Happy election month! It seems these days ‘Politics’ is a very boring word associated less with human rights and democracy and more with greed, complex bills and acts, and men in suits shouting at each other across the House of Commons on Wednesdays. So lets put the rhetoric aside for now and strip it down – back to basics. What does politics mean for you, personally?
This post is all about thinking about what is important to you, and getting you to look at the different parties and the reasons why you should take a bit of time to do this. Involvement with politics can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it depending on what you are interested in. However far you take it, everyone should at least have a general idea of their ideology and how they can shape the government:-
What do you care about?
- This is an important question to ask yourself when choosing to vote or join a political party. If you are very keen on helping the environment, for example, you might want to have a look at the Green or LibDem Party manifestos. Euro-sceptic and against immigration? – UKIP and Conservative might be more up your street. Do you think our political system is outdated and needs reform, or care about civil liberties and equal rights?- These are key LibDem policies. What about economics? Do you agree with the Conservatives that we should be tightening our belts or would you prefer to go with Labour‘s approach of spending to stimulate growth?
- Take the Political Compass test to see where you fit on the political scale – Are you more authoritarian or libertarian, and left wing, or right wing? This will give you a better idea about your personal ideology and might help you to decide which party fits you best.
- Not interested in parties but still have issues you care about? Do a bit of research on google and you are bound to find a campaign that supports your cause. Campaigns are really interesting and rewarding ways to get involved with politics and make the government listen to what matters to people. More on this to come!
At the end of the day, I do believe that all the parties in the UK (with obvious exceptions such as the BNP) are trying to build a better Britain and generally want to help people – it’s just everyone has different priorities and different ideas about how to go about it – and this is a good thing. We do have choice and options – even if the main parties are gradually slipping more to the centre ground of politics at the moment there are still clear differences in policy. Many countries don’t have this luxury! So think about what matters to you, and spend a bit of time researching the parties (look at their manifestos, not just the websites and what they say in the media which is quite frankly, more often than not, false advertising.)
Because just voting for who you and your family have always voted for, or voting for the one who comes across best on the tv isn’t really representing you, and representing your views is what having a vote is all about. It is a precious, important thing having the power to cast your vote on how your country should be managed – so don’t take the responsibility lightly.
Although, it has been a while since I last did it, so maybe I should have another go and see if I have changed at all.
Part2 ~ Campaigns – coming soon.