Politics isn’t sexy. It isn’t often described as ‘lit’ or ‘fire’, and we don’t share excitement for policies that affect the socio-economic climate like we rave about Kendrick Lamar’s new album ‘DAMN.’ (Not a plug, although it is rather good.)
However, in a world of immense instability, turbulence and what can only be described as a political soap opera (think Eastenders with more suits) there has never been a better opportunity to channel your anger into change.
Why? Because it matters. Your voice matters. Many of us agree that the current political system does not support the needs of our democracy, that the party system and the first past the post way of tallying up the votes fails the general population. However, unfortunately for the time being, it’s what we are working with. 34% of the eligible to vote population did not vote in the last election. That makes up the biggest group of all. More than Labour at 20% and more than the Conservatives (the guys in power currently) at 24%.
Imagine if that 34% put their support behind a party? It would potentially shift the whole political spectrum. Understandably, some of the 34% didn’t vote because they felt like they had nobody representing them, or that they simply didn’t understand enough about each of the parties running and their policies.
How do we start to challenge that? How do we give those people the support they need to make informed, democratic and genuine decisions about the future of the country?
As part of Impact Hub Birmingham’s Open Project Night a group of people huddled together on Monday (24th April) to work out ways in which we can support people to understand the process and get registered to vote.
Here’s what we spoke about:
- How do we make the election relevant to non voters?
- Looking at the language of politics and how we can make it more accessible
- How to share the passion and anger
- Making sure people know that ‘Every voice is important
- Credit rating is lower if you are not on the electoral roll
- Making voter registration a priority
- ‘On the ground’ action, posting flyers/posters with information
- Creating more of a ‘fuss’ around first time voting (voter registration parties, creating tradition)
- Localised hustings
- Election results party event
- Election results party pack (to host your own election night party!)
Ideas for increasing engagement with voting and the process
- Voter registration stations at colleges/universities/events
- Voting bus – pick up and take people to the polls
- Voter registration challenge – find a friend that hasn’t registered and tag a photo of them registering, then challenge 3 people to do the same (ice bucket challenge esq)
The time for changing how politics is seen and done in the UK is now, and the start of that process comes with helping people get clued up and registered.
Open meetings will now take place every Monday night 6.30pm – 8.30pm (next one Monday 8th May) at Impact Hub Birmingham to galvanise a campaign that we hope will not only change the lives of non voters, but will change the course of politics in the UK.