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How to decide who to vote for?

15 replies

Usernameismyname01 · 11/11/2019 13:08

I have a work colleague who is 18 and can vote for the first time and she was asking about all the party's and how/where can she find unbiased information about their policies etc (in a kind of idiots guide to... kind of thing) to make an informed choice when voting comes around

Can anyone direct us to the best place?

OP posts:
JoanneMumsnet · 11/11/2019 14:44

Hi, we're moving this thread over to our Politics topic at the OP's request.

Usernameismyname01 · 13/11/2019 13:07


OP posts:
cdtaylornats · 15/11/2019 22:04

Monster Raving Loony - at least they are honest.

PersonaNonGarter · 15/11/2019 22:06

Do you want Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson in No 10?

They are the only two options. All the rest is hot air. Pick one and vote.

Hereismyreply · 17/11/2019 00:50

If anyone claims to be offering you completely unbiased political information, I would treat it with a degree of suspicion as people will have very different views about where the centre ground is and what amounts to extremism.

TheyWorkForYou is a helpful website which provides quite a lot of information on how people who have been MPs have voted. So if the person who has been your colleague's MP is standing again in this election, your colleague could look up how he/she has voted, which might be a decent start to deciding whether your colleague would like to see that person re-elected. However, TheyWorkForYou will not have information on a candidate who has never been an MP.

I would also suggest reading the parties' manifestos when they come out - should be easy to find by googling. It's important to understand that these are anything but unbiased! No party is going to admit to having policies that harm the NHS etc. However, if your colleague doesn't even think the manifesto looks good (ie when a party is advertising its policies in a favourable light) that suggests that party is not right for her.

The question of who to vote for is much more complicated than PersonaNonGarter suggests! This is because of the way the UK political system works, and it's important that your colleague understands this. Broadly, a party gets to form a government by having a majority of MPs in Parliament or (if no party has a majority, ie if there is a "hung" Parliament) by getting enough support from another party to be able to get its business voted through Parliament. The UK is divided into areas known as constituencies. Each constituency has one MP and that will be the person who gets the most votes in that constituency. That is known as the "first past the post" system, and it can produce strange results, eg imagine if a constituency has 60% of voters who want an anti-Brexit candidate and 40% who want a pro-Brexit candidate, but the anti-Brexit vote is split 50/50 between Party A and Party B whereas the pro-Brexit vote all goes to Party C, it is Party C's candidate who will become the MP for that constituency even though 60% do not like Party C's policy on Brexit. (I use Brexit to illustrate my point, but obviously in real life not everyone bases their vote on their views on Brexit.) In practice, in lots of constituencies, there are only two candidates who stand a chance of winning, so if A and B are the two candidates who stand a chance and you really don't like candidate A, you might think it makes sense to vote for candidate B who stands a chance of beating A even though the candidate you really like is candidate C. If your colleague looks up the 2017 general election result, that may give her an idea of which parties stand a chance of winning where she lives (though there are a few constituencies where the 2017 result will not be a reliable guide, eg because a well known politician has decided to stand as an independent candidate rather than representing a party).

Your colleague may find that she lives in a "safe" seat, ie one where one party always wins with a huge majority, in which case she might as well just vote with her heart for the party she likes the best. As a VERY rought guide, if a party won a seat by more than 5000 votes at the last election, it's pretty unlikely, though not impossible, that it will get voted out.

Hereismyreply · 17/11/2019 01:15

Found this item which looks quite useful. Your colleague can enter her postcode to find out which candidates are standing in the coming general election in her constituency and what the results were for that constituency in the last election. For each one she can then click through to see what that candidate has said about himself/herself in a statement. If the candidate has a Twitter account or public Facebook page, a link to that is included.

Hereismyreply · 17/11/2019 01:24

Finally, I assume your colleague knows that she needs to be registered in order to vote. If she has not yet received a polling card, that suggests she may not be registered. If she needs to register, she needs to do so by 26 November. Registration can be done online using this link and the key piece of information needed is the voter's National Insurance number.

cdtaylornats · 17/11/2019 18:27

This might help

How to decide who to vote for?
Usernameismyname01 · 18/11/2019 13:07

Thank you @hereismyreply that is extremely helpful and indeed worth a look

OP posts:
Cottipus · 19/11/2019 20:32

This website has a useful quiz to see which parties best echo your political beliefs:

There are probably a few sites out there that will do the same thing.

Nat6999 · 19/11/2019 20:36

Look at the manifestos of all the parties, then look at the candidates for your area, look at what your local MP has achieved since the 2017 election. When candidates come door knocking, ask them for their view on local & national problems & anything personal to you.

MoggyP · 19/11/2019 20:39

It's also worth thinking about what your local candidate is like.

Are thy genuinely local, of have they been parachuted in and are 'looking forward to making my home in this town'?

Will they be any good as a consitutuency MP (hard to tell, unless they've held a seat before).

Any particular causes they espouse? Have they had a career other than in politics?

EvaHarknessRose · 19/11/2019 20:47

I just keep trying to think 'what results would I celebrate when the votes are in?'. Damned if I know though.

ilovetofu · 19/11/2019 21:01

Just vote tactically to get the Tories out PLEASE!!!

Suziki · 12/12/2019 14:53
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