Turn Up and Turn Out: why you should vote in the General Election

Registration to vote in the General Election on 8th June will close on May 22nd, you can register at gov.uk/register-to-vote. It’s quick and easy, and at the moment it’s one of the most radical things you can do

Elections are supposed to be the apex of democratic process – so why do they feel like the opposite? This one more than most, which has seen the current government taking full advantage of its position to ensure a favorable result. They are, after all, sure that their core voters will turn out.

You may feel that staying at home on 8th June is your way of railing against a system thatPalace_of_Westminster,_London_-_Feb_2007 fails to include you, but within the UK’s current political structure your abstention won’t amount to anything.

If you feel anger about the way that politics is happening, if you feel unsure about Brexit, if you want to see some kind of change – vote. And get your friends and family to vote, too.

This is the message that Media Diversified is sending out in the last few days before voter registration closes on 22nd May, and below you’ll find more reasons to have your voice heard on the ballot paper from some of our writers.

Henna Zamurd-Butt, Editor – Media Diversified


I think this election is a pivotal one to decide the future for all of us, young and old, except for the rich, very privileged 10% who do not have to worry about health care or their rights being eroded. There is a rise in racism, ableism and misogyny in today’s political and societal climate – set by the Brexit referendum, misinformation and ignorance.

There is always a chance to change the status quo which is why I am helping the campaign #cripthevoteUK to get disabled people to register and vote. There are 13 million disabled people in UK and if we all vote, we can make a difference. Granted that it does not mean all of them will vote for the same result but given this government’s record of austerity measures and cuts against disabled people, it will be difficult to understand if they voted for more punishment.

Eleanor Lisney, creative practitioner and disability rights activistPolling_station_6_may_2010


With increasingly cost-strapped public services such as the NHS and schools, health and social, inequalities are on the rise. Vote to have a say in how your public services are funded and run.

Dr Rageshri Dhairyawan, Consultant in Sexual Health and HIV, Barts Health NHS Trust


I think it’s especially important to vote in this election because for the first time in years there is a clear choice to be made.

If we don’t, I believe the left wing voice in this country may be drowned out forever.

Ava Vidal, comedian and writer


I gave a talk at a college in south east London about race and identity. At the end, a few students hung around to ask questions. One boy said, ‘are you going to vote then?’ His tone was more abrasive, almost as if accusing me of something I hadn’t done, I said yes then he said ‘why, they’re all a bunch of bullshitters.’ I couldn’t argue with that. He was right, politics was and is a dirty game, one that has multiple sides to it, persuasive language, golden pledges, showmanship and of course the politician’s own career.

‘Who you voting for then?’ ‘Jeremy Corbyn’ I replied. ‘Yeah but my dad said he’s the one who got us into this mess.’

‘You mean Brexit? Cameron. Or NHS privatisation? Hunt. Or academisation of schools? Gove. Morgan. Bombing Syria? Cameron. Iraq? Blair. I mean I can keep doing this bro, but you see what I’m saying right? Anyway, you make your decision and exercise your right to vote.’

‘What’s your name?’ ‘Ali.’ ‘Cool, you rate your dad?’ He laughed, ‘yeah, of course, he’s my dad init.’ ‘Right, so has he ever done anything that pisses you off?’

‘Yeah sometimes, he says stuff about other people that’s a bit harsh, people who sponge off the government and that.’ ‘But you know he’s being a bit ignorant, and you allow him?’ ‘Yeah I mean, he’s not always like that, he has his issues like everyone else.’ ‘But my point is you don’t give up on him, or run away from the yard, from your family, do you?’ ‘Nah.’ ‘Then you should see this in the same way, if you don’t weigh up all the options and make a decision that best suits you and the people around you then really you’re just giving up.’ ‘Yeah but this ain’t my family we’re talking about here. Like I can’t just sit down and chat with these man.’ ‘What do you think a vote is? It’s fist, a mouth, a struggle, a scream, it’s all them things. Use everything you have my bro, and be your own mind.’

‘Ali before I go remember the only reason why me and you are here today, deliberating on whether we should be voting or not is because someone at some point used all their body to fight so we would have these choices. Their fists. Their mouths. Their struggle and scream. They used all of themselves. Think it through, and seriously the best of luck to you my bro.’

We spudded and I left. This morning I received this email:

Hi Anthony

It’s Ali from x college. Thanks for coming in to talk to us. You said some deep stuff that got me thinking. I told my dad about what you said about voting and that, he didn’t say much back, only that I shouldn’t trust poets who use language all day long to persuade people of stuff. Anyway I’ve looked up Corbyn, he’s cool, I like some of the things he says. Thanks again.

Ali

Anthony Anaxagorou, poet and writer


The right to vote is one of the few ways that we can exercise our democratic voice. The long struggle from the Magna Carta to emancipation and the fight for equalities should remind us we need to use this power if we want democracy to tackle social justice and inequality in society. I believe this General Election is the most critical in the last 30 years. We now have a clear choice in terms of politics and ideology. You need to register and vote. If people want to complain after June 8th that they can’t get a home, that they are on a zero hours contract, that they have less money or less rights, or that they need proof of citizenship to access privatized public services… Please don’t bother talking to me.

Patrick Vernon, social commentator and political activist


I have registered to vote, and will be voting Labour on the 8th of June. The battle lines Jeremy_Corbyn_Bahrain_2.pnghave been drawn and the distinction between what IS right and THE Right is as clear as it has ever been. I could write and write about why I will categorically never vote for a Tory government. In relation to the coming election, I am terrified at the prospect of brutal cuts to education and youth services’ budgets. My role in education has always been to support our most vulnerable children, to keep them off the roads and in learning. I currently work in a primary setting where early intervention has been proven to impact most positively on these at-risk children. My role is not valued by the Conservative party. When the axe falls, those of us working in pastoral care will be severed from the children who need our support. Our jobs will be deemed obsolete. In my London borough, we are getting poorer and poorer. Poverty is traumatic for families. Children suffer. I bear witness to this every day of my working life. In my borough children are killing children on the roads. There are myriad factors that contribute to youth violence but I can confidently state that at crucial junctures in their lives, the state is failing those most at risk from falling victim to, or perpetrating said violence. When children are killing children, the state is failing.

Robert Kazandjian, educator and writer


I continue to encourage people to vote. It’s more important than ever for everyone to take full advantage of the opportunity at hand with this snap election. It’s a chance to rid ourselves of a government that has not only lied about Brexit, but has shown nothing but petulance and a complete and utter disregard for tact, reason, and humanity in almost every single department. Now is a chance to change our fortunes and our outlook from article-0-1A42663000000578-368_634x398destitute and bleak. For all the listless dismissals culminating into that familiar refrain of “Oh why bother? Voting doesn’t change anything!” I say: nonsense. 2016 gave you not one but two examples of how that sentiment is wholly baseless and the French proved this year that you may not get what you want, but you can get rid of the active threat.

You’ve got a few days left to register. This could be your last chance to have your say and make it count. The only wasted vote is one that isn’t cast. Do the right thing and use yours.

Joseph Guthrie, musician


I’ll be voting at this general election because making sure you have a say matters, even Theresa_May_UK_Home_Office.jpgwhen it feels like it doesn’t. Our democracy is far from ideal: First Past the Post isn’t representative, the UK media is owned by a handful of corporations and after years of technocrats managing the system, people don’t believe their vote means anything.

Yet when we go to the ballot box on June 8th there’s a startlingly obvious choice: between more poverty, growing inequality, a disastrous Brexit and gesture politics with the Conservatives or a Labour party that’ll give more money to schools and hospitals, and stop demonising migrants and the poor.  No matter who wins, we know politics doesn’t – and shouldn’t – begin or end with parliamentary democracy. But our two main parties are not the same; the blue water between them couldn’t be any clearer. As writer Gary Younge said, Vote: it’s literally the least you can do.

Maya Goodfellow, journalist


As an EU citizen, I am barred from voting in the general election. I cannot have much say on matters which will impact on my life and on my home. Even though, my home has been my home for 17 years…I can’t influence how I might get treated if I fall ill. I can’t have a say on whether my children should be afforded the opportunity to go to University or be forever priced out of an education or whether bombs should be dropped so as to feed white saviourism. Whether human rights and equality should become obsolete in this post-racial, but clearly in-PREVENT world. I can’t decide whether people on benefits should be subjected to be more indignities to be allowed to eat. Or whether fox hunting will really sort the mess we’re in.

But you can. And, people of colour are pretty much the only group of people I will trust to vote for what’s right. So please vote. Vote for the forgotten and marginalised. Vote for those drowning at sea. Vote for those who have taken their lives because of this selectively enforced austerity. And vote for those of us who can’t.

Guilaine Kinouani, therapist and psychologist


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