I'm Lewis Campbell, I'm the Scottish Green Party candidate for the Dunfermline and West Fife constituency and I'm 18 years old. Why am I in politics? The question should be: why isn't everybody?
Politics affects everybody. Although politics is often portrayed as nothing more than some white, stale, middle class old men trading soundbites, it effects people like us. Politicians make decisions on the things that matter to us most: the economy, the NHS, immigration, the environment, education, crime, welfare, defence and much, much more.
Despite that, thousands of people my age still won't vote.
What's the point? Nothing's going to change
This is one of the most infuriating things to hear - but not for the reason you'd think. The infuriating thing is the lack of hope that people have in politics. The fault for that lies squarely with the three pro-establishment parties: the Conservatives, Labour, and the Liberal Democrats. Before now, the UK was always a two party affair. For years, power has swung between Labour and the Tories. Unfortunately, since before I was born, Labour have shifted to the right in order to win votes. In Scotland, we see the Tories, Lib Dems and Labour working hand in glove together most days. Today, there is little difference between them. This is why, in some sense, I identify with those who think nothing will change. But perhaps that's why we need to vote for something different.
How will my one vote change anything?
Everybody in politics knows that this is going to be the most unpredictable election for a while. Polls consistently show Labour and the Tories are at level pegging, commanding around 34% of the vote. If these polls are replicated on May 7th, the day of the general election, no party will have the number of MPs they need to make up the majority of the House of Commons. Because of the First Past The Post system that the UK uses to elect its MPs, the number of votes isn't a great indicator of how many of those all important seats that parties will win, the system is bad for smaller parties as their votes are more spread around the country. Funnily enough, we need to vote to change the voting system.
The real story of this general election will be around the smaller parties. What price will the Liberal Democrats pay for going into government with the Tories? Will UKIP's popularity translate into votes? How many seats will the SNP take from Labour in Scotland? And will the Greens continue to surge as they have done recently? Will the largest party even be able to form the government? One thing is sure, this general election will give the great TV soaps a run for their money, and your vote can change the outcome.
What do the Greens want to do?
It is worth pointing out that the Scottish Greens, The Green Party of England & Wales, and The Green Party of Northern Ireland are all separate. Internationally, Greens offer an alternative to the status quo. Across the UK, we are the left wing parties which campaign for a more just, sustainable society. We want a minimum wage of £10 an hour by 2020, a fair day's pay for a fair day's work; we want public services in public hands, for example, the NHS and the railways; we want free tuition fees, because education should be based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay; we want an end to war; We want a healthy environment which my generation can inherit. In short, we want an economy for the people, and a society for all.
Sound good? Then it is important that you vote Green on May 7th. If you are 18 on or before then, it is important that you register to vote here: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote