A password will be e-mailed to you.

It appears that Britain is experiencing a serious political crisis – the falling turnout of young people at elections. Statistics suggest that around 56% of Britons aged 18 to 25 years are not registered to vote, with electoral participation particularly low among the young, working class. So why do the youth of today not feel inclined to cast their vote in their country’s elections? A number of reasons have been suggested. Firstly, some are experiencing a feeling of disengagement with Westminster, that they neither trust politicians nor believe they listen to their views. Secondly, others deem that their vote does not make much of a difference for they are only one among the six million people eligible to vote and thus they do not believe that they will affect the outcome of an election. Finally, and rather grievously, many young people in this country do not have an interest in politics and therefore are not concerned with voting. But this must change as it is incredibly important for young people to vote in elections for the following reasons. 1. We need a voice. Voting gives people the chance to be part of the democratic process and have their say in how the country is run. If you do not vote, how do you have the right to complain about governmental policies? Indeed, voting in an election gives young people an opportunity to have their thoughts and opinions heard by Westminster and thus includes them in politics. Many young people feel detached from the political process but it seems by excluding themselves from electoral voting, they are simply furthering this disconnection. So in order to gain the right to complain about governmental policies, use your right to vote! 2. We are the future. This is the key reason why parties are so intent on gaining the vote of young people – they are the future and hence have full control of the long term. The democratic process will therefore be greatly hindered in the future if we continue to foster a generation of non-voters. Moreover, it is the youth that will have to deal with the consequences of today’s actions – for instance, environmental and economic policies render long-term repercussions – and thus electoral participation of young people is so important. Consequently, by not voting, young people are not only letting themselves down but their generation too. 3. Many big issues have a direct impact on Britain’s youth. Education is a primary issue that affects young people – for example the coalition’s change to tuition fees riled many young people into political protest. Those who participated in the 2010 general election indeed had every right to express their anger at the policy but what gave those, who were of the age to vote but didn’t, the right too? Undoubtedly, many other policies have a key impact on 18 to 25 year olds – investment in employment schemes and business, changes to housing policies and alternations to the NHS naming but some. As a result, it is imperative for young people to vote in order to influence governmental changes in order to improve their lives in the present. 4. Voting is a right that some people don’t have. We are lucky in this country to be living in a democracy where it is our right to exercise our political opinions. Many young people worldwide do not have such an opportunity and thus not to vote seems to be an insult to those less fortunate than ourselves who campaign and even die fighting for the privilege that is simply handed to us on our eighteenth birthday. So embrace the fact that we are living in a democratic nation and are invited to participate in political debate because we are the lucky ones. So should voting be made compulsory for over eighteens as in Australia and Brazil? This does not seem the best way to solve the problem of the lack of youth electoral participation. Voting is a right but also a choice and therefore should very much be up to the individual. To abstain from voting, however, seeks only to increase youth disunion with the political process, undermines democracy and frankly wastes the opportunity and privilege given to us in this country. So get out there and register to vote!