Register to Vote
A third of registered voters in the UK do not vote in either Local or General Elections. Out of an electorate of approximately 46,200,000 that is 15,700,000. Yet despite this substantial group not participating, it is seldom covered or discussed in the media. It is usually just written off as “voter apathy”, implying that those who did not cast their ballot are feckless, lazy or stupid. Not only is this patently untrue, not voting has major consequences. If this group of people were engaged and voted in the upcoming general election, then it would have a tangible impact upon the results. By not voting you are effectively giving the next UK government carte blanche to ignore your interests and pursue their own agenda. As Leonardo da Vinci famously said, "Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence".
I fully understand why people do not vote and are generally exhausted with the state of UK politics. Political discourse at present is devoid of any depth, substance or intellectual rigour. It is rife with spin and soundbites. False and spurious narratives are driven home by the tabloid press and the subtle complexities of domestic and foreign policy are distilled down to bogus binary choices. Furthermore, the major parties are all beyond their sell by dates and they know it. However, the archaic first past the post voting system favours them and not the electorate, so you’ll more than likely not see a change in electoral procedure for a while. Plus, we also have an ageing population that still cleave to outdated tribal allegiances which also skews matters further. Simply put, UK politics is a mess, especially if you wish to see change driven my intelligent discussion and an ethical consensus.
However, we are now facing a major crossroads in UK history, with Brexit. Whether you voted for it or not is now arbitrary. The realities of our countries exit from the EU needs to addressed calmly and by those who can genuinely obtain the best deal for the UK. Therefore, whatever government is in power after 8th June, needs to be scrutinised and held to account over every stage of Brexit. Therefore, it is extremely important that as many people turn out and vote on election day as possible. You can choose to vote for a specific party is you feel that they are best suited for the job, or vote tactically if you feel that will achieve a better outcome. If you feel that none of the candidates from the major parties suit your needs, then look to the smaller interest groups. If you find yourself in a serious moral quandary over who to vote for, then you can always spoil your ballot or write “none of the above”. The number of spoilt ballots is always noted and at the very least you have undertaken your duty as a UK citizen and turned up to vote. It’s not your fault that all the candidates are an utter shower.
So, if you are not currently registered to vote in the UK, then I would urge you to do so now. You have until 11:59 PM on Monday 22nd May. You can either contact your local borough council, or register online via the government website. The process is straight forward and takes about five minutes. The only details you need provide are you name, full address (including postcode), date of birth and National Insurance number. You can choose to either go to the polling station on election day or vote by post if you prefer. If you choose not to vote then you are effectively throwing away the only leverage you have as a citizen. Politicians primarily care about remaining in office, thus have an interest in registered voters. It can also be cogently argued that if you don’t vote and subsequently do not like the policies that are implemented because they impact upon you adversely, then you brought it upon yourself. Don’t give the next government a blank. Register to vote and have your say, even if your say is just “sod off”.