LIFESTYLE

General Election: People Who Vote Differently To Loved Ones Explain How They Deal With Political Differences

It's not all pistols at dawn.

08/06/2017 17:34 BST | Updated 15/06/2017 17:12 BST

If the EU Referendum taught us anything, it’s that differences in political opinion can cause rifts among even the closest family and friends.

Many have found that the snap General Election, which was called in light of Brexit, has reignited the most heated debates.

From generational to regional divides or even differences in households, we spoke to people who voted differently to their loved ones to discover how they deal with conflicting political beliefs. 

PeopleImages via Getty Images

‘We regularly talk about how we won’t let politics divide us.’

Laura, 25, Labour voter, married to Andy, 26, a Conservative voter

“I can’t understand why he’s so passionately anti-Labour but equally that’s his opinion and I know he’s really thought about it.

“I just turned to him and said: ‘I know you won’t like this but I’m going to vote Labour this time, because my priority is the NHS and this feels like the only way we can save it.’ I expected him to be a little put-out by it, but he was fine.

“We have never fallen out over politics. We regularly talk about how we won’t let it divide us, like we see happening in other families.” 

‘I get completely shut down.’

Ben, 18, a Liberal Democrats voter whose parents vote UKIP

“I think UKIP stand for such awful things as a party. I do respect their political opinion, and I understand that they grew up in a different world than I have done. However, I believe that they are bigots thanks to their agreement with UKIP’s stance on immigration and all of the awful policies that it does have.

“I used to talk about the issue with them and I wanted to get my opinion across as well as try and understand their opinions. However, each time I get completely shut down.

“Now, we just don’t mention politics. They never listen to my opinion. They just talk over me and ignore me. The only time when I kicked off was when they were going to get a sticker for their window. I told them that their windows would genuinely be broken or egged, as we live in a majorly Conservative and Labour-centric area. They finally took the sticker down after they were egged.” 

‘We haven’t fallen out per se but definitely had heated discussions.’

Bella, 24, a Labour voter, living with her boyfriend Matthew (see final entry), a Liberal Democrat supporter

I would rather a government who try to help people rather than save and cut public funds, while he won’t vote Labour because he thinks their manifesto is unrealistic and will result in too much spending. To put it simply, I think people come over money, but I respect that he has his own reasoning and has taken the time to research the issues. Ultimately he isn’t Tory so I’m happy about that!

We haven’t fallen out per se but definitely had heated discussions verging on arguments, largely because I feel very strongly that social issues and responsibility come above all else and can’t imagine voting against them. I get more frustrated than he does but at the end of the day we usually just agree to disagree.”

Getty Images

‘It worries me how many people vote out of sheer habit.’ 

Rebecca, 23, a Liberal Democrat voter whose parents vote Conservative

The main problem I have with their vote that it’s completely ill-informed. They don’t even know what they are voting for any they haven’t considered any other party or viewpoint. They haven’t read a single manifesto from any party, not even Conservative.  

“I confronted them last night, which got very heated. I ended up sending them a link to each manifesto and several websites just to try and get them to make sure they made an informed vote. I’m expecting another heated discussion once the results come in.

“I’m just really upset that they haven’t made an informed decision and bothered to educate themselves, it worries me how many people vote out of sheer habit.” 

‘I take time to read all the policies.’

Sarah, 29, a Conservative voter who has many Labour-voting friends (as well as Conservative)

“I am not a die-hard Conservative and instead take the time to review the policies in each election and vote for the party whose policies I support the most.

“I completely respect my friends’ differing political views, and I will willingly have conversations with people to try to better understand their political points of view.

“At the end of the day it is a topic we generally only discuss around election time. Although I often feel vocal Labour voters think that they are superior for voting labour and look down on Conservative voters as being selfish... 

“I often find myself in conversations where I am explaining to Labour voters the Labour party policies, highlighting they may not have taken the time to fully understand the policies they are voting for, which is sometimes a bit frustrating.

“This may be because I have studied economics and economic forecasting is a major feature of my job, therefore I have a greater interest in these elements, however I think this is particularly pertinent in this election given some of the more extreme economic policies Corbyn is looking to introduce.” 

‘He made me realise things aren’t quite so simple as Labour vs. Tory.’

Brenda, 24, a Labour voter who lives with her partner, a Liberal Democrat voter

“I totally respect his view as I think I would vote for Lib-Dem if I liked the MP in the constituency enough.

“We chat a lot about politics. In fact, my partner encouraged me to take an online quiz and patiently dictated all of the questions to me on the couch one late night. I’m just happy that we can have political discourse and talk about it objectively. Having said that if he voted Conservative/UKIP I might think differently.

“We’re both fairly chilled out. He has schooled me on a couple of economic policies that are Tory-leaning and he made me realise things aren’t quite so simple as Labour vs. Tory.”  

laflor via Getty Images

‘I think she’s too much of an idealist.’

Pat, 64, a Conservative voter whose daughter (Kate, below) is a Labour voter

“I think she’s too much of an idealist. As a teacher she cares a lot about Education but I think that blinkers her to other things. I can’t see how she can vote for Jeremy Corbyn - I can’t see him getting a good deal. At least with Theresa May, she’ll stand up to the EU and Angela Merkel, and get the best we can from Brexit.

“We do argue, particularly last year with Brexit. Recently we tried to discuss it again but it just infuriates me that Kate doesn’t see Brexit is the most important issue. 

“I’ve decided that we shouldn’t talk about it anymore. It’s causes upset and I don’t want a row.” 

‘I remind her it’s not a popularity contest.’

Kate, 37, a Labour voter whose mother (Pat, above) is voting Conservative

“I think her views are too narrowly focused on Brexit, without enough consideration of the ordinary issues of the NHS, Education and school budget cuts, the increase in poverty (which I see daily in the classroom), the fact that the deficit has increased massively under the Tories, police cuts and that the Tories only look after themselves and the wealthy. Not to mention Theresa May’s many u-turns.

We now avoid discussing it. After arguments last year about the Referendum, and recent arguments about Corbyn, we simply cannot discuss it. Mum says she doesn’t like Corbyn, I remind her it’s not a popularity contest, and it should be about the policies not the person, and she gets annoyed with my logic. She thinks Theresa May being ‘a bloody difficult woman’ will help in negotiations, I think it will alienate us further and will not make for successful talks and negotiations.”

‘I believe we should all be open-minded.’

Matthew, 25, a Liberal Democrat voter who lives with his girlfriend Bella (who was interviewed above), who is voting Labour

“Labour’s policies are idealistic and there are elements of their manifesto which I would also like to support, however, I don’t believe their economics. I believe ending austerity, borrowing more and renationalising services like the railways is very short sighted and ultimately will leave us worse off.  

“We watch the news together and have watched the debates in the lead up to the election, so we have frequently talked about the issues and discussed our opposing views... I believe we should all be open-minded, to accept others views and vote on issues that are important to us rather than be closed-minded to one party or another. 

“We have never fallen out, we always end our conversations before this point, but given these conversations usually happen late at night it can be difficult to shut-off. Neither of us has ever said anything too drastic though. Our views differ dramatically in other areas of life as well and so it didn’t come as too big a shock that our political views were also different. Maybe we’ve had enough practise to know when to call things quits?”