Don't Give The Old Elite A Free Hand - Young People Are The Real Kingmakers In The Upcoming Election
As the weeks went by during the Brexit referendum campaign, it became obvious that the plight of young people was something of a footnote. On Brexit -- or indeed any other related issue -- young people's concerns got the briefest of mentions. Yet it's hard to think of any other demographic group more affected by Brexit than the youth.
Youth engagement continues to be near the bottom of many politicians' agendas. An absence of political education in schools conditions young people to feel that they lack the necessary knowledge to vote, whilst others feel that their individual vote will not make a difference to the outcome.
We need politics to be made informative yet interesting, with information given to us in a way that doesn't seem like an inconvenience, just as pioneering organisations such as Simple Politics are doing. Voting in a democratic election is a right and should not be a chore. Understanding our electoral system should not be limited to those who have studied the subject of politics in an educational setting.
What goes down should also be able to go up, and it's not too long ago that younger people's turnout was so much higher than now. But the longer that disengagement goes on, the harder it's likely to be to reverse, and reversing it also means understanding why this is happening in many other countries and where progress is being made.
I will be encouraging young people to vote and I hope by June 23rd they will understand the importance of participating in this crucial event. The British Future report was published in January, it is now March, maybe it is already too late. I hope not.
I have a confession: I once was a Tory supporter. Or at least, I thought I was. This is going back a decade, when I was in my early teens and just beginning to pay attention to the world outside my own life.
When talking about political engagement, the stereotype of the apathetic 18-24 year old is often mentioned. As an age group, we are less likely to be a member of a political party, less likely to vote in elections, and are less likely to even be registered to vote. Academics and politicians have cited various reasons for this, ranging from simple disinterest in politics to a total lack of trust in politicians and the system.