It starts with a vote.
Change the world – sounds like a bit of an over reaction right, what have I been smoking? But seriously, it is a good place to start.
Have you ever thought any of the following:
- What is the point in voting?
- My one vote will not make any difference
- None of the parties speak to me
- All politicians are self serving
- I just can’t be bothered
Well you are not alone, in the 2015 General Election only 48% of 18-24 year olds used their vote. Compare this to the 78% turnout of those over 65.
This is why they don’t speak for you, you are not voting, so they don’t try to win your vote, they won’t think of you when writing policies, they focus of the older groups. I mean, if you were applying for a job would you hand your CV to someone walking past the company you want to work for, or would you try and get it into the hands of the hiring manager. You’d focus on the one who is more likely to hire you, that is exactly what the politicians are doing. So if you vote, and encourage your friends to vote you would boost this statistic and they would start to pay more attention. For the purposes of achieving that, it doesn’t even matter who you voted for, just that you voted, you are a customer they need to win over.
But why should I care?
That is not to say that you shouldn’t care about who you vote for. Have you ever found getting into Uni too expensive. Are the cost of train tickets prohibitive? Is the fact that you get paid a different wage to someone else just because you are younger unfair? These are all political issues.
Have you ever worried about if you can afford to get treated for sickness or injury? If you can pay to see a doctor? That is what is at stake.
Even the quality of the air you breath is political. Do they support you or allow the companies behind the pollution to continue unchallenged.
So voting matters, but being political doesn’t have to stop there. It doesn’t have to be a dirty word, it can be a badge of honour!
So what Can I do?
- If I haven’t already said it enough, start by voting.
- Start challenging politicians, emailing your local MP, or even meeting them.
- Sign petitions and go on protests, it all acts as pressure, and the more they see pressurising, the more they think about their job safety.
- Don’t make it easy for a politician, even if you voted for them, to just do what they want. If you disagree you can let them know.
- You could even stand for election – I’m not joking, at a local parish council level I just voted in two under 20’s. There are even a few younger politicians in parliament and they’re not all weird and unlike you, just passionate. For example, Mhari Black got voted into parliament in 2015, age 20. This was her first speech.
- Or you can do what I am doing, speak out more. Whether a blog, on Facebook, Youtube video, you can get your voice heard.
These small steps have impact. The more who start making the steps the bigger the impact.
Now if you don’t know who to vote for, or how to register, don’t fret I have you covered, check out my previous post which guides you through and helps you make up your own mind as partisan as I could manage