Millennials – Let’s take charge!
The average age for world leaders ranges from 50-70 years old, only 22% percent of our MPs are women and 4% are ethnic minorities whereas in the UK ethnic minorities make up 12% of the population and women make up 51%. It is therefore understandable that young people can become indifferent to the world of politics, as these statistics show we just don’t see ourselves in them. It would appear that the world of politics is still an older white man’s game. Although underrepresentation is a huge issue all over the world and an understandable deterrent, the fact that we are not physically represented should not prevent our interest.
The Millennial Generation is notorious for spouting the mantra ‘my vote won’t make a difference’ but in fact quite the opposite is true. It has been proven over and over in recent years that many electoral campaigns depend on the young electorate to win. Both of Barack Obama’s campaigns were won mainly due to the young voters. Obama won 67% of the young vote nationally in 2012, over Mitt Romney’s 30%. The incumbent President is not the only person who needed our help to win political office. Jeremy Corbyn won his position as the head of the Labour Party (twice!) largely due to support of new young Labour party members. The support that both of these groups in USA and Britain gave was not just their own votes but in many cases they managed to garner more support from other members of society through friends and family within their spheres of influence. Showing that we, as a generationcan and do have large lasting impacts on the face of politics.
Our generation is clearly not realising its full potential, which was shown at the beginning of the summer with the EU referendum. What was shown by polls before the vote was that 73% of the age group that most undergraduate university students fall into – 18-24 years old – were in favour of the remain campaign. However we had the lowest voter turnout on referendum day with only 36% bothering to make an appearance. With the EU Referendum results having been won by a tiny majority, it would not have taken many more young people to have swung the verdict in the opposite direction. That five minute walk to your nearest polling station could have saved you moaning about the rising price of Marmite and Ben and Jerry’s (it’s like the Freddo incident all over again).
Statistics and percentages aside, how can we not take an interest in politics? Yes I study politics so this may seem more obvious to me than to others but there has not yet been a spaceport made affordable and accessible in every country, therefore we all still have to inhabit this planet; this unfortunately means adhering to one government or another’s laws and policies. So wouldn’t you prefer to feel as if you had a small say in these laws? Can you even complain about Marmite, maintenance grants, the migrant crisis and (eventually) mortgages if you didn’t bother to use a minuscule amount of your energy to draw a cross on a ballot paper? We all would like to think of ourselves as young forever. We would love to believe we’ll always be able to go out drinking three nights in a row and that our student loans will not come back to haunt us but alas it is not the case. Student life will come to an end and we will all one day be more than happy to stop after one pint. We, the Millennials, need to take responsibility for our futures starting by the small effort of voting at least once every five years.