Sunday, 8 February 2015

Should I Vote?

As a young person with a massive gob that went to a good school (allegedly, I didn't turn up all that much) I fell into Politics as though it was made for me. For two years every day I sat in a Politics lesson and became a little more fascinated with how the world seemed to work behind the scenes, I even considered it as a job - until my teacher told me that I probably wouldn't get far with an accent like mine (it turns out not even the most eloquent of words can make the world's biggest borderline scouse scally be taken seriously.) The more I see about the run up to the election, the more young people seem to be looking for the answer to the big question - Should I vote?

In the past few years, ever since Nick Clegg made the U-Turn that will for the forseeable future have Liberal Democrats deemed liars - 18-25 year olds have feel disheartened by the political system, and as I was a part of the first school year that saw our University fees raise to over £9000 a year, I saw it a lot within my peers, I understand the animosity. Young people don't see the point in voting, if the government can turn on their heels and run away from their promises anyway, although I am keen to point out that Liberal Democrats running the country as a single party as opposed to a coalition might have been very different, not that that makes it any better. There have been campaigns out there to suggest young people shouldn't vote - naming no names - as they aren't represented accurately in Whitehall, the decisions made there don't affect them. It seems a lot of people don't see beyond the fact they aren't represented to understand that not voting only secures this as a vicious circle.
Let's put this simply, split England into 3 sections - young, adult, elderly. If only the adult and the elderly population are voting, they are the two groups to target, so the parties improve pensions and tax credits, make promises about work, family and security in later life. There is very little point in targeting the young if they are not turning up to vote - as opposed to enticing them in with promises, you are having to convince them that not only your party, but politics itself, is worth taking a part in. Many parties are going to secure the votes they know are most possible, and as such very little will be done for the young in England. The young then feel like they're not being represented and so don't turn up to vote, and as such the next general election sees parties make the same decision to target the adult and elderly people in England, as statistics show the young aren't voting anyway. We feel disheartened, they see us as a wasted vote, and as such nothing is being done for us.

The fact is - not voting is not going to help us, but there's steps that you can take that will. If you want to vote - check official manifestos or the list of issues the parties are making promises to change. They can be found on the party websites, I'll even link you to the top four main parties (Labour // Conservative // Liberal Democrats // Green Party) see if any things fit that you might be interested in, remember that they will be in power for up to five years - I might not be interested in certain things now, but when I'm 24/25/26 will I want different things? It's worth thinking about. In the current climate, it's perfectly fair to say none of the parties fit you, but if you turn up to vote and spoil your paper - literally just deface the paper in any way, draw on it, cross through it - that still counts as you voting, without you having to pick the best of a bad bunch. I don't believe in compulsory voting, nor do I believe that I can force you to vote or tell you who to vote for - but instead of complaining about how we'd aren't being heard or represented, we could be making ourselves near possible to ignore. We are lucky to live in a democracy, it's time we learned to make it work to our advantage.

I've also seen a lot of people over on Twitter who are unsure about how to register to vote, but if you'd like to, you can register here and all you need is your national insurance number. Even if you don't think you want to vote, which is fine and your choice, it's worth checking out your options. Education towards politics for young people is poor, but we have no excuse not to be educating ourselves. Oh, and one last thing - Nadin, you were totally wrong, regardless of my accent I clearly would have been an immense politician.

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: Jaden Smith and The Adapting Gender Of Fashion

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