If one thing was made clear in the 2017 General elections, it’s that the “young vote” is crucial in the current political climate.
It’s a common cliché that the youth of Britain and other major Western countries have little to no interest in politics. For years, many major political powers have not considered the youth of the United Kingdom a significant demographic for deciding elections. When examining voter turnout statistics of previous generations, the 18-24 voting group does show a smaller turnout than the older voting groups. In 2001, just 39% of the 18-24 age group voted, and in 2005, just 37% did.
Helping to grow the image of political disinterest among young people is how politicians react to the above statistics. For many politicians, the singular goal for their career is achieving and maintaining power, therefore when campaigning, politicians have often created manifestos geared away from youth interests. This in turn makes the youth disinterested in politics purely because the policies aren’t aimed at them.
— OpinionPanel (@OpinionPanelEd) November 2, 2018
In 2017, the Conservative Party drafted yet another manifesto with no incentive for the youth of Britain to vote for. However, Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party’s manifesto featured several key policies clearly beneficial to the 18-24 demographic, notably an end to University tuition fees as well as an increase of minimum wage. The results of this were clear, while Labour did not win the majority needed to take office, the 18-24 aged voter turnout went from just 43% in 2015 to 54% in 2017, with a clear majority of youth votes going to the Labour party.
To conclude, it is clear that when given the chance, many young people will share their voice and try to make change. What’s even more clear is that when young people are actually listened to and responded to by politicians, they will show how much they care about politics. Many politicians complain about the lack of interest that Britain’s youth show in politics, but it is easy to see that the youth will care about politicians when politicians care about the youth.