I BECAME eligible to vote in December and will certainly be trooping down to the polling station to cast my first ever ballot in May (though it won’t make a difference in the single-party state that is South Shields) but most my age will not.
Youth disengagement in politics does not concern me, rather it frustrates me.
When Harold Wilson won the 1964 election, over three quarters of people cast their vote and turnout was roughly equal across the generations.
But according to data from Ipsos Mori at the last election, 76 per cent of over-65s were still voting, while only 44 per cent aged 18-24 were doing the same.
Katy Owen, research manager at pollsters Survation, said in an International Business Times article that ‘Most young people don’t feel that any of the main political parties represents them’.
I believe the main political parties don’t represent them because they don’t vote.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a three-month extension of the pensioner bonds scheme on February 8 – a move criticised by the opposition as a bribe to those notorious grey voters.
It certainly might encourage some old-age voters to put their cross in the Conservatives’ box on their ballot papers.
By contrast, one of the first moves of the Coalition Government was to impose £9,000-per-annum tuition on university students (fees I will have to pay, although I happen to believe the system is pretty fair).
Why are those grey voters given goodie after goodie whilst the young are imposed upon? Because those grey voters vote and the young don’t!
Young people should stop demanding the earth of politicians – votes at 16, proportional representation, even a codified constitution amongst some of the suggestions made – and vote.
There is no better way of influencing politics than voting. If you do not vote, you do not matter.
Because you neither vote for or against the Government, or any party, they can afford to treat you as they please as long as they keep those who will vote (the old) happy.
Reform of the political system is not necessitated nor is reform of politics. Reform of attitudes is.
Harton House Road,