I’ll cover three issues that are apparent to me in considering who to vote for in General Elections.
- Voting for a person (leader).
- Voting for a party (policy).
- Voting for who you always vote for.
Voting for a person (leader)
If you’re voting for a person, the decision process is very short. You’re taking the easy route. And that’s okay. You’re entitled to whatever choice you like.
You’re making your decision based on their looks. Don’t kid yourself that it’s about their interviewing skills, their ability to hold court on the world stage or some other sentence that was placed into your head. The Internet knows you better than that.
This has one critical flaw. The media. The media is who placed that “knowledgeable sounding insight” into your head about why you’re voting for “that person”.
Unless you’re Jeremy Paxman, you’re not going to get face time with all the leaders of all the parties and have a conversation to form a balanced opinion on your voting choice.
Airtime, photographs chosen, quotes chosen, statistics and anecdotal interviews of the public about their thoughts about a person are all chosen for a reason.
Do not be fooled into thinking the editors of the media choose a story or a piece because it’s “nice”. The media delivered into your home or you palm that’s chosen from the vast swathes of interviews and stories that are generated by the journalists on the ground each day and each hour are very deliberate choices. I’m not saying that they are all malicious choices, or that they are all benign, but just know that each choice is deliberate.
There’s a reason some Billionaires own newspapers. There’s a reason some Billionaires are called “Media Moguls“.
Misdirection, and/or misinformation, is a strategy.
An entirely neutral, independent and unbiased media source is an ideal, not a reality. I’d suggest there’s some outlets that are closer than others, but that’s for you to decide.
I recently had the privilege of reading a real copy of The Mirror from 1912 that reported the sinking of the Titanic. Here’s a summary image. Suffice to say that we know now the report in The Mirror was the complete opposite of the truth. In today’s rhetoric it may be called fake news, or in my language. A Lie.
That’s right. Over a hundred years ago, two years before the first world war, propaganda like eating carrots to see in the night, fake news already existed.
In the context of the worlds tiniest orange comedian, the right leaning Breitbart was launched as a direct competitor to the left leaning HuffingtonPost. Reading the difference between the two outlets version of events of the worlds tiniest orange comedian muscling past the Montenegro Prime Minister was fun. Despite there being a video of the event which you can make your own mind up about who/what/why, both outlets used different accompanying language to colour the outcome in your mind. One favoured and/or sympathised with worlds tiniest orange comedian, the other did not. If a picture speaks a thousand words, a video pretty much says it as it is.
My suggestion to you if you’re using the “voting for a person” method is to save yourself the time and angst of being subjected to the endless (mis)information you’re trying to avoid. Get the mug shot of all the leaders of all the parties and simply pick the one you think looks the nicest/most competent/hot, whatever works for you and stick to it. You’re choosing the leader because you want the easy route, remember. Heck, I’ll even save you the Google time. Leaders Mugshots
I put this voting strategy at the start of this article because if you’re that person, I’ll save you the time so you don’t need to read on!
Voting for a party (policy)
If you’re voting for a party, the decision process is long. You’re taking the hard route. Again, that’s okay. You’re still entitled to whatever choice you like.
The problem is the volume of information and comparable outcomes. This is not an apples for apples decision. So you have to do your best and not beat yourself up about it.
http://whoshouldyouvotefor.com/ presents a succinct journey through the high level common policies or issues that are present in the 2017 UK election and presents you with your voting choice. This could be enough for you, or…
A slightly more heavyweight version of this is https://voteforpolicies.org.uk
Harder to differentiate with multiple policy details to consider at each step, but before going for the full manifesto read, this is more thorough that the previous link, but not as thorough as a full read.
Strategies in politics are 5 years long. That’s the most you can plan for until you go through the election process all over again. Even then, given the ramp up and ramp down from election campaigns and the transfer of power between parties, or even between cabinet reshuffles, I would suggest a party has a maximum of 4 effective years in office.
We’re currently enjoying a Conservative government. Some people think it’s simply about removing them from office. This website is engineered to deliver you the information required to best disrupt Conservative government, it has nothing to do with what you want in life, other than you don’t want Tory rule.
Others think you should vote for who you align to, best. How do you choose that? You read each of the main parties manifestos of course. This is the long journey after all.
I’ve collected them conveniently here for your pleasure.
This is the end of the line for the critical voter.
Any television debates, radio interviews, newspaper articles about the former and the like, are then influenced by the media and seem more to do with a memory game “Oh, so and so couldn’t remember the numbers on air for the policy they’re championing”.
Well you know what, I can’t remember everything all the time, either.
The manifesto has all the details in, why concentrate on asking politicians to remember it off the top of their heads and perhaps ask about the philosophy behind the decisions that have already been made. That might actually be interesting.
Voting for who you’ve always voted for.
This is disappointing behaviour. It’s not even as critical as voting for a person.
It’s opting out after performing one critical process.
If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.
Things change, you’re choosing not to.
It’s fair to say there are traits, or whats known as a political spectrum. So people will say “I’m Tory” or “I’m Lib Dem” or “I’m Green”. What they really mean is that they exist on a part of the political spectrum and they continue to vote for that same party that they aligned with back when they were once critical about who they were aligned to and either went through the voting for a person and/or vote for a party process. They’ve then released themselves from the trouble of being critical at each election and committed to being aligned to a party.
It’s a little bit like deciding to be a fan of a football club.
Being a supporter of a football club is very tribal thing. You can come under immense social scrutiny and pressure for your decisions. Changing your mind on the club you support is frowned upon and not done often by many people at all. Talk to an Arsenal fan about changing allegiances to become a Chelsea fan and see what happens. I would suggest the same pressures apply here to party aligned voters.
Manifestos are different every election. Which is why voting for who you’ve always voted for is like delegating the decision process out or saying “I did it once, I’m not doing it again”.
Manifestos exist for a reason. They are the 5 (4) year strategies as discussed earlier and you can’t, as a helpless voter, do any better than to hope and believe that the party will deliver the larger portion of the manifesto should they reach government. Using the 80/20 rule you’d like to think as a voter and I’d imagine as a party member too, it would be nice to get 80% of the manifesto done in your 5 (4) years in power. The other 20% was your stretch target. Sadly the voter doesn’t get to choose which of the manifesto targets get done and which don’t.
I hope that rather than voting for who you always voted for, you at least choose the hottest party leader. At least you’re being critical of something.