I have some thoughts about the up-and-coming snap election. I’m not here to press my personal feelings on to you in regard to my preferences, views or political choices, but to share some things that will hopefully help you and other people in the direction of accurate information that informs the public to make a decision based on their own values and beliefs. From facts. No myths. No exaggerations.
I wrote a blog on the Brexit situation last year [read that here], and the main thing that I wanted to get across was that the British public were so ill-informed. People were divided amongst peers and their vote to Remain or Leave, defining others by their choice. I witnessed many negative comments in life and online too, and the funny thing is that the Government did not take any responsibility for the referendum, or it’s outcome. Blame was thrown around at all groups of people, but it was the Government. The Government were the ones at fault, they failed to provide clear details for both sides of the referendum. I strongly believe that they should have given as much information as possible to remain or leave, what are the pros, what are the cons, what will happen for each result. I feel that by only focusing on the Remain campaign, our Government failed to provide a platform whereby the nation could make a decision based on fact. Instead, numbers and information was thrown around with little or no evidence and it simply confused people. I looked for and tried to share credible sources of information for both Remain and Leave opinions during the campaign, but it was a struggle. And I can’t have been the only one that felt like that.
So here we are, almost a year on, and a Snap Election is announced. A decision to select who represents our country in the negotiations of Brexit. Will it be the Conservatives? Will it be Labour? Will it be a hard or soft Brexit? Do I vote based on Brexit only, or also economic/transport/immigration/health/education policies presented by each party? What information do I consider? Where do I get my information from?
With the failings of the Government in the last round – and in particular their appauling decision to avoid TV debates with other parties in this coming election – I am writing to share some tools that might help you wade through the merky waters of this election the the electorates policies – if you feel you need it. There are a couple of areas that I think have helped me so far, and can help you decide what party speaks to you, with your views, values and beliefs in how our country should be run.
These three will help to explore opinions, beliefs, and to listen to debates:
- Leading Britains Conversations (LBC) – Radio 97.3, Facebook, Twitter, Website
A genuinely fantastic radio station that talks about a range of topics, but right now Politics is clearly a popular and common conversation. Most presenters are unbiased, they challenge and debate with listeners, and you will agree with them, disagree with them, or they will provoke thought that may change your outlook.
- isidewith.com – 2017 Election Quiz
A website that has a number of quizes and polls on a range of topics, whether its about the EU, NHS, same sex marriage, tax evasion or human rights. This particular quiz, the ‘2017 Election Quiz’ asks 37 questions across a range of policy areas where you can say you agree, disagree or have another stance (they offers more options). At the end, it will tell you what % of each party you side with as well as the policies most important to you are linked with that party. It provides a couple of other visuals, your ideology (are you left wing/right wing/libertarian/authoritarian) and your political themes. I found these areas fascinating to read about. I learnt about my beliefs and I learnt what party I agree mostly with. Although a great tool, please don’t take this quiz as gospel, but use it as a guide – then go and investigate! I have shared my outcome with friends and family, and they have done the same; some results are surprising, but I feel that it will (if your peers are open to doing so) encourage debate, and that is what we need.
- YouGov – Website, Twitter
“YouGov is a global market research and data company built on a simple idea: The more people participate in the decisions made by the institutions that serve them, the better those decisions will be” – I couldn’t have put it better myself! Basically, YouGov is another great source of information. Take it with a pinch of salt, particularly on Twitter [I saw a tweet that merged some data together to make a 140 character conclusion, and I feel it misrepresented what was shown, but I digress]. What is good though, is that there are recent poll opinions, news articles, and absolutely most importantly you can view the original data. If you sign up you can fill our the surveys too which contribute to more accurate information – something I feel quite strongly about, particularly on opinion polls because you get “GROUP A believe X because of this data” and I think, I am ‘GROUP A’ but I wasn’t asked. It is not always representative, so contribute, or take it with that pinch of salt.
Doing your own research and keeping in the loop is difficult, but an absolute must. Avoiding nonsense comments, extreme or misleading views is also very tough too. Ensure you are not reading Fake News. Watch the TV debates. Share the good reports. Discuss. Debate. And if you are willing to, please engage in conversations with me – talking about politics really helps me to understand why I think something, and also to see other points of view that allows me to assess from a wider view.
Check the British parties websites, and their manifestos, here: