If you know me, you know that I’m monotone. For me, it can be both a blessing and a curse. It can lead people to believe that there isn’t much of a personality there but it also lowers karaoke expectations. For me, that’s a major win right there. If you’re expecting a riveting read about my struggles as a monotone person though, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed.

A chain of events.

We’re in the middle of an event that is looking likely to change everything. For me, there are a few factors behind what’s happening and personality, or the lack of one, is a key theme. Hopefully you can now see the tenuous link that I started with!

As you know, 2015 is the year of the general election and never before, or at least not in my lifetime, has the country been more divided. Politics has changed.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I know everything there is to know about politics because I don’t. I’ve only really found it interesting over the last six or seven years but over the last twelve months I’ve actually found it really refreshing. I see a lot of people disliking Westminster and politicians in general and that’s fair considering the amount of scandals we’ve had involving politicians. What isn’t fair, is labelling every politician the same, not taking an interest and potentially not voting because of that. Recently, Russell Brand has urged people not to vote and if there are genuine reasons behind that choice then you should be free to exercise that right. If you’re reasoning is based on my aforementioned concerns though, then I think you’re wasting your right to vote based on a generalisation.

That’s kind of the reason I’m writing this piece. Historically, people in this country have seemed to find it difficult to see past the two major parties. That’s not been helped by the broadcasters and when you see members of the Labour and Conservative parties failing to answer questions or just blame each other for pretty much everything that’s gone/is going wrong, it’s hard to dedicate any real time to politics. That’s not even mentioning the major scandals that have hit both parties over the last few years. If I’m honest, I can’t disagree with anyone that’s feeling disillusioned based on what we see from the two big boys.

I was never going to be a mathematician.

Things have changed though, I promise you. I really think that we now live in a multi-party country. By that, I don’t mean that we have loads of different parties, because that’s just maths and even though I’m awful with numbers, that’s pretty straightforward. What I mean is we actually have lots more credible parties that are going to have a real chance at making a difference in this election.

Until recently, voting for these parties was seen as a protest vote. In fairness, this was probably accurate for a lot of people. But enough people wanted to stage that protest and it started to swing the way of thinking for many more people. I know people that would never even think of voting for anyone other than Labour or the Conservatives because they saw it as a wasted vote. A lot of those people are now voting for the smaller parties.

Largely, as discussed, that’s down to disillusionment with the two bigger parties but there are two more reasons why the smaller parties have come to the forefront of this election.

Probably not the best way of doing things.

Historically, and I’ve been guilty of this during my lifetime, people would vote for personalities. Party policies wouldn’t be read through and decisions wouldn’t be made based on what party could offer you the best deal in your current circumstances. It was based on how the politician looked, how charismatic they were and how they handled themselves in interviews. Just take a look at the last election only five years ago. Gordon Brown didn’t stand a chance. He’s older, he hasn’t got a photogenic bone in his body and when he smiles, he looks like he’s constipated. When you put him up against Cameron and Clegg he may as well have been left in the stable. You know what though? In spite of all that, the man was a very good politician. He was a strong character and a passionate man when it came to the cause. Just look at the way he campaigned to keep Scotland as a part of the United Kingdom. He was brilliant and forms a major part of the reason the Union is still together.

Fast forward to this year and where are the personalities? Cameron and Clegg are still there but the Tories have given us five years of austerity and the Lib Dems are one of the most distrusted parties in the circuit following the coalition. Labour decided that Ed Miliband was the better choice over his brother but he isn’t fantastic in front of a camera (he is getting better) and his attempts at showing us “the real Ed” are cringe worthy. Looking at the smaller parties, there isn’t anyone there that you’d vote for based on personality there either.

Make a difference.

That’s why we are where we are. When the choice isn’t being made easy for you, the only option you have left is to actually take a look at some policies and that’s the reason why voting for a smaller party is no longer a protest vote. Recently, we’ve seen the SNP capture the minds of many Scots and nearly take the country to independence, we’ve had The Green Surge that’s seen the number of members of the Green Party overtake the Lib Dem number and we’ve even seen UKIP win a European Election.

This is why I’ve found politics so refreshing recently. The status quo is being re-written and with no party looking likely to gain a majority in May, the smaller parties will have a real chance of making a difference in Westminster.

If you’re thinking of following Russell Brand’s advice and abstaining from voting, please reconsider. Just take the time to look at the policies of each party and give yourself the opportunity to make an informed decision. It is your right after all.