This is the second of several pre-election articles I will be composing, discussing various aspects of elections and how people have reacted or can react to them. I plan to cover other aspects in the coming weeks.
So, suppose you have decided that you actually are going to use your vote, and further, that you intend to take the election about as seriously as the Electoral Commission and established politicians would like (that is, you intend to place a single cross next to a single candidate’s name on your ballot paper, and then place the ballot into the ballot box), and further, that you have not yet decided who to vote for.
This is, I suspect, an extremely small demographic.
Chances are, such a person has already decided which party to vote for. At most, you might be undecided between two parties on Britain’s ‘political spectrum.’ On the off-chance that you are a committed voter but completely undecided on which party to vote for, a number of groups have made calculators to help you choose who to vote for. Feel free to play with these, but bear in mind two issues these sites have.
First, ultimately, you are voting for a candidate, not for a party. Research your candidates, email them, ask them questions. Find out to what extent they will tow the party line. Find out if they have special interests that may be objectionable.
Second, bear in mind that these sites will typically only include the major ‘national’ parties. Many constituencies will have minor parties not included on these calculators; a few will also have independent candidates. Just as you should with major parties, you should research these candidates too and find out what they stand for and whether they have special interests that may influence their voting in parliament.
And for those of you who are committed to not voting for a candidate, feel free to play with these, and treat them as the toys they are. These toys are, quite obviously, lacking in a ‘none of the above’ option. Real power should rest with we, the people. The MPs are supposed to represent our views, not their views, and certainly not their sponsors’ views.
Whatever happens, remember, if you aren’t registered, you don’t count. If you want to vote, abstain, take your ballot home, ‘accidentally’ spoil your ballot, write in a candidate (officially counted as spoiled), write “none of the above” (also officially counted as spoiled), draw rude pictures on it (also officially counted as spoiled), or drop stink bombs in the ballot box (please seek legal advice if you are seriously considering this), you need to be registered. If you aren’t registered, you can’t do any of these activities.
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