As noted in our article on the Magna Carta, the suggestion that Britain was a democracy from 1215 is falsehood. Indeed, even following the English Civil War which ended in 1651, Britain was far from a democratic nation. Nor was it during the Stuart period, Georgian era, Victorian or Edwardian eras. Indeed, even after the First World War, Britain was not a democracy. It was only in 1928 that Britain finally stopped excluding people from the franchise based on gender, age or income. Nevertheless, even after the Second World War, Oxbridge graduates could vote twice in general elections, showing the elitist state of Britain as late as the 20th Century. Today, however, the system works as ‘one person, one vote’ and we, at the FeedBack, believe that, irrespective of who you may be voting for in June, everyone eligible must ensure that they are registered to vote and turn out to do so.
18-24 year olds have the lowest turnout of any age bracket, to the detriment of them and their peers. By not voting, you encourage the government to disregard your voice in favour of those who militantly turnout to vote. This slows down societal progress and leaves 18-24 year olds on the wrong end of government cuts, further disengaging them from the political sphere, thus producing a cyclical environment of apathy.
Voting has been a hard fought – and often overlooked – privilege in this country. The sacrifice of those who fought in the British Civil War in the 17th century, opposed corrupt candidates in rotten boroughs in the 18th century, challenged for greater democratic inclusion in the 19th century or secured equality for women in the 20th century should not be forgotten, and it should encourage you to use your vote.
This may well be the most important general election that we ever get the opportunity to vote in. You may argue that you live in a ‘safe seat’ or that the issue is moot because we have triggered Article 50 and you wanted to remain, however, every vote counts, and a strong 18-24 year old turnout will have profound consequences. In 2010, turnout for 18-24 year olds was 44% and in 2015 this slipped to 43%. Comparatively, those aged over 65 saw a 78% turnout in 2015. As the disdain of Brenda showed when she heard news of a new election, there is a high chance of lower turnout across all age groups, suggesting that a pronounced 18-24 year old vote could have an incredible impact.
Governmental policy is, despite how the media may seem to present it, not composed entirely of Brexit. There are great domestic issues which need greater attention, and by not voting, you send the government a signal that you will not challenge them when they wrong you; as was seen with tuition fees being raised massively up under the coalition government. Instead, the government will choose to focus its policy on benefitting groups like the over 65s, who turn out religiously and therefore have the potential to impact governments.
If you’re unsure about your constituency MP, use the link at the bottom of this post to enter you postcode and get information about your MP. Then, investigate that person’s voting record and find out whether they represent you. If not, investigate the other candidates standing in your area or the party which you most align yourself with until you find the best fit.
Please share this message, encourage your friends, family and peers to vote and use it wisely. This is a privilege that very few in history have been lucky enough to receive, and to have the right to vote during such an important era of British politics is something we should all take very seriously.
Link to research your local MP; http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/
Link to register to vote; https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
If you have any questions about voting or would simply like advice or to discuss the current British political environment, feel free to leave a comment below or message us on our Facebook page.