In the coming months, you may notice a number of men and women appearing in your gardens, knocking on your doors or creating new pages on Facebook. But fear not, they are not (that) dangerous: they don’t want your money, your bank details or your jewellery- just your vote.
After the year we’ve had, with briefings and emergency sittings of Tynwald, your mum’s best mate becoming an expert on genomics and your uncle sharing conspiracy theories about Bill Gates, the Great Manx Public has been more politically engaged in 2020 than we have for years. We also have a young generation who are standing up for their own beliefs on green issues, racial equality and sexual liberation. It feels like a perfect time for an election year. If you’re not sure what to look out for during both the spring’s local authority and summer’s House of Keys elections, Gef has compiled a handy guide to this election year.
What to watch out for
You may notice a resident in your area being overly helpful on social media, perhaps you have a new member at the church on a Sunday or a business owner is suddenly sponsoring some charity or sports team. They could just be a warm, generous and friendly member of the Great Manx Public, but they could also be electioneering.
When is this likely to happen?
The first signs of electioneering may have already begun, questions specific to a certain area or an issue that is causing anger locally in your village might have been asked in Keys or Tynwald. If you haven’t seen it yet, then you certainly will in the new year, you may not even realise it at first, but suddenly when you come out of the shop on a Saturday lunchtime, they’ll be there, saying hello to everyone and wishing you a happy 2021. Then before you know it, as the summer holidays approach, boards will start to appear around towns and villages across the island complete with a VOTE (insert generic surname) and a smiling man or woman complete with a big X. Finally in late August or early September, a leaflet will appear at your door containing vital info.
But wait, I already have two MHKs…
Yep- and they could be up to it too. In the new year, you may notice your MHK stops asking questions about hospital waiting times or delays to key infrastructure projects, and starts asking questions about local issues like housing development, dog muck, bank closures and the ever popular voter bait that is bus services. Another thing to watch out for is ministers announcing changes that will benefit their constituency such as slowing down traffic or regeneration schemes to bring new jobs to the area.
What should I do?
VOTE VOTE VOTE. It doesn’t matter who for, just vote for someone. People all around the world this year have been jailed, and, in extreme cases, killed just for saying all men and women should have the right to vote for who governs them, who makes their laws and who exercises power in their name. The alternative is you forfeit the right to complain about decisions made by the gov and should under no circumstances write political posts ending with the words ‘rant over’.