22/05/2017 10:31 BST | Updated 22/05/2017 10:31 BST

The Reason You Won't Vote - And Why You Should

They're all the same.

Nothing ever changes.

They make false promises or wishy washy "pledges". Then break them.

Sound familiar?

The list goes on:

  • My candidate can't win in my constituency.
  • They spin everything, saying one thing but meaning another.
  • All they do is insult the other candidates.
  • It's hard to know if their claims are fact or fiction.
  • It's all about their egos, not policy.
  • I'm just not interested in politics.
  • The voting system leads to unfair results.
  • My vote won't count anyway so what's the point?

If you tell yourself any of those things it's probably safe to say you don't and won't vote.

Fair enough. It's your life.

But is it? Fair I mean.

Even if you believe the sun goes round the earth, would that stop you enjoying the sunshine?

Even if you believe the earth is flat, would that stop you from walking all over it?

Even if you believe smoking is bad for you, but still light up, does that make your belief wrong?

In other words...

What if voting wasn't a question of belief?

What if it was instead about taking action? Being part of something? Trying to make things better, instead of waiting for someone else to do it for you?

What if you voted not on the basis that your candidate must win, but on the basis that you hope they will win.

What if the only way to change what you don't like about your life is to try and make a change?

They say it's a democracy, and that means you have the right and freedom to choose not to vote.

Fair enough.

Or is it?

If "having" freedom and rights is all you're interested in, but never exercising them, then just like your muscles, they'll go to waste and will one day be taken from you.

"Over my dead body!" I might hear you cry.

Indeed. They might just be.

What if the problem lies elsewhere?

Maybe your unwillingness to vote is not about believing in negative stereotypes that can't possibly apply to every single politician. How many of your friends and family are identical in their views and trustworthiness?

Maybe your unwillingness to vote is not about having the right to vote, but not exercising it.

Maybe your unwillingness to vote has nothing to do with the voting system or politicians' trustworthiness either.

Maybe it's you.

And your need for certainty and your fears.

When I say certainty, I mean, you want to back the winner.

When I say fear, I mean, you don't want to be seen as someone who backed a fraud, a winner who then goes on to break their promises.

You don't want your faith, hope and trust in them to be betrayed.

Who does? I don't that's for sure.

Or is it instead a fear of success?

What if you voted and your candidate won? What if they then went on to do what they said they would do?

Imagine that.

Oh, you say, but what if they win and then go back on their word?

Then we're back to your need for certainty again. You're looking for a safe bet, a guarantee, zero risk.

You're looking for an excuse not to participate because you think it's only worth participating if you're going to win or not be disappointed further down the line. You want to have your cake and to eat it.

Well, the bad news is that we're not living in a cake shop, and you can always find a reason not to do something.

But the good news is that the reverse is also true.

You have a choice.

The reason I vote is that I prefer to try and make my world a better place, not through inaction, but by taking part.

It doesn't always pay off.

Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose. Sometimes I get half way, or just one step closer to the change I want.

It doesn't matter how far I get.

The point is, I try, and trying is the only way of changing anything for the better.

Not trying, not taking part, not doing a God-damn thing, now that is a safe bet, zero risk.

You are sure to succeed at changing nothing.


You got what you wanted.

If that's not what you wanted, what are you going to do about it?