#GE2017: A Last Minute Plea to those Planning on Voting Tory

Dear Fellow Citizen, if you are planning on voting Tory on Thursday, can I please ask you to allow yourself a few minutes to read these words?

I’ve seen so much on social media over the last few days that my head feels like it’s going to explode. I’m sure it’s the same for you. Trouble is, the left and right aren’t really into talking to each other are they? We all know which side we stand on, and our right to vote is ours isn’t it? It’s sacred, it’s personal, it’s no-one else’s business but ours is it?

Perhaps the most annoying thing about this election is that it’s been turned into some farcical reality TV show. Just like the recent US election, and look how that’s panned out.

We are once again a divided nation, exactly as we were last time we went to the polls almost a year ago. 

Perhaps swaying towards the left completely depends on how much you’ve been directly affected by the cuts?

My own life has been turned upside by them you see. My autistic daughter received precisely zero help or support in her mainstream state school. Eighteen months ago we made the super difficult decision to home educate her, because we were not prepared to let her drown. Deja vu started occurring after sending our second daughter to school last year, and after agonising over it for months, we’ve decided to home educate her too. Our 3yo son will not be going to pre-school.

I actually wrote to the Prime Minister about it, but she ignored my pleas. 

Would we be a home educating family if we lived in a better funded part of the country? Almost certainly not. I have friends who live in nice suburban areas whose kid’s go to school with children on the spectrum, and they have a full time teaching assistant all to themselves. I also know of a lot of other kids with additional needs who are getting nothing. Unsurprisingly they live in more deprived parts of the country, and they are most likely being scarred for life by having to endure what they go through at school.

It’s certainly not been an easy journey for me, but fortunately my husband earns enough for our family to function without me having to work. Thank goodness, because I honestly don’t know what we’d do otherwise.

I understand why people aren’t head over heels about Corbyn, but is that honestly a justification for voting Tory?

read this before voting Tory on Thursday What makes me saddest, is that the people on my social feeds who are pro May and anti Corbyn are not speaking sense. They aren’t being factually correct, they’re simply parroting nonsense quoted straight from right wing mainstream media.

The lefties in my life genuinely want to understand the reasons behind why anyone outside the top 5% would support the Tories. In stark contrast the right are spouting rhetoric and slogans that prove how brainwashed they’ve been, and how little empathy they have for how so many in this country are being forced to live.

One of the biggest lies being peddled is that Labour would be squeezing more tax from the hard working middle. This is simply not true. Take a look at the official calculator for all the details, but here is a snapshot from it. If you earn up to £80,000 per year nothing would change. If you earn over £80,000 per year you would start paying a tiny bit more tax (less than £1 per week).

The national average salary here in the UK is £27,600. How can anyone argue with making those earning over two and a half times the national average salary (and much more!) pay a little bit extra so that public services can be properly funded?

Times have changed     

I was raised by a single parent who lived on benefits. It’s not an exaggeration to say that we walked the poverty line. I left home when I was 15, education-less with just £50 in my pocket, yet still managed to make a success of my life. I had a great career in the big city, and I’ve travelled the world.

But that was a different era. Social mobility was still a viable option back then, nowadays you’ve got no chance if you’ve had a start to life like the one I had. You’re in the gutter from the off, and that’s where you’ll stay.

Growing up in a family that mostly didn’t work, I couldn’t wait to leave home and start doing things differently. For many years I had the opinion that all people on benefits were scroungers, and lazy, but I now see that it’s not as black and white as that. You can call me a bleeding heart liberal if you like, I don’t mind.  

Many people currently eating out of food banks, and living in homeless shelters, are working. Think about that for a moment.      

I can totally see that Corbyn isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but surely he’s better than the alternative?

Do you really want to vote for further austerity?

For deeper cuts to education?

For a privatised NHS?

For nurses and teachers quitting in droves?

For not enough police to counter terrorism?

The three recent attacks in the UK happened because Theresa May axed thousands of police. The victims blood is clearly on her hands, yet she doesn’t seem to think that she’s at all responsible.

In the past it’s been fair to say that all politicians are the same, but this election is different. There’s so much more riding on it. Just take a look at the manifestos (click here for TORY) (click here for LABOUR). The facts speak for themselves. 

You don’t have to be a Corbyn lover to vote Labour.

If you have a conscience though, and consider yourself a decent human being, then I urge you to think twice before voting Tory on Thursday.

Here’s a website with details of how you can vote tactically to keep the Tories out.  

Thanks for taking the time to read this letter.

Yours sincerely,

Reneé  

Why It’s So Important to Vote in the General Election #GE17 

This article has been written by my friend Sophie who blogs at Raising Revolutionaries.

Have you decided how you’re going to vote yet in the general election next month? You are going to vote… aren’t you?

Only around 30% of eligible voters made it to the ballot box in the local elections. That’s 7 in 10 who left it up to others to choose who is going to be making the decisions about what happens in their local community for the next four years.

Hopefully the general election will be different. It was, admittedly, only two years ago that we were last asked to cast our vote for the government of this country – but a lot has happened in the last two years, and an awful lot is riding on the outcome of this one.

In the full seven years since this Conservative party first came to power, the impact on our society of their vision and policy decisions has been huge:

National debt has increased from £980 billion in 2010 to over £1.7 trillion in 2017.

1 in 6 of all A&Es, as well as 40% of walk-in centres, have been closed.

The GP vacancy rate has increased by 500% – and nursing vacancies have increased by 200%.

There has been a 43% increase in homelessness, and a 166% increase in rough sleeping.

An ‘affordable home’ now costs £250,000 – nine times the average UK salary of £27,600.

Record numbers of teachers are leaving the profession: a third of teachers who qualified in 2010 had quit by 2015.

Per-pupil school funding is falling for the first time in 20 years, with planned cuts to the education budget of £3 billion by 2020.

4 million children are living in poverty in the UK – the highest number since 2008. 67% of those children are in working families.

90 people a week have died after being assessed as Fit For Work.

The collective wealth of the UK’s 1000 richest people has almost doubled – from £335 billion in 2010 to £658 billion in 2017.

This is politics: this is what we are voting for on June 8th. So make sure you vote, and use your vote wisely.

In that last general election, in 2015, there were a huge number of people who didn’t vote – nearly half of under 45s in fact. Some because they felt that politics had no relevance to their lives, some because they felt that their vote wouldn’t make much of an impact on the overall result.

If you look at the figures, though, it is clear that isn’t true. In 2015, more people didn’t vote than voted for any individual party.

Why It's So Important to Vote in the General Election #GE17 

research source: Ipsos Mori

The picture becomes even more interesting when you look deeper into the data: the people who did vote are unlikely to be representative of the country as a whole.

For example young people and people from lower income families are significantly less likely to vote. They are also significantly more likely to vote Labour. How different could the last seven years have been if they had made it to the polling station?

Of course part of the problem in recent years has been that the two major parties have both spent so much time dancing around the centre ground that there have been legitimate reasons to believe that things won’t change much whoever is in power.

In 2017, things are different

Theresa May’s Conservative party has moved considerably to the right: this was demonstrated in their ability to so completely absorb the UKIP vote in the local elections, but can also be seen through an analysis of their policies which correlate strongly with those of the BNP in 2005.

The Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn has shifted from the neoliberal position occupied by Blair, with policies reflective of the social-democrat model which dominates in Scandanavia.

There are real choices to be made, and we as members of a democracy have a real responsibility to find out what we are voting for. The parties will be releasing their manifestos over the coming weeks, and there are several online quizzes that will help you work out which party you are most aligned with.

There’s the tactical voting option too – our ‘first past the post’ system means that the MPs elected to parliament do not necessarily reflect the views of the majority of voters in their areas, with the left of centre vote especially prone to getting watered down. If you’d like to see a change in how the country is run then it’s worth seeing which party is most likely to achieve that in your local area.

However you decide to vote, the most important thing is that you do.

If you are not already registered, then you have until Monday 22nd May to make sure you don’t miss out. You can do it online, and it only takes five minutes.

Once you’re registered, make sure you can get to your local polling station on Thursday 8th June to cast your vote. And if you know that might be tricky, then apply for a postal vote – you have until 5pm on 23rd May to notify your Electoral Registration Office.

It is easy to feel that we have little control over the way the world is going – to hunker down and focus on making the best of what we’ve got rather than trying to make things change. Our democracy though – and this general election in particular – is the best chance we’ve got to get our voices heard and make a difference.

Make sure you don’t miss your chance to have your say.

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