Political Influences

Is our political affiliation determined by existing factors?

Do we vote based on external factors? Or have we all got a political mind of our own?

As a new defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, is appointed after the departure of Sir Michael Fallon, I look at whether pre-existing factors influence an individual's voting intention. 

Williamson, the Conservative MP for South Staffordshire, is the example of this; as his parents were both Labour voters in Yorkshire town Scarbrough. However, he has changed sides and has held a number of important roles in government — including his new post as Defence Secretary. 

So I ask, does the vote of our family decide our vote? Or by the time we can vote, have we made our own choice? Well I would suggest that it is, in most cases, the former. A lot of our early life, we are subconsciously acting based on the morals and lessons of our parents. If we are raised with lots of money, and the opposition party threaten to take more of that away than the current party does; we will vote for the current party, as it will be the subconscious behaviours of our early life helping make the decision. Despite people's best efforts, if most are offered to keep an extra 3% (as an example) of their income; or have that spent on a state-owned 'business' like education — the answer would be keeping the money. While that may seem obvious, should that be something, which actually is debated more? Should the richest family pay more money towards the government, so that everyone can have equal education? In my opinion, yes. But then again, I believe we should share wealth more appropriately in society and would give up my extra 3% without a thought. 

Furthermore, a current debate is whether or not we give people aged 16 and 17 a vote. The preface of the supporting argument was that by 16, we can be in full-time work and paying taxes. However, would this not be giving an extra vote to parents? I believe that, while there are some people who can decide for themselves — there are many who would not know, and would therefore rely on the information of others. Sadly, that implies that something as critical as politics is out of their understanding. However, we know that teenagers are easily influenced — even at 16 and 17 — and this could just provide many significant problems for the youth. For example, when AJ Tracey and JME came out in support of Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party for the 2017 snap general election — did their influence change the election? Did having heavy influences of society mean a high turnout of millennials, which ultimately meant a major increase in the Labour vote?

The debate is there to be had, but would those extra votes actually change anything? Just because we decrease the voting age does not mean that the Labour party, who control the millennial vote currently, will suddenly control 200 extra seats. In fact, it would be naive to suggest this. It is entirely possible that no effect would be had, as their are children of voters from both major political groups. 

Finally, does anything actually have an effect? Is it possible that, as my parents say to me, the vote is "decided between the person and the ballot paper?" Do people just turn up and cross the box, without any understanding? Only voting because they have the right to do so. Should we have requirements for people to be eligible to vote? A test? Or does this just discriminate in society? 

It is an interesting debate — and one to be had by more important people than me. 


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Sam Ketch
Sam Ketch

English Journalist-in-making. Student. Mental Health advocate. Sports fanatic. Politics and Current Affairs. Making no money from this, so please donate anything to: mobro.co/samketch

Other work: samketch14.blogspot.com

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Political Influences