Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Why young people should register to vote

Today is National Voter Registration Day and an organisation called Bite the Ballot is running a campaign to get young people aged 16 or over to sign up to vote. I spent a day with Bite the Ballot last summer as a young person who is interested in politics (they are a non-political organisation) and am very enthusiastic about the work that they do. Apparently young people aged between 16 to 24 are the most under-represented part of society on the electoral register. Yet, so much of what is happening in the world concerns that age group. Why can't they be bothered then?

1. Politics seems too far away - I blame the 'Westminster Bubble' for this. What matters to Westminster does NOT always matter to young people. It's only by voting that young people can help to burst this ridiculous bubble.

2. I don't understand what the parties are all about - this is a confusing one if you don't know your left from your right and where the centre ground is. I am not talking about hands or being Zen grounded either. The political line of ideologies is confusing at the best of times to anyone but listen to what the leaders are saying about things that affect your life. Keep it simple to help yourself understand politics.

3. Prime Minister Question Time - Enough to scare anyone off. All those posh voices baying away and the Speaker shouting at them to keep quiet. It reminds people about school. Once experienced, never again. PMQs are for political geeks.

Young people don't realise how pervasive politics is. Everything is political - from the food eaten to what we wear to how the services we want are delivered. Education, university, first time jobs, apprenticeships and allowances - these are all political.

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