Why Vote?


Whilst SUSU elections are currently taking place I thought I’d put a little (hopefully encouraging) opinion out there as to why I jumped at the chance to vote.

From an all too feminist background I suppose it was drilled into me from a very young age that it was my right to vote, that people died so that I could have this right, and that it was very much a disgrace to democracy not to vote.

Because we do indeed live in a democracy and the fact that you can choose not to vote does very much highlight this truth. And yet, quite frankly, the poor turnout for university elections (as well as local and national elections in 2010) disgusts me. The attitude towards voting, especially amongst younger generations, has become increasingly negative and with the current state of political affairs, it is natural to be angry at a capitalist system that favours the small rich minority but it is completely unjustified as a reason to simply not vote.

Nothing has changed and my vote won’t make a difference.

Apparently your vote has a 0.005% chance of making a difference in the general elections because of course that is all it is – one vote! But how can we be so narrow-mindedly British and forget that we are not alone in this country made up of 64 million single voters.  France’s former president Nicolas Sarkozy was shocked at the support for the Far-Right National Front party in the French Presidential Election of 2012 as France stood up in a national confrontation against him. In Canada the margins are frequently so small they require a secondary vote. In the UK, if more people had voted, perhaps we wouldn’t be left with this ridiculous coalition caused by confused voters. If every individual voted, really took the time to figure out what they believed, politics wouldn’t be such a foreign world to the masses and chances are we’d see some changes in our country.

I don’t agree with any of the political parties.

Really? Have you really sat down and carefully read every individual manifesto? Do you really not care about the social injustices in this world or can you just not be bothered to get involved, because it really is just too easy living in a democracy? Is it really so inconvenient to walk to the nearest polling station and put a cross in the box that most suits your hopes for the UK. When we take a quick glance at the political corruption in other parts of the world, can we not realise the depth of our fortune to be living in one of the most peaceful and just countries that does indeed listen to its citizens? My advice to the UK is to get curious about politics, get informed, get angry and get involved!

I am angry at MPs and their broken promises; I don’t believe that we live in a democracy.

Nearly half of Britons say they are angry with politics and politicians. The broken promises and disproportion of wealth has been driving people away from voting polls. But how is anything going to change if half the people are not valuing their vote? A low turnout at voting polls tells the politicians that we indifferent, not angry. Unless no-one votes at all and the country is left without a government, like Italy in 2013, social groups in the UK will remain without a voice and without the right to complain. If you don’t agree with a policy, write to parliament. If you don’t want the big parties to wallow in their power, vote for a marginal party and give them more seats in parliament. Granted, the party might not ever rule the country but their policies certainly might get a voice with more seats. If you want to see change, be the change. It really is as easy as that.

The world of politics is just a rich “Old Boys’ Club”.

Wealthier people are more likely to vote, therefore politics are always going to revolve around their needs. Now, in an ideal world, some people are always going to have more than others. However, the distribution of wealth in the UK is far from ideal. According to a recent ICM poll, the richest 20% have 60% of the wealth, almost twice as much as everyone else put together, and 100 times more than the bottom 20%. If, however, the 80% of the less-wealthy Britons voted, politics would certainly take a turn for the better. There less than 1000 people in parliament and compared with 64 million people in this country. If every single one of us voted, general elections would be far from a popularity contest, instead they would truly represent the wishes of this country.

Secondly, it is sadly still true that politics is dominated by men, but the fact that women are allowed to enter parliament in a professional position is a positive sign of development. In a male-dominated Westminster culture it is difficult for women to be valued and respected in politics; however, this is not to say that they haven’t tried and won’t continue to try to make Britain a more equal and just place.

Your optimism is unrealistic.

We are on Earth for such a short and temporary period of time. It is entirely selfish to think we are here to make money and better our own lives. Indeed, what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Matthew 16:26) Instead we should do what little we can to give money and better the world. It may seem entirely futile to the less optimistic among Britain, but social injustice is not going to change unless we collectively do something about it. Postal voting, the internet, social networking – modern technology is making it ever easier to get our voices heard collectively. Each collective group, however, is made up of millions of individuals with unique minds and talents and opinions. We can all bring something to this world, and in the UK we all have a right and a duty to. Please vote.


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