Election Day is finally here
Election day is finally here. You can vote today from 7am this morning until 10pm tonight at Polling station around Formby.
Millions of people have begun casting their votes in the United Kingdom general election.
Polls opened at 07:00 BST at around 50,000 polling stations across the UK, which will remain open until 22:00.
A total of 650 Westminster MPs will be elected, with about 50 million people registered to vote.
As well as the general election, there are more than 9,000 council seats being contested across 279 English local authorities.
Why Should you vote?
Across the world people have died fighting for the right to vote and be part of a democracy
Across the world people have died fighting for the right to vote and be part of a democracy – by voteing you’ll be showing that you think that right is important.
Think about it this way – in the UK, less than 100 years ago, people were killed during their struggles to get the vote for women. In South Africa, not until the end of apartheid in 1994 were black people able to vote for the first time. Today, many people across the world are still denied the right to vote.
It gives you a say on important issues that affect you
Everything from roads and recycling in your area, to education and climate change – you may think you don’t want to vote now, but if an issue comes up that you want to have your say on, if you have voted, you have done your bit to put your own issues in place.
Are you still unsure who to vote for? Are you still confused about what the parties actually stand for? Do you know which party most closely resembles the issues you care passionately about?
It’s election day but millions of people are expected not to vote. Here are ten reasons why we should all have our say at the ballot box:
1. Keep them on their toes
The right to vote them out keeps politicians on their toes – otherwise you end up with a Stalin or Idi Amin character who doesn’t even pretend to care what the little folk think. As the philosopher Edmund Burke said: “All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”
2. It's quick and easy
It takes ten minutes, you can do it anytime between 7am and 10pm, and a general election only comes round every five years. It’s not exactly a huge time commitment is it?
3. It's free - and the winner won't sing
They don’t charge you to vote like on X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent – and there’s the added benefit that the winner will not sing ‘Unchained Melody’.
4. Millions around the world would still love the right to vote
People have fought and died for the right to vote. A century ago women marched, protests and campaigned for it. In South Africa black people were denied the right to vote until 1994. And in many parts of the world, including North Korea, China, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, people are still fighting for democracy.
5. You can't complain if you don't express your opinion
It is claimed that groups who do not vote in large numbers, such as young people, get a raw deal from policy makers (ie: tuition fees and withdrawal of benefits), while those that do, such a pensioners, have been shielded from the most brutal cuts of the last five years. If you don’t vote your interests will be ignored.
6. Be a part of your community
If you aren’t necessarily community-minded, voting is a rare chance to see inside a church, school, community centre that you would not otherwise visit.
7. Decide how YOUR money is spent
We all pay taxes (anyone who goes shopping pays VAT) so you might as well help choose the politicians who decide how those taxes are spent.
8. Voting is the best system we have
There are faults with our voting system and we don’t always get the best leaders, but as Sir Winston Churchill once said: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”
9. Get one over on your friends
You may not support any candidate, party or leader, but you can always vote against the one you like least. Or even privately rebel against your parents, other half, or pal who recently turned you over by voting for Nigel Farage, Ed Milliband or any other politician who winds them up.
10. Russell says you should vote
Russell Brand now says it’s OK to vote (in his case as long as its Labour, SNP or Green).
£8 minimum wage
Ed Miliband has promised to raise the minimum wage to more than £8 by October 2019 if Labour wins the election. The threshold is currently set at £6.50 for those aged 21 and over. That means an extra £800-a-year for a full-time worker on the minimum wage, according to party statistics.
Scrap the Bedroom Tax
Labour also plans to abolish the controversial “Bedroom Tax”. The manifesto says: “Half a million families have been hit by the Bedroom Tax, and two thirds of those affected are disabled, or have a disabled family member. It is cruel, and we will abolish it.”
Freezing rail fares
If you travel by train for your daily commute Labour says it would cap rail fares for a year if it wins next month. There would also be a strict cap on every route for future fare rises, and a new consumer right created to access the cheapest ticket.
Seven day a week access to GPs
People will be able to access their own GP services at the weekends in a “truly seven day NHS” under proposals contained with the Conservative manifesto. They say they will spend at least an additional £8 billion by 2020 over and above inflation to fund and support the NHS’s own action plan for the next five years and guarantee that everyone over 75 will get a same-day appointment if they need one.
For younger voters the Conservatives promise to create three million new apprenticeships and help businesses to create two million new jobs, to achieve full employment. They also say they will back small firms with a major business rates review.
For older voters the Tories say they will continue to increase the Basic State Pension by at least 2.5% through “the triple lock” - the promise to increase pensions by the higher of inflation, average earnings or a minimum of 2.5%. Their manifesto also promises to cap the amount you can be charged for your residential care “so you can have the dignity and security you deserve in your old age”.
Primary school boost
The Lib Dems plan to extend free school meals to all primary pupils as well as ending illiteracy and innumeracy by 2025, with action in nurseries to get all four-year-olds ready for school by 2020. If the party is in power it says all children will be taught by fully qualified teachers.
With many people caring for loved ones the Lib Dems hope to introduce an annual Carer’s Bonus of £250 for carers looking after someone for 35 hours or more each week. The party would also work to raise the amount you can earn before losing the Carer’s Allowance from £110 to £150 a week.
Mental healthcare support
The Lib Dems hope to give a substantial boost to mental health care and plan to roll out access and waiting time standards for children, young people and adults. This will include a waiting time standard from referral of no more than six weeks for therapy for depression or anxiety and a two-week wait standard for all young people experiencing a first episode of psychosis. They also hope to transform care for pregnant women, new mothers and those who have experienced miscarriage or stillbirth, and help them get the early care they need.
£10 minimum wage
Raising the ante on Labour, the Green Party say they would bring the minimum wage to £10 by 2020. The threshold is currently set at £6.50 for those aged 21, the amount companies legally have to pay their staff. The Greens also say they would “end austerity” and restore the public sector, creating over one million good jobs that pay at least a living wage (the amount experts say is needed for a basic standard of living, now £7.85 per hour, or £9.15 in London) paid for with a new wealth tax on the wealthiest 1%, a Robin Hood Tax on the banks and the closure of tax loopholes.
Key manifesto pledges from the Green party include banning fracking, tackling climate change, and phasing out coal power stations. Anti-fracking campaigners in Merseyside have claimed plans for a £10bn shale gas extraction bonanza for Merseyside will put future generations’ health at risk.
Ending tuition fees
The Green Party says they would end the £9,000 a year tuition fees, cancel student debts and bring back student grants. With four universities in Liverpool and a large student population this is a key policy for those in higher education.
Keep free bus passes
While maintaining free bus passes, winter fuel allowances, free TV licences, free eye tests for older people is eye-catching, the UKIP plan to bring health and social care together, under the control of the NHS could be a much more significant long term plan as the population ages. The UKIP manifesto says it is “scandalous that the current care system is failing those who most need our help”.
Scrap hospital parking charges
As well as pledges to put an extra £12 billion into the NHS, £5.2 billion more into social care and build a dedicated military hospital, UKIP say they would also abolish hospital parking charges. They say they would fund 8,000 more GPs, 20,000 more nurses and 3,000 more midwives.
Bring back smoking in pubs
The UKIP manifesto says the smoking ban and alcohol taxes “are estimated to be responsible for some 6,000 pub closures”. As well as tax changes UKIP propose - should they get into power - to allow pubs and clubs the choice to open smoking rooms “provided they are properly ventilated and physically separated from nonsmoking areas”.
South Sefton Candidates
As a North West businesswoman employing 30 people in engineering, I am passionate about the area and about bringing back manufacturing.
I am a mother of two and have recently become a Grandma; I understand the pressures on families in particular our young people in finding jobs and getting on the housing ladder. That is why I congratulate David Cameron on making a real difference through apprenticeships and the changes in stamp duty in the Autumn Statement.
I have five clear priorities for Sefton Central:-
• Champion small businesses and shops so they can create employment for local people, especially the younger generation, encouraging more apprenticeships • Look after older residents so that they can enjoy security and access to the care they need after a lifetime of hard work. • Fight for Sefton Central’s fair share of infrastructure funding and ensure that the area enjoys the benefits that the Northern Powerhouse will bring • Protect our beautiful countryside and rural way of life and encourage development of brownfield sites, not our greenbelt • Ensuring our streets are safe and our homes protected from crime.
I am honoured and privileged to stand for Sefton Central and pledge to work hard for the residents and champion the constituency as a great place to work and live.
Bill Esterson MP
Bill Esterson was elected as Labour MP for Sefton Central on May 6th 2010 with a majority of 3,862.
Bill has worked as a Labour Party councillor for over 15 years. Bill holds a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy. He trained with a large accountancy firm and later became a Director of a training consultancy.
In 1995 Bill became a Labour councillor in Medway and has served as chairman of the Social Services committee.
He sits on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Education Select Committees.
Bill and his wife have two children, a girl aged eight and boy aged five.
Paula Keaveney is a former journalist who now works as a University Lecturer at Edge Hill University in West Lancashire. Her career has included spells working for national charities during which she visited some of the poorest countries in the world and campaigned on UK issues such as child poverty and disability.
Paula is a published author. She wrote the Save the Children report No Place to Play about lack of provision during school holidays. She is the co-editor of Marketing for the Voluntary Sector, published by Kogan Page in 2001. A chapter on how people can better influence politicians by lobbying on-line is due to appear in a collaborative book later this year (2015)
Paula’s political campaigns in the past have included trying to stop a waste plant being built in Liverpool and calling for more fee-free ATM machines. She has also worked to prevent library closures in Liverpool.
She has been active in politics since 1981 and was leader of the opposition on Liverpool City Council 2011/12
Paula loves quizzes and is appearing in this series of BBCs Mastermind. She won her heat (on TV comedy The Thick of It) and appears in February/March in the semis answering questions on local author Martin Edwards.
Paula is 55 and lives with a black cat named after Thick of It character, Malcolm Tucker. The cat is just as bad!
The lack of any sense of meaningful representation is the biggest issue affecting young people at this election.
Business as usual politics isn’t working and Lindsay Melia is one of the many people who want real change and a real alternative to the austerity of the ConDem government which has harmed the most vulnerable in society. She has never stood for election before and while nerves are natural, she is more committed to making a difference locally and is enjoying the challenge of being a candidate.
When we asked Lindsay what drives her to win, she told us that it was all about building a fairer and more equal society for all and not just the few, and that she is keen to show that the Greens are a real alternative the austerity of the Tories and austerity lite of Labour. She is doing plenty to boost her profile in the coming weeks and is scheduled to speak on a panel with designer Vivienne Westwood, Martin Dobson (Candidate for Liverpool Riverside) and Amelia Womack (Deputy Leader of the Green Party) at the end of April.
In Sefton, campaigners are focusing a lot of effort on their target ward, Church, and also on helping Martin Dobson become the first North West MP in Liverpool Riverside, which recent polls have shown is well within the bounds of possibility come 7 May.
Like many in the Green Party, Lindsay believes that the lack of any sense of meaningful representation is the biggest challenge facing young people at this election. Young people (and many older people) don’t feel included in the system and Lindsay acknowledges that we need to encourage more people like herself to get involved in politics. Hundreds of thousands of voters in the UK remain unregistered to vote in the General Election, many of them young voters who may lose their chance to participate in the decision on how their country is run for the next 5 years.
UK Independence Party
I am 47 years old born, raised and educated on Merseyside.
I am the father of two sons who both live and work in Liverpool. I manage my own IT/management consultancy company which has consulted predominately to the National Health Service for over a decade.
I have a passionate belief that the United Kingdom needs a change in Political leadership. There is a demonstrable need to ensure that all Government decisions, whether they are local or national in nature, are made with the best interests, and support of, the people of our country.
I am extremely honoured to have been selected to represent the UK Independence Party as Sefton Central’s Parliamentary Candidate. It is my sincere wish to win the forthcoming election and I am determined to subsequently achieve successful outcomes for the people of Sefton Central. I have a clear and passionate vision of how UKIPs local and national policies can help achievepositive affects for people in the Sefton community coupled with aspirations for the national and local economy.
As a member of the Institute of Leadership and Management I am an expert coach and mentor, with this expertise extending to developing health and wellbeing and life opportunities to adults and young people in local communities.
Go and Vote today