Hey, so there’s this general election coming up… Oh, you already knew? Shocker that, it’s not like it’s been rubbed in our faces since it was announced. From so many car crash interviews to some genuinely hilarious moments – Tim Farron being a cheeky little bitch on the leaders’ debate being a personal highlight – it’s been impossible to escape, as much as I wish I could. Having said that, moments like these are why I’m grateful the internet exists.
But being a designated ‘young person’, I’m guessing you’ve been flooded with people telling us to vote. So if you’re like me and you registered because people just would not stop telling you to and now the polling day is going to arrive soon, let’s face it, it’s really tempting to just not vote. It’s on a Thursday; for some reason it isn’t electronic and you actually have to leave the house; and we have to register in advance which is a real pain if you’re moving house/a student/generally lazy and disorganised. So if you’re still put off by the idea of getting off the couch, then let us debunk some voting myths for you.
Myth #1 Nothing Is Going To Change
If you live in a constituency where it’s been the same party for years and you want to vote differently, it really feels like shouting into a big ol’ chasm of nothing changing. When that’s the situation, combined with the fact you’re hungover and/or have lots of work to do, I really don’t blame anyone for just not wanting to. Politicians don’t care about us – looking at you there Cleggy, with your decision that now means I’m up to my armpits in debt – and we’re the first people they throw under the bus when the going gets tough.
Myth #2 Nobody Gives A Shit About Us
Why don’t they care about us? Well, it’s pretty much because we don’t vote. Old people do – they love their fuel allowance – so logically, the politicians pay more attention to them because they will help them get elected. We don’t show up, so they don’t care about us. So why don’t we show up? 36% of us rocked up to vote during Brexit (or 64% depending on which poll you look at), but we all know people who were busy hipstering out at Glastonbury or just didn’t vote because they thought we’d be fine, and look how that turned out, eh?
Myth #3 It Doesn’t Affect Me
My big reason for not voting when I was younger was that I genuinely didn’t realise the actions that politicians take dictate and have always dictated my childhood and now my day-to-day life. Because of the decisions that politicians made, I had the education I had and the subjects and the books all decided by them. That means that someone is actually responsible for me suffering through maths until Year 11 – not cool. On a more current note, I would literally vote for anyone who offered rent caps, because it would improve the quality of my life so much. And then there’s the ‘it won’t make a difference’ argument, but now that there are so many websites that can help you vote tactically and as students you can literally choose where your vote matters most I don’t know if I agree with that argument anymore.
Unfortunately, if we continue like this, the chances are nothing will change. It’s not going to get better because we sat on our arses and did nothing. I’ve finally come to realise that politics is a two-way street – we have to give a little to get a little. It’s a ball ache, but it’s a ball ache we need to get involved in. I don’t actually give a damn who you vote for, just get out there and do it to stop the inevitable onslaught of whiny baby boomers telling us we’re shit.
If you know who you’re going to vote for, great. If you don’t, I’m not going to tell you summaries of the party’s manifestos because let’s be honest, you know the gist. I am however going to list a bunch of websites that I’ve found genuinely helpful: and sometimes a bit worrying.
- This website is designed to figure out who to vote for to stop a ‘destructive Brexit,’ and although I don’t know what that means I voted Remain so yeah, ok. https://infacts.org/how-should-i-vote-to-stop-a-destructive-brexit/#result
- This website is designed to literally tell you who to vote for. You can do the short, easy yes/no options or click ‘other stances’ if you want to choose something more in depth. Be warned though, the results may surprise you, I never would have guessed who actually came out on top for me. http://uk.isidewith.com/
- And this website is designed to tell you precisely what your MP has voted for. It’s actually pretty harrowing to look at sometimes, turns out my MP at home is completely against gay rights, so that’s great. https://www.theyworkforyou.com/
So, game plan: go out and vote, come home, celebrate you doing your civic duty by writing something pretentious on Facebook, and then get together with your friends and drink the night away – because there ain’t no party like a General Election Night Party.