It seems like no matter how many tweets and texts and ranting and raving I do, I still have more to say about the general election campaign. With that in mind, I thought this was good grounds upon which to make a wee comeback to the blog!
I really like election time, I think the build up and the debate are exciting particularly in Scotland post-independence referendum – it’s class! I seen a lot of harsh debating, aye, but I seen a lot of folk from opposing sides genuinely just helping each other out on social media etc this time around. A lot a people were posting about how they were undecided with their pals on social media responding and asking about their constituency and helping them find somebody that suited them. I think this time, people just tried to raise the importance of voting altogether and encourage as many people to do the same regardless of what party! But this election was really tough for me, and I know for a lot of others too. I’m only 20 but I voted for the first time when I was 17 in the independence referendum and since then have lost count of referenda and local and general votes that have cropped up. Although it feels like we haven’t been out of the polling stations over the past few years, this general election posed a great challenge for me. Do I vote for the SNP and try n ‘strengthen Scotlands voice’ and basically concede to the acceptance of another Tory govt? Or do I vote Labour, compromise independence for a time and support Corbyns unparalleled socialist manifesto despite Scottish Labour’s discrepancies?
I’ve always found it quite hard finding a party that totally represented me. I have a lot of respect for individuals like Nicola Sturgeon and Mhairi Black as strong and successful female role models, but I don’t like the SNP and their diluted so-called ‘socialist’ policies. I really like the Greens, Patrick Harvie is a refreshing and positive influence, but their inconsistent approach to Catholic schooling has challenged me a wee bit. I was a member of the SSP for a while also, but I sorta grew apart from the party once the formation of RISE came about. Voting Labour seemed like a no-go ever again after the inept running of Scottish Labour and their cosying up the Tories in the past and in the lead up to the independence referendum. And there was no chance I was voting Tory.
I sorta had to give myself a bit of a shake. Aye, do you know what – it is shite living in Scotland and feeling like you have to make the best of a bad bunch when finding a party that you can truly align with. But am I going to spend more time feeling sorry for myself that I’m not 1000% represented by any one party or am I going to work with what’s on offer and use my vote to to incite positive change not just for me but for the many?
SO, that said – giving myself a shake is exactly what I did. I felt like Corbyn’s manifesto was the strongest and most progressive manifesto I’d seen in recent years and it really resonated with me. And I know the argument – ‘How can you vote for Labour knowing the tragedy of Scottish Labour? And what about independence?’ Aye, do you know what – Scottish Labour just aren’t too sharp but how could I call myself a socialist and look back on years to come knowing that I passed up on that manifesto? Independence is important to me, and I do believe I’ll see independence in my life time, but it’s something I’m willing to compromise for a time in an attempt to see change on a greater scale across the UK. It was always going to be hard for Corbyn to gain a majority and find himself in No.10, but I see the seats he gained, the prevention of a Tory majority and the opposition he has now built as a success, not a loss. I know that when I look back on this election I will be happy knowing that I stuck to my beliefs, and voted for the manifesto that I believed would be the most likely to tackle the struggles of the many and to oppose a divisive and unequal society. Maybe it will pay off, maybe it won’t – but I didn’t want to tactically vote!
Social Media is your best and worst friend in the build up to an election. When you’re connected with all like-minded people on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc it can seem like everybody thinks the same as you and it can lure you into a false sense of security. If I had judged the electoral outcome based on my Twitter, I coulda stuck a score on a Labour landslide and Jeremy Corbyn as PM – the same way social media had me thinking Scotland would be independent and we would DEFINITELY remain in the EU..
It’s this false sense of security that can sometimes make people think they don’t really have to vote or talk to as many folk as they can about politics – but we do! That’s one thing that I’ve taken from this election – the importance of the vote. Women were imprisoned, on hunger strike, being force fed with Emily Davison even dying for the cause of votes for women. Equal voting rights were fought for, for years and with that in mind especially, the right to vote is truly valuable – for all genders! You hear a lot of people saying “Awk, my vote doesn’t count” “I’m just going to waste the ballot” but theres a reason why there are often re-counts on election night – a few votes really can make the difference. I completely get why people are scunnered and want to waste their ballot, cause you can vote in 48393 elections over your life and feel like none of them go your way. It was sore not waking up to Jeremy Corbyn as PM and hearing the Tories looking to pair up with the DUP, it hurts and it’s frustrating when the results aren’t how you would like. Regardless, would you rather wake up unhappy with the election result, but knowing you at least done your bit and tried for your morals and beliefs, or would you rather not vote and wake up to a system or a party that you don’t like because you’ve written your side off before the final whistle?
For the many x