Learning About Politics Is Everyone’s Responsibility

The results of the recent election are still right at the forefront of my mind. I was upset, disappointed, a bit shocked at the result. I expected another hung parliament as the country has been divided for so long or a small Conservative majority but it seems the main issue was Brexit. I am saddened, I feel a bit lost and a bit anxious about my future.

One thing that really did get to me though, is the turnout figures. I’ve had a look at some statistics to get some figures about turnout in the 2019 general election. The amount of people eligible to vote in the election were 47,500,00 or there abouts. There were approximately 31,800,000 votes cast on the 12th December. That’s over 15 million people who were eligible to vote and just didn’t. Turnout was 67.3% which was less than the 2017 general election.

Why did 15 million people not vote?

Some of the excuses, and they are excuses, are I don’t understand politics or I don’t know who to vote for. I want to dig a little deeper into this because it’s really infuriating. Saying you don’t know who to vote for is tough because you may feel disillousioned by politicians, you might think they all lie and cheat, you might not have gotten the result you wanted in the past, or maybe you just hate all the candidates. Some people just couldn’t be bothered and I do not have time for those people.

If you don’t know who to vote for, in terms of which party, and you have a bit of an ‘I’m alright, Jack’ attitude then you have to educate yourself. Just like you have to educate yourself if you don’t understand politics. If at the end of learning you still don’t know then you can still go and put an X in a box because voting really is that easy.

If you’re truly happy with how things are, vote for the party in charge. If you don’t vote at all, then you’re basically saying “I’m happy with how things are.” and it’s like a vote for the party in charge anyway.
If you’re not happy with how things are vote for the opposition.
If you’re passionate about a particular cause, independence or referendum vote for a party most alligned with that.
If you aren’t a fan of the options in Westminister of the main parties then vote for an independent candidate that might be standing.
If you’re angry about everything then you can go and spoil your vote because spoiled votes are counted and, apparently, fed back.

How can you educate yourself about poltics?

  1. You can read the manifestos launched when a general election is called
  2. You can visit the parties websites to find out more
  3. You can follow many politicans on social media to read their views and why they are a part of their party
  4. You can ask other people about politics
  5. You can seek education resources and try to learn about them in college or University if youre priviledged enough
  6. You can try and attend local rallies, hustings and meetings
  7. You can write to your MP and ask them about a view they old and why they voted for a particular cause
  8. You can join petitions for causes you care about
  9. You can join activisit movements
  10. You can read blog posts, like mine, like this one. They may have some bias from the position the person takes but you can still learn about movements that way
  11. You can watch Prime Ministers questions on television
  12. You can read about your local MP’s voting history
  13. You can join a political party and attend their conferences
  14. You can read a variety of articles in the press, again, these can come with bias so like posts like mine, it’s best to take everything with a pinch of salt. If you read a piece that is particularly positive about a particular party, try and find a negative piece to balance it, and vice versa.
  15. You can always ask questions

The truth is politics is in everything and it’s really important. However, over the years it’s felt a bit taboo. In the past it wasn’t really talked about who people voted for because of anominity but with social media more people are openly discussing their views.

It also isn’t taken seriously in education and it really should be. I think if Children learned more about our parlimentary process they would be more willing and passionate about voting in the future. It’s really important to learn about conflict theories that oppose the establishment because that’s how you make an informed decision.

My blog is full of telling people to make balanced and informed decisions but you have to take responsibility for this. You have to seek information, have a desire to educate yourself and try and make the best choices for you as you possibly can.

Living in an Echo Chamber

This is where you seem to only associate with people that share the same views as you and this can sometimes be why people are upset with results from elections and referendems. What you say is constantly echoed back to you and you feel like you’re in a safe little bubble. Then big results shock you because you don’t see it coming. It’s a bit naive but also it’s a way of protecting yourself from what you feel might be the worst thing to happen.

It also creates a support network so when you talk to each other you have a shared sadness and that can really help in a process of grieving which does happen. It isn’t about ignoring differing views but let’s be honest it’s easier to get on with people that share the similar views as you.

Pushing an agenda

This is what activists do, they push agendas. They aren’t trying to make copies of themselves or make everyone the same as them. Usually they’re trying to offer a different point of view, share an alternative way of live, educate others in social injustices and welfare issues, make a statement or a big change for the benefit of a group or just because they’re passionate about it.

If you feel that someone is pushing their agenda on you then there are quite a few things you can do.

  1. Ask yourself why their opinion is making you feel uncomfortable
  2. Debate with them, in a productive way. Ask them why they support an agenda or movement, put your ideas across, talk to them about it.
  3. You don’t have to follow these people if you don’t want to. You don’t have to listen and you don’t have to be a part of the change they might want to make. However, they also don’t have to stop either. We always make a concious choice about what we want to speak about, listen to and ignore.
  4. If you are conflicting with each other, talking to each other will help strengthen your own position against other arguments in the future. When you debate something you’re passionate about you do start to form a rhetoric about it and you get better at explaining it the more you talk about it.

Politics is in everything and affects everyone

Feminism, Socialism, LGTBQ+, human rights, education, abortion rights, gender pay gap, veganism, animal cruelty, healthcare, social care, climate crisis – these are all big parts of our lives that we see frequently, they are all conflicting with the establishment, going against “the norm” and trying to find equality and balance. Parenting even gets political and competitive with how to feed your baby. There are ethical reasons for every movement and pretty much every decision

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