The Northern Writer

Snap election

While I did say this would be a blog focused on mental health and feminism, I feel that the very recent announcement of a general election is too important for me to not talk about. If you missed the news, Theresa May announced yesterday that the country will go to the polls for a general election on June 8th 2017. Now, this has surprised a whole lot of people, given how vocal May has been in the past about not calling a general election before 2020. It seemed that this is based, as most everything is in British politics lately, on Brexit. May has stated that Westminster is divided on Brexit, and so this new election will settle once and for all which policies and stances Britain should take in its negotiations with the EU.

Those of you who know me will know my thoughts on certain British political parties, and it can be a very divisive topic, so I have no intention of going in depth about my political opinions in this post. What this post is about, is making it clear that voting, regardless of your stance, is one of the most important actions you have as a British citizen today.

I know, believe me, how exhausting it has been, to listen to the relentless political reporting in the media in recent years. I understand completely the urge to cut yourself off from it all. I also remember the same attitudes last year before the US election and the Brexit referendum. I remember seeing countless posts by people proudly stating that they won’t take part in the diplomatic process of voting because they weren’t happy with the available choices, and because their ‘vote won’t count anyway’. If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this post, it’s that this attitude is ridiculous. Voting is one of the most effective and important ways to make your voice heard. Yes, it’s a flawed process, but it’s also the best one we have at present. The voices of those who don’t vote, will not count. The only thing the parties are going to be looking at is who voted for whom, not who didn’t vote at all.

You’ve heard this before, but people have died for your right to vote; for your right to be heard and for your decision to matter in the process of policy making and governmental decision. Please don’t squander this opportunity. If you’re confused right now as to who to vote for, you will not be the only one. Read up on the parties, on their policies and manifestos (when they are revealed), and above all, listen to your own mind. Don’t vote for somebody because that’s who your friends or family are voting for. Make up your own mind.

You can vote in the 2017 general election if you’re 18 years old on the day of the polls, and are either: a British citizen living in the UK; a British citizen living overseas who has been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years; a Commonwealth citizen living in the UK with leave to remain, or who doesn’t need leave to remain; an Irish citizen (born in Northern Ireland) living overseas who has been registered to vote in Northern Ireland in the last 15 years.

You must be registered to vote, and this must be done as soon as possible. 

To check if you’re already registered to vote, you can click here to contact your local electoral office, who will be able to let you know whether you’re already on the register or not.

If you’re not registered, you can do so here.

Please do so. Please do your research, and exercise your right to vote on June 8th.