Punk and Politics

Your Vote Is Your Voice

Punk and Politics
Punk and Politics

By Ben Tipple

Apr 10, 2015 14:00

The worlds of punk and politics have been intrinsically linked since the emergence of the genre back in the 70s. Established as an outcry against oppressive governments, it has since centred on developing a unique, individual identity – driven by the idea of personal freedom. Although not exclusively liberal (there are darker sides of the story), the punk scene prides itself on being predominately open minded and inclusive.

With the UK, Europe and further afield facing increasing challenges to these individual freedoms, it is no longer appropriate to hold unrelenting anti-establishment views. Completely disregarding the establishment and having no part in the voting process is no longer a protest. Particularly in the UK, with a highly contentious election looming – and one which is openly threatening the individual freedoms of a whole host of individuals – voting is more important than ever.

Who to vote for will always remain a personal and private choice. Many would hope that the punk scene we inhabit would actively oppose the racists, the homophobes and the misogynists, but looking back at punk’s history it’s unlikely to be a foregone conclusion. Yet what is evident is that an increasing number of people are becoming actively involved in political debate, and now is the time to turn discussion into action.

“There are loads of really obvious reasons for voting, especially in this year’s election, and you know them all but it’s hard to care sometimes,” Lande Hekt of underground politically charged punk outfit Muncie Girls concedes. Hitting the nail on the head, Hekt is keen to counteract the political apathy that has the potential to give power to bigots.

“I wonder how people feel now. I barely know anything about politics. We weren’t taught it in school. We were taught some history though I won’t forget that hundreds of women spent their lives campaigning for women’s suffrage,” Hekt continues.

Hekt concludes with a call to action. “Young people together can make a difference,” she remarks, commenting on the convenience for the current government that the same young people have become disengaged with politics. “Voting at least tells them that we’re listening, and we’re willing to have our trust earned.”

It’s a sentiment shared by Funeral For A Friend frontman Matthew Davies-Kreye. “Ignorance is most definitely not bliss, at least in the case of politics,” he notes when probed about his opinion on the forthcoming General Election. “The act of burying your head in the sand can do more harm than good.”

Davies-Kreye continues to comment on the narrow direction of this year’s campaigning. Rather than focus on some of the biggest issues facing the UK, a selection of political parties have steered the conversation towards issues that veil the bigger picture. “Always look at the bigger picture,” he implores. “Educate yourself about the current standing of the parties and vote with the information at hand, not because of what a propaganda machine is forcing down your throat.”

Punk and Politics

Most importantly, it’s about getting the voices heard. Social media has become a political battleground for those with a lot to say, and no outlet for it. Heading to the polling booths and voting is a way of acting on those beliefs.

“Your vote is your voice, and you only get a chance to shout once every few years,” singer-songwriter Ben Marwood puts succinctly. “The election is the only chance you get to decide who represents you when it counts. These people are deciding your future in some small way, day in day out.”

Marwood is also realistic about British politics, questioning the process in general. Yet there is only one conclusion, “it’s the best we’ve got and it’s not changing for now,” he concedes. “I’ve always voted. Maybe my parents drummed it into me when the time was right. I can’t remember being very scientific about it. In the olden days it was quite hard to glean information because everything was powered by cogs and levers, but these days the internet has blessed us with sites like Vote for Policies and Who Should You Vote For. Have a look around, do your research, and don’t listen to anyone who tells you you’re doing it wrong.”

Daniel Barnett of Cardiff outfit Samoans sums up the importance of getting to the Polling Stations. “If you want your voice to be heard, it’s important to vote. Sitting back and complaining about “the establishment” won’t achieve anything. By voting you are standing for what you believe in and actively contributing to deciding our path as a nation.”

“If you’re unsure who to vote for then research each party’s policies and take the time to understand the gravity of your vote. Register to vote to make sure your voice is heard,” he concludes.

Regardless of how futile voting may feel, it’s the most important way of getting voices heard in modern politics. Those aged 18 or over who don’t visit a Polling Station nor provide a postal vote on the 7th May 2015 are leaving the country in other people’s hands – hands that may not have the best intentions.

By registering to vote ahead of the 20th April, and voting on the 7th May, we have the power to change. We have voices to be heard.

Head to the Government website before the 20th April and follow the simple online steps to register to vote.