'I Still Have No Idea Who To Vote For In The Election. Anyone Else?'
The Debrief: Don't know who to vote for? Don't want to talk about it with anyone because you'll get the lingo wrong? ME TOO.
I’m intelligent. I’m engaged (not that one, the other one) and say words like ‘sporadic’ and ‘erroneous’ without even trying, because I’ve read a lot of long and complicated books. I passed a politics module once. So why does figuring out who I’m voting for make me totally freak out?
Today, I did The Quiz and embarrassingly had to Google ‘what is mansion tax’ just to make SURE, and then got confused about corporation tax and whether it should be raised or not. My editor told me I sounded quite right wing because I think Trident is a good idea – but just so nobody bombs us. Then I felt bad because if someone wants to leave their children shitloads of money when they die, shouldn’t they be able to do that without being taxed? But hang on, then people don’t get the same start. And I also believe that you should work for what you have, rather than get given it at birth. Or do I?
And then after all this, I get Green Party (closely followed by Labour) which I’m confused about anyway because I’m not sure that it’s a good idea that everyone gets a guaranteed weekly income whether they work or not. Because surely it’ll be an overwhelming ‘not’. And how can I be right wing if I’m so Green? And also so Labour? I’m not alone – a poll released today revealed that just a week before the election, 40% of us haven’t decided how to vote. And I’m not in the least bit surprised.
Basically, every time I open my mouth about the election, I feel tense. Because I haven’t sat down and given it proper thought, and I don’t feel qualified to back up my political opinions, mainly because I don’t know the lingo and if I say something like, ‘Shouldn’t people who earn a lot get taxed a lot?’ to which someone always responds, ‘But they’ve earned it and 50% is far too much’ and now I agree with both me and them.
It’s been like this since I decided I was Lib Dem, even though they ‘went back on their word’ with the tuition fees (STUDENTS ARE ACTUALLY BETTER OFF NOW IN TERMS OF REPAYMENTS AND GETTING IT WRITTEN OFF), and I felt really embarrassed about it so responded to every ‘Why do you like the Lib Dems?’ question with ‘Nick Clegg is like a nice dad’.
That doesn’t get you any points in debates. You shouldn’t base your sole opinion on who should run the country by who looks like a ‘nice dad’. And, actually, I like the Lib Dem ideas: I like how they’re focusing on young people this year, I like how they made it easier for students to repay their loans back – but I’m now furiously backtracking in my mind because for every idea I like, there’ll be an idea that’s wrong. Or stupid.
And someone will outline them to me – someone is probably already doing this right now, while reading this – and then I’ll feel like an idiot. But hey, my constituency is, apparently, a safe Labour seat anyway, so I could vote Booby Looney Chimp Tits (if it was an option) and it probably wouldn’t matter a huge deal.
I think the stock answer to anyone feeling election anxiety is: ‘I don’t know who I’m going to vote for yet, I need to sit down and do some proper research.’ It’s what I say, and it basically means that you’re too nervous to tell people because you’re voting Tory or something.
Because if you vote Tory, you’re a particular sort of person. And if you’re Lib Dem, you’re a particular sort of person. And if you’re Labour, you’re also a particularly sort of person. And we don’t want to be labelled by our friends, or cast out because we support a party that they don’t.
For example, I did the Who Should I Vote For quiz and found out that my boyfriend is basically a Tory UKIPer, which made me immediately think, ‘Oh good Lord, how am I going out with him?’ before being unsurprised because he occasionally gets drunk and says things like, ‘Squatting is worse than genocide’ and then realised that it doesn’t actually matter.
Who we vote for is a part of who we are, but it’s not the only thing we are. Some of my views are left-0f-centre and some are right-of-centre, and if sometimes I have to Google ‘What is left wing’ because I’ve momentarily forgotten which one’s which, then there’s no shame in that. At least I’m feeling something, rather than being totally apathetic and not even wanting to vote.
At this stage, politics is just a popularity contest and each party’s manifesto is hardly set in stone (REMEMBER THE TUITION FEES #NEVERFORGET) so my opinion is just as valid as the next person’s – even if I support a party for certain reasons and choose to ignore some of their other policies. I like the Greens! But I also don’t like certain things about the Greens, and it’s the same with all the parties.
If anything, I say be wary of anyone who describes themselves as a die-hard [insert party]. Because how can you be a die-hard anything when their direction, leanings and entire ethos shifts so easily? Don’t be put off by those people, do loads of research, and go out and vote. That’s the important thing. Not getting a word wrong or having to look up what ‘mansion tax’ means.
Like this? You might also be interested in...
Follow Stevie on Twitter: @5tevieM
At work? With your gran?
You might want to think about the fact you're about to read something that wouldn't exactly get a PG rating