Helllooo! Ok, so you may not watch the news all of you but you must have heard about the UK general election, especially those of you that actually live in the UK! If not, David Cameron is our new Prime Minister and he won outright. This, alongside all the news stories etc. talking about how some people (particularly young people) don't care or don't know enough about politics to vote, inspired me to do a bit of a basic guide to politics. Now this is going to sound really sad but the election for me is actually quite exciting just because of all the changes and news and trying to predict the winner! Anyway, here you go, a basic guide to UK politics!
1) Parties and their leaders
You most likely already know that, in terms of politics, a 'party' is just a group of people who all have and believe in the same policies and how the country should be treated or what should happen to it.
In case you don't know in this years election there were arond 7 main parties that were in the debates and on the news etc. These were
Labour, whose leader is Ed Miliband. Their main colour is red.
Conservative, whose leader is David Cameron. Their main colour is blue.
The Green Party, whose leader is Natalie Bennett. Their main colour is, surprisingly, green.
SNP, whose leader is Nicola Sturgeon. Their main colour is yellow.
Liberal Democrats, whose leader is Nick Clegg. Their main colour is usually orange or mustard yellow.
and last but not least Plaid Cymru, whose leader is Leanne Wood, and their main colours are usually yellow and orange.
2) You don't actually vote for the Prime Minister!
Instead, you vote for the leader of the particular party for your area. So if I wanted to vote for Conservatives to get into parliament (not saying that's who I vote for) David Cameron wouldn't be on the ballot slip, it would be the leader of the Conservative party for the voting area where I live. Got me?
3) What wing?
People are always saying 'they're left wing' or 'right wing'. I don't know why they say it or where it even originated from but all it means is what kind of party policies the parties have.
Predominantly left wing parties in the UK are: Labour, Green Party, Plaid Cymru
Predominantly right wing parties are: Conservative, UKIP and SNP
The Liberal Democrats are not classed to be left or right wing, they are in the middle of the two sides, and concerning the SNP, I have read several conflicting and contradicting things about which 'wing' they fall into and so I am afraid I cannot help you on that one!
4) So how do they actually win?
For a leader and its party to win completely outright then they need to win the majority (more than half) of the 'seats' in the houses of Parliament, this means that when they pass a new rule or propostition they do not need the agreement of anyone else but their own party because they have more than 50% of the votes already. Each seat is for a leader that got the most amount of votes in their area. However, even if all of a certain election candidates mini leaders got voted in and a seat, but the main party candidate didn't win over their area then it is impossible for that party to win.
Continuing from the seats thing I was talking about above, if a certain party doesn't win outright because they are slightly under the right amount of seats they need they may think about going into coalition with another party. This means joining up for the years they are in power, with another party so together they have more seats than their opponents. Something which, particularly in this years election, was rumoured to take place with SNP and labour. Something which you would most likely never, ever see would be the two main parties: Labour and Conservative form a coalition, as they are completely opposite parties, from opposite 'wings'.
6) All the W's!
Where do I vote: Usually there are loads of places available for you to pop in and vote, these are buildings like primary schools, community centres, village halls, churches and places open to very member of the public, which will most likely have a huge sign saying 'vote here' or 'polling station'. They open at 7am and close at 10pm.
When: In terms of age, you have to be over 18 to vote in the UK, but in terms of date there is no fixed date for all the years, but it is usually around May time and for some reason I think that it is always held on a Thursday.
Who: Your vote is confidential so you can vote for whoever you believe in and want to run the country for the next 4+ years!
Why: You should vote because, particularly women voters, many people have fought and died for that bit of paper to be given to you and your choice. If we don't vote, then democracy will be taken away, we will be lead by whoever wants to lead us and not have any say in the way that our country is run. If you don't know who to vote for then just ask around, google search or listen to the news about policies and whether you think you'll be able to trust or if you like how that party presents themselves. If you don't like any parties then (and this is a great quote from Stacey Dooley) vote for the party you hate the least!
That's all for now, Signed, Geekling. xx