How do you decide who to give your vote to? How do find out your local candidates’ policies, and their party’s policies?
Party policies are easy enough. There are plenty of guides and quizzes out on the internet to help you decide.
I like Vote for Policies a lot. It summarises each party’s policy on various subjects, anonymises them and sticks them side by side for you to choose your favourites. And then gives you a breakdown at the end. (I got 100% green, fwiw. But I’d already read our manifesto – and the other manifestos – so I’m not sure I was clicking innocently.
If you prefer a question by question quiz, Who Should I Vote For is a good place to start.
I’m always a little bit wary of political quizzes, though; bias can creep into them. So don’t take the first one you come across and stick with the answer it gives you, and take a look at who’s behind any you take.
(Vote For Policies also make Policy Tracker – which tracks the winner’s manifesto promises against what they actually do.)
I really wish I didn’t need to have this bit here. But! We’re seeing huge spending policies all over the place, and political parties are promising the moon on a stick to everyone. So – you need to look at how realistic those promises are, and how much you trust that party to actually implement them if they’re in power. So, a bit of critical thinking – and talking – wouldn’t go amiss.
You’re electing an MP – not a party
Unless you live in Uxbridge and South Ruislip you can’t actually vote for Boris Johnson, and unless you live in Islington North you can’t vote for Jeremy Corbyn. Sorry! So it’s really helpful to know where your local candidates stand on the issues that are most important to you – especially now, when there’s been so much disagreement within political parties.
How do you do this, though?
Local press (and radio and TV) will generally have a little bit of coverage of local candidates, but it can be quite brief and sound-bitey.
There will be hustings happening somewhere near you. (They may already have happened – I’ve been writing this slowly for weeks.) I think that hustings can be a really good way to get a deeper understanding of all your local candidates’ motivations. They may have been filmed and available online if you’ve missed them.
Email them! I have approximately a gazillion emails to reply to still, but most of them are via campaign groups. When I get an email from an Actual Person I prioritise that, even when I know that the answers I’m giving aren’t what they want to hear. Email your candidates asking their views on the things that are most important to you. Be a little bit patient – some of us are trying to juggle work and cat-scritching and electioneering (and ideally getting a tiny bit of sleep). Who Can I Vote For (from the excellent Democracy Club) will give you contact details for all of your local candidates.