Today is Polling Day: There is Still Time until 10pm to Vote in General Election

Various election day flyers from all parties running in UK general election 4th July 2024. Photo by A.Howse
Various election day flyers from all parties running in UK general election 4th July 2024. Photo by A.Howse

Polling Stations in every community across the United Kingdom are open this Thursday evening, 4th of July as the nation votes for which party will lead the country during an unusual general election.

It is six weeks since the current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the unexpected summer leadership contest, outside Number 10 Downing Street on a memorably wet May day.

Both of the major parties in Britain: the Conservatives and Labour have had their fair share of positive coverage in the press and the would-be Prime Minister’s and their teams have all made embarrassing gaffs and mistakes that included rather unprofessional betting on a July 4th election date sweepstakes and saying dreadful things about the opposition.

To say it has been a bumpy ride for England over the last 14 years under the Conservatives is an understatement. An unexpected pandemic, energy price shocks as well as the war in Ukraine have led to very challenging times for everyone globally, especially families and individuals affected by the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak promised to clean up the more questionable (some would say unforgivable) behaviours seen in his party and demonstrated in multiple scandals such as Partygate. We will know tomorrow whether the general public have faith that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been able to achieve these respectable aims and whether adults living in households around the country believe that those Members of Parliament that are left in the incumbent Conservative government, are united enough to deliver their ambitious agenda. The Conservatives policies include the extremely controversial Rwanda Plan for relocating migrants overseas. On the worryingly dramatic last BBC political debate with Labour’s leader Kier Starmer the existing Prime Minister declared “at least we have a plan!” (as opposed to Labour’s less drastic illegal immigrations policies).

We have all heard many aspects of all the main political parties’ manifestos over the last few weeks. These policies have been transmitted on television debates, on radio programmes as well as features on other digital channels, social media and broadcast live events.

According to the official political polls, many residents across Great Britain and Northern Ireland are looking for a change of those in power in the United Kingdom and Labour is top of the list. The Liberal Democrats already have a lot of support from recent local elections and have a place in the polls as a viable opposition for those that don’t want to vote Conservative but can’t quite bring themselves to vote for Labour for whatever reason. Fun fact: The Liberal Democrats are the only party looking to work towards a reintegration with the European Union post Brexit. Ed Davey has run an entertaining and interesting Liberal Democrat campaign strategy that has helped to lighten the mood at times. Sometimes this jolly and caring approach has appeared a little soppy for the often-sober times we a living through. This is after all the most senior role in Westminster that involves becoming a figurehead for the UK at international conferences.

The Green party have been popular in the debating process and they have a special place as the one party that is focusing on the important work of minimising the effect of global climate change.

There are several independent parties and Nigel Farage made a surprise decision to run in May. Farage is representing the Reform party which has also had its fair share of shocking news stories during this sometimes heated and relatively stressful lead up to polling day. It is a shame that in 2024 we still have accusations around rude comments regarding someone’s race and heritage in the United Kingdom. Thankfully this doesn’t represent the British public who are by and large excellent folk with kind attitudes towards their fellow citizens.

We have millions of people with a positive spirit and many talents living on the beautiful British Isles. Our vibrant and cosmopolitan nation has much to be proud of and we can achieve great things working together.

However, we currently have an economy with limited resources in the United Kingdom and there are also several difficult and serious issues to address this year the the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom will need to deal with including funding the armed services, benefits and care system and the National Health Service as well as our esteemed emergency services, police force and educational institutions.

There is no doubt that Kier Starmer and Rishi Sunak are very different people with differing views on how to solve our biggest problems and grow our economy to be able to afford more services for our citizens. Prime Minister (for the rest of today at least) Rishi Sunak, Kier Starmer and Ed Davey are all professionals that have the ability and the statesmanship to lead our country forward.

On occasions during the political campaigns running up to these elections the atmosphere has been fraught, competitive and more than one debate has bordered on aggressive, angry and full of unnecessarily loud voices.

It would be understandable that men and women of all ages living in the United Kingdom may have chosen to book the first bargain getaway abroad that pops into their inbox in order to escape all the chaos of the noisy election runup.

Political decisions in a permacrisis are difficult and on top of all the other pressures of daily living the last thing we all need is another appointment in a physical location with limited parking facilities involving paperwork and all the neighbours.

It is worth remembering when deciding whether to dash out and put your ‘X’ on the ballot paper that democracy is a special privilege that works when everyone in a society ‘makes it happen’. Our system isn’t perfect but as Churchill once said “democracy is the worst form of government except all the others.”

We have free and fair elections in the United Kingdom and the suffragette movement sacrificed greatly to enable women to vote and in the fullness of time to be treated with the equality that we enjoy today. We still have work to do in this regard. Several dozen countries around the world are not fortunate enough to freely choose who they vote for even if they purport to be ‘democratic’ We must exercise our right to vote when we can as a tribute to those who suffered in order to make that happen for future generations.

Voting and using our voice to promote and celebrate the freedoms that we currently have is the best way to protect our rights in a changing world. Our non-perfect, best it can be, democratic political process allows everyone to participate and influence the way our country works. We are grateful to those who step up, represent us all and serve our society every day. We wish them and the United Kingdom the best of luck as the results roll in tonight!