Here’s something all under 30s should be doing this June

by Atalandi Dixon | 17.05.2017

Young people have been the biggest losers from elections in our recent history. From the trebling of tuition fees to the haemorrhaging of housing benefits for 18-21 year olds, young people have been ritualistically under-represented by politicians and the political agenda. This is, in part, a consequence of young people not voting. Unless attitudes towards voting change, young people are set to lose big again in the upcoming election.

Voters only have until midnight on Monday to register. It takes just five minutes. Here are five reasons why it’s time well spent:

  1. MPs do not advocate for no-shows. Politicians rely on being re-elected to keep their jobs. MPs must therefore respond to and advocate for voters’ demands; voters hold the power. Proportionally, young people are under-registered to vote and too few turn up on election day. In 2015 only 43% of 18-24 year olds voted versus 78% of 65 year olds and above. The politics of today is shaped more by the state pension triple lock than by creating affordable housing or tackling rising student debt.
  2. The gulf between the old and the young will only continue to grow if our attitudes to voting do not change. While older generations are winning at the game of British politics, young people are refusing to play. Things only seem to be getting worse. Predictions for this election show that only 14% of people aged 18-24 say they will definitely vote and 57% say they probably or definitely won’t vote. In contrast, 79% of over 65s say they definitely will vote.
  3. Voting is an opportunity to change the things we dislike, not a hopeless act to uphold the status quo. Not being registered to vote means you pose little to no threat to your MP. With this in mind, it is not surprising that the current crop of politicians are more focused on bettering the lot of the old rather than the young, since older adults vote.
  4. Your Brexit is not the government’s Brexit. Young people voted overwhelmingly to stay in the European Union yet the stated objective of this election is to give Theresa May a mandate for a hard Brexit. Since the referendum, we have gone from soft Brexit, to hard Brexit, to something approaching extreme Brexit, with seemingly little concern shown for the interests of the 71% of 18-25 year olds who voted to Remain. Your voice needs to be heard to ensure that our representatives are able to do what’s Best for Britain.
  5. Not voting doesn’t actually achieve anything, except telling politicians you are apathetic and should be disregarded. You may be angry at our system and believe that not voting is a form of protest. The fact of the matter is, our system is not going to change without us engaging in it. In the first instance, we need to work within the system to reform it. So, harness your power in the process, register to vote, turn up to the polls and place an X. Your vote is your voice…make sure that voice is heard!

Voters only have until midnight on Monday to register. It takes just five minutes.

Atalandi Dixon is a campaigner for Best for Britain

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Edited by Rachel Franklin