Why you should vote in this election, more than ever before

By - Thursday 18th May, 2017

Businessman and founder of Matthews Yard, Saif Bonar is asking readers to register to vote – and vote Labour

Image by Jack Tindale, used with permission.

Are you one of the 2.4 million young people that isn’t registered to vote? If you are, I feel you. But this time, you really must, especially in Croydon. Yeah, yeah, hear me out. I was you. I am you. I feel or felt the same way as so many people, young and old. They are all the same. My vote doesn’t count. It won’t change anything. None of them will keep their promises. Whatever your rationale for not wanting to register to vote, not bothering to walk round to the polling station when the day actually arrives: get over it. Even if it’s just for one election. Vote. Do it. It matters.

“They are all the same anyway”

Never before in my life have I been presented with a party that is led by someone who has been subjected to so many attempts to smear, discredit and besmirch his name. Never in recent history has someone with the soundness of character demonstrated by Jeremy Corbyn been selected to lead one of the major political parties into a general election.

Corbyn is different and so is his manifesto. So bang goes our claim that they are all the same. He isn’t part of the old boy’s club. He never will be. He is, it would seem, down-to-earth, compassionate and as resolute a politician as I have seen in the UK. Corbyn is a pacifist who puts people before profit. Peace before war. The environment before corporations.

In a debate in Parliament on 23rd November 2015 Corbyn, the leader of the opposition, commented on the newly published UK National Security Strategy: “it is disappointing that there is insufficient analysis in the national security strategy of the global threats facing our country and people around the world, including inequality, poverty, disease, human rights abuses, climate change and water and food security”.

The right wing media will have you think that this demonstrates a man with no clue how to balance the books, whose priorities are misplaced, who wants to befriend terrorists and break bread with ISIS. To me, however, this statement demonstrates that Corbyn has more vision, more humanity, more decency and more common sense than any leader in recent history. For Corbyn to propose these matters as central issues of national security is revolutionary. But more than that, for someone who is the leader of the opposition and has a run at becoming the next prime minister to do so is quite refreshing.

“My vote doesn’t count”

At the last general election, Gavin Barwell, Conservative MP for Croydon Central, won his seat by 165 votes. That’s barely enough to fill a carriage on a commuter train. It’s nothing. It’s 0.3% of people eligible to vote in his constituency, while 33.3% never bothered to vote at all. In Croydon, more than most places, your vote does count. If you are one of the 33% in Croydon that did n0t vote and you know others in the 33%, get them to vote. First, get them to register to vote. Then, get them to vote.

“My vote won’t make a difference”

As if you needed reminding, in June last year, the UK voted on whether we should remain in the European Union. We voted to leave. Not me, maybe not you. But ‘we’, all the same. I didn’t vote, I was in Spain on the day and didn’t get my act in gear for a postal vote. I didn’t think that it would matter. You didn’t vote, for one of the usual reasons. And here we go, all strapped in and ready for Brexit. Which in my case is looking like a one-way ticket back to London. Ah. Freedom.

Now, if you and I and everyone else that wanted the UK to remain in the EU had actually voted remain, there would have been a landslide remain vote and we wouldn’t be looking at a general election three years early.

Your vote matters. Not voting in Croydon, or anywhere else, is a gift to the Conservative Party. A vote for maintaining the status-quo, for continued cuts to vital services. It’s a vote for arms deals to despots, and bailouts for banks. More workfare and food banks. Less NHS. Well, that’s my current opinion anyway.

None of them keep their promises anyway

Fair cop. I fully expect Corbyn to backtrack on policies and pledges himself. But, however you slice it, the Labour manifesto is nothing short of brilliant. If half of it is delivered, we will all be better off, even those who pay more into the system as a result. The manifesto won’t fix everything overnight, but to me it looks like the most viable antidote to societal decline and division that we will see in generations. Whether he has a cat in hell’s chance or not, a vote for Corbyn, assuming that you support him, counts. The more seats that Labour get under Corbyn, the more power Labour will have in opposition. And if enough of us make our votes count, he won’t be in opposition any longer – he’ll be in 10 Downing Street!

Whoever you support, don’t waste your vote. Not this time. Not in Croydon. Not anywhere.

If you have not yet registered to vote, please do so, by 22nd May. It’s quick and easy to do it online here.

Saif Bonar

Saif is a first-time dad in the making and the founder of Matthews Yard, a creative hub with workspace, art gallery, theatre and bar in central Croydon.

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  • Anne Giles

    Most of my Labour friends are very much against Corbyn!

    • http://matthewsyard.com Saif Bonar

      I can well believe it. The paradigm of self preservation explains alot, but not all of the rationale.

    • http://www.croydonradio.com/ Steve Lawlor


      most of my conservative friends…oh, wait, most of my conservative friends are too ashamed of their conservative leanings that they keep quiet.

      • Anne Giles

        They are certainly not keeping quiet on my Facebook! I don’t know any who are ashamed.

        • http://www.croydonradio.com/ Steve Lawlor

          My friends aren’t your friends, so how would you know that Anne?

          • Anne Giles

            I thought you were referring to my friends!

  • Mark Johnson

    “Now, if you and I and everyone else that wanted the UK to remain in the EU had actually voted remain, there would have been a landslide remain vote and we wouldn’t be looking at a general election three years early.”

    And where is the evidence to back this up? This sort of self delusion is why Corbyn became leader in the first place. I’m Conservative but it’s in all our interests that there is a credible opposition. Credible is the last word I would use for that mass murderer loving, terrorist hugging anti-semite. Please someone rescue the Labour Party from this lunatic.

    • http://matthewsyard.com Saif Bonar

      Mark, where to start,

      Firstly, it’s an opinion piece, which in and of itself reduces if not removes the burden of proof when making such claims. Secondly, the Conservative party are clearly head and shoulders above Labour in everything they do that they have no need to worry about such drivel being published. Clam down, dear.

      If it were in all our interests that there were a credible opposition, Theresa May would not have back peddalled (again) and called a snap election. It was a misguided attempt to strike when public opinion and support was perceived to be at its weakest.

      It will be interesting to see how it play’s out. Sure enough if Conservative get the land slide they are banking on, the PLP will have JC out on his ear quicker than he can write his own resignation and we cn all go back to political apathy while society in Croydon and beyond goes to hell in a hanging basket.

    • Allen Williams

      This comment is merely an example of the poisonous drivel to which the author refers in his article. OK, the quoted passage is a statement of belief rather than fact, but you go on immediately to promulgate your own baseless beliefs in highly pejorative language.

      • Mark Johnson

        It’s clearly not written as a belief but as a fact.

        Anti Semitism – So many articles it’s difficult to choose just one so I go by article from the current Chief Rabbi and a former one.


        Terrorism/ Mass murder – putting one on the IRA and one on Hamas both proscribed Terrorist rganisations responsible for mass murder.



        Thats the problem with Corbyn’s extremist supporters who have been compared to Hitler’s Sturmabteilung (Brown Shirsts/SA), They try and make beliefs look like facts, There is no evidence to back up their claims,

        This is very much good against evil. No decent human being can support Corbyn.

        • http://www.croydonradio.com/ Steve Lawlor

          Compared to…by whom? Mostly right wingers.

          Wanting to live in a fair society (unlike conservatives) is not a extremist position, and anyone that say that, it is says more about them than I could ever say.

      • http://matthewsyard.com Saif Bonar

        Alan, I am guessing you are referencing the follwing paragraph as baseless beliefs.

        “Your vote matters. Not voting in Croydon, or anywhere else, is a gift to the Conservative Party. A vote for maintaining the status-quo, for continued cuts to vital services. It’s a vote for arms deals to despots, and bailouts for banks. More workfare and food banks. Less NHS. Well, that’s my current opinion anyway.”

        As I state, it is my opinion, but once again I do not form baseless opinions on anything and my opinions are open to being refined and changed with evidence. You offer nothing. Meanwhile lets break my paragraph down (sorry, the Citizen don0t like articles beyond 1k words, so it would not have been possible to include all this information int he main piece).

        A vote for conitnued cuts to vital services… The recently published Conservative and Unionist Party Manifesto does not suggest there will be an end to austerity or cuts to vital services and all the evidence suggests the majority of people will continue to get hammered by a disproproritainetly unfair system which is signficiantly weighted in favour of corporations.

        A vote for amrs deals to despots and dictators. Where do you want we start on the Tory record in this regard? Most recently, we have a judicial review into arms deals to Saudi Arabia and a recent announcement of a fresh multi-billion pound deal signed with the despotic regime, who, should you need reminded, have one of the worst Human Rights records in the world and are currently entrenched in a little reported proxy war involving more slaughter of civilians in Yemen.
        (here are just a couple of the many sources that influenced my baseless assertion: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/12/british-arms-deals-with-saudi-arabia-high-court, https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2016/country-chapters/saudi-arabia, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/register-of-interests-mps-brutal-regimes-unfree-freedom-house-arms-trade-saudi-qatar-gifts-a7561801.html)

        Maybe we go back a little further to the Tory sanctioned supply of weapons including chemical and bioogical to Saddam Hussein (which went on to be used to murder Iranian and Kurdish civilians). Or Thatcher’s cosy relationship with Augusto Pinochet?

        Bailouts for banks… Admittedly the major bailouts were a “New Labour” thing implemented under Gordon Brown and Alaistair Darling, however, little has been done since to improve the regulatory framework and ensure it never happens again. Despite the calamity of the global banking system, bosses are being rewarded with billions for nothing short of utter failure.

        More workfare and foodbanks… “Apprenticeships” which often involve largely repetitous and unchallenging work which will invariably be replaced by robots in the apprentices lifetime have seen a drammatic increase in adoption due to subsidies given to both educational institutes and employers. This is workfare. Working tax credits.. where a family cannot afford the basic necessities of life, because despite working full time they are unable to provide for their family, is not a failing on the family, its a failing on the part of the employer in not providing sufficient reward for the labour being provided to make ends meet. Topping it up from tax coughers, is workfare and while its portrayed as spongeing by the individual in certain circles it is actually spongeing by corporations.

        While foodbanks and welfare parcels are not a new phenomenon (I enjoyed many a can of EEC stwed beef in cans collected from my local church as a child in the 90s) Foodbank use has seen an unprecedented rise in recent years, which somewhat coincidentally correlates with stinging cuts to the welfare and social care system.


        Less NHS…do you know what, I am not even going to bother wasting any more of my weekend evidencing this claim.

    • http://matthewsyard.com Saif Bonar

      Mark it’s clearly an op-ed piece. But, the suggestion is in now way baseless. It is supported by polls and other empirical evidence, which is out there to be found, should you wish to go in search of it. To aide you in your quest, this piece published on the LSE blog recently sumarises where this notion came from

      “What has been largely ignored are the 12.9 million who did not vote. Had the democratic process been that of Australia where voting is compulsory, the polls indicate the result would have been to Remain from day zero, and would still be Remain (see no2brexit.com and businessinsider.com). Of course, there is a criticism of the non-voter but, for various very good reasons, some were reported as simply not able to vote.”

      Source: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/brexit/2016/10/24/brexit-is-not-the-will-of-the-british-people-it-never-has-been/