16/04/2013 11:36 BST | Updated 14/06/2013 06:12 BST

If You're Mad, Then Do Something


Like most normal people with a sense of proportion, I was upset and angry with the idiots who decided to organise Thatcher death day parties. This isn't because I'm a particular fan of Baroness Thatcher, but for the same reason I was disgusted that Americans were throwing street parties to celebrate the death of Osama Bin Laden. A murderous terrorist he may have been, but he was also a human being. Similarly whatever your feelings about Mrs Thatcher, she was a person, who deserved some respect in death.

But what also annoyed me greatly was the age of the people involved in these parties. Most of them were in their early twenties like me, and were only just being born as Mrs Thatcher's premiership came to an end. Most of them may have some idea who Mrs Thatcher was, but only in a historical sense. They have no real idea what it was like living at the time she was Prime Minister, or what the conditions in the country were like. If you watched the news, whenever they spoke to someone who had lived through the Thatcher era, and had been adversely affected by her polices, their response was "I'm sorry for her family, but I'm not particular sad." No cries of "Ding dong the Witch is Dead" here.

Now if these parties were motivated by something other than an opportunity for a laugh and a chance to get on the nightly news, if they were motivated by an actual interest in politics, by a belief that the country was damaged by Thatcherism and needs to change, then there's better things they could be doing with their time than rearranging the signs outside the Ritz.

The number of young people voting or getting actively involved in the political process is going down with every election. The Lib Dems may have relied on the student vote in the last election, but that's a very small pool of voters and getting smaller. And while I'm sure the National Union of Students is well intentioned and genuinely interested in the welfare of students, it doesn't seem to be doing anything to counteract this trend. They have the capacity to call on a huge membership and convince them to make their opinions heard by voting rather than by smashing up windows in central London. But they aren't. They are squandering a marvellous opportunity to do some real good.

If young people are genuinely interested in changing the world for the better, then they need to get involved in politics. Stand for a position in their student union, get involved in their local political parties, even run for their local council if they want. Get out there, make your voice heard. Make the small changes that make the world better every day. Nothing was ever changed by people assuming that someone else would do it. It was changed by people standing up and making the change happen.

If you're really mad, then do something.