We’ve been writing about politics for six months now (thanks for sticking with us), in part to promote CROSS, but also because we’re real advocates of thinking about and participating in elections and politics more generally.
With the election just one day away, it seemed time for some final thoughts. So here we go:
1. Decide who to vote for
We’re not here to tell you that. All through the process of publishing CROSS, we’ve tried to stay agnostic and encourage people to have and form their own informed views.
If you’re not sure, here’s a useful thought experiment derived from the philosopher John Rawls*:
Imagine you are alive, but you know nothing about yourself. You don’t know your age, gender, race, religion, background, education, profession, state of health: you don’t even know your name.
Now design the society in which you would like to live. How would it be organised (if at all)? Who would be in charge? How would things be decided? What would it reward?
If you can come up with the characteristics of a society that you would like to live in – no matter who you are – you can then apply those to the parties in this election and see which represents what you believe in.
We at Disconnected think it’s a crying shame that 1 in 3 people didn’t vote last time round. Let’s put it another way: 15 million people didn’t vote. So we’re not talking a handful of people; we’re talking millions. Almost every seat in the country becomes a marginal if everyone turns up to vote.
3. Really. Even if it’s raining.
Here’s an article about factors that influence voter turnout (it’s a few years old, but the basics still stand). To these, I’d add social norms (if everyone you know goes to vote, then you probably will too), peer pressure (similar but more overt) and accessibility of polling stations (most people live within a short walk of a polling station, but if it’s up a street you don’t use, or not on your daily route home, maybe you don’t go). As for rain? It’s probably more anecdote than fact, but take your brolly just in case.
4. Whoever is elected, they will be your representative for the next five years
This is the most important thing on this page.
The election is just the beginning. Whoever becomes your local MP is your representative in the House of Commons for the next sixty months. Make them work for you – write to them, visit them, ask them to put a question to the house, make sure they’re aware of your views on local issues so they don’t make decisions which are bad for your community. And follow what they do on They Work For You, a fab website where you can see how busy they are, how many debates and committees they attend, how many times they vote or speak. If they’re getting lazy, get in touch with them and wake them up!
5. If you’re not happy about an issue, get involved
The last few years have seen a growth in protest and activism, nationally and locally. Yes, so some protests didn’t change policy, but they have perhaps had a longer term impact on how decisions are made. But some protests – particularly local – can make a real difference.
Back to comics…
After this week, we’ll be changing the Disconnected blog to focus much more on our next wave of comics. Lizzie will be speaking at an Applied Comics Network event in London this weekend about the experience of producing CROSS, and we’ll have copies for sale at a conference called The Establishment on the Couch this weekend too (all proceeds going to charity). And then, that’ll be it – our eyes will turn towards our next comics – and we’ll have announcements coming soon about what you can expect!
Thanks for all your support for CROSS over the past six months, and special thanks to the amazing creators who produced such great work on our behalf. Long live satire!