it is entirely my fault for not knowing
I have to stop you there Pugsley.
Its not your fault for not knowing at all!
I had a great chat with my OHs best man last week. He teaches politics at the university of Westminster, so I feel he is a bit of an authority of the subject
He agreed with me that the parties are not represented very well, or in fact at all - and its no fault of our own that we do not understand who we should be voting for. It is no surprise that lots of people don't vote, and some that do vote for their chosen party, do so because thats who their parents/hubby/other have always voted for - and they don't really know where they stand.
A really great way to learn more about politics and to begin to understand what the parties stand for, is to watch and engage with the debates, and try and read bits and bobs here and there. I havent got enough time in my life to sit and read a full party manifesto, but I try and pick their ideas up as I go. I also try and watch Question Time each week (I used to think it was boring cobblers, then I started watching it and realised the things they talk about actually impact my life).
Years ago I wouldn't have bothered to vote, as I didn't understand the differences at all between the parties and just felt lost. But recently I have tried to build my political knowledge and develop my own views and just talk about it a bit more.
What is really frustrating, is when people say - I don't vote because they're all the same. Or that they're manifestos dont impact my life - when in fact, if those people DID vote, the political parties would soon be changing things to suit those people. Every vote counts.
I do think however, that there should be more women in parliament, and more representation of the classes - instead of this Eton boys club we're faced with. They're not the type of people 99% of the country can relate to which makes the whole process even more confusing.
Sorry for that little rant - ha! I hope that doesn't sound patronising to anyone, thats not my intention - I just feel quite passionate about it.