The UK’s current Prime Minister, Theresa May, has just announced plans to call a General Election on June 8th. Primarily claiming Brexit as the reason, this puts a bit of a slant on how to consider one’s voting.
I know there are people who will say “Don’t Vote Tory” and leave it at that. Personally, I think that’s how we got saddled with a Conservative Government in 2015, even though there was a strong anti-Tory sentiment. The Conservative Party got just over a third of the votes, at 36.9%. The remaining two thirds, though, was incredibly fragmented. And this is what I think a lot of the media speculators and unsure voters forgot to take into account. It wasn’t enough for “Not Tory” to be the majority, not if they still got the lion’s share of the votes. And people holding off on voting before they weren’t sure if their vote really mattered… well it could have.
Ono top of that, I think there are those who were put off from voting Labour because Ed Milliband seemed to lack charisma. Or who were out off voting Liberal Democrat because they got sort of scapegoated for decisions they made as the minority group of a Coalition Government when doing otherwise may have risked making things fall apart.
I think this time around, there are a few important things that people have to keep in mind when casting their vote.
The stakes are higher than in a usual General Election so the usual criteria have a few extras added into the mix.
Does Your Party Share Your Brexit Viewpoint?
Whoever is in charge is likely to be the main steering force during the next couple of years. It doesn’t matter when you want Hard Brexit, Soft Brexit, No Brexit or Liquid Brexit, you probably want to vote for a party that shares your viewpoint. The next couple of years are what’s going to shape the UK’s longer term future. Whether or not “your team wins” for the next four years is secondary to how your country fares for the next several decades.
What About Your Local Candidates?
I’ve maintained for a long time that what causes your local candidates stand for should be taken into account as much, if not more, that Party Loyalty. This is true now more than ever. If anything Brexit-related is put to Parliamentary vote, your MP is going to be voting on your behalf.
So like choosing a party above, choosing a candidate should at least have some thought put towards which local option is closest to your viewpoint on Brexit. Otherwise you really are just voting against you own best interests.
If You Can, Vote!
Make your voice heard. Even if you think the best option is merely “lesser of the evils”, do you really want to sit by and risk the greater evil winning?
Remember, a vote that isn’t cast for anybody also isn’t cast against anybody.
And if you’re young and a first-time voter (and reading the online wittering of a middle-aged bloke for some reason), don’t be put off voting. Your generation may well be much more affected by things done by the next Government than my generation or that of my parents.
Forget Personality Politics
So, the candidate your considering voting for has either the party or personal alignment that most interests you but you really don’t like the current leader. Do you vote for someone else or choose to abstain?
This time, I’d caution against it. Again, this is bigger than just who’s the Government or Prime Minister for the next few years. This is down to whether you trust your MP or the Government to handle Brexit the way you want. If you vote against your preference just because you don’t like a certain politician, this will be counter-productive.
We’re on the Good Ship Brexit and we’re about to vote in our Captain and Crew. Regardless of where else they take us, you probably want to make sure that this particular trip is to your taste.