Readers in the UK will be aware of this, but for those of you who aren’t: we all just got thrown a political curve ball. And it hit us squarely in the nuts.
Provided it is supported by MPs, we’ll all be going back to the polls three years earlier than we expected on 8th June 2017. It makes sense – Theresa May has been in an unstable position since she became Prime Minister, because she didn’t have a public mandate and wasn’t elected. If she wants to carry on negotiating a Brexit (hard, soft or scrambled), she needs the full support of the electorate. However, I still don’t think this was necessarily a good decision; we are, as mentioned, in the middle of leaving the European Union and we need consistency. It’s certainly a good move for her and her party, though.
We should, without a doubt, exercise our right to give her that mandate or not. We decide who guides us through the process, whether it is May, Corbyn or someone else. That’s why I’m so disappointed to see people complaining about the election or, worse, threatening not to vote. I’m particularly bothered by young women, for whom this will be their first vote, suggesting that they won’t participate. It’s probably a cliché at this point, but we haven’t always had this right and I think it does a disservice to the women who fought for it. Women, please, always vote.
People who say they find discussions about politics “annoying” annoy me, to be honest. Politics affects every area of our lives. The world of politics dictates how much your boss should pay you and your right to complain about or question aspects of your job. The world of politics dictates what you will learn in school, how much your teacher earns and how your school is run.
Litter in the park? It’s because your local council has a tiny budget and that’s a result of POLITICS.
Underfunded and overstretched national health service? Yep, POLITICS.
Your right to freedom of expression? Your right not to be tortured? POLITICS, POLITICS, POLITICS.
Take your grievances onto the streets and protest. Take them to the polling station and make your voice heard. Take them to your bosses and your friends and family.
Talk about it, because it’s important. In the current social climate, you have NO excuse to be ill-informed. Know who your local candidates are. Know what they stand for and what they intend to do with your money and your trust. Know what their party manifesto says and how it affects you. Be clear on the issues that have a direct impact on your life – whether that’s child benefit, student loans, the living wage or the housing deficit.
I know it’s difficult and confusing. I do know that. For example, I support a lot of Jeremy Corbyn’s values, but Labour at the moment is a shitshow and I honestly can’t envision him being PM. So I’m as stuck as you are. I don’t know exactly who I’m going to vote for at the GE, but I’m going to watch the party broadcasts, read each manifesto and learn from other people.
The word politics comes from the Greek word polites (πολίτης), which simply means “citizen”. Politics at its core is about citizens, about people. There’s no point to it if people remove themselves from it.
And as for the election…