It’s that time again! Our letterboxes and increasingly so, email inboxes, are full to the brim with ‘please vote for us’ manifesto promises, political rhetoric, policy statements and photos of incumbents and hopefuls kissing babies, but who should you vote for?
Of course we’re not getting drawn into playing with that particular hot potato – we live in a democracy, vote for whoever you like! – but we thought we’d give you the runners and riders as well as a slightly irreverent look at the election rather than a serious political diatribe on who should be trusted* and who shouldn’t**.
* None of them
** All of them
Just kidding. Sort of.
Britain goes to the polls on May 7th and you and your 48,000,000 friends get to choose who will run the country for the next five years. In the 2010 General Election, voter turnout was 65.1% but analysts expect the turnout to be higher for this election.
The 2015 General Election Runners and Riders
There are 650 constituencies in the UK and we are voting to elect MPs in each of them. The party who has the most seats when all the votes have been counted will win. Or at least that’s the theory…
Alongside the main seven political parties, a number of smaller parties are contesting seats including the Elderly Persons Independent Party, Left Unity, the Christian People’s Alliance, the National Health Action Party and of course everyone’s favourite election losers, the Monster Raving Loony Party, but here are the key players:
Conservative Party – David Cameron (incumbent Prime Minister)
Liberal Democrats – Nick Clegg (incumbent Deputy Prime Minister)
Labour – Ed Miliband (Leader of the Opposition)
Scottish National Party – Nicola Sturgeon
Green Party – Natalie Bennett
Plaid Cymru – Leanne Wood
UKIP – Nigel Farage
As with every election, there are always the traditional issues that each party will campaign on – education, health, welfare, immigration, law and order, pensions, housing, environment, Europe, taxation and defence – and each one will tell you that their ideas are right for the country and their opponents’ ideas are wrong for the country.
The thing is, it’s up to you to make up your own mind by reading the manifestos, listening to the politicians speak and making your own mind up. Don’t be swayed by popular opinion or what you read on Facebook on Twitter. The decision on who you will vote for is important and if you’re registered to vote, please do.
If you don’t vote, you don’t get to moan about who ends up in Number 10 for the next half-decade!
Instead of us spouting on about our own brand of political bias, here’s an irreverent look at the election, the candidates and the parties. After reading this list, you may be clearer on whom to vote for, then again, we may have muddied the waters further…!
- No party has ever come back into government after one term in opposition since 1979 when Thatcher beat Jim Callaghan. Miliband has to if he wants to be PM
- Ed Miliband is 5’11” and Clegg and Cameron are a shade under 6’1”
- The youngest Prime Minister was William Pitt the Younger who was 24 in 1783
- 59% of Labour MPs were educated in state schools compared to 30% of Tories and 26% of Lib Dems
- According to the Daily Mail in a survey of 1,000 women, 3% said they would vote for Joey Essex over Nick Clegg and if they were standing, 14% would vote for Russell Brand, 11% for Lord Sugar, 4% for David Beckham and 1% for Cheryl Cole….
- As of April 2015, of the 650 MPs, 148 are female and 502 are male
- Perhaps surprisingly, just under half (49%) of MPs represent a constituency in the region they were born
- 24% of MPs are Oxbridge-educated
- In the Tory stronghold of Wealden in East Sussex, Labour have chosen an 18 year-old Politics student called Solomon Curtis to contest the seat and to challenge Nick Clegg in Sheffield Hallam, UKIP picked a 21 year-old former Lib Dem activist
- The longest continually-serving MP was Charles Pelham Villiers who was elected in 1835 and served until he died in 1898, a period of over 62 years
- MPs earn £67,060, while the combined ministerial and parliamentary salary for a Cabinet minister is £134,565
- In a YouGov survey asking people what animal David Cameron most resembled, voters decided on a snake. Nigel Farage was seen as a weasel and a response from a focus group on Ed Miliband was ‘one of those animals that, when you go to the zoo, you’re not bothered whether you see it or not!’
- UKIP are being challenged in Nigel Farage’s Thanet South seat in Kent by comedian Al Murray, the Pub Landlord and his newly formed Free United Kingdom Party (FUKP)
- David Dimbleby will head his 51st and final election broadcast on the BBC; Jeremy Paxman has been snapped up by Channel 4 and Tom Bradby and Alistair Stewart will look after both ITV viewers
- In a measure of consistency, on election day Cameron will have been in charge of the Tories for 3,440 days, Miliband in charge of Labour for 1,686 days and Clegg for the Lib Dems for 2,698 days
- The last election not to take place on a Thursday was on Tuesday 27th October 1931 and it was also the last time a party (Baldwin’s Conservatives) took over 50% of the vote
- It’s said that elections take place on Thursday because traditionally, people were paid on Friday and they would have little money left to get drunk
There’s also the list of ‘Things That Will Definitely Happen in the General Election’, including:
- A tabloid superimposing a candidate into an image of a vegetable
- One of the campaign buses will be foreign-made or will inadvertently park in a disabled spot
- A member of the public will throw eggs, make a rude gesture or confront a candidate in the street
- That member of the public will get arrested and end up doing the rounds of tabloid interviews until we forget who they are
- One of the candidates for PM will forget a mic is on and say something royally stupid, racist, sexist or plain ignorant
- A politician visiting a school will be asked a very simple maths or spelling question and get it wrong
Whatever happens, the future of our great nation is in your hands!
Joking aside, as long as you’re a registered voter, please vote. You may not think ‘just one extra vote’ counts, but it absolutely does. It’s your country and you have a right to say who is in charge.
Have a great month and we’ll see you in May!By Rob at 21 Apr 2015