What goes through your head when someone mentions the general election?
Boring… would have been my response a few years ago, and still is to some extent (some things never change). But now I understand it, and understand the importance of having a vote.
Here are some simple figures that made me understand why more 18-24 year olds need to vote:
In 2010, 75% of people over the age of 65 voted and only 44% of 18-24 year olds voted. Why does this make a difference? Think about it, why would a political party waste their efforts promising improvements for 18-24 year olds? We don’t vote, we don’t have a say and we won’t be any use in voting them in to power.
Put it this way, if you had a spare ticket to see Beyoncé who would you rather give it to – your best friend who has always supported you or some random person who knows nothing about you? (If you choose the random, you need a new best friend haha).
That’s exactly how politicians work, they make improvements for the people that vote. People over the age of 65 receive free bus travel, state pension, free tv license, free eye tests, winter fuel allowance and much more.
What do we receive? Massive cuts in youth services, EMA taken away and tuition fees tripled. If we don’t vote or even register to vote, how can we expect them to make improvements for us? To put it in to context even more – 51 on campus students voted last year in the local elections out of 2000 students.
So if you haven’t already registered – register here https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. If you’re thinking ‘my parents will have already registered me’ it doesn’t work like that anymore. It was changed this year, everyone must now register themselves. You can register at 2 addresses but you can only vote once. It literally takes 5 minutes and at least then you’ll have the choice to vote (you need your National Insurance number). If that hasn’t persuaded you enough, the council can fine you £80 if you don’t register. We’ll be visiting lectures soon to help you register.
No idea who to vote for? Do some research, choose a party that that you feel represents you and what you believe in. There’s loads of information out there (and no not the random posts on Facebook everyone seems to believe). There are quizzes you can take like this – http://www.buzzfeed.com/jimwaterson/which-party-should-you-actually-vote-for#.mxboLKvJl or this http://voteforpolicies.org.uk/survey/select which looks at policies, but they aren’t always 100% accurate. The best way is to find out for yourself, look on their websites and decide for yourself:
Here is a list of the 5 main parties:
For a full list visit: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/8571757.stm
Bite the ballot also held an hour question time with each of the political leaders where they answered questions raised by 16-24 year olds – check it out here:
If you believe there’s no one worth voting for then you can spoil your ballot paper! It’s better to make a point by spoiling your ballot paper than abstaining from voting.
We’ll also be holding our very own question time nearer to the election so keep checking our website/fb page.
Sorry for the long blog post!