Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Why voting for a small party makes a huge difference

Don't let Emily down!
Get out and Vote! 
At the time of writing, there are just 26 hours left until voting closes in this year's General Election! I've stocked up with snacks for a long night online watching the counts come in, but of course for that to be worthwhile we need to all Get Out There And Vote!

Do you know where your Polling Station is?
If not, Click This Link. They will all be open from 7am until 10pm.

And, if you have just remembered your unused postal vote, don't panic! Fill it in now and hand it into a Polling Station tomorrow or get someone else to take it for you. Just make sure the Polling Station is in your constituency!

There's was a massive surge in voter registration this year, especially amongst younger people, which is fantastic to see. Now that needs to be transferred into footsteps walking up to ballot boxes. Remember, last time around more people didn't vote than voted Conservative. That's about a third of us who maybe thought their vote wouldn't make a difference. Maybe people living in a safe seat or who support a party that couldn't have won in their constituency? Those voters could have radically changed this country if only they had believed in themselves!

If we look at how far the Conservatives have swung into UKIP ideological territory, we see that all those UKIP votes in 2015 did make a difference. And (in good news!) this year's Labour manifesto includes some good Green thinking. Not enough in my opinion, but it's a start and the stronger the Green vote across the country tomorrow, the more likely we are to get Green policies into practice whether or not we achieve a second (or third) MP.

Each vote for an Opposition party has a tangible monetary value too. I recently learned about Short Money (which is not unexpectedly walking home when Stagecoach puts bus fares up again!), but an initiative introduced by Harold Wilson's government to enable the Opposition to fulfil its role more effectively. Simplistically, Opposition parties get an annual payment towards their costs and the amount is based on how they did in the previous election. At the moment each MP is worth £16,689 and every 200 votes is worth £33.33. So my voting Green in Torbay will get the Green Party 16p - every year! OK, it's not much, but multiply that by every vote ... plus in Bristol West (Molly Scott Cato), Sheffield (Natalie Bennett), or on the Isle of Wight (Vix Lowthion) Green votes leading to a new Green MP could significantly swell the coffers!

However, regardless of which way you are going to vote, please just Do Vote. Take a friend then go for a coffee. Turn up mob-handed then go to the pub. Even spoiling your ballot paper is a visible protest at the state of our country. Sitting silently at home is tacit approval of the status quo and, unless you are seriously rich, this Tory government is Not working for you.

The woman pictured at the top of this post is Emily Wilding Davison. She died on the 8th of June 1913 of injuries sustained when she was trampled by the King's horse at Epsom races. Emily was carrying a Suffrage banner calling for British women to be allowed to vote. She never got to exercise the right she died to achieve but You Can.

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