Are you in the 18-24 category and intending NOT to vote? You aren’t alone. Statistics suggest that young people aren’t involved enough in the voting process or don’t feel that politics applies to them. I used to agree. Back in 2010 I had the opportunity to vote and ignored it; I didn’t know enough about politics to vote and believed it would take a lot of time and effort to attempt to participate. Quite frankly I didn’t care about who was running the country. However this time around I have watched the debates, read the newspapers and cannot believe I ever missed my chance to get involved! Yes there’s a lot to consider but the thought of having my say in who wins Number 10 is actually pretty exciting. Here are my top five tips for young British people about their vote!
1. Why should I vote?
The government affects everyone in this country, including young people. If young people aren’t voting then it becomes impossible for the political parties to understand what it is exactly that young people want and would consider voting for. For example, if you’re intending to study further or applying for an apprenticeship after school you might note that parties create policies about job creation and education that may apply to you.
2. What if I don’t think the policies apply to me?
Policies are written for the people who are intending to cast a vote. If young people aren’t registered then parties simply won’t bother trying to appeal to them. Young people are currently making it easy for the government to overlook them. It needs to start with us.
3. How do I know who to vote for?
Vote for the party that has policies that appeal most to you. It could be regarding education, apprenticeship schemes or the NHS that applies most to young people.
4. What if I don’t really care about politics?
This is a fair question for a young person to ask. As children, our parents/guardians voted for the family and we weren’t involved in the process much so why suddenly when we turn 18 should we start caring about the way the country is run when it all feels quite foreign and ‘grown up’. I think it’s important for adults/mentors to find a way that engages and excites young people about their vote. If you’re currently 18 then the next elected government could impact your potential opportunities up until you’re 23 (when you may be seeking work and feeling very different about your right to vote!). Five years is a long time for a young person; you are casting a vote for your future self so try to consider that when looking at policies.
5. What if I don’t want to vote for anyone?
Still register and turn up. You have the option of spoiling your card! This sends a message that you found none of the parties suitable and that could inspire further change! #changemakers
If you haven’t registered this time around of course you won’t be able to vote. But consider participating in the next election, casting your vote and trying to improve Britain the way that you want. If more of us got involved then we might just see bigger, better and faster results than ever before. Don’t forget, it’s never too late to engage. We can work towards improving our country ALL of the time and not just during an election.