In my crazy 16 year old brain I thought it would be a good idea to take Politics at A level. I’m not going to lie and tell you it was thrilling. It wasn’t and I spent numerous lessons trying to stay awake (especially the 9am Friday lesson after being at Student night on a Thursday) However I did enjoy some of it and it has made me quite passionate about certain things to do with politics.
I’m sure most people will know that there is a General Election next week. If you don’t, where have you been? Some of you may be thinking that you don’t want to vote, don’t know how to vote or don’t know who to vote for. If that is you, please read on. If you are a women reading this then please read on even more.
Why should I vote as a Woman?
We have grown-up in a society where women can become doctors, go to school and have a job. I don’t know about you but I cant imagine it not being like this. It is unthinkable that women wouldn’t be allowed to vote. Why would our our opinions and thoughts not count? But they didn’t and the Suffragete movement changed this for all women. Women who believed so strongly on our right to vote that they were prepared to go to prison (repeatedly) for their beliefs, to even die for their beliefs. They passionatley campaigned (some more peacefully than others) for our right to vote. The view was that women were too ignorant to politics to be able to use their vote properly. Women over 30 were allowed to vote first, but only if they had a household. Working class women and those younger than 30 weren’t allowed to vote until 1928, less than 100 years ago. Can you imagine what they would think to the millions of women who these days don’t bother to vote!
How do I register to vote?
It’s now too late to make sure you are registered to vote for this Election. However as long as you are on the electoral role than you should be ok. You can check here. Even if you are too late, still register as you will then be able to vote next time.
How does it work?
In a simple nutshell the party with the most seats (the majority of at least 326 seats) wins the election. Each voting region will elect an MP through first past the post. The person with the most votes will win and all other votes for other MPs will be discarded. When you vote you are voting for your MP and this then affects the overall result. If no one wins with a majority of seats then you can end up with a coalition like we have had for the last few years. I’m not going to go into too much detail here but if you want to better understand how it works and how a majority is decided then you can read more here.
Not sure who you can vote for in your area?
Type into Google ‘ who can I vote for in my constituency uk’ it will come up with a box where you type your postcode and it will then show you a list of the local candidates and their parties and if there are any independent people running.
How do I know what each party stands for?
Look at each party and what their manifesto is, where they stand on the different policies that affect our everyday lives. A good place to look is here
Still undecided on who to vote for?
Try one of the who should I vote for online quizes.
I’m not sure who I’m going to vote for yet. I agree with different policies from different parties and really don’t agree with some of the others. I also don’t particularly like the leaders of some of the main parties and although you are voting for your local MP you also have to think about who this then gives a seat to in the Government, who could end up being Prime Minister. Ask yourself if you are happy with that person being the Prime Minister. If you aren’t then don’t vote for that party.
If you don’t vote you are saying you don’t care. Which brings me on to…
But I don’t want to vote for any of the options I have?
If you have looked at all of the above and you are still unsure whether to vote or not then consider spoiling the ballot. It’s controversial, but basically means you exercise your right to vote, but don’t vote for anyone. It sends a message that people aren’t apathetic but rather that they don’t like the options or don’t feel that their vote counts. You can do this by putting a cross next to all the options. Another thing you can do is a protest vote, where you put none on the ballot paper. All votes are recorded and announced so if you don’t agree with the system or like your options then this could be a way of still exercising your right to vote. This page has a lot more information.
In the last General Election 34% of registered voters, that’s 16 million didn’t vote!