Forget Winter: The General Election is coming!

ONCE more it’s that dreaded time of the political calendar. After the recent upset of the Euro elections (I’m looking at you, Nigel Farage), it’s more important than ever that we Voting in Hackneystudents – the fresh faces on the voting scene – and indeed anybody who is able takes to the ballots on the 7th May. After all, those voted in will be our lords and masters for the next five years.

Of course we don’t have any say in changing our own tuition fees since being cast into a deluge of debt by the Coalition government of 2010, but we’re not so heartless as to stand idly by and allow future generations to suffer as we’ve been made to suffer, are we? Four years into the shaky Tory/Lib Dem alliance, and with the purple tide of UKIP threatening to tear the country away from Europe, the time has never been better to open our minds to the effect we can have on the people ruling the country. Furthermore, we should realise how we can shape the policies they (attempt to) enact for better or worse.

You may listen to the ravings of popular celebrities such as Russell Brand, who declares the democratic process as inadequate, unacceptable, and therefore should be ignored and replaced by something new. What this fails to recognise is that, as the current political system and with no red mist of revolution emerging in the wake of Scotland’s failed bid for independence, it is the ONLY way in which your voice – no matter how soft-spoken or unsure it may be – can be heard in the scheme of that old motivation to vote: ‘making a difference’. You may question the validity of this statement, and you would be right to, but consider the fact that you are not alone in thinking that. There are like-minded people of a similar age up and down the country who lack the conviction to vote, you eventually come to realise that if you all vote, the voice you share gets louder, and when it gets to a certain volume, it might even be heard!

The most important thing to consider when you go into elections is your knowledge of what is happening. Do you know who is standing, and what they are standing for? Do you understand the possible consequences of what they want to put in place? It may seem incomprehensible, but I assure you the answers are out there if you look for them. It is well worth going into the booth on the Election Day with a clear head, knowing exactly what you’re doing. You can start by simply talking to your friends and family. Find out what they think and, if that leaves you unsatisfied, try that most faithful of resources: the internet. Get clued-up on manifestos and personalities until that burning passion or hatred fuels up inside you and you know exactly where you want to place your vote.

You might even remain unsure until you step into the polling station, but that’s perfectly fine too. The important thing is that we take advantage of one of the most fundamental of human rights: democracy. Exercising the ability to elect rulers is something that people often take for granted; there are many countries round the world that don’t allow their citizens to vote. It has ironically been severely undervalued recently by the disaffected, whose gripes are perhaps best put forward by the very process they feel leaves them feeling hushed.

It’s that faint possibility of having a voice in the never-ending debate of politics that gives me the hope that when I put that tick on the paper in May, and there are thousands of people in a similar situation. Those who can muster the courage and the same hope to vote for something they believe in, rather than passively letting the decisions happen around them. If you don’t want a say in how things are run, the people running are going to assume you’re happy with anything; not that you would rather have anything but them.