It's been a long time since I've talked politics on the blog. After Brexit and the Trump fiasco, I fell into a bit of a downward spiral of spending so long staring, mouth agape at the news, that I really didn't know how to find the words for any hot-takes or think pieces. I, like many other thousands of baffled voters, have spent the last few months in a pit of despair and confusion at the state of not only UK politics, but the whole bloody world to be honest. Seriously... what. is. going. on?

HOWEVER!! A beacon of hope has made it's way through the darkness today in the form of a snap election coming up on 8th June. I say a beacon of hope. At this point, David Cameron taking a grovelling step back towards Number 10 would be a beacon of hope. The hope bar is pretty low in 2017. But nonetheless, this upcoming election is a second chance. A chance for anyone who didn't vote before to make their voice heard and to really help to make a difference. It's time to stand up for what we believe in and be a generation who unites against a government who are expecting that we'll do anything but. Tired of being walked over? Sick of feeling like you're just a number? The answer is simple: vote.

I'm not going to pretend I know more about politics than the average lady or lad. In all honesty, I'm just a small voice in a mighty big pond. In fact, we all are. But what happens when thousands of tiny snowflakes come together? An avalanche. A huge, mighty avalanche happens that disrupts everything in it's path. We are that avalanche. I want to be a part of that avalanche. So I'll use my platform to scream and yell at the few people who are around to listen that this is the most important thing you'll do over the next few months. You must vote. You must vote. You must vote. It's scary, I know. Which is part of the reason why I'm writing this post. Here's all the info you need to get yourself prepped and avalanche the heck out of this election.

We all know that voting is a privilege, but it's important to remember how much of a privilege it really is. Women, it's important to remember the lives lost to get us this vote. It's important to remember the struggle and to know that for us to have the luxury of voting today, a hell of a lot of strong ladies before us put their necks on the line. Don't throw away your vote that they worked so hard for you to be entitled to.

I know it can feel like you're just one person whose voice doesn't make a difference, but I promise you it does. Just look at how many people used that excuse during Brexit and look how FAB that one turned out. If all of the 13 million Brits who didn't vote in the referendum had actually voted and used their voice, things may have gone a little different. You may just be one person, but your one voice can contribute a hell of a lot more than you think.

Whilst we're on the subject of Brexit - this election will actually affect the outcome of that too. Brexit is happening. That's a given. Maybe somewhere down the line, another referendum will happen. For now, this is the Britain we're stuck with. But different parties have different exit strategies. If you're in any way still in love with the EU, you should use your vote. The Tories want a hard Brexit. Other parties like Labour and the Liberal Democrats are offering a softer exit. If you didn't make your voice heard the first time, this is a great time to make amends. Now, more than ever, your actions will determine the future of our country. But you have to vote to be that change.

For young people especially, voting is so important. I, for one, am sick of feeling walked all over. I'm tired of feeling like a government is in control who don't have me in their favour. Young people aren't expected to vote. We're expected not to care and to allow the party in power to get on with it. But I'm tired of that and I KNOW you are too. That's why you must use your vote. Don't let older generations dominate and tell you what's best for you. You are the voice of your generation.

The very first thing that you need to do is read up on the parties. Make yourself aware of their promises, their ideas and what they're telling you they'll offer. Pay less attention to the person in charge and more attention to the ideologies of the party itself. Only you can really decide which party you want to vote for and listening to what other people say or reading thought pieces on how doomed we all are isn't going to help with this. Don't be that person who says 'there's no point in me voting 'cos I know nothing about politics'. Now is your time to wise up.

It's vital to consider, not only what's important to you, but which party is likely to benefit the wider community. I have no time for selfish politics in 2017. For too long, it's been every man for himself, but things need to change. When casting your vote, consider which parties benefit minorities and which benefit the people who don't necessarily need it. Think about all of the people in your community whose voices need amplifying and make sure you act as an ally to them in your vote. Think about the LGBT+ community, racial minorities, immigrant and disabled people in your community. Use your vote to help them as well as yourself.

Possibly the most important thing: if you're not going to be around on June 8th, consider registering for a postal vote (You can do this here). Don't lose your voice just because you were on holiday. Get prepared and be heard!

There are dozens of ways to get involved and help to create a buzz around the upcoming election. I've said it a million times and I'll say it again - use your platform. No matter how small it is. Especially if it's sizeable (bloggers, I'm looking at you). Talk about the election. A lot of young people don't necessarily know that voting is something that they should be interested in or which will affect them in any way. There is still this perceived idea that voting and politics are for older generations who have a greater understanding. This is where social media comes in. If we all unite online to show young people that voting IS for us too, there's going to be a reckoning. So Tweet about the election, share, write statuses, use hashtags (#BloggersWhoVote is my favourite currently) and keep the conversation going online. If you don't feel like you know what to say, help to amplify the voices of people who do by sharing and retweeting. We are a social generation. Let's use that to form our army.

It's just as easy to get active offline too, by going out and joining your local party through campaigning. This works just the same as spreading your message on the internet. Talk to people. Get out there and spread your message. Tell people why you care and why they should listen to you. It's not your job to get people to vote for your party, but it is your job to spread encouragement and tell people why they should listen. GOV.UK are a great go to for all things politics, and they have a page set up telling you exactly how you can get involved with your local party.

In an online age, it can be hard not to get sucked in and bogged down by other people's thoughts and ideas. Try to remember that your vote is entirely your own. Although it's important to listen to other people and take their ideas on board, the choice of who to vote for is completely yours. Democracy exists for a reason. Educate yourself and make yourself aware of all of the options - but remember not to let your voice be controlled. Just as you shouldn't be undermining other people for who they choose to vote for, they shouldn't be doing the same to you.

Similarly, try not to allow the media to influence you as much as it tries to. Watching the news is important, but try to vary the news outlets which you pay attention to to give yourself a more well-rounded view. Most of the news outlets which million of us read on a daily basis are heavily incentivised by either the left or the right and the ideas which they share are often very biased. They can change your entire world-view without you even realising they've done it. Consume media in moderation and make sure you stick to your guns.

My last, and possible most important point, is to not let this election pass you by. I know how easy it is to switch off from politics. To view it as this big, scary world which doesn't really affect your day to day life when you don't think about it. But if you boil politics down, it is in everything we do, every single day. The things we completely take for granted in life have, more often than not, been put in place by the parties in power. Don't be that person who doesn't vote because you don't feel affected. If you're privileged enough to be in that position, vote to help the millions of people who aren't. Do not waste your vote.

That's all folks!

So there we have it. This isn't me telling you who to vote for or what to do with your vote. That's your choice. This also isn't me thinking that I know all there is to know about politics. I have a whole lot more research to do before this election. If you should take anything away from this post (and I'm hoping it's pretty clear by now), it's that you need to use your voice. There are no 'ifs' or 'buts' about it. Register to vote today. Read up and get active tomorrow. It's time to form our avalanche.

image credit: Kimothy Joy

1 comment :

  1. So true and so important! I'm definitely not a follower of politics and so I'm currently trying to do my best to brush up on things so I've got my decision in time to vote. I think it's so important to vote, it's our main chance to contribute to how we want this country run and how we want our lives affected!

    I also agree that people need to use their platforms and roles to help encourage others to vote - that number who didn't vote in the BREXIT fiasco is disgustingly high, I had no idea it was that many!

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