The coming General Election may just be the most important democratic event of your lifetime. Yes, It is that serious. For what is possibly the first time ever, we are guaranteed not to return a majority in favour of the Left or the Right.
We anticipate the neither David Cameron nor That Milliband bloke – which one is it again David or Ed (the fact that I had to Google his Christian name says a lot, doesn’t it?- will be able to take an overall majority and those minor parties, which have been hitherto ignored, overlooked or merely mocked, will actually play a major part in defining the government of the next decade or so.
We must accept that coalitions will be the order of the day as we trudge our way through the knee-deep-mire that is our current economic situation; that all the promises and good intentions in the world will not create the money to actually make these ideals happen.
There are so many levels on which we can approach the next decade and, I guess, according to your own personal view on life, your pet issues and political history, you will pick your way through as best you can.
Personally, I am looking for:
- Fairness and Transparency in all political dealings: Featuring publication of ALL financial transactions, a Real Terms Cost/Benefit Analysis, and truthful representation regarding the value of money. (How many millions are in a Billion anyway?)
- A long term plan for investment and development of infrastructure: Road, Rail, Sewerage, Housing, Land Management, Social Housing and IT support for all Public Services.
- A top-down overhaul of all of our public services, including The Health Service, The Care Industry, The Emergency Services, Social Services, Education
- A commitment to Grass Roots Investments and developments, featuring Eco- friendly planning, health and wellness, green/brown space utilisation, family support and early years interventions.
- A feminine-focussed agenda including self esteem, personal responsibility, family planning, parenting, personal development, skills development, lifelong learning, sexual health and wellness, relationship support and access to quality employment and childcare facilities.
Remember: The strength of a community rests on the strength of its women.
So how can YOU ensure you get something tangible out of the coming election. Here is a short list to help you get clear:
1. VOTE! It may sound obvious but if you don’t engage you can’t be part of the change.
2. If you are unsure, or feel that you ‘don’t know enough about policies’ to get involved then get yourself some knowledge! Visit Voteforpolicies.org.uk and take the questionnaire. You will discover who bests fits with your views and wishes. It truly is a most enlightened, impartial and unbiased website and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
3. If you have not already – ensure you are registered to vote at your address and get your voting card. Deadline for Registration is 20th April. You can get more information on how to register here: Parliament.uk.
4. In order to influence your voting decision, spend a little time thinking about what truly matters to you. What are the most vital and important issues to you? Employment/wages? Health Service? Education? Family welfare? Benefits? or maybe you have a burning local issue that you want represented: Anti Social Behaviour, Domestic Violence, Greenfield development or maybe accessibility for those who are differently abled. Personally I care a lot about Mental Health and Care in the Community, so when looking at who to vote for I assessed who was offering to represent my views, and that helped me make my decision.
5. Talk to the local candidates in your local area. And that means all of them not just the ones you like. This is a great opportunity to have your voice heard so be ready with some probing questions if they come knocking on your door during the next four weeks. Attend local events where they are appearing, write to your local paper or email them at their campaign offices. Getting involved has a great side effect of making you give a damn, when you thought politics was dull, boring and nothing to do with you.
In years gone by, when there was only one winner, tactical voting was de rigeur, but this time, there is no place for tactical voting. Sure, if you are in a Conservative Stronghold with Liberal Opposition and you vote Green, you risk getting a Conservative Representative; but you can hold your head high, proud in the knowledge that, although you did not win, you voted democratically and with integrity. This, I feel, now more than ever, is what each and every one of us must do to ensure our democratic rights and maintain the integrity of a flawed voting system. After all, it ain’t perfect but its the only one we’ve got…which reminds me, which party is proposing a reform of voting systems and the introduction of Proportional Representation?