Politics in Britain is a hot topic now with the general election looming over us. Honestly, I do feel a slight air of excitement contemplating this, due to more parties having a spotlight upon them in the coming months and as to which will be in power come May. I would not go as far to say I am an expert in British politics, but I do try to stay updated with current developments.
We have seen a decline in voters especially in the last European election with a turnout of 34.19%. Granted the European election will always yield a lower turnout than general election, but this is still a concern. One of the problems is a lot of voters feel disillusioned with politics, and that is understandable. Watching Prime Minister’s Questions is a perfect example of why people feel this. I would liken the practice at times to children bickering in the schoolyard. Although this can provide some comical fodder, the fact still stands that these people run the country, or at least attempt to. Another reason is that some people just don’t feel they know enough to make an educated vote and wouldn’t know the difference between the parties. This on some parts is down to politics not being the most appealing subject to discuss and not being marketed well in the public eye. However, it is also down to the individual to go out and learn these things. I’d go as far to say it is a social responsibility to have some input in how your country is run. A large proportion of the population squander their right to vote, which is an affront to our ancestors who fought for this right. This also not helped with certain celebrities, of the Russel Brand variety, encouraging a non-vote stance on the election. While I do believe he raises some important topics in the media, and I agree with him on certain points, he should not be taken too seriously. Frankly, I find his idea of a non-vote with no plausible alternative asinine. Yet, we are faced with staleness when it comes to attitudes on voting and politics.
A good place to start if you are just getting into politics would be voteforpolicies.org. Even if you are aligned with a certain political party it is always healthy for the mind to here other views. I am sure we all share concerns about the NHS, the economy, immigration, wealth inequality, austerity, crime, University funding, that are all quite similar to the majority of the population. It is a shame that people completely quash another person’s views simply because they follow a different political party. I for one am yet to decide on where to place my vote as I have mixed views on the political parties running. I’m aware that my one vote is relatively insignificant, but it is still a choice that aims to have my ideals and concerns represented which counts for something.
With that in mind, I encourage my peers to become involved in politics and if you already are, encourage others to be as these matters are of great importance to us throughout life. Whether you are Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Green or UKIP you should spark debate with one another, give your ideas of what you want for Britain, and not adhere to all of one party’s policies. Remember that it is us the public that put these politicians in their positions, and we should dictate to them how we want to improve our society. People hold the power, not the other way around.
Miles is in his second year at Manchester Metropolitan University studying Chemistry.