Last week 38 percent of British enfranchised citizens made their way to the polling stations to choose their councillors and their MEPs. This is after months of  anxiety from the traditional parties wondering how the opposition parties would do, especially UKIP. When the BNP lost their funds and their credibility UKIP, despite months of torment by the media about their LGBT stance and their racist members, still managed to gain 155 seats on councils around the country as a protest vote.

Protest votes are seen as “sticking it to the man” but whilst this is indeed doing so, it would be more worthwhile to vote for a party that will work to improve situations rather than exacerbate them. Whilst I would prefer to show my disdain for the leading parties by voting Green or even the Monster Raving Loony Party, you cannot exclaim that you are worried about “the state of the country” with “The Rise of UKIP” when you should instead try and understand what this shows about the electorate.

It has been studied since the creation of democracy why people vote. While some consider voting to be a “political expression” and others see it as  “power to the people” it may in fact simply be because we trust and want the candidate or party to rule. It is therefore not fair to some extent to question the choices that others make, especially if you haven’t voted yourself.

The electorate was actively encouraged to vote with the #whyimvotingukip going viral and endless celebrities and experts warning of the consequences of not “using your vote”, it being a known fact that more people vote for X Factor than they do for those who will be making decisions that will affect their life. Whilst this argument is not new it doesn’t make it less relevant. We may all fall for the charms of Russell Brand, but we shouldn’t fall for his misunderstanding.

Instead of worrying about the state of this country and how these people are in power- think about what representing you will actually mean. How much power or influence do they have in their positions and whether they won regardless of your vote are important things to consider. If the public want UKIP and have voted for them, why shouldn’t they have seats? All 155 of them, see what can happen! This was seen as a protest vote mainly because they were quite literally more exposed meaning, that  if the Green or any other independent parties got the same amount of press then they may have won in virtue of such protest voting!

Personally, I’m not worried about my country I’m curious as to what will happen next. Will people blame it on the economy? Political apathy? Will the leading parties lose their lead in the general election? (Would be pretty hard with the current voting system). Or will this be the kick needed to get people to vote regardless?

If you want to have a protest vote  do so, if you don’t want those parties to win unless you vote, they will. It’s that simple – that’s democracy for you!

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