09/06/2017

It's wrong to call this election result "the revenge of the young"

I try not to blog too much about politics, purely because I don't want to open up a huge debate and for people to bicker all over my posts.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, on everything in life, and we all have to accept that we aren't all going to agree. Imagine what a boring world it would be if we did?

Everyone has different priorities, different outlooks, different circumstances and different experiences. It's ok not to agree on everything. You may not agree with what I write, but that's ok.

When I have addressed politics previously, it's been with regards to turnout - particularly encouraging younger people to exercise their right to vote.

The first election I could vote in, back in 2010, was so exciting for me. I couldn't wait to go to the polling station and put my cross in the box. I even kept my polling card, in one of my many memory boxes, to remember the moment. It was a big deal to me.

But it's not the same for everyone.

In 2010, just 44% of those aged 18 to 24 turned out to cast their vote; compared to 55% of aged 25 to 35.

In stark comparison, 76% of those aged over 65 turned out to vote.

In 2015, it was even less.

43% of those aged 18 to 24 exercised their right to vote, with 54% aged 25 to 34.

Again, those aged 65 and over had the highest turnout with 78%.

It's staggering, how disengaged young people have become with politics.

That is, until this election. Early indicators show a turnout of around 72% of those aged 18 to 24 in yesterday's General Election. This hasn't been confirmed yet, and won't be until next week, but these early estimates are incredible.

Sky News estimated the turnout among 18 to 24 years olds was around 66%. Even if this figure is true, it's still a substantial increase on the figures seen in the last election.

It literally makes me so sad when I see so few young people turning out to vote. And I don't understand why.

Not everyone understands politics, I get that, but everyone should care. These people, whether you like them or not, dictate the future of our country. Everyone is quick to complain when they can't get an appointment with their doctor for two weeks. I looked the other day, and had to wait 14 days to see a GP at my surgery. I'm pretty sure, what is wrong with me, would have either gone, got a whole lot worse, or killed me in that time. It's no wonder A&E departments are overrun at hospitals.

More than 600,000 people registered to vote in the final 24 hours - around two-thirds of those were aged between 18 and 34.

Some have called this election result "the revenge of the young", but the word revenge is wrong for this. It's not revenge. It's finally standing up to be heard. Having enough of politicians ignoring our voice and speaking out for our own future. Getting tired with newspapers pedalling propaganda, fake news and pushing the ideologies of whoever they have chosen to side with this week. Ignoring commissioned polls, expectation and what we're told is reality.

Even the eve of the election, newspapers and news outlets were predicting Theresa May to win by a bigger majority than Margaret Thatcher. Corbyn's entire campaign, manifesto and role as leader was undermined the whole way through the campaign.

None of the party leaders, apart from Jeremy Corbyn, engaged with young people at all during the short-lived election campaign.

Corbyn was the one pushing for young people to register to vote, Corbyn was the one targeting the younger audience with his policies and his campaign, and Corbyn was the one who motivated the younger age bracket to turn out in such high numbers.

Regardless of whether or not these young votes converted into votes for Corbyn, he is one of the main reasons why so many turned out in the first place. And that can only be a good thing.

I only hope that this momentum keeps going, with more young people continuing to exercise their right to vote, to turn out at elections and have their say on the policies that will shape our future.

It is still unclear how the results of yesterday's election will play out. I only hope that, whenever the next election comes around, young people do their bit again and stand up to be heard.

If turnout really does end up being as high as initial indicators suggest, British politics could change forever.

via GIPHY

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