Voting and Politics

Today the UK will vote on whether we want to stay in the European Union (EU).

It is a very important vote and we hope that lots of people with learning disabilities will have their say.

But we know that political discussions like these are full of jargon and not very accessible.

Now is a good time to think about how people with learning disabilities get involved in politics and how easy or hard it is for them to get involved.

Here Gary Bourlet answers some questions about politics.

gary houses of parliament
Are you voting in the referendum today?

I am voting in the referendum today, a referendum does not come around very often, not like elections. So I will be voting for what I believe in.

Why are you voting?

It’s important that I vote because I want to, because I care about this country and the direction we are going.

Why is it important that people with learning disabilities vote on issues like this?

Because they are citizens of this country and play an important role in how we should live.

This would affect not just us now, but future generation of people with learning disabilities to come.

What stops people with learning disabilities getting involved in politics?

It is Access, Easy Read information, communication and in general people believe we have nothing to offer (attitudes). There’s not enough help and support for people to get involved.

People don’t have enough information to join a political party or to set up a new political party for People with learning disabilities.

Learning Disability England will be going to the main party political conferences this year but not everyone can do this as it costs a lot. It would be good if lots of people with learning disabilities could go. There is strength in numbers.

What could be done to get more people with learning disabilities involved in politics?

We need to train people with learning disabilities like Learning Disability England is training people in the media. We should train people to learn about politics, political parties, and the history of politics.

It needs to be interesting and exciting and not boring and nasty as politics can be. We could teach all politicians a thing or two.

It would also be good if people with learning disabilities could visit the House of Commons and House of Lords to see what it is like.

I would like to see people with learning disabilities working alongside MPs and Lords.

People could also watch BBC Politics see how it’s done. Or should not be done!

Some of Learning Disability England’s members have created some good things to help people take part in the referendum. Brandon Trust did a video about voting in the EU referendum and United Response did a special version of Easy News.

Other organisations have also tried to help people with learning disabilities vote. Mencap had lots of easy read information.

We need more good information like this.