Understand What You Are Voting For

As part of a fair democracy, each individual is entitled to express their desires on the legal system in which they live in the form of a vote. As an individual who believes in a fair world for everyone, I believe we are all entitled to express our opinion. However, I also believe that we all have the right to be given, and the responsibility to obtain, accurate information about what, or who, we are voting for. Education (being aware of issues) is power, and education is how we will make this world a better place for the people who live in it.

In three weeks, the UK will be holding a general election. The image at the top of this page is the results of a test I took to see which party my personal beliefs are most aligned with. You can take the test here. I feel no need to censor my results because I have taken time to learn about the issues and answered according to my beliefs. If you will be voting in this general election, I implore you to take the test so that you can see who your views are aligned with. I have my own views (moderately left wing according to the test) and you will have your own views – that may or may not be aligned with my own – but you should be aware of which party will best represent what you believe in.

I was very upset by Brexit and Trump in the past year for two reasons. Firstly, I feel people were tricked into voting for the wrong reasons. If you are aware of the issues, you have a right to vote for what you believe in, but I encountered people (and I’m being serious here) who voted for Brexit so the UK could build a new hospital every week and people who voted for trump because ‘crooked Hillary’ couldn’t be trusted. As time is showing, there will not be a new hospital built every week and Trump’s ‘trustworthiness’ is currently maintained by him firing everyone who might prove otherwise. I felt these things were obvious before both votes because I took the time to research them – there are other valid reasons why one may have voted for Brexit or Trump, but these are not them. We have the power to stop misinformed voting by educating ourselves on the issues we vote for. The second reason I was upset, and this is where it gets confusing, is because I was blindsided by both votes. Social media shows me the opinions of people I agree with and media I consume is generally aligned with my beliefs. Yes, if you voted for Brexit or Trump, you are invisible to me – and this is a dangerous thing. We (both sides) should be engaging on these issues and having discussions, not pretending the other side doesn’t exist.

A major flaw I see in the upcoming election is that the UK operates a ‘first past the post’ system (read more about it here if you want to understand) which leads to tactical voting. In the region where my vote will be cast, the same Conservative MP has help the parliamentary seat since 1983 (before I was born) with the exception of 1997-2001. This candidate typically receives around 50% of the vote and whomever gets the most votes gets 100% of the seats (there is only one). Thus every opposition voter would have to unite against this one candidate, meaning many people voting for their non-preferred party, if they wanted to change this seat. I want to vote Green, but I know Labour is my only real chance of changing the seat in my area. In future, I would love to see a representative national vote so that people can vote for what they truly believe in. This is a conversation for another day.

Whatever election you are voting in, give yourself, your friends and family, and everyone else around you the respect that they deserve by educating yourself on what you are voting on. That way we can work together to make the world the best place that it could be. “The greatest crime in life is to do nothing because you fear you can do only little.” Yes, your vote counts. Use it in the best way that you can.

Reminder: You can take the test here to see which UK party your beliefs are most aligned with. You should do it if you are voting.

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