Sunday, May 01, 2005

Fight For Your Right To (Elect A) Party

Today I left Malaysia, with its ubiquitous Protons and palm oil plantations, behind me and arrived at Hat Yai in southern Thailand where, you'll be reassured to know, exactly 4 weeks ago saw two bomb blasts blamed on local Islamic separatists. Not much really happened on the trip up, which allows me to devote today's post to a rant rather close to my heart. You see the British general elections are only a few days away and this is my platform to get you all out to vote; and even though this post is directly aimed at my British readers I would like to think that it applies equally to everyone.

I implore all of you who can (and you should all be able to) to go out and vote on the 5th of May. It is the most important thing you can do as citizens and is an honour that too many people take for granted. It is sad to see the apathy and general distrust in the political system when people all over the world are fighting, and dying, for the opportunity to vote. It may be that people don't see immediate results from their actions, and in today's world of instant gratification the continental drift of the political process just leaves them cold.

Many people will counter that by saying that all the parties are the same and there's nobody they want to vote for, but that is just a lame excuse. First of all there is a difference between the parties (albeit a small one) and so you must choose the one closest to your opinions. But that being the case, if you are dissatisfied with the parties then get involved. Actively make a difference. Don't be an armchair critic when it comes to something as important as the way the country (and by extension, your life) is run. Such a step might be slow and incremental, but you can't be expected to be given carte blanche with the country without proving yourself to a certain degree.

Then there are people who say "I'm not voting in protest". But how does one distinguish the protesting non-voter from the apathetic one? A protest vote is all well and good, but it must be recorded. I make no secret of the fact that I'm partial to the Lib Dems and I would naturally rather that you vote for them, but I'll be just as satisfied if you simply voted. Vote for the Monster Raving Loony Party if you want to, but vote! One only has to see what happened a few years back in France when major voter apathy allowed the presidential vote to be decided between a right-wing racist fascist, and the incumbent incompetent. Personally I believe we should have no say in the matter and voting should be made compulsory.

Anyway, if you are still wavering as to who to vote for, below is a list of websites of most of the major parties:

Liberal Democrats
Plaid Cymru
Scottish National Party
The Greens
Monster Raving Loony Party

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