Prime Minister Theresa May has called a snap General Election, so at Waterfront we’ve raided our archives (from not very long ago as it turns out) and revisited an article from the 2015 General Election.
Revisited from Waterfront issue 248 – February 2015.
It is estimated that just 51% of 18 – 24 year olds voted in the 2010 general election, according to the British Election Study. One wonders that maybe if the 49% of 18 – 24 year olds that didn’t, had registered to vote and had voted we would not now be paying £9000 a year for our degrees.
The political parties do not seek to impress and attract young people because in the last 40 years 18 – 24 year olds have voted less and less. They don’t expect to get any of our votes, they don’t try to get our votes and so we become underrepresented in government.
And why don’t young people vote? Probably because a lot of us are students, and a lot of students can’t be bothered to do much at all. Even if it’s reluctantly, this attitude must change.
10 reasons students use not to vote DEBUNKED
- The decisions the government makes don’t affect me – WRONG. As previously mentioned, our annual tuition fees are now up to nine thousand pounds, with talk of them increasing. Education should not be financially inaccessible and come with a burden of lifetime debt. This decision was made because students weren’t paying attention – let’s show that this time we are. Climate change is also an issue that should be important and relevant to all in our generation – the decisions the government makes about the climate will directly impact us later on in our lives.
- I don’t understand politics – I’m not entirely convinced that politicians understand politics. Ten minutes on Google and reading the politics section on the BBC every few days will be enough to enlighten you.
- Politics is boring – if you let yourself get passionate about it, politics becomes one of the most exciting, infuriating and emotive things to be a part of. Plus, if you vote, there’s lots of fun to be had in making a drinking game out of results night.
- I wouldn’t know who to vote for – fair enough, but if you read up on the parties you’ll soon find things that you think are good and things that you disagree with. Visit voteforpolicies.org.uk a site that helps you decipher which political party fits you best.
- I don’t want to vote for people I don’t know – follow your local candidates and the party leaders on Twitter – you’ll soon get an idea of what they’re all about.
- There’s nothing worth voting for, the system needs to change – true, but there will always (I hope) be a lesser of two evils, and your vote could swing the difference between them.
- My vote wouldn’t count anyway – every vote counts.
- If my party doesn’t win, it will be a waste of my time – no it would not – the parties would notice a new young voter, perhaps make a few more manifestos aimed at our age group and in the next election and maybe represent us far more than we are represented at the moment. Plus, just registering to vote affects your credit rating for the better and we all need help with that.
- I’m not registered to vote and it’s too late now – nope, the deadline date hasn’t even been announced yet so you have plenty of time, just visit gov.uk/register-to-vote to register.
- I’ll be at university on 8 June and I’m registered to vote at home – the deadline to register to postal vote hasn’t been announced yet either, you don’t have to pay for postage and it comes with lots of instructions – it’s dead simple.
Young people, students in particular, were once the face of political revolution. For some reason our generation has failed to keep up this reputation and instead has given the rest of the UK the false impression that we are complacent about politics. We have been taken advantage of because of this. Regardless of your political opinions, the more young people that vote, the more the parties will try to represent us. While results won’t be instantaneous, by showing that young people are paying attention and demystifying the idea that we don’t care, hopefully at the next general election there will more options, more voices and more representation for young people in politics.
If you don’t vote, then you can’t complain.