Making my democratic debut

It’s voting day tomorrow in the UK! I’m very excited because I am making my voting debut. Yup, thanks to Midnite Gem, I found out that I can actually vote in the British elections. They let Commonwealth citizens who are resident in the UK vote, how hectic is that? I have a  feeling that if I were British that would piss me right off, but seeing as I have been here nearly 7 years and have the right to vote I’m definitely going for it. I’ve been reading manifestos like a demon llama.

I seem to be slightly obsessed with politics, and realise that this is because my Dad is obsessed with politics and I am a replica of him. But I also realise that most people glaze over like donuts when I talk politics so I’m going to keep it short.

Making a decision has been a bitch, and I gather that I am not the only person struggling. I definitely want a change because things have gone astray in Labour’s 12 years.

At first I thought that this definitely meant I should vote Conservative because that is the only way my vote could count. But I’m just not a Conservative at heart. The Conservatives want to give a tax break to married couples only. I have written before why I don’t want to get married and I don’t believe that BFG and I are worse than a married couple and deserve to be taxed more.

Also I like some of the Tory ideas of getting rid of beaurocracy, but their plan to install a system where incentive is based on performance will creat more beaurocracy as well as loads of other dodgy issues. It will FAIL.

Also, while I don’t think they will pass any anti-gay laws or anything, I know they aren’t exactly gay friendly and won’t allow gay marriage in the country. So boo to them.

They are going to win anyway, but as most people point out, whoever wins this election will probably only make one term because whatever cuts or changes need to be made to save the economy are going to be unpopular.

So if I ignore old Gordie and his Labourers, shame, maybe they can clean up their act and make a comeback, that means I have to vote Lib Dem. Ok they are a bit away with the fairies, and have some policies that they must have written while making an acquaintance with some sweet Mary Jane (although all of the parties have some of these). And they’ve never actually ruled a country before, but if they did win, what an interesting experiment that would be!

And they are pro gay-marriage.

So I’m voting Lib Dem even though they won’t win. But if they come second it would be pretty momentous too.

Yay! I finally get to participate in a democracy. It’s still a dream of mine to vote in the South African elections. Maybe one day.


20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tamara
    May 05, 2010 @ 09:56:47

    In SA, aside from the main players, you also have like a gazillion weird little unheard-of parties to choose from when you vote. It’s odd.

    Enjoy your democratic experience.


  2. Po
    May 05, 2010 @ 10:45:13

    Hey Tamara, they have those too, although not the Soccer party, ad far as I am aware :) but they mostly just stand for one cause and don’t really have strong governing policies.

    They have the UK independant party, but they want independance from Europe, they are very right wing and want one UK culture, and will probably ban the burqa, that kind of thing. Definitely not for me!

    Then there is the green party, which is all nice but they are definitely on drugs, theyw ant to raise the minimum wage to £8 in the middle of an economic slump where other countries are taking pay cuts. Not likely :)


  3. Kirsty
    May 05, 2010 @ 10:48:23

    Totally agree with you on this one Po – to be honest, I voted SNP in the last election, but I think this time I need to put Britain before Scotland. Labour have some great ideas – but why haven’t they achieved anything other than total meltdown? And while the Conservatives are pretty snappy – I’m the same as you – my liberal leftie side just won’t allow it. So Lib Dems it is.


  4. prixie
    May 05, 2010 @ 11:02:32

    oh wow! that is just great! why did you not vote in the SA elections? they allowed Saffas in foreign countries to vote last year, of course, you had to have registered first in SA. And I did vote in Trafalgar Square, SA House! One of my most fave moments ever!

    Enjoy making the X! :)


  5. sonnyvsdan
    May 05, 2010 @ 14:10:09

    i’m really keen to hear how it all turns out. Its on tomorrow right? Good luck!

    It’s great to see someone unafraid of sharing their opinion with others. If only more cared about the future and paid attention to politics.

    Our elections at the end of the year and it sounds as if I’ll be facing some of the same problems you are.



  6. Shannon
    May 05, 2010 @ 20:27:52

    Wait, expat SAfficans can’t vote even if they haven’t given up their citizenship? That’s wack. Although I also think letting Commonwealth members vote in UK elections is as well. I like the be-a-citizen-to-vote model.

    I’m a political junkie too, although it means I spend much of the time being demoralized by my party or irrationally annoyed at other people who don’t pay enough attention to have informed opinions. Honestly it has turned me into a rank elitist. I am so opposed to get-out-the-vote measures. If you haven’t paid attention and can’t be bothered to vote without someone calling you 17 times and walking you to the polling place, then you’re too stupid to vote and you should sit this one out and leave it to the grown-ups. Is that ugly of me? It is, isn’t it?


  7. Po
    May 05, 2010 @ 21:07:05

    Kirsty: It’s a bit nervewracking voting Lib Dem because they are being used by both other parties: “If you vote lib dem you are essentially voting Tory” etc… and “a hung parliament will doom Britain”, but the other parties are not going to win my vote by scaremongering, if the policies are not what I want then I aint voting for them no matter what.

    Prixie: that’s the thing, I wasn’t registered in SA. But even if I was I remember checking about 3 weeks before the election and seeing they were only allowing people who were travelling overseas to vote. So BFG didn’t apply to vote. Didn’t the decision that everyone could vote only come through 2 weeks before? Unfortunately by the time we found out it was too late for him to send off the form. It was pretty poo. I wasn’t exactly checking every day, cos with 3 weeks to go I gave up hope of there being a change of rule, it just seemed too last minute.

    I did consider flying back to register, but, um, that’s a bit of an expensive vote, and since at that time the decision was that we couldn’t vote anyway, I stayed home.

    Sonnyvsdan: gosh I know nothing about Aussie politics at all! Sorry. So is your ruling party currently more left leaning or right leaning, or different? Which do you prefer? And finally… why do you guys keep the Queen? WHY?

    Shannon: well the rules change all the time, for the last election they allowed expats to vote at the last minute, like really the last minute, but as I never registered in SA I couldn’t vote anyway.

    Um, actually, this may be highly reactionary but I agree with you on who should vote. If you have no idea what the parties actually plan to do then how can I feel safe knowing that your decision (which is totally uninformed) is guiding the state of the country? However it is impossible to discriminate these days on the grounds of being horribly apathetic, so we’re stuck with them.


  8. Lady Fi
    May 06, 2010 @ 08:26:04

    As an ex-pat Brit, I’m anxious to see how it will go… I think a lot of people are fed up with the two major parties and will be voting Lib Dem… It’s about time the Tories and Labour have some competition!


  9. Cam
    May 06, 2010 @ 09:23:07

    Po…sorry, but British polotics is boring as! Seriously :D

    You need some Julius Factor over there so people can do remixes of their interviews!

    Enjoy. Go Blue Team!


  10. Helen
    May 06, 2010 @ 12:32:46

    I love voting! It’s a pest and has queues and stuff, but I love seeing how excited some people get, and there are always the little old ladies who dress up to the nines and are so proud…

    And the morons who don’t care or see it as their responsibility to help make the decision about who is running the country…

    I must admit though, after Julius and co here, british politics do seem slightly tame! I’ve enjoyed watching some of the party debates on BBC though.


  11. Shannon
    May 06, 2010 @ 14:34:03

    Do you get a little patriotic sticker with the flag on it that says “I voted”? I wear that thing like a badge of honor when I vote. Especially when it’s a smaller election, like municipal or a special election, not the big kahuna like the presidential race–it’s like saying “I’m not an amateur, folks, not a Johnny-come-lately to this voting thing, I am a *professional*. I am a voting aficionado. Watch in awe.”

    That’s my internal monologue anyway.


  12. Shannon
    May 06, 2010 @ 14:35:11

    And Cam, I have to say that’s what I miss about GW: there were some great Youtube remixes of his press conferences. Sigh. You can’t really do that to Obama, he speaks English too well. :P


  13. Damaria Senne
    May 06, 2010 @ 14:53:07

    @tamara – the one strange little party that stuck in my mind was KISS. I almost voted for them for teh weirdness factor, especially because I didn’t want to vote ANC ( I think having over 66% of votes is not good for a democracy, and I usually try to use my vote as some kind of equaliser. DA creeps me out, and NP back in the day was completely out of question. )


  14. Po
    May 06, 2010 @ 20:08:38

    LAdyfi: did you vote? Can you vote?

    Cam: ah Juju, that song rules. “Don’t dome here with that tendency! Bloody agent!” I wonder if people here remix Gordon Brown? He is just not as funny. Saffas have to have a finely tuned sense of humour to survive.

    Helen: it is tame voting here. I honestly believe it’s cos they beleive in the whole British “lets not make a fuss and just get on with it mentality”. There are no posters on the street lights, very few posters at all actually. All the fliers and the posters went up yesterday, the day before! No people waving flags, no bunting. Nothing. When we went to vote we finished in two minutes. Tehre were no queues. I feel robbed! I think I still have the image of queues snaking around the building from 1994 in SA. And our ballot was cheap photocopied paper, and we voted with a pencil! It was so antiquated and humble and without fanfare and so British. I loved it.

    Shannon: hehe no flag, no patriotic thingy! As I say, it is not the done thing to be outwardly patriotic over here. But people were talking about it all today, and it’s all over the newspapers. That is the only way you would know there was an election really :)

    Damaria: I remember that party! I can’t remember what they stood for though? I’m glad to hear I am not the only person who thinks along tactical lines when it comes to SA politics. The huge majority made me feel uncomfortable too, and for some reason I thought Cope would be a good choice, even though they were really just recycled ANC politicians who were on their way out. At least they finally broke the ANC brotherhood and gave some opposition.


  15. Paula
    May 08, 2010 @ 22:00:30

    I wish I hadn’t voted. I know that strange and I am supposed to feel an internal pride that I have voted… amandla and all of that… but really I wish I hadn’t. I think its mainly because I didn’t believe in my vote. It’s just- nobody said anything about animals in their manifestos and after a philosophy paper I read about voting for parties that would speak for those who cannot speak for themselves… I guess, I am morally obligated to vote for the party that talks about trees, animals and the earth. And yet, there are hardly any that cover all three.
    Random. I know. But I’m learning to speak my mind without editing this year.


  16. Paula
    May 08, 2010 @ 22:04:48

    I know I probably sound pompous on some spiritual right road. But really- I really really wish I hadn’t. I feel like you should mean it when you do and I didn’t. I really feel like I wasted people’s time and money voting. I just shouldn’t have.


  17. Po
    May 08, 2010 @ 22:17:32

    Oh Paula I think you are too hard on yourself, there will never be a party that represents everything you want in a country. At least I don’t think so. I think ideals are one thing, and the actual practical running of a country are another. You need a party that find a balance between ideals and practical management. I know what you mean though, as there were things with all parties that I disagreed with, I didn’t feel that happy voting, but I definitely think the pary I voted for came closest to my ideals. I think it is better to vote than not to vote, because democracy can only thrive if people vote. A choice is definitely better than no choice, as I have learned from my Chinese friends, even if the choice is not great.


  18. Dora
    May 10, 2010 @ 22:52:49

    Boohoo, I knew about the Commonwealth thing and thought I was able to vote. But then not, coz Hong Kong has been returned to China!

    ….but good on ya! I would’ve voted Lib Dem too! :)


  19. Tamara
    May 12, 2010 @ 09:46:54

    @Damaria: I remember KISS too. And I feel the same… I don’t want to vote ANC, but I’m not onboard with the DA either. COPE don’t appeal and voting for anyone else seems like a waste of a vote because they won’t get enough votes to count for anything. Democracy is tough.


  20. Po
    May 15, 2010 @ 13:31:50

    Hey guys, apparently KISS stands for Keep it straight and simple. I couldn’t find out about their policies though, their website seems to be down.


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