I have a confession to make: I have never voted.
There. I said it. And I know the politically engaged among you will think I’m an ungrateful fool for having not done it before, but it’s the truth.
Yes, I know that people fought and died for my right to vote. Yes, understand that even if I don’t identify with a party, voting still stakes a claim for my future. Yes, I’m aware that if all the young people who didn’t turn up to vote in the last election turned up in the next one, someone other than the Tories could have won (I am 25, so I still fall into the “young voter” age bracket).
The simple truth is that I don’t trust anyone who represents any political party that I’ve seen in the public eye, so in turn I trust no party. I feel like I can’t identify with any political figurehead, and to make me feel even more out-of-the-loop in this situation, I was never taught about politics by anyone. No one made it easy, or took away the jargon to help me understand the basics so that I could build my views. That is, until Do Something UK’s Politics Unpicked tumblr came along.
Finally, I’ve got the basics and I’m beginning to understand how it all works. Before seeing this, I didn’t even know how to vote. So basic, but so integral to engaging a person in politics.
Now that this stuff’s been gathered in one place, I can make my own political decisions. And I think I will vote this year. But the tumblr has also enabled me to gather my thoughts on why I really don’t rate the current political system…
1. What in the name of the sweet divine Jesus do any of these people have to do with me?
It’s easy to see why some under 25s aren’t arsed about their vote. How and why would we engage with the people sat in Parliament right now? There’s a shortage of women. The average age of UK MPs is 50. The average salary is £67k, with most from monied backgrounds. On top of that, they can claim expenses – supposedly work expenses, but as we’re all aware they’re claiming for much more than that.
I don’t see how an exclusively upper-class, rich group of 50 year old men who don’t have to take any responsibility for ridiculous expenditure (therefore are hugely disconnected from the value of money and the struggles faced by those without it) can identify with me, or I with them. I want to be represented by people that understand something other than an Eton education and dinner manners. Where are the people with experience of the sort of life being led by the people they want to vote for them?
2. I have no time for bitch fights
I could probably deal with the oversubscription of posh, middle aged figureheads making citizen-facing decisions, were it not for the juvenile way in which they exercise their power. If I want to see powerful grown men reduced to playground bullies, all I need to do is flick over to Question Time.
It is one thing to construct a strong political argument in the face of your opposition. It is quite another to throw cusses, talk over an opposing leader, take cheap shots at others and generally make an ass of themselves in public. Succumbing to media cat fights does not fill me with confidence about the people making decisions for the country.
3. I’m not stupid. I can see through PR
Get rid of the spin doctors and stop pandering to transparent PR to get into the news. We know it’s all lies. All you’re doing is making me judge you for employing people to come up with that tripe.
4. My trust is broken
Following on from the above, the way in which MPs go about “promoting” themselves is so over the line of ridiculous it stopped being funny long ago.
The media turns on anyone as soon as it makes a better cover story, and the expenses scandal was one of those times. Using taxpayers money to claim for anything from guttering work on your second home to a lemon for the fruit bowl is disgusting. I saw few MPs fighting to claw back the trust of the nation after that, and don’t think any of them should have been allowed to keep a highly paid job they so wantonly abused.
Show me your sorry face, bitches.
5. You’ve made no effort to connect with me, even though my vote is important
My generation – and I daresay many others – care not for jargon. Not to be mistaken for clever systems that work – I’m not stupid and I’m happy to take time to understand something complicated. But I’m dealing with industries that use complicated jargon purely to con me (think about it; anything from a solicitor in charge of the purchase agreements for my first house, getting anything sensible out of HM Revenue and Customs, visas for a trip to India… the ridiculous list goes on, and I lament pissing hours of my life away to chase someone else up on a job they haven’t done). I’m fed up to the back teeth of having to decipher everything of importance before I have a clue what’s going on. The voting process is no different, and at the end of the day I don’t like anyone in politics anyway. So I can’t be fucked. And doing things this way achieves nothing – it means a certain kind of person to vote while the rest of us are left behind, too embarrassed to confess that we just don’t have the right knowledge to make a decision.
MPs should get with the times. Want me to vote? Make it accessible to me. Put your pledges on social media. Get schools to teach children about politics from the start. And please, for the love of God, drop the jargon. If you could have a word with HMC about that too, I’d really appreciate it.
How about you guys? What would make you vote in the next election?
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