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(10 Posts)
BillieW Sun 08-May-16 09:27:16

We had a longstanding friends, a couple to stay for a few days during the recent local elections, my lovely female friend made a great deal of saying that they always voted, never missed, and yet every time politics came up, she shut the discussion down by saying you can't change anything- there is no point discussing it. (unlike her hubby who had quite intense discussions with my DH when us ladies were not around). I got to reflecting on how difficult is to get impartial information on the EU referendum, one day some powerful individual or organisation says in/out then someone of equal status states the opposite, both giving evidence and statistics to back up their views. I then wondered how many people are like my friend, proud of their unbroken voting record, but actually do not look for information, do not read or discuss political issues or choices but just vote presumably for the party they have always voted for. That saddened me, and I wondered just how many of the electorate are voting based on family or personal tradition, and if that has changed over the generations.

annsixty Sun 08-May-16 09:56:04

It is a very old saying that whole families and generations would vote for a pig if it wore red/blue. I think that is as true today,and I do know women who vote as their husband does.

daphnedill Sun 08-May-16 11:41:56

In my case, it's changed radically. My parents and family all voted Conservative. Some of them were Conservative councillors. Ever since I could vote, I voted LibDem nationally and for the candidate I thought best at local level (Green, LibDem, Labour or independent). In the last general election, I voted Labour, not because I agreed with everything, but because its policies were closest to my own beliefs and I wanted to get rid of the Conservatives. I made a list of the main parties' policies and prioritised them. I would vote tactically, if I thought that was the right thing to do. The only reason I would ever vote Conservative (with gritted teeth) would be if it helped defeat a UKIP candidate.

Devorgilla Sun 08-May-16 12:22:45

BillieW, I wouldn't be too hard on your friend. It sounds to me like she had had enough of talking politics and just wanted a nice social few days away with friends. Her husband obviously likes heated and intense discussions and perhaps she had just had overkill before coming to you. I wouldn't assume she just blindly votes although there are people who do.
I come from a family actively engaged with politics and there are times I wish they would just vote zombie-like so that, yet again, I don't have to listen to the fierce arguments when all I want is a quiet Sunday lunch - and I do engage in fierce arguments myself but not at every possible moment.
In Ireland the old adage is 'Don't mention religion or politics'.
Sometimes you just want to relax.

rosesarered Sun 08-May-16 13:50:48

Exactly Devorgilla not a good idea to start into politics when you are staying with friends.

Anniebach Sun 08-May-16 14:05:48

I don't think it applies that many vote as they families have done , I come from a family who have been labour since the birth of the Labour Party , I am a member of the labour Party, not because I am third generation , they are the party closest to my beliefs , I could never vote Tory or UKIP, UKIP is a racist party and the Tories have no thought for the most needy and vulnerable . The old liberal party I could perhaps vote tactically but they are long gone

Eloethan Sun 08-May-16 14:57:05

Some people are frightened of discussing politics in case it gets too heated. Most of my friends (though not all) are politically very different from me. We have many a heated debate but it doesn't spoil our friendship. Of course, if people got personal then that would be different.

My Dad, in his youth, campaigned for the Socialist Party of Great Britain. He voted Labour, but reluctantly. I respected his views and, to some extent, agreed with them but thought that, given the power of the establishment, there was little chance of such a radical party being elected. My Mum voted Conservative. She did so because it's what her family did as they thought "respectable" "middle class" people voted Conservative - she has little interest in or knowledge of politics.

I would never vote Conservative/UKIP, not because I'm blinkered or brainwashed but because I don't agree with those parties' underlying ideologies. I am more inclined towards the Green Party than the Labour Party but until we have a PR system I will continue to vote Labour. (As to PR, I'm still uncertain - as someone else pointed out, the PR system can be quite dangerous in allowing very extreme minority parties to hold sway when governments are formed).

daphnedill Sun 08-May-16 16:55:46

She did so because it's what her family did as they thought "respectable" "middle class" people voted Conservative - she has little interest in or knowledge of politics.

That's why my mother voted Conservative (and still does). I think she imagines that if you vote Labour, you get marked for life as a pleb, despite the fact that she'd actually be much better off with Labour policies. Talk about turkeys voting for Christmas!

daphnedill Sun 08-May-16 17:05:55

I feel much the same as you, Eloethan. Ideologically, I have much in common with Green policies. Years ago, the Liberals had some of the same policies, which is why I voted them.

A few years ago, my life changed drastically and it was really brought home to me that governments and what they do really do affect people's lives. My views on politics changed from ideology to something more practical and pragmatic.

I've never ever lived in a constituency where I've voted for the winning MP, which is why I'm more interested these days on what can be done at local level. My Conservative MP gained 53% of the vote last year, but at local level, the town has an independent county councillor and at district level the town has no Conservative councillors. The town council is independent with a smattering of LibDems, Greens, Labour and just a couple of Conservative councillors.

BillieW Mon 09-May-16 11:08:46

Thanks for your replies, just to respond to a couple of points. My friend doesn't talk politics with anyone and never has, we were just talking about the off shore tax havens v the austerity programme! Her husband has rarely commented when we are all together, but obviously has personal views to share.

I am pleased to hear than many have changed their voting preference from family traditions to personal and pragmatic choices.

I still think you can have a discussion without upsetting the time you are spending together. I have always talked politics given long enough! That's me! I am not interested in changing people's views, but through discussion I think you learn.
My friend commented when you stay at people's houses, you learn new recipes, cleaning short cuts, gardening ideas, shopping, holidays, short breaks etc etc. obviously everything just not politics!