As has been on many a social media site and television channel alike, most of the country is focussed on one thing: the election. Who is voting for who? What will they do about immigration? How much do they plan to overspend by this year? Now, I am a 21 year old female about to leave university and join the ‘real world’, and this would seem like the prime moment to choose a side. But the truth is this: I am not voting, and that’s okay.
With so many people telling you to vote and stressing the importance of making a decision about who will run the country, it is hard to remember that it is okay to not want to vote. But the truth of the matter is that politics is hard, and not many people actually understand it. There is a lot to learn, and it isn’t something that can be taught overnight. Simple questions like, why does everyone hate Ed Miliband so much?, or what is the difference between left and right wing?, are actually much more complicated to explain that you may think. To really understand the complexities of politics, it will take a lot of perseverance, keeping your ear to the ground, and patience. Someone who seems to know everything about it has probably been following it for some time. It takes time to understand something that complicated and you should not be ashamed to ask the “stupid” questions because, to be honest, there are no stupid questions.
I am not voting this year. I took a survey online that suggested I should vote Labour, but just because an online questionnaire says I seem to favour the reds, it doesn’t mean I’m going to run out and sign the next 5 years over to them. The main reason I’m not voting is because I don’t understand it. I refuse to vote for something without first knowing what I’m voting for. I couldn’t tell you the difference between any of the parties, so why would I tick a box, or even spoil the vote, without first getting to grips with the basics? In my opinion, it is perfectly okay to choose not to vote at all if you don’t understand. Rather than casting a vote for something unknown, I have chosen to hold back and spend the next five years watching what happens. I intend to find and read the manifestos, see which I side with more, and then see if the party that wins A) stands by their promises and B) makes a positive difference. If they break their promises, or make things worse, it will make my decision more informed next time the vote comes around. By that time I will have a more well-informed idea of the world of politics.
And moreover, I will have a better understanding of what I need. I have a pretty good knowledge of student life, having just spent 3 years at university. But the vote is for the next five years. I am no longer in education, but I am also not yet integrated into the working world. It is impossible for me to comment on what I need in regards to wages, tax and benefits etc. until I have spent some time finding a job, and living in rented accommodation, I will be unable to know what I need from my government. This is something I think is overlooked. Young people still in education are being encouraged to vote, but that government will be in play when they leave, and it is near impossible to predict the difference in living during and after university. Come the next big election, I will have experience under my belt, and a working knowledge of the government. Only then will I be ready to make an informed decision, and have formed my own opinion.
It is okay not to vote. It is wrong to push a person into voting just because you, yourself, understand it. Many people don’t and it is far better to withhold judgment on an unfamiliar topic than to make an uninformed choice under pressure. Your vote is important, that much is true, so don’t throw it away needlessly. You wouldn’t buy a car without first understanding the differences, so why choose your parliament without an understanding of it? Get informed. Listen to debates, follow the headlines (and know the papers’ biases), read the manifestos. And then when the next election comes around, if you feel you understand it enough, go right ahead. At least then you’ll know your vote will mean something.
The world as we know it is turning upside down, people! Shit’s going down.
You know that feeling where something amazingly out of the ordinary happens, or when you find out something that almost literally blows your mind? Guess what just happened to me.
It may not mean much to you, but I’m a bloody terrible procrastinator. I always leave my work until the last minute. I had a creative assignment due at 9am this morning in fact and I wrote and printed it at 10pm last night. I have a Victorian Literature assignment due on Thursday. This morning, I had a couple basic notes, nothing fancy.
Ten minutes ago I printed my finished 2,267 word essay complete with packed out bibliography ready three days before hand in so how’s THAT for a slice of fried gold?
It’s one of those things you never expect will happen. I tell myself every time that this time will be different. I will not leave my essay until the last minute .. And then I end up the day before it’s due stress-crying and begging my classmates to give me something. But not this time. Something clicked in my brain without my realising it was happening. A few days to a week ago, I found myself voluntarily looking up science essays as research for my own. And if you know me at all you will know how notoriously bad at research I am. I made notes, compiled a bibliography based on the bits I pulled out and narrowed down the ones that might be helpful. I didn’t go back to it for a couple days.
Today, I skipped my Shakespeare lecture (I’m sorry. I just couldn’t do it again). Instead, I came home, stuck Hollywood Undead on my hi-fi and ran around looting gold and killing shit on Fable. I reckon that hour of playing Fable got it out of my system. On a whim I found myself thinking, ‘yeah, let’s just get out the notes, open the Word document. You know, make it look like you’re doing something’. But I actually started doing. I went through my notes, highlighted quotes, put it in an order, wrote a kick-ass introduction and it just sort of .. happened. My essay got done.
It had better get a good grade or I’m never going to work hard again.
This is just one of those occasions where the mind simply cannot compute what’s happening in front of them.
Peas are fruit.
Frankenstein is the name of the scientist, not the monster.
Bananas are meant to be opened from the end not attached to the bunch.
It is astounding, really. How many things in this world do we think should be one way, when in fact we are completely wrong? So many that I can’t even come up with any more to go into this post. It fascinates me the feeling of complete shock, the kind that stops your entire being in its tracks, when you hear something that absolutely goes against what you thought you knew. That ‘..Oh shit’ moment where suddenly, nothing makes sense anymore. I love it. It’s quite an awesome feeling to be 100% stumped, and then to realise that what you thought you knew was a lie.
That’s why I love Saussure. His view on words being nothing but labels. Words made up of letters. Letters simply shapes that we created for no other purpose than to have something to call it. A pen is not a pen. A pen is a plastic casing with an inky tube inside it. But it’s not a pen. P – E – N. Even that is no more than a unique combination of scribbles that we invented just so we could socialise. Words are simply social labels. They have no substance. They are nothing.
Have you ever heard something that you were so shocked to realise was true that you couldn’t react for a time? Have you ever done something that shocked yourself so much that you began to question reality? And do you think Saussure is crazy, or have I just rocked your world with his theory?