, I drifted from high school into college, all paid for, and then I went to university, blithely ignoring the huge debt I had accepted in order to continue my education. I thought that everything would be fine and I would walk into a well-paid job once I was a graduate.

Well, I was completely wrong, and very naïve. I know that now. Since graduating I have taken a lot more notice of politics, I have tried to learn more about what each party is offering, and my voting has reflected that. Up until this point I have been what is known as a tactical voter. In the UK we are ruled by two major parties: Labour and the Conservatives. None of the others ever really had a look in when it comes to running the country and taking important seats in parliament. So, back in 2010, I used my vote tactically, and I am sorry to say that yes, I did vote Conservative, because I honestly thought they could make an improvement in my life. They didn’t.

Signpost, political parties

Now I have made a decision. I will not be voting tactically in the 2015 general election. From what I see in the media, voting and politics is finally becoming something that is relevant to our younger generation. Students in particular are speaking out, learning about politics, and making their own decisions about their lives. That didn’t happen when I left school. We were the lost generation, if you like. We didn’t take an interest, and we were not really encouraged to do so. Government was run by posh men in suits, down in the faraway capital city, and had no real relevance in our lives. Or so we thought.

At the moment I am leaning towards voting for the Green Party. I always liked their ideas, but I thought they were too small a party to really make a difference in parliament. However, since the emergence of UKIP, and of course the coalition government, the game has opened up dramatically. I believe that more people are considering politics than ever before, and these people are prepared to make a real change in their lives and those of their peers. Will you be voting in the general election? Please, do share your insight. We need to discuss politics, civilly and honestly, so that we can all broaden our horizons and make the right decisions for ourselves.

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*Signpost image courtesy of University College London Union

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6 Responses to Are You a Tactical Voter? Or is it Time to Change? #Election2015

  1. scskillman says:

    An excellent post Catherine and I think it’s very important to vote, and engage with politics. I find it sad when I meet people who say, “I’m not bothering to vote; they’re all as bad as each other.” I believe the voting age should be dropped to 16. When I was in the sixth form we were intensely interested in politics and very informed. Even now, my 17 year old son is very engaged in the current process and I believe his vote would be meaningful. I know there are faults in the Westminster electoral system, but despite all the cynicism and apathy, I believe democracy is still the best system human beings have available to give us a better chance for justice, equality, respect for human rights and all those ideals that we aspire to.

    • Thank you, Sheila. I am doing my best to encourage friends and family that are not so informed on voting and politics. I believe that it needs to be made accessible for those of us living in the ‘real world.’ You know, people who are so busy juggling work, family, caring responsibilities and all the rest, so that they don’t actually have time to puzzle over political speeches and confusing manifestos…

  2. emmacalin says:

    I’m a hard left kinda person but I don’t see any true socialists. I believe in public ownership and sharing of wealth and resources. I don’t think profit should arise from servicing such things as hospitals or schools. Essentially our politicos are mere puppets of the business world and that is often a world of greed and waste. Yes – waste waste waste. Our leaders bleat about “market forces” which prevent our kids from having affordable homes and cancer patients from dearer drugs as if these “markets” were inescapable truths of the universe. We have almost run out of antibiotics because there was not enough profit in developing them! Government applied their doctrine that the private sector would provide because the private sector represents truth, beauty and perfection. Computerised flash trading and insider dealing make things like these “markets” inaccessible to plain folk and yet they are our guiding star. Media priests provide us with soundings (London up, Wall Street down etc) as if they were translating the algorithms of some digital oracle. We “have to” consume in order to generate “growth”. (Utterly laughable in a planet of finite resources). We cannot consume enough because we don’t earn enough money. So the world bosses lend us money (that they control the value of with their printing presses) and enslave us more and more and more to debt. We can only live by consuming profit producing “products” which includes our food. To me any worthwhile world or national leadership has to address the whole system of capitalism. It is not enough just to dodge the questions with slimy answers that just suck up to the money bosses. For me it’s gonna be a green vote because in their naive little way they have to be lefties because they do not believe in infinite production for profit and the resultant waste. Politics is a vile, cheating, jeering and smearing business. My comic book notion of a “green” is a vegetarian Buddhist with a secondhand bike. Bring ’em on!

  3. Wow, thank you Emma! You just made a whole lot of sense to me in this confusion of politics. Yes, I am right there with you, vegetarian and all. My husband is a Chartered Waste Manager, and he is always concerned about waste, although he deals with the physical, messy side of things. But he does what is really important. He helps our borough (or rather Greater Manchester area), to reduce the landfill waste, because he sees the bigger picture about the future of our world. We live in debt, and we detest the financial situation we are in, but we are ultimately a product of our society, and it is damned hard work clawing our way out… it is time to stand by our Green principles, I reckon.

    • emmacalin says:

      Glad to have ranted constructively at least! My partner used to drive HGVs for landfill. He has a few tales about waste and battles with giant seagulls. On the political front I don’t believe national governments can change much but other than going to the barricades what else is there? The spend on an American presidential campaign is about $2 billion per candidate. Do you think our little vote gives us as much clout as you can buy with a couple of million….?

  4. lucciagray says:

    Interesting post and comments. I’ve been living in Spain for a long time, so I don’t follow UK politics much, but I’d say the scepticism towards the big / main parties is also widespread here and all over Europe. I’m not sure the solution is more fragmentation with ‘new’ parties, who are mostly, and legitimately, out for a bigger cut of the cake (power). Look at Italian politics, and Spain to a lesser extent. In they end smaller parties pact with one of the ‘bigger’ ones and the same old show goes on. I’m not sure yet, but my tendency is to vote for a larger party.

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