Listen to your head and not your heart when casting your vote in any election. And above all, don’t vote blind!

First published in April 2019.

In the 2016 referendum on European Union membership, I voted to leave and for what I thought were very good reasons. I had listened to all the debates, watched television programmes and taken in as much information as I possibly could before eventually deciding that leaving the European Union was the best path that my country could take.

The problem I had, of course, was that I had taken in all this information from both sides of an argument without actually checking which information I was receiving was true. It took me a long time, over two years in fact, but after a lot of fact-checking and soul-searching, I did eventually conclude that what I had been told by the Leave campaign on all matter of issues were lies.

Although I now realise that I did make the wrong decision in voting to leave in 2016, the information was out there. I just hadn’t checked it.

Facts about everything from sovereignty and trade to the NHS and immigration were there, you just had to look at the information available with an open mind, and not be blinkered towards one side of an argument or the other, which I’ll be honest, is very hard to do when you do have strong beliefs and views about a certain issue.

Everyone naturally wants their point of view to be correct. Nobody likes to be proved wrong, but nobody is ever right about absolutely everything. So, sometimes, the best thing to do is to admit that your viewpoint is simply flawed and wrong when you can see that it is.

This, of course, is a lot easier when there is actually information readily available which you can check. And this is what worries me about Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party.

With the 2016 referendum, both the Remain and the Leave campaigners published information for the electorate to try and persuade them to vote for their campaign. The following year, Theresa May called a general election, and once again the political parties released manifestoes explaining each party’s point of view on a wide range of subjects concerning issues that affected the people of this country. You could, as with the referendum, check the information and make your decision.

Nigel Farage has managed to attract an incredible amount of support in an incredibly short amount of time for his new Brexit Party with just one policy, Brexit. He is, at this present time, receiving a massive amount of media attention to promote his cause, which as far as I can tell, still has no real plan, no direction, and no end position. Even his party’s website explains nothing at all, but that democracy is under threat and that people shoul join them in their fight back. That’s it! Nothing else!

Aside from standing in the European Elections in May, Nigel Farage has confirmed he wants to run candidates for Parliament in future general elections to stop MPs from blocking Brexit. He talks of using the European Parliamentary elections as a springboard to take the party into power in Westminster at the next election, but a party can’t possibly be elected with only one policy! Where do they stand on every other issue? Okay, you could probably take an educated guess where they stand on immigration, but what about everything else? Defence? Security? The NHS? Education? Knife crime? Poverty? Fiscal policy?

Any political party should have clearly defined answers to these issues. To vote for a party that has no clear manifesto about anything apart from Brexit is undoubtedly suicide. We simply don’t know what their plan is on anything!

Vote for the Brexit Party and you are voting blind, it is as simple as that, really. You wouldn’t vote for a party that told you it was going to halve your rent or mortgage if you knew that they were planning to burn your house down. And the reality is we simply don’t know what their plan is. There is no information, nothing to fact check, nothing to challenge.

Emotions are running high in the UK at the minute, but when it comes to casting your vote, you should always vote with your head and not your heart. The referendum taught me this. There are so many issues affecting the people of this country right now. These issues matter. People’s lives don’t revolve entirely around Brexit. People’s lives revolve around things like tax and education, public services and health. Any political party wishing to seek people’s votes should have clear policies on these issues, It’s simply unacceptable not to.

So, regardless of whether you are pro-Leave or pro-Remain, when it comes to casting your vote in an election, any election, do focus on the issues that will affect your day-to-day lives. Issues that matter. The important issues.

Listen to your head and not your heart and above all, do not vote blind!🔷

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[This is an original piece, first published by the author in on 29 April 2019 . | The author writes in a personal capacity.]

(Cover: Dreamtime/Kiosea39.)