Young people and politics are sometimes illustrated as two different ends of the pole, with many organisations trying to close the gap between them.
There are two organisations that spring to mind when I hear young people and politics together in the same sentence which is unfortunate. Those organisations being the British Youth Council and the British Youth Parliament.
I wholeheartedly believe that we should have political education in schools from the age of 14, that people should be allowed to vote at the age of 16, as they are of school-leaving age and that MP’s should be active in the media when it comes to young people as we are the next generation of people who will have to deal with the outcomes of elections.
When I asked my sister and a few of her friends who the last prime-minister was, some of them knew and other’s didn’t. Many of those that did come from voting households. This just shows that your political knowledge is affected by your parents. Does that not mean that we should be teaching politics to students in order to give them a grounding for when they vote themselves?
There was a lot of debacle throughout the election in my opinion and perhaps beyond that the subject of young people was used as a “marketing plea” should we say. (My own words). Young people are the next generation; we are the future but yet parties held on to the older generation and rightly so to some extent.
People that were voting for the first time, namely young people were ignored. We “virgin voters” were cast aside in favour of those that had voted previously, which again shows young people weren’t considered important. Or maybe we were, but it just wasn’t illustrated. Either way, it should have been show overtly!
It’s the lack of engagement with young people which is hampering engagement with politics. You see MP’s in schools, colleges and universities on TV, but only when it’s needed. I would love for an MP to come into my university and talk to us about students and politics.
It’s indefinitely a two-way approach, but MP’s need to step up and show that young people count in society. We are bearing the brunt of the cuts, which doesn’t help with engagement either!
The answer to my question is YES, young people are becoming disillusioned with politics and it’s about time, politicians did something about it!
What do you think?