Unless you’re living under a rock (or, in fairness to you, abroad), you’re probably aware that the UK is having a snap general election this June. It’s extremely hard to avoid hearing about it, especially if you (a) have a TV, (b) have an internet connection, or (c) go out of your house every so often. I’m not going to apologise for adding to the myriad of opinionated, political pieces that everyone is being bombarded with these days: I’ll keep it short and (fairly) neutral.
I’m a student. I’m in my early twenties. I’m likely to work in the NHS for my entire career. So let me tell you that the result of this general election is very, very important to me. Yet I
Yet I do not have a voice in the running of this government. Sadly, I’m not a citizen of any qualifying Commonwealth countries at the moment. This means that, even though I’m over 18 and not a convict (promise), I’m not eligible.
Let me tell you, not having a voice sucks.
Not being able to vote, however, made me realise that having a say in our democratic government is truly a privilege. Having learned about the Suffragette movement (a long time ago in a classroom far, far away), I know that voting isn’t even a privilege afforded to the majority of British citizens until around a hundred years ago. Certainly, I think we take it for granted today.
Some people have said that they don’t vote because they don’t think they’ll be affected, whichever government is in power. Some people, discouraged from previous general election results, have said that ‘there’s no point voting, it won’t make a difference anyway’. A friend has told me that they don’t vote because they haven’t fully educated themselves on the political standpoints of the parties and doesn’t feel like they can make an informed decision (you know exactly who you are).
Whatever your reasons, please remember that voting is a precious privilege. Until 1928, women didn’t even have the same voting rights as men did in this country. Of course, having the right to vote also means that you have the choice to abstain from voting, but please think through your reasons for doing so. If you don’t agree with any of the parties running for government, you can spoil your ballot! If you don’t know whom to vote for, there are tools out there which tell you which political parties line up the most with your stance on different issues.
I don’t care who you vote for (well, just don’t tell me if you’re voting Tory). Just remember that voting is a privilege that not everyone gets. Please, if you’re eligible, register to vote.