As the General Election looms closer and closer here in the UK, there has been a lot of talk about the impact (or not) of the ‘third’ political party, the Liberal Democrats (or Lib Dems) and whether a vote for this party is a wasted vote.
I live in an area where Labour have no chance of winning the seat so the choice is the incumbent Lib Dem, Susan Kramer or the Tory candidate, Zac Goldsmith. I am a Lib Dems supporter and while the dust-up over Richmond Park Car Parking Charges really got on my nerves, I think we have good representation from someone who is committed to making a difference for her constituents.
That aside however, I have found it fascinating to see the strategies employed by the Tories to win this seat, namely ‘you need to vote Conservative to oust Labour nationally’ and ‘this seat is important in the fight for change’ which kind of implies that a Lib Dem vote is a ‘wasted’ vote.
I don’t think that any vote is a wasted vote. We are fortunate enough to live in a democratic society, giving us the right to be heard, freedom of speech and the opportunity to choose. Voting is not compulsory in the UK as it is in other countries like Australia and I think anyone who gets to a polling station to cast their vote in the face of the current political apathy is to be commended. But I also think that we make the bed we lie in – if we are ‘tactical’ rather than truthful in our vote, how does our message get heard? And how do we build the case for new causes and new ideas to become viable options if we won’t throw our proverbial ‘hat’ in the ring when we are given the opportunity?
Many people around the world do not have this opportunity to have their say…shouldn’t we be teaching the next generation that they can make a difference rather than let them slide into apathy and disinterest? And isn’t the best way to do this by example…by getting out and voting honestly – whatever that personal truth may be for each of us.