Today I’m continuing with the A-Z Blogging Challenge. The aim is to write a post for every day of the month except for Sundays, with each post representing a different letter of the alphabet. This year I’m doing an A-Z of Great Britain, covering as much as I can about British music, literature, TV and film, food, wildlife and culture.
There are two main types of voting systems in the UK: First Past the Post (FPTP) and Proportional Representation (PR). This BBC Bitesize article explains the differences quite well.
Anyone in the UK over the age of 18 can register to vote in UK elections and referendum. You can vote in person at a polling station, by post or by proxy. Find out more about how to register and vote here.
There is a lot of cynicism surrounding elections in the UK. Many people think that the voting system is unfair or fixed, or that all the political parties are so corrupt that voting is a waste of time. My Mum always told me I should never waste my vote because of what the Suffragettes went through to earn it for me, so I try to research as best I can and pick the best of a bad lot! At least if you’ve voted you can legitimately complain about who gets in.
Below is a very basic guide to the main political parties you can vote for in the UK:
The Labour Party
A democratic socialist party that stands for the values of social justice, a strong community, reward for hard work and rights matched by responsibilities. They stress the importance of British membership of EU when it comes to big transnational issues such as climate change and security, but also pledge to ensure the EU delivers for British people on jobs, crime and prosperity. They are led by Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister.
The Labour Party constitution states:
“The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few.”
The Conservative Party
A conservative and unionist party descending from the old Tory Party, founded in 1678. They were in government for two-thirds of the previous century and are currently in power. They focus on the social and ‘quality of life’ issues such as the environment, government services and schools and claim to be working towards mending ‘broken Britain’. The Conservatives back the EU but want to halt further political integration. The head of the party is David Cameron, the current Prime Minister.
The Liberal Democrats
“The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full.”
The UK Independence Party was formed in 1994 by several members of the AntiFederalist League. UKIP’s main goals are for the UK to withdraw from the European Union and for a great reduction in immigration- a hot topic right now.
The Green Party
The Green Party is a growing political movement promoting social and environmental justice through campaigns, direct action and the electoral process. The Green Party manifesto sets out a plan for creating 1 million jobs through investment in renewable energy, housing, public transport and social care.
“We call this the Green New Deal – an approach to the economy that puts Britain firmly on the road to recovery, addresses the urgent climate crisis while improving the way we all lead our lives.”
The British National Party is a controversial party that formed as a splinter group of the National Front. A recent court case forced the party to change its constitution to accept non-white members when it was challenged in the courts on grounds of racial discrimination. The BNP opposes mass immigration and surrender to the European Union. They call for an immediate halt to all further immigration and the immediate deportation of criminal and illegal immigrants. The party exists to secure a future for the indigenous peoples of Britain. The leader of the BNP is Nick Griffin.
Other Political Parties
- English Democrats– want withdrawal from the European Union, more freedom from state control, and a separate parliament for England.
- The Scottish National Party-campaigns for Scotland to be independent nation with the EU.
- Plaid Cymru-Campaigns for Wales to be independent member of EU.
- Libertas-First pan-European political party. Wants sweeping democratic reform of European institutions and an end to EU waste and corruption.
- No2EU-An alliance of left-wing groups wanting withdraw from EU, to reverse privatisation and improve workers rights.
- Respect-an anti-war, anti-privatisation, pro-equality, pro-choice party- against racism and Islamophobia and for peace, equality and justice.
- The Jury Team-an umbrella group for Independent candidates chosen by text and e-mail vote. It is for people who believe in democracy but not in the current party political system.
- Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)– a socialist alliance standing in opposition to public spending cuts and privatisation.
- Animals Count-they stand for a world in which animals are not exploited and are seen and treated as sentient beings.
- The Monster Raving Loony Party– started in 1963 by pop star Screaming Lord Sutch, the Monster Raving Loony Party have become a tradition in British politics, standing for fun and aiming to make elections more colourful and humorous. Often used as a protest vote.
- Christian Party and the Christian People’s Alliance-Stand for values of “modesty, honesty and service” and aim to give an electoral voice to practising Christians.
- Socialist Labour Party-Want withdraw from EU and to renationalise key industries such as coal, steel and car makers.
- The Peace Party-renounces war entirely and is determined to work for the removal of all causes of war.
- The Socialist Party of Great Britain-Their objective is a “system of society based on common ownership and democratic control of the means for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community”.
- Pensioner’s Party-want to get a better deal for pensioners throughout England.
- UK First– believe in low taxes, withdrawal from EU and an end to mass immigration.