I always find it really important to ensure that the choice I make when voting in an election is the right one for me. I never just vote for the same party I voted for last time, just because, and I never let other people influence my decision.
Obviously for a General Election the stakes are higher, but I run the same process even for a local council election. Ensuring that the things which are important to me are the things I am voting for and not a personality I like or some branding which has caught my eye!
For this year’s General Election I drew up my scoresheet (yes I use a scoresheet!) and then looked at each of the party manifesto’s individually, scoring the things which were important to me based on their campaign claims. This is a process which has worked for me in choosing who to vote for since I started voting almost 20 years ago.
I find that all talk, news reports, even just reading the manifestos themselves can be extremely overwhelming. Especially when they all start sniping at each other!
I also find it very difficult with local candidates telling you what they will do locally. As nice as that will be, this is a general election and I’m more bothered about what will happen nationally. I actually know who I would vote for if this were a local election, but I can’t let that influence my decision nationally.
A few of the things which are most important to me at the moment are Mental Health Services (shocker!) and Sickness & Disability Benefits. A few of the things which stood out quite prominently from a majority of the manifesto’s was that mental health is a low priority. Even worse was that within benefits the mentally ill will continue to be penalised for being sick. It appears that within politics there is a distinct lack of understanding of mental illness and how debilitating it can be.
As someone who worked for twenty years and is now needing some time for recovery, to get my treatment plans right and to learn to live each day as it comes with a simple routine without my illness ripping things apart. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life not working but like my many with mental illness it’s a hard and long path to wellness and to gaining the confidence to returning to work.
Other areas of importance to me were around National Insurance and tax-free personal allowance. As my Husband works part-time to care for me his income is low and only just above minimum wage so knowing we can keep as much as possible (especially if I will be losing my benefits) is vital.
I found the differing voices on climate change astounding, the fact that our politicians are still so unclear as to what is going to happen to this world if climate change isn’t dealt with is stunning!
Overall, once I finished my scoring three parties came in quite close to each other, ironically the three I was already torn between just based on natural observations. Two of these had a point between them, but there was one clear winner meaning I have now decided where my vote will go on May 7th!