THE BLOG
27/03/2015 11:44 GMT | Updated 27/03/2015 11:59 GMT

Why Should Young People Bother to Vote?

2014 really was a bumper year for British politics, with the most interesting Euro elections for decades, and the thrilling roller coaster of an independence referendum. As we hurtle into the new year, it seems 2015 could be even better, for one simple reason. The hotly anticipated, fantastically poised, endlessly uncertain General Election in May, which both David Cameron and Ed Miliband have described as "the most important election for a generation".

However despite the obvious magnitude and importance of the upcoming year, one group of people are still getting left out in the political cold. Over recent elections, we've seen that young people are now less likely to stand, less likely to campaign, and most importantly, far less likely to vote. Only 44% of 18-24 year olds voted in 2010, which sends out a pretty clear message for everybody. Young people don't seem to care about Politics any more.

But looking a bit closer and investigating why so many 18-24 year olds don't vote, could it be that young people don't care about politics, because politics doesn't care about young people?

Students up and down the land bemoan the fact that politicians don't represent their views, don't make policies that benefit them, and don't try to engage with younger members of society. Although given that our voter turnout is so appallingly low, this isn't all that surprising.

Whether we like it or not, the aim for nearly all politicians is to get themselves on the green benches at Westminster, and the only way they can do that is if they win our votes at elections. Understandably they therefore focus their time and effort on groups who are going to reward them with votes, which young people at the moment just aren't doing. So given that we currently don't give any kind of incentive or reward for politicians engaging with us, it's hardly surprising that the last budget was about pensions and bingo rather than tuition fees and apprenticeships.

The even more infuriating thing though, is that despite the widespread frustration of others like me, the system can (and is perfectly happy to) carry on without us. As long as we're not voting, David Cameron can get away with dodging his appearance on 'LeadersLive', and the government can carry on giving university students crippling debts. If we don't hold the threat of taking our vote away and giving it to someone else, politicians aren't accountable to us, and don't have to care about what we think.

So given that the establishment feels no need to actively try and change the status quo, the job of solving this problem falls to us. I think there are 2 approaches we can take. Firstly we could shout about how unhappy we are, then sulk in the corner on May 6th and think we're rebelling against the entire political system. But actually no matter how hard we sulk, nobody is going to pay us much attention. Alternatively we could go to the ballot box in May, utilise our democratic rights and force politicians to start giving a damn about young people. It's ultimately a choice between being passive and being active, and when you're trying to create change, I think it's a fairly obvious decision.

So for the young people of Britain who have been deserted by the current political system, nobody else is going bring us in from the cold. If we want change, we're going to have to go and knock down the door.