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I’m not going to bring out the same old tired dialogue about how people died for your right to vote, or how all over the world people are still fighting for this fundamental human right. Let’s be frank; democracy is like sex, you don’t notice it until you’re not getting any, and we’re the Hugh Hefner of democracy. So instead I’m going to be talking about why here and now we should be registering and voting, in our thousands.
I hear a lot of people citing what happened with Nick Clegg as a reason not to vote, “we trusted him, he lied, why should I trust anyone else?”, well maybe you shouldn’t, and maybe they all are lying but if we don’t vote after last time the only message we are sending is that politicians can do what they like, because we don’t care and we won’t hold them to account. In all honesty how can we expect politicians to care about anyone under the age of 25, when only 56% of us have registered to vote compared to 96% of people over the age of 65. Why would politicians make policies that affect our future in a positive way, when we won’t even be able to vote for them because we haven’t registered?! Instead it’ll be another half a century of talking about the importance of protecting pensions, whilst student debt and youth unemployment continues to rise.
This brings me to my next point, I have 3 months left in the student bubble, some of you might have another 2-3 years, but the government that is voted in this May will still be there when you leave uni. It will be this next Government that shapes house prices, rent prices (which yes still affects us now), how much tax we pay, if Snapchat is still legal (seriously!), what wars we are facing, what we are doing about global warming, and whether there is any bacon left after Ed Miliband went on a rampage.
Even within our student bubble, who is elected in this Government and locally (the local council elections are on the same day this year), still affects us now. Do you think your rent is too high? Do you think students are too loud and need to be ushered around by street marshals? Do you agree with Loughborough’s MP voting against Same-Sex Marriage? What about the closing of the on- campus pharmacy, are any of the local politicians planning on helping to stop this? Locally, students have been often been used as scapegoats, blaming us for noise, house prices, litter, and even recently of “Ethnic-Cleansing”.
But, if we register to vote in mass numbers, and turn-out on polling day in our thousands, then both nationally and locally they have to start listening to us. This affects our lives now, and our lives for the next 5 years, or even beyond. Do we want our future shaped by the grey vote, or by ourselves? If you’re with me on the latter then register to vote, then on May the 7th, make the effort to go and vote.
To register to vote go to gov.uk/register-to-vote, or click the Register to Vote link on the right hand side of your modules on Learn.