I was impressed when my son asked if he could watch the party debates on BBC as he was interested in what they had to say. I also found it very interesting but maybe not in the same way…
He’s full throttle into the ‘UKIP are the devil’ and ‘Tories must go’ schools of thought but when I asked him what he knew about it, in terms of what they are offering, he could only tell me that the Tories will take more money and that UKIP will get rid of gay marriage (as he has two mums this is something he feels very strongly about!) His school have invited all the local electoral candidates into his school for a Q&A and he is gearing up to ask something ‘pertinent’ – the only problem he is facing is that as he is unaware of the manifestos, he is struggling to come up with something. Imagine the horror on his face when I suggested downloading them for a bit of bed time reading!
It got me thinking about manifestos and the media. We have become politically apathetic in the UK, with less that half the polling population expected to turn out on Election Day. People seem to believe what they hear on the news and read in the papers and forget that each of these parties actually have a document filled with their actions for a better Britain! So why don’t we read them? It seems that those who do go to vote will generally base their decisions on what the polls, media and spin tell them – the party debates are a fascinating lesson in the art of question dodging!
Is the manifesto reading avoidance down to the fact that in the 1940s the Labour manifesto was only six sides long and this year it is over 80? Is it the jargon-filled, glossy and photo filled presentation? Or is it that it isn’t readily available, in that it hasn’t been put directly under our noses with a directorate to READ? I tried and couldn’t find an app version but I could be wrong!! I can only say that I was shocked to read recent research findings that state that since the 1940s and up until today, 86% of manifesto promises have been kept (some may suggest the missing 14% are the broken promises of the Lib Dems). I then read more – only 16% of those kept promises were actually clear and measurable by actions, with the rest being more vague and open to interpretation.
I was surprisingly interested in the way each party set it’s stall out, but it seems to me that they could offer the world and if the media don’t feel the inclination to share it then we will never know! Looking at that in real terms we could easily put a party in power that will change things we disagree with, leaving us little room to moan!
So if you are someone that wants to exercise their right to vote in the forthcoming elections then be prepared – read the manifestos, decide what Britain you want and don’t vote purely for which party leader you like the best! Educated voting will bring a better and more fair result for all!