Wednesday, 6 May 2015
It's the 6th of May 2015, the eve of the first election I will get to vote in.
I can't say I've totally made my mind up as to which party I will vote for, but tomorrow I expect I will resign myself to the party I least hate, rather than one I think truly would be good for the country.
There are so many issues to think about, and many I know hardly anything about... I have been sent into a spin with all the TV debates, newspapers, Youtube videos, and leaflets sent through the door. The leaflets have been rather entertaining to read, not so much for the content, but for the ways each leaflet tries to one-up each other in competition to be the most creative (the most recent being an ambulance shaped leaflet from Labour, and a piece of Lib-Dem literature disguised as a handwritten letter!) It's been fun receiving letters with my name on, but disappointing when I realized they weren't from people who I actually know.
As a young voter, I feel somewhat disillusioned by politics, despite my interest in many political issues. I feel that many parties completely dismiss the vote of young people, as virtually nothing has been aimed at the issues of people who have just left school. However, within the past fortnight, Ed Miliband has appeared on a few different Youtube channels of people who's main viewers are under 25. First it was Russel Brand, who the media dismissed as ridiculous. However, what the media might not realize is that through appearing on Russel Brand's Youtube channel, the Labour party are at least attempting to engage with young people. A couple of days ago, Ed Miliband also appeared on the channels of other popular Youtubers including SprinkleOfGlitter (Louise) who I have followed for a long while. I certainly didn't expect Louise, a fairly unoffensive Youtuber who mainly talks about fun clothes and hair, to have such a serious (and perhaps controversial) interview with a politician.
Although I'm not totally convinced by all of Labour's policies, I am extremely pleased to see they are taking the vote of young people seriously enough to engage with us on a platform many under 25s are familiar with. Engage with old people through the radio, people in their 30s/40s with a house and a TV through prime time advertisements, and to the few without TVs with leaflets. But to students and young people without TVs and little interest in ambulance-shaped leaflets, discussing political issues through social media is the easiest and most accessible way.
It is important to not dismiss the political opinions of young people; the decisions made in government affect our future job prospects and the current cost of our university tuition fees (which we will be paying back for around 30 more years in to the future!)
In the last election, only around 52% of 18-25 year olds voted, compared with 75% of over 65s! If politicians engaged more with young people, and got a further 23% of us interested in voting for them, this 23% could make a significant difference in who is voted in to parliament. I don't believe it is laziness that stops young people voting, but instead politicians tend to ignore the voice of under 25s.
Tomorrow I'll find my way to the polling station and vote, for the first time ever. I'm not sure what difference it will make, but it's exciting to be part of something so huge.
The 6th of May also marks the birth of my second sister, now 16, and my only brother, now 15. Yes, born the same day, a year apart. Interestingly, when my sister was born, it was the day of the election and my Mum was too busy giving birth and couldn't make it to the polling station!
Above is a photo of all the bits and bobs I used to decorate the house for my siblings' birthdays. All very colourful, perhaps an appropriate metaphor for all the choice I will have tomorrow when I put an X next to my chosen party colours.