‘How Election! shaped my political views’

Election_Lock-UpSixteen year old work experience student Sylvie Copley provides her thoughts on the parties after spending two and half days working on Election! Britain Votes. 

When I started work experience at the museum I knew nothing about politics – apart from that the man in charge is a Conservative. Now after two days working on Election! Britain Votes I feel as though I can give a justifiable opinion on the current situation.

I got my first insight into the world of politics and how the voting system works from looking round the exhibition. From initial viewing I had made up my mind that I was a supporter of the Green Party – that didn’t last long. After spending a bit more time there, I overheard a TV interview of the leader of the Green Party, Natalie Bennett and quickly changed my mind.

My next job was to sort out the voting slips for the public which had 6 questions for them to ‘vote’ with and I recorded the details here.

A lot of the responses had very extreme responses which aided my opinion on the questions. For example, the government are ‘trying to reduce population by poisoning us e.g. cancer.’ – Which I knew I didn’t agree with. Others however, I did agree with such as example ‘It’s patronising to suggest women can only win if male competition is removed.’

On my second day I looked more at each of the parties. I was asked to find and print off many of the election posters for each of the parties and so got a tiny insight into what each of them meant. From these, I had decided that one’s targeting other parties obviously didn’t have enough to say about themselves and I most definitely disagreed with the UKIP poster about paying for maths and science students to be educated for free – our future does not just revolve around numbers!

However some visitors of the museum disagree with me. As one of my final tasks I had to collect and record their responses to the four questions. A response I got – in favour of the party I so disagreed was ‘UKIP or in the absence a decent fascist party.’ a comment which I did not agree on. None-the-less each opinion which was written (even the quite aggressive ones!) moulded my opinion of answering these questions. The questions were:

  1. Will you be voting and why? – ‘Yes- There are too many people voting in pointless ‘games’ such as ‘I’m a celebrity’ and ‘Big Brother.’ – get off your arses Britain and vote for better terms and conditions’ and ‘Yes – People fought and died to let this woman have a vote!’.
  2. Why do you think voter turnout has been so low in recent years? – ‘A lack of connection between mainstream politics and real change in people’s lives’ and ‘People are fed up with sleaze, dishonesty, and control by corporate entities, bank scandals, promises unfulfilled’
  3. What is your prediction for this year’s general election? – ‘With a bit of luck this government will be out on its ear. HURRAH!’ and ‘Whoever wins, the government will remain in power.’
  4. What qualities do you want in an MP? – ‘Tall, dark and handsome.’ And ‘Don’t vote for a party. Vote for a person. Someone who will represent local interests.’

Many of the responses I picked were for their comedy, passion and simply because the argument was good. Through the visitors opinions at the exhibition I have been taught any different opinions and extreme ideas within politics. I have come to realise that many people get very aggressive in the way our countries ran – however I believe by sticking to voting we can continue to have our say and have no need for the aggression at all.

This led me on to researching each of the three main parties, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party. Each of which I was not impressed! To sum it up, I found the Labour Party wanted to tax the rich, and Lib-Dems were stuck in between and Conservatives hadn’t really done much! As much as I agree that a lot of things politicians promise do not get done, surely we should carry on voting for the member of our constituency. In the long run politicians will carry on changing, but in the short run the people who make the biggest difference to our lives are our local representatives, our vote therefore will still count.

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