Why don’t young people vote?

With the recent U.S. Midterms and all of Brexit! It occurred to me my knowledge of politics and our government is really lacking. What exactly is right and leftwing? What are the different parties policies? Why do so many young people have no interest and no knowledge of politics?

For many, ‘politics’ signifies posh men in suits using convoluted language, it is a clash between members of the elite. My parents do not discuss political affairs and their views are biased and often do not provide a wider picture. I feel much like an ignorant fish swimming in a sea of controlled media and polarised arguments. How many others out there are like me? How different might elections and our country look if political education was provided as part of the school curriculum? Not a system of biased brainwashing, but a basic understanding of how to navigate and have educated opinions on our political systems. The important questions, how are they created? Why are they designed as they are? Why are they important? What is the difference between the different positions of power? And perhaps most importantly how to recognise politicians’ persuasive tactics and note the ‘true’ facts, a problem which modern day politics is suffering from.

It is easy to recognise which of my peers have a politically conscious upbringing, or at least have some knowledge of the political situation. These people often have deep-rooted assertions and argue with confidence. Sometimes their knowledge is supplemented by their own interest and research, but primarily based on the foundations upon which their parents have set up.

That should not be left to parents, it leaves too many people stabbing in the dark. If our education system can teach us about why rivers meander, the succession of Henry VIII’s wife’s and the probability of a falling drawing pin landing point first, then why cannot it teach us why we have a shadow cabinet? And what first past the post means?

It is easy for those that are passionate about and interested in politics to read around it. But for those who are put off by its tedious, dry and repetitive nature (the majority), too embarrassed to ask the basic questions, it is harder to get involved. Large amounts of the non-voting population (including myself) feel they cannot get involved in the political pool for fear of offending someone, entering a world far beyond their comprehension – so simply avoid any involvement at all.

But the young generation, we are the future of our country. In the last general election only 43% of 18-24-year olds turned out to vote. But imagine a society where all young citizens voted, politics would be given a major shake-up, it would create a more diverse and modern government. The end result would be a parliament that would be more innovative and willing to try out new things, implement better and new laws and overall make politics more accessible.

I think many of us can agree, this would create a refreshing and needed change which might lead to a positive multiplier effect where more and more young people decide to articulate their voices and contribute towards a brighter and better future.

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