Why I read the party manifestos
Helpline Volunteer and member of our Youth Advisory Panel, Anick tells you about a night spent reading the party manifestos and why that's so important.
It was a late Wednesday night when I decided to read all the manifestos for the UK General Election. Maybe it’s because I’m passionate about politics, or that I’m probably a masochist, or most likely that I’m just an expert procrastinator.
I’m also one of those people who enjoys taking online quizzes. So, after finding out what type of bread I am, and what colour represents my aura, I thought I’d find out which political party best matches my views.
I was excited to read about what each party was hoping to achieve. The outcome of the election will change the course of history, and I have the ability to make a difference (as cliché as that sounds!).
I started off by reading newspaper summaries of each party. I figured that it would be a way to get them all done quickly and it would be impartial. I went in expecting to support one particular party, but I was surprised by the result. It got me thinking; I’ve not read any of the manifestos and it’s almost time for the election.
Before this, everything I thought I knew about political parties was based on conversations with others and the news, so it was important for me to make my own decision for this election by reading what each party believes in, from the parties themselves. But I remember opening up each manifesto and being terrified about the size of the documents. Some were over 100 pages long! I think what struck me the most is that a lot of people I know have not, and will not, take the time to read manifestos.
I’m passionate about equality, so how that was implemented in the manifestos was the most influencing factor for me. The Green Party had a short manifesto and then a separate document based on different causes including, Gender, Youth and LGBTIQA+ (they were the only ones to include the full acronym). The pledge which I felt was most important for me was their aim to include intersex variations into the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. They also want to ban surgeries on children with intersex variations where it was not medically necessary. No other party (to my knowledge) has spoken about this issue or put it into their manifesto.
The Liberal Democrat manifesto was similar in some issues and the most surprising policy they wanted to introduce was the decriminalisation of cannabis, and the full incorporation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into UK Law.
Labour wanted to renationalise key sectors to make things more affordable and commit to spending more within the NHS.
Conservatives outlined their plans for Brexit and their goal to improve diversity.
All the manifestos that I read had some good elements, and some things which I felt would be unrealistic or idealistic. This made things even more confusing. It was now 2am and I was hysterical. Why was I still awake?!
Was I any closer to deciding on a party? No. But I don’t think I wasted my time in the end. Finding out about what each party believes in gave me the opportunity to see things from different perspectives. Politics can be such a personal and private topic for many. I’m looking forward to watching the results unfold, by the end of the week – change will come.
Thank you Helpline Volunteer Anick for writing this post. If you’re interested in volunteering too head here.
Published on 08-Jun-2017
No featured article