Wednesday 5 February, National Voter Registration Day. Politics and students. Not exactly a frequent sight to see those two words in the same sentence. However, during this day at Middlesex University first year students began their campaign for Bite the Ballot to encourage young people to register to vote.
Whether it's from Russell Brand or someone else there's been a lot of discussion lately not only about whether young people will vote but whether we even should. In a system which seems to constantly let us down, where politicians promise us one thing and then do something else, why on earth should we participate?
You heard me. This is neither joke nor jape, neither jest nor jibe. This is real, dammit, as real as the fingers on my hands, as real as the piece of corn wedged between two of my back teeth since teatime. I'm running for President of Twitter harder than you've ever seen anyone run for anything in your entire life.
I suggested a few days ago that urging people not to vote might not be the most effective way to bring about fundamental political change... Here are my thoughts on some other ways of acting politically without necessarily having to faff about putting a mark on a ballot paper next to the name of someone for whom you may have nothing but contempt. My slogan for today (yes, I know it's not original) is: Think Big, Act Small.
People are suffering now, Tory policies are harming people now. I know Brand has never been known for his responsibility, but encouraging young, left leaning members of society to not vote is completely irresponsible, and will serve only to further harm the people he is increasingly looking to provide a voice for.
Does this indifference to the current political system mean I'm not interested in our country and its government? Of course not. If a party came along that expressed views that met my own or close to, then I would be first to the ballot. It isn't about apathy, it's about believing the current system is wrong.
Beguiling, attractive slogans, with their wonderful certainty that there are simple answers to complex questions. What Brand says is not only daft but dangerous. It's dangerous because he is a clever man with influence, and when he says: "Apathy is a rational reaction to a system that no longer represents, hears or addresses the vast majority of people", there is a real risk that some people - especially young people - will take him seriously. The core of his message is: "I will never vote and I don't think you should, either." He presents it as a message of hope, when in fact it is precisely the opposite. It is a message of despair.