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General Election 2015 and you

By Dude Swheatie of Kwug

Decision-making basics

As Thomas Jefferson said, “Democracy presupposes knowledge.”

What do each of the parites standing in General Election 2015 stand for? (See next paragraph on that matter.) Fully active participation in UK elections also requires that you be registered to vote.(1) If you are not registered to vote by 20 April 2015 at your current address, find out what you can register to vote. And if there is not a candidate of your first choice party standing for election in your constituency, you could find out about candidates of your first choice party near you via the website of the party concerned, and do what you can to campaign for that party there as well as voting for the candidate of your closest fit in the place where you are registered to vote.

The interactive Vote for Policies website helps you decide between the biggest parties according to where you are in the UK.(2) In England, that's Conservative, Green Party of England & Wales, Labour, Liberal Democrat and United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). Policies are presented without party attributes and you make your choices according to the policies more than the name of the party. Once you've completed their survey, you can view more of the policies of each party via other pages on the Vote for Policies website. You can also find out what the most popular party in your constituency is of those who have used the Vote for Policies website. Of course, if there are other parties standing for election in your constituency, you could look to their websites.

Additional info to aid you in deciding which party/ies to support:

Other Political Parties and how to identify who is standing in your parliamentary consitutency:

  •  YourNextMP — UK 2015 General Election candidates, should help you identify who is standing in your parliamentary consituency and how to connect with them(3)
  • Left Unity — a political party(4)
  • Trade Union & Socialist Coalition (TUSC)  — a political party(5)
Be aware that with the smaller political parties, they are sometimes invited to local 'hustings' debates for parliamentary candidates but don't turn up. So in those cases, records of the hustings may make note of that fact and you need not think that the hustings host is prejudiced against that part.

Disabled people's interests and General Elections:

A pre-2010 Government installed an investment banker as welfare reform guru despite his being apparently about the fact that testing for out of waged work disabilitiy benefit Incapacity Benefit was not handled by the claimant's own general practitioner but a company contracted by the DWP. (6) (7)  That welfare reform guru David Freud became the coalition government's Welfare Reform Minister in 2010 as Lord Freud.(8)

And in line with a since-discredited USA-based health insurance company called Unum having been undemocratically installed as an adviser to UK governments on welfare reform since 1994 and not sacked since 2000 when declared purveyor of 'disability denial factories', the 'welfare reform debate' has largely centred around smear stories against benefit claimants. (9) (10)

That is all despite the UK Government of 2007 having signed up to the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People.

Guidance and relevant information on wider public servic issues that may not feature in BBC coverage of the General Election

  • Delivery of Council and Central Government Services would be potentially privatised with the implementation of 'government by corporate lawyers' under the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership' (TTIP). Find out more.
  • Full Fact — Full Fact is the UK's independent fact-checking organisation
  • Poverty and how 'political' a charity is allowed or not allowed to be
  • "neoliberalism is characterized by investigative reporter Naomi Klein as a "holy trinity" -- privatization, deregulation and cuts to social spending -- in which governments dismantle trade barriers, abandon public ownership, reduce taxes, eliminate the minimum wage, cut health and welfare spending, and privatize education. She calls the means of achieving this goal "disaster capitalism" and describes how it has resulted in a worldwide redistribution of income and wealth to the already rich at the expense of economic solvency for the middle and lower classes."
    • How the economy of the UK has become increasingly dominated by the neoliberal drive to privatise the welfare state, particularly since the 2010 General Election and the introduction of 'fracking licensing' etc that undermines national inegrity.
    • The Psychologists Againsts Austerity briefing The Psychological Impact of Austerity.
    • How will the various political parties standing in this General Election tackle neoliberalism, or whether they would embrace it even more?
  • Quaker Vote 2015 UK General Election: Gudiance, Resources & Information. (Includes reference to the 'austerity' guzzling cost of replacing the Trident nuclear missile system that the three main political parties at least seem to be in consensus of pursuing.)
  • Short money (UK Parliament): Short Money is the common name given to the annual payment to Opposition parties in the United Kingdom House of Commons to help them with their costs. It is named after Edward Short (later Lord Glenamara), the then-Leader of the House of Commons who first proposed the payments. Cranborne Money is its counterpart in the House of Lords.EVEN WITHOUT PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION IN UK ELECTIONS, Short Money tries to ensure that "there is no such thing as a wasted vote."
  • Taxpayers Against Poverty
  • There is a Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem consensus that Universal Credit has been too expensive to abandon. 
    1. What does blogger Johnny Void say about its likely impact on benefit sanctions?
    2. What does Citizens Advice say about Universal Credit
    3. What do the other political parties say about it?
  •  'Work for your benefits' has become a mantra of mainstreamism in the UK since the term 'workfare' was first coined. 
    1. What does Boycott Workfare say and do about it?
    2. What will the political parties seek to do about it?

Election campaigning methods

 "Each mind has its own method." — RW Emerson
 Election methods include door-to-door leafleting and canvassing of voter intentions, and also telephone canvassing. A Camden Labour party insider has told me that their telephone canvassers at council by-elections use the UK HQ of JML (John Mills Ltd, headed by an ex-Labour councillor) for their telephone canvassing.

Political parties do not make sufficient effort in using street stalls and demonstrations, in my view. At our jobcentre demonstrations, for example, candidates can interact more with constituents more openly than they'd be able to on the doorstep. Visiting a jobcentre or housing advice outlet can show that they care.

Any election canvassing that involves any kind of expenditure is generally coordinated through the local political parties because of election expenses issues. Find out more about how you could participate in your preferred party's GE2015 campaign by contacting your nearest relevant contacts with the aid of  Vote for Policies or YourNextMP and contacting the party/ies concerned for further details.

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