Don’t panic, this isn’t going to be a boring post about politics but we’re having an Election here in the UK today and I’ve been a bit perplexed by people’s behaviour in the lead-up. I’m not making any judgements just voicing observations, because I often find people’s behaviour bewildering and I’m sure I’m not alone in that!
For those of my readers who live abroad, the Conservatives (Republican equivalent) won the last Election by a huge majority and Labour (Democrat equivalent) supporters are determined to not let that happen again. My Facebook feed has been chocka full of Labour supporters posting how the Tories (Conservatives/Republicans) have decimated the country and how Labour will put it back together. Seriously, every other post is slagging off the Tories and bigging up Labour to the point where I’ve had to unfollow some of my friends because they were doing my head in. They feel like the Jehovah’s Witnesses of the political world and I don’t answer the door to them either 😉
My Tory friends (and I know they’re out there!) don’t say a word. They didn’t in the last Election either, but someone was voting Conservative because they won with a landslide.
I’ve had to stop posting anything about politics on Facebook because there are 3 or 4 of my friends who feel the need to comment on everything I say. I wouldn’t care but I’ve actually voted Labour my entire adult life but even so they still try to ram their message home – WTF is that all about, they’re preaching to the bloody converted! The difference is that I know the Labour party has its weaknesses just like the Tories have their weaknesses – god forbid I should voice any of them though because these few friends then feel the need to defend them. It feels both hugely patronizing (like I have no grasp of the issue even though I have A levels in both Politics and Economics) and a bit like I’m being bullied. No wonder Tory voters don’t say a word on Facebook because they would be pilloried 😦
I wonder if the Labour supporters know how intimidating their behaviour is? Do they have an objective when posting all this stuff online and if so what is it? To convert intelligent, grown adults into their way of thinking – how patronizing is that? To tell non-Labour voters they are wrong and to do the right thing – “right” in whose world?’ What gives them the right to force their opinions on others? Why can’t they just do what Tory voters do and put their X on the ballot paper without a fuss?
Most normal thinking grown-ups aren’t going to be swayed into voting one way or the other by something one of their mates has written on Facebook. If I was undecided I would read each Party’s Manifesto to see what their actual policies are. I would then read some articles by well-informed, independent political commentators to see what they make of the issues. I’d then look at my own personal circumstances and make a choice from a combination of all these things.
As it is, for the first time in my life I am not voting. I can’t, in all conscience, vote Tory because they actually are decimating our NHS, education, welfare and care systems and don’t give a toss about the vulnerable in society. On the other hand, if Labour win I would actually be petrified for the Brexit negotiations – Jeremy Corbyn can’t even decide on domestic policies without changing his mind like the wind and being bullied by his own party members, so the thought of him negotiating our country’s future with the likes of Germany’s Angela Merkel terrifies me. For the first time in 57 years of voting my Mum has voted Tory this time. Her reasons are Brexit. As she says, the Brexit negotiations will affect our country forever, whereas the Election is only for the next 4 years when she can then vote Labour again and get rid of the Conservatives.
It’s great when people are engaged and passionate about politics. It’s not great when they intimidate, don’t allow any opinion but their own to be voiced, challenge, cajole and generally act like a bully in a school playground. Young adults are especially vulnerable to this type of behaviour and, while it’s wonderful to see younger people taking part in politics, we need to be careful to provide both sides of the argument then let them decide their own path.
If I wake tomorrow morning and Labour have been victorious I will be truly worried. If I wake tomorrow morning and the Conservatives have been victorious I will be worried for very different reasons. It’s a loose/loose as far as I’m concerned.