I am not the most politically educated person in the world, I’ll be the first to admit that! I want to understand… I often try and understand but as soon as they mention the words ‘long term economic plan’ and start battling with acronyms, I get lost, switch off and struggle to engage.
With the general election coming up, I want to understand what I’m voting on. I believe it’s important to vote, and when I do vote, I want to be sure of who I’m voting for and why. I don’t find it very easy to find out what each candidate is standing for though, unfortunately. It feels as though I’m swimming through layers and layers of seaweed. Tangles of words, acronyms and policies, unable to find any breathing space, or concrete ideas that I can comprehend. To make it worse, once I do finally understand a policy or a manifesto point, I don’t know whether that candidate will actually carry out what they’ve pledged, because let’s be honest… politicians don’t always have the best track records.
What am I doing about this? Well, three things.
#1: Campaigning – I am asking all of my friends and everyone else I know to register to vote. Whether they decide to vote for a candidate or spoil their ballot, I don’t mind. But I really want everyone to register to vote because I believe it is important. If we don’t show that we care, politicians aren’t going to listen to us. This is particularly prevalent in the 18-24 age range, which is why I’m getting involved with vInspired’s #SwingTheVote campaign.
#2: BBC Generation 2015 – in all honesty, I applied to this on a bit of a whim. I saw it come up on twitter and the application seemed as good a way to procrastinate essays as any. But I’m so glad I did because it’s giving me the opportunity to get involved in politics. It’s giving me the chance to experience politics from different angles and in some instances, from ‘behind the scenes’ a little. Check out what we’re doing by following @BBCGen15 on twitter.
#3: Investigating – investigating sounds more fun than researching, so let’s call it that. I’m trying to educate myself on things I see in the news. Often things are written in jargon, but twitter can be a great help with that! I’m trying to understand the voting system better. I’m trying to find manifestos and read them. I’m also attempting to understand some of what has gone on in the past, so that I can understand why the parties feel the need to have a go at each other quite so much. I have also written to all party leaders and all but one candidates for my constituency (I couldn’t find any contact details for one of them). The reason for this is, more than anything, to see if they are willing to engage with me. Because chances are, if they don’t during the election period, they’re definitely not going to if I want them to support me on something.
So that’s where I’m at. Still somewhat clueless but slightly less clueless then I was a week ago. Still an undecided voter, but hoping that will change by May 7th! I’m hoping to keep this blog up to date with my attempts to get to grips with the political world, so watch this space…