The youth hold the keys to our future, yet they are unsure of what to do with the power that they possess? Think again.
In 1969 the UK lowered their voting age to 18. Yet, despite this, young people’s relationship with politics is problematic and delusional. Politics is not for them, they feel. With so many other things to distract as they discover adulthood, politics often doesn’t get attention. But it should: there are few things in life that aren’t influenced by politics in some way or another.
Despite the change in voting age and gender policies, only 66.1% of UK voters turned up at the polls in the 2015 general election. Around 34% of those who didn’t vote are known as the ‘unheard third’: a vast proportion of people that are eligible to vote and who could alter the outcome of an election. A large proportion of these people lie in the younger age range. 53% amongst voters aged 18-24 didn’t vote in the 2019 General Election, against an overall turnout of 67.3% Just over 25% of people over 65 didn’t vote. Elections appear to be an older person’s game.
Over the years, the poor turnout of young voters has caused debates, arguments and a long list of complaints. Millennials have shown to have little to no interest or apathy toward politics and have neglected the importance of their votes, making the choice to sit back and stay uneducated on political issues and not participate in the polls, even though most elections hold issues that relate to students and working professionals in their age range.
Without a doubt, the current generation of young people are left to feel let down by politics- and who can blame them! Political parties have been neglecting young people for years. In 2010 the Lib Dems made a manifesto pledge to not raise tuition fees for university students – and to scrap them outright. The ‘Clegg-mania’ that followed this announcement was largely made up of first time voters: the same voters who were shocked when the Lib Dems got into government as part of the Coalition, and RAISED tuition fees: a betrayal that left scars.
Voting gives a young person the opportunity and power to change the way the country they live in is run, as well as support a party that accurately represents their views. In today’s society and age, the younger generations’ votes are crucial as they are the people who will live to see the outcome and consequences from the elections.
The current state of the UK – rising prices, debt, the inability to get on the housing ladder and the terrifying prospect of climate change – are all issues that will impact the young more than any other group. If we aren’t voting, then how can we make a change? Take control: vote.