Voting when you know NOTHING about politics

 

I have definitely been that person who thought politics wasn’t for them - it was too complicated and it always had me feeling like I was wading in at the deep end. Like I had to ‘catch up’ with everything before I could understand even the basics and tbh it felt like too much hard work. 

If ever I found myself in conversations discussing current events it always seemed to involve some mad fanatic who knew all the names of every politician, their policies and what they ate for breakfast. I felt stupid for even trying to get involved with my lacking knowledge. 

Politics has never been much of a talking point for me or my family when I was growing up, and I’ve spent a lot of time around people who believe their vote ‘doesn’t matter’, ‘who know nothing about politics’ and feel ‘it’s too complicated'. It’s easy to see how these ideas rub off. I have been guilty of feeling like this. And when you’re faced with having to make decisions about things that are way bigger and more important than your tiny self it’s easy to shrug your shoulders and decide to sit this one out. 

Despite this I have always voted whenever I could.  

Even if you feel like you have no idea what is going on, the reality is politics affects literally everything.

From your tuition fees, to your job opportunities (or how much support you get if you can’t find one.) If you’ll be able to afford to buy a house, or even how much your landlord can charge for rent. Politics decides everything from your human rights, whether or not companies can test on animals, to how much your clothes cost. It’s likely you'll have some opinion on at least one of these matters and that just goes to show that you should start taking some interest and register to vote

You don’t have to know it all. Believe me, I still don’t know very much but I’m hoping I can convince you that it’s easy to find out enough information to feel like you can have an opinion, a voice, and vote! 

I can’t name all the party leaders or say for definite what they stand for but I’ve taken a few steps over the years to ease myself into politics a little more so that I feel like I have a tiny bit more of an understanding about wtf is going on.

The great thing is, you don’t even need to worry about who you’re going to vote for right now. That’s something you can decide later, but there are only a few days left to register to vote so that you have the choice to do so on 8th June. 

You've totally got loads of time to figure things out before then so I thought I would out bust counter arguments to your excuses right now!

 

But it’s all too overwhelming, I don't know what's going on. 

When you feel like you have no idea where to start, it helps if you know your stand points on issues from the beginning. Make an effort to pop BBC news on when you're having your breakfast, listen to what’s going on in the world and ask yourself how you feel about the stuff you see. Do you agree with what’s going on? Or would you like it to change? Once you start to know how you feel about certain issues it will be easier to see which parties also share similar views to you. 

You’ll probably surprise yourself and find that you’ll come across issues you’re already passionate about but maybe didn’t link that you voting can influence outcomes for causes you believe in. 

 

But politics is boring. 

If you think politics is boring, Umm I beg you to tune in to Question Time and watch someone forget the question they waited all evening to ask (u had one job m8). I would always dismiss shows like this as being ‘boring’ but actually I was totally wrong. And because the audience is made up of ordinary people from the general public it’s a whole lot more relatable to watch than Prime Minister’s Questions (yawn).

If you still find it boring, well I hate to break it to you but you gotta do some boring stuff when you’re an adult, it’s a fact of life. But also, there are dogs at polling stations, so y’know swings and roundabouts.

photo via @hugothelad (lads lads lads) 

photo via @hugothelad (lads lads lads) 

But I don’t like debating. 

Take the conversation into your own hands and bring up the subject yourself. Ask your friends and family their views, but don’t feel like you have to get in to a debate about anything. I hate confrontation and the thought of it makes me want to curl up and die a tiny bit. I much prefer to listen to people’s views and let them soak in, before forming an opinion on a subject. Once you’ve decided how you feel about that subject you might feel like you can offer more to the discussion next time it comes up. But no pressure if not. 

Remember, anybody who purposefully makes you feel stupid for asking a question or not knowing something is an idiot themselves. And you can bet your ass that it’s those people (whose views you probably don’t agree with) that are making sure they head out at every election to cast their vote. 

 

My vote won’t make a difference. 

After the vote for Brexit how many interviews were there with people who ‘thought their vote wouldn’t make a difference’ but actually their votes combined have now left us in the shit. In short, your voice matters, so use it. 

Pro tip - If ever you have a moment where you think your actions won’t make a difference - be it voting, choosing to recycle, or eating less meat - think about the results if 100 people thought/did the same as you. If 100 people did that thing you’re holding off from doing, it will obvs make a difference. What about 1000? 10,000? You get my point? You do make a difference. 

One thing I’ve learnt massively is that you cannot, under no circumstances, trust your twitter feed to reflect the thoughts of the whole nation. On too many occasions I've gone to bed so optimistic thinking we were all going to be fine - only to wake up on results day to find it was all a lie. It makes sense, on the most part the people we follow on social media are similar to ourselves, we follow them because we like what they’re saying. We create our own bubble, an echo chamber and whilst we’re all RTing and feeling smug that we’re all on the same page it’s easy to forget there people out there who think VERY differently to you, me, us! 

 

Even if you have no idea who to vote for right now, it’s so important to give yourself the chance to vote when the time comes. If you can’t vote then you definitely 100% take away your right to moan about anything in the future. (And are you even British if you don’t moan?)

 

But I don’t like any of the candidates. 

You don’t have to tbh. It’s not that one person who decides everything, it’s the party as a whole. And probably even other people who I don’t even know about … did I mention I don’t know much about politics? One thing I hate is how voting is made out to be some sort of popularity contest for the front (wo)men of the parties. It’s important to remember that that person is backed by a party of loads of other people and they make decisions together. So try not to pay attention to all the media X about any one person. It’s policies that matter, and thankfully there are handy online quizzes like this voteforpolicies.com that show you which parties align best with your views. EASY. PEASY. 

I promise you, it doesn’t matter if feel like you know nothing about politics. At the moment you just need to register to vote because you only have til Monday 22nd to do it! 

If the times comes in June and you still feel like you still have no fucking clue then get yourself down to the polling station and strike through your entire ballot and it will count as a vote for ‘none of the above’. If you really feel like none of the parties stand up for what you believe in, this will send more of a message than doing absolutely nothing. 

TL;DR? 
It doesn’t matter if you know absolutely nothing about politics, just register to vote here before 22nd May.