I’ve been interested in politics since the age of 16. On 6th May 2010, I was a few days away from being 17. I couldn’t vote – I was young and didn’t have any knowledge of politics, apart from knowing the political parties in the running for the election. I remember being in awe of people who could vote. I’d read the manifestos but I was frustrated that I wasn’t allowed to vote. (I definitely believe that 16 year old’s should I get to vote…more on that in another post).
When the coalition government came into power, I watched them rise tuition fees to £9000, which annoyed me. I didn’t go to university at 18, because I wasn’t ready. I decided to go to college instead but if I had went to university then I would have had to pay £3500 for each year of my three-year course. Because of the changes, I was going to have to borrow in excess of that, just for one year. It was from then on that I engaged with politics and knew that I wanted to make a change.
I retained my interest in politics throughout college, when I studied health and social care. I placed my interest on the backbench though, as not many people seemed willing to have political discussions. I kept my political thoughts to myself, until I started university last year.
I started my university journey in September 2014 and went to study for a degree in Social Work; my political awareness grew. We had a module in Social Policy where we learnt about the political spectrum and about the different political parties, in brief. I really enjoyed that module! We did some sociology and law too, where we got to explore some policies such as the Poor Law and the creation of the NHS. I was intrigued by political decision-making and how law got through parliament. My enthusiasm definitely showed in my marks.
In May 2015, the time came where I was able to vote for the first time. I was 20 and could finally do something that I’d been waiting to do for a long time. I’d read the manifesto’s multiple times, had talked to people I knew and completed my own research. When the time came to put my cross in the box, I voted Labour. I’ve been brought up in a Labour stronghold, it was the wisest option for me.
That night, I watched the election results unfold before my eyes. I stayed awake all night to watch as we decided on an all-Conservative government. At first, I felt angry, but then I let it go because after all, that is what the country wanted. I told myself that it was about a collective belief rather than individual belief and rightly so.
The budget cuts were announced a few months ago too. They angered me, but I had to remain neutral, as I was reporting on it for SR News. I couldn’t let my political beliefs seep into what I was writing. I wasn’t happy with the removal of the maintenance grant but alas cuts have to be made somewhere and money needs to be saved to go towards the NHS, the most fundamental institution that we have in Britain today.
This is just an insight into the key political moments of my political journey.
I am indefinitely interested in British politics and the monarchy. I’ve developed an interest in international affairs and world news too. American politics is something I am still warming to, but I do enjoy reading about it. House of Cards is helping too!
You may have read that my dream is to become a Member of Parliament (an MP). I’ve had this dream affirmed to me because of my experiences with my mental health and from being a carer. I want to make a difference. It does sound cliché but it is true. I aspire to sit on a board such as the Standing Commission for Carers or a board in parliament that focuses on children and young people or mental health.
I have many concerns within politics, but disengagement is my biggest concern. Young people need to be supported to engage with politics. Not enough is being done. I’m concerned with how politicians are being portrayed, how people see politicians as “fake – I could go on…
I hope you enjoyed this insight into my political journey.
What has your political journey been like?
Please comment below.