Why Vote for Losers?

posted in: Culture, Guest Post, Politics | 0

Why Vote for Losers?

You might have seen an earlier guest post ‘Why Christians disagree over politics’ – this post follows that in an attempt to help you think about your vote in the run up to the General Election in the UK.

-{ Voting for losers }-

I hate to break it to you, but your vote isn’t going to decide the election. Don’t get me wrong – your vote is enormously important. But not for that reason.

Some people say that the reason your vote is important is because it just might change the election.

But I’ve got two issues with that:

1: it is ridiculously unlikely that that will happen.

2: that means your vote doesn’t matter if it is one of the 99.999% of votes that is don’t decide the outcome of the election.

So why does your vote matter? Well I want to suggest that it’s nothing to do with winning.

Your vote is important, first and foremost, because it expresses your view of how we should go forward as a society – and that contribution can make a difference, regardless of who wins.

Initially, the fact that your vote may not – probably won’t – decide who wins the election can seem dispiriting, and even tempt you not to vote. But actually, it’s incredibly liberating: because it frees you up to vote for the person who really does represent the things that you are most passionate about, regardless of whether they’re might win. If you feel that none of the major parties really get it, then don’t vote for them. There will be a whole range of candidates standing in your local area – and maybe a lesser-known one shares your political passions and beliefs.

And voting for them can have a real impact.

Think about the two new kids on the block in national politics: the Greens and UKIP (or their part-successors, The Brexit Party). For the past five years, the Greens – for the first time – have had an MP in Parliament: Caroline Lucas. But in that time (as 1 of 650 MPs) she’s not had much impact on the laws of the land. Similarly, UKIP have had two MPs for small periods of time in recent years, without much impact.

But think about how much impact these parties had, long before they had MPs. The rise of the Green party over the past 15 years has forced all the major parties to develop serious environmental policies. And think of the huge impact UKIP have had on Labour and the Conservatives. The Vote to Leave the EU in 2016 has changed the UK Political Landscape!  And this makes perfect sense: if you need to win 18,000 votes in a local area to win a seat in Parliament, and the Greens are winning 2,000 in that area, then it’s a no-brainer: you make sure that your policies address their concerns (eg about the environment), so that you can persuade those 2,000 people to vote for you instead.

Or what if a local independent candidate stands purely on getting more funding for care for the elderly, and gets 1,000 votes. What are you going to do to make sure you get those 1,000 votes? Promise more funding for care for the elderly, of course! That’s more or less the point of a democracy.

Imagine if people had decided not to vote UKIP or the Greens because they weren’t going to win the election? Those people’s voice wouldn’t have been heard, and many significant changes would never have happened.

This is more true than ever at this election. If we get a minority government or a weak coalition, then party party loyalty will go out of the window for many MPs, as the Government and try to lure individual MPs over on particular proposed laws and amendments. It will come down to each MP’s principles and what they think will be popular locally. So 1,500 people voting Green, Whig or independent in a safe Tory or Labour seat could have a huge impact.

You see, there are two ways of making sure your voice isn’t heard. One is not to vote. The second is to vote for a candidate from a big party, which doesn’t really represent your views.


What do you think?

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