BTW, Speaking about justice…

UK Election in a Globalized World: An International Student’s Experience From The Inside

Posted on: May 7, 2010

It’s 3.59 AM right now and I just got back from Nottingham’s election count for 2010 general elections. I’m sure you will have read the results on the morning paper or on twitter or what have you. This post is not about the British politics analysis, but it is an account of what it was like to be someone who is not British but have been involved in the process, up close and personal.

Nottingham Count 2010

Having to keep a close eye on thousands of ballot papers while having been sleep deprived for two days makes you wonder, “what did I get myself into?”. But, being in the same room where everybody wants to go home, snuggle in bed instead of sitting in a sport hall with glaring neons counting papers makes the exhaustion worth while every time a ballot paper shows support for our team. For me, it’s the liberal democrats team.

Some of my friends get the privilege to vote and have their say. Some are from commonwealth countries, so they also get to vote even though they are international students. I still think that this is a strange system, but nevertheless… a vote is still a vote, every vote counts, and I was there at the count! How exciting!

A while ago, my friends raise eyebrows every time I say I had to go campaign leafleting, I had to go canvassing, or when I preferred watching the elections debate over Glee re-runs. Not because they’re apathetic, but more because they cannot understand why I would use what’s left of my non-essay-crunching time to be involved in the politics of a country that isn’t even mine.

The answer: Why should nationality matter to show support? After all, we are living at a time when one country’s development affects other countries. National borders have turned into dots that allow higher human mobility. Or to justify my interest to the very basic, I am a politics student. Whatever reason works to put their minds at ease, I felt proud to have been involved in the journey. From campaign to count, it has been an experience I would do a thousand times over!

At the count I met another counting agent who was originally from Gambia, have lived in Sweden for 30 years and is currently a Swedish national, but decided to move to England a couple of weeks ago. Talk about globalization, eh?!

Well, whatever the results are, I’m sure the new government will strive to bring Britain to a better future. It is not an easy job, but it is a job worth doing well. As for me, being an international student, involved in another country’s politics.. I get raised eyebrows for supporting a party that has never been powerful enough, the libdems. I get more eyebrows and the label “Cucckoooooo” for supporting another party, Plaid Cymru that is specifically local to Wales while I’m not even in Wales.

Like I said, why should it matter where I come from and what my national allegiance is?! At the end of the day, for me, it’s about the experiencing new ideas, experiencing different communities. What could be better than to listen to the voice of the people straight up? 🙂

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Lishia Erza

Searching for answers about life, these are the ones I have found.

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