Every 5 years (thanks, Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011…) we get to choose a Member of Parliament to represent us in the House of Commons, and traditionally the political party with the most number of MPs forms a government to run the country.
I say ‘traditionally’ because this didn’t happen in 2010 – we ended up with a coalition of the parties with the most and third-most MPS – and it’s highly unlikely to happen as a result of today’s poll either. No one party is expected to win a majority of the 650 seats in the Commons, and so another coalition or minority government is expected… at some point. Like last time, there’s unlikely to be a clear picture tomorrow morning about who will run the country.
By the time you read this, I’ll have probably already voted, and that vote is going to Labour, who I think is the best choice both locally and nationally. In the past I’ve voted for the Liberal Democrats, but I feel betrayed following their stint in the coalition government where they reneged on many of the things that they used to stand for. I considered voting for the Green Party, but they’re unlikely to win the Halifax constituency, and I disagree with them on a few key issues (genetically-modified crops, High Speed 2 and others). Labour are the only party who have a realistic chance of beating the Conservative Party, who I emphatically do not want to win, and I refuse to even contemplate voting for the xenophobic UK Independence Party.
Labour, unlike the LibDems, Greens and Conservatives, is fielding a female candidate here in the Halifax constituency, in the footsteps of the previous female Labour MP who has retired. Almost half of all UK constituencies have always elected a white male candidate, and so I’m supportive of any party putting forward someone who isn’t white and/or male. There are too few women and people of colour in Parliament and I hope that, following today’s results, this may begin to change.
For fairness, the local UKIP candidate is also a white female, the LibDem candidate is Asian male and the Respect candidate is Asian female, but the Greens, Conservatives and Christian Party are each fielding white male candidates here.
So that’s a bit about who I’m voting for. Regardless of whether you agree with me, it’s really important that you vote and have your say in the election result. Government policies tend to target those that are more likely to vote (older people) than those that don’t bother (younger people and ethnic minorities), so if you feel marginalised by politics, it’s probably because people like you aren’t worth campaigning to. Today is your chance to prove them wrong.
The polls are open until 10pm tonight, and you can find your nearest polling station on AboutMyVote.