THE BLOG

Listen Up Young People: Don't Kiss Your Future Goodbye

05/06/2017 11:31 BST | Updated 05/06/2017 11:31 BST
Stefan Wermuth / Reuters

For every 18 to 24 year old who doesn't vote, a Conservative MP sharpens their knife to stab this generation in the back.

Oh here we go, yet another person on their high horse delivering a sermon on why if I don't vote then I will be responsible for putting 300,000 kids in poverty, making 1.5 million severely disabled people unable to support themselves, and that I'll be to blame for the five families who are made homeless every hour.

Well yes, if you don't vote, you actually are allowing all of these things to happen as we speak. But don't get angry that I've pointed this out to you. Get angry at the people who are responsible for putting all of these people into poverty: immigrants.

I'm kidding. Make no mistake, the people who are truly responsible for the misery of thousands are the Conservative Party who have been in power for the last seven years.

The Conservative Party have given massive tax breaks to all their rich mates (and I mean seriously rich - Theresa May herself is estimated to be worth £2.5million alone, with her annual income of approximately £150,000 per year on top of what she's already got) and let huge corporations off the hook for not paying the tax needed to support our economy.

Right-wing commentators have already been gloating about the predicted low turnout of young voters on June 8th because they know that it determines that the Conservatives will win the election. And they want that outcome, because a lot of the most popular papers are huge corporations owned by tax-dodging billionaires who would love yet another a Conservative victory, and thus dictate that you should vote for Theresa May.

As a result of all the tax breaks for the rich, the Conservatives have had to look elsewhere to find spending money, and they've looked to our generation. Tuition fees now cost £9250 per year. Depending on how long you go to university for, that's a hell of a lot of debt to be in by your early twenties, and the Conservative Party demands that you start paying that money back as soon as you start earning £21,000 a year - which is far below the average British salary anyway. It's enough to put most people off the idea of going to university completely.

So let's say that you don't go to university. If you left school at 16 to enter the workforce, the government can already charge you income tax, and they haven't even given you the right to vote yet.

The Conservatives have already taken money straight out of your pocket anyway, through increasing VAT to 20% which makes almost everything you buy more expensive, from clothing and shoes to festival tickets.

And now, let's talk about Brexit. Yes, I know you don't want to. I'm sick of it too. But we're destined to hear about it for the next 10 years and beyond, so we may as well have our say about it.

Three-quarters of our generation who voted in the EU referendum voted to Remain, and now the Conservative government want to throw us off the cliff with a "hard Brexit". This means cutting all ties with a economic block that we've been part of since 1973. Additionally, Theresa May and her pals are even considering a "no deal" situation where they'd walk away from the negotiating table, which would leave the UK plunging into a blackhole of World Trade Organisation rules with no advance trade deals in place with other countries to fall back on.

In short, 52% of this country voted for everyone to go bungee jumping, and now the people with the money and the power are smiling at you and telling you everything is going to be great whilst they slice through your bungee cord and shove you off the ledge.

And even for those young people who saw a different kind of future for the country and voted to Leave, you now have a chance to decide which kind of Brexit you want. Do you want to be shoved off the cliff or do you want the Brexit you were actually promised?

The two-thirds of young people who didn't even bother voting in the EU referendum could have completely changed the outcome, meaning Brexit wouldn't even be happening, and nor would this snap general election, and nor would you be reading an article which is moaning at you to get out and vote. In reality, now is your chance to join those of us at the voting booth on Thursday and make sure we all get the future we deserve BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE.

We have been repeatedly screwed over for the past seven years. Why? The Conservative Party do not care about you or me. Why? Because not enough people in our age group vote.

So let's be clear: the smaller the amount of young people who vote on June 8th, the harder we get screwed.

Theresa May has said that this General Election "isn't a choice about the next five years - what government does after the election will set the country on a course for decades" and she is right. June 8th is unlike any other national vote. This is a vote on how you want our generation to be treated by those above us.

And I know the choice of May's Conservatives or Corbyn's Labour might be making you feel like you're choosing between two different types of flavourless porridge, but don't choose the one that has given you and all your mates food poisoning since you first tried it back in 2010.

Consider choosing the one which is pledging to scrap tuition fees and reintroduce maintenance grants, the one which wants to help young adults who need somewhere to live, the one which wants 16 and 17 year olds to have the right to vote, the one which wants to make sure every adult is earning a Living Wage.

If you're 18 to 24 years old, whatever you do on June 8th, just please don't vote for the Conservatives.