Politics affects everything, so why wouldn’t you vote in the elections?

People cast their votes in the election yesterday. Picture: JAMES BASS

People cast their votes in the election yesterday. Picture: JAMES BASS - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2010

At the last general election 66.1% of the country decided how 100% of us would be governed.

To put that in rough figures, of the 46 million people who were eligible to vote, 30 million turned up and 11 million of them decided the Conservatives should be in power.

But I'm not writing about that. I'm concerned with the 16 million who didn't vote at all.

16 million who, if they had voted, could have feasibly elected the Monster Raving Loony Party if they wanted.

I wouldn't tell you who to vote for because I don't have that right - something a lot of newspapers tend to forget - but I'm baffled by those numbers; it's like eating a meal you didn't order but ignoring the waiter when they ask if you want something else.

The usual responses to abstaining from an election are disillusionment or disinterest and I think we can all sympathise with both.

But politics is simultaneously boring and divisive and affects literally everything.

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Most people don't know or care how electricity works but their everyday lives depend on it; the same goes for politics.

So as yet another slew of local and general elections approach, many are already feeling fatigue, but it's imperative that as many people cast their vote as possible because the total that don't will be hijacked by various parties as consent for the status quo or a confirmed mandate from the will of the majority.]

So if you're still reading this and thinking that you'll do your civic duty, this next part is where most people tune out: who to vote for?

In the run up to an election, a raft of leaflets, placards and news reports seem to dominate our lives, telling us who deserves our precious vote.

The truth is, none of them can be trusted; not the spin doctors, the media, the polls, your friends or even your family. Each have their own bias and agenda which could conflict with your worldview.

So how do you wade into the political foray?

The answer is and has almost always been the Party Manifesto.

The Manifesto lists everything the party promises to do and whether they deliver or not, they can be held to account if they start introducing random policies that no one agreed to.

Thankfully, rather than sifting through text-heavy brochures, technology has advanced so you can now visit sites like VoteForPolicies.org.uk, who break down all the manifestos by key issues, presents them blindly and once you've picked your answers, states a percentage breakdown of the parties you agree with. Like Blind Date but all the contestants are a bit naff.

So without meaning to sound condescending, the thing to remember is that politicians don't often go after demographics who vote - because why would you brazenly attack things people vote for? It would be the fastest way to ensure you were never elected.

But non-voters don't have a voice so it's like kicking the heads off of daffodils. What's the daff going to do? Complain? This means that statistically those who don't tend to vote are the same people who are most affected by the policies.

Which brings me back to my initial query: why wouldn't you vote?

Technology helps you choose, the process isn't difficult and with so much at stake, the parties are more desperate than ever.

Voting is something we take for granted, but there was a time in this country where everything was dictated by a monarch and women have only had the vote for one hundred years.

So take the time and make your voice heard.