Meg Kneafsey is a committed youth issues campaigner and regular writer for We Are Restless. In this piece she looks at why it’s so important for young people to engage with the coming UK election, irregardless of who you vote for.
Theresa May has just announced that, on the 8th June, the UK will hold a snap General Election. For 3.3 million young people, it’ll be their first opportunity to vote. However in the 2010 election, less than half of all 18-24 year olds voted and only 36 per cent of people in the 18 – 24 year old category voted in the EU referendum.
Young people have something that politicians want – 6.8 million votes. That’s enough to decide the election result.
But often people feel that their one vote won’t make a difference. Here’s three reasons why your vote will:
Not voting means losing out.
A politician’s’ job is to run the country, but they are always striving to win the next election. When money is short and budget cuts need to be made, it is those least likely to vote that are hit the hardest.
MPs are bound to concentrate on pleasing the people most likely to vote, because they are the ones that will put them in power, or take it away from them.
Politicians listen to the people who vote.
Young people often feel like politicians don’t understand them or represent their views, but they are also the age group least likely to vote. If even just a million of the 6.8 million young people eligible to vote did so, don’t you think politicians would have to listen? If we want our views on policy heard, then we need to turn out. Particularly when we are at such a pivotal point in Brexit negotiations.
A single vote can change everything.
In 2008 the British National Party lost their seats in Amber Valley Borough Council by one single vote. Even if voting doesn’t help your party win, it could keep others out of power. And of course, the Brexit vote showed just how close it can get.
Got the point, but want to make sure politicians give you something worth voting for? Join our campaign and challenge them to step up on the issues you care about.
Keep a look out for more information on the campaign ‘Swing The Vote’ by clicking ‘attending’ on the Facebook event and following the hashtag #SwingTheVote. If you want to get directly involved with the campaign then email firstname.lastname@example.org