GE2015 minus 17: taking the register

Posted: 20 April 2015 in general election 2015, politics
Tags: , ,

We’re about eight hours away from a notable deadline, one I mentioned about a week ago: as from midnight tonight, no-one who has not registered to vote can vote on 7th May. 

I’ve written before about how important it is that people vote, and I agree with Matthew Parris who expertly dissected the reasons most people give and declared them lazy and lousy. He then went on to provide the only reason that really matters: voting changes things.

For all the nonsense that is thrown around about “oh, they’re all the same”, no, no they’re not. Not as candidates, not as parties, not the policies they put forward upon which you should vote. 

There’s a great scene in The West Wing, where, faced with a sign saying “It doesn’t matter who you vote for, VOTE”, one character protests, saying “See? I think it does matter who you vote for”. He changes the sign to read “No matter who you vote for, VOTE”. He’s right.

There are something over 3,000 candidates standing for election in two and a half-weeks, for 650 individual constituencies. As I’ve mentioned previously, some of those are entering an election believing they “should” win, either because it’s a safe seat, or the polls favour them, or even that they think they’ve done a decent enough job as the member of parliament already. And those people will get one hell of a shock in 17 days when they lose the election. Some candidates, like Stephen Twigg in Enfield in 1997, are going to get a hell of a surprise when they actually win a seat they didn’t truly expect to.

They’re not all the same. Whoever forms the next government, let’s be generous and say they last until 2020. Whatever state the finances are in, whatever state the health service, the education system, the defence budget… we can’t predict. Anyone who says they know what will happen in five months, let alone five years, is lying, or at the very best crystal ball gazing, with about as much accuracy as that noted predictor. So, one can’t possibly vote for what we want the country to be like in five years. No one can. For a start, take a look at what’s happened in the last five years. Not just what the government has managed (or mismanaged), but what’s happened around the world. Could we have predicted every one? Of course not. What would you have said were the odds when you were voting in 2010 that a conservative-led coalition government would bring in equal marriage? 

Back five years before then, to 2005. Very few people were predicting the crash only two years later. Some were, of course, but then some people always are. Just two years. And we’re expected to vote for who we want to run thing for the next five…

Some of the manifesto will be junked on day one. We know that. The electorate pretty much expects it these days, and especially since it’s likely that we’re in for another spell of coalition government, or at the least  a minority government. Some of the manifesto will fall by the wayside during the legislative process. And some, not a lot, but some of the manifesto will make it through the negotiations, through the legislative to and fro in the commons, make it through the Lords, and become law. 

So, basically, it’s going to come down to who do you trust to actually put their policies into practice, will get the legislation passed and not fuck up anything else too badly in the meantime.

You don’t have to vote. You don’t. I’d rather you did, of course. I’d rather everyone eligible voted.

But you won’t get the choice unless you’re registered. 

You’ve got eight hours, as of 4pm. 

Go.

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