Research Dossier- PolitiCAN
Our campaign is titled politiCAN and our goal is to get as many teenagers, specifically 18 year olds, involved in politics and voting in the UK. We are focusing on the referendum taking place in May in the United Kingdom as it is the first vote taking place in the UK.
Background Information on referendum: The referendum that will take place on May 5th all over the United Kingdom is to see if they will change the voting system in the UK for how they elect members of parliament. They will either change it to the Alternative Vote electoral system or remain with the First-past-the-post. This is a simple yes or no question. The Alternative Vote is a voting system used to elect one winner by ranking them in order with numbers. The current system, First-past-the-post, is an election that is won by the highest polling candidate. The votes will be counted on the same day as the lection, from 4pm on Friday. (BBC news)
Why is it pressing now? Why do we want to take action on the issue? Young people have little to no say in the UK government, and this is affecting us in ways that are extremely serious, such as the rise in tuition fees for Universities. In some ways it seems as though the government doesn't care about educating their youth, and this is something we should be able to do something about. Although the election in May is only for a change in the voting system, it is still important to show the government that we are voting and trying to make a change. It's important to tell them "hello, we're here too!" The next large election is in 2015, and by then every 18 year old and above should be voting in the UK. If enough young adults vote, then we CAN make a change, it's all about getting there, and that’s where we are helping. We are young adults and teenagers ourselves, and this is something that we care deeply about because it’s affecting our friends and people we care about. We want to make a change in how the government looks at us and we want them to understand that we do care about politics and we will stand up to them.
Why should people support us? People in every age group should support us because we are the future of politics in the UK and around the world. Soon enough we will be the ones making a change and making the decisions, and it’s important that teenagers start seeing the big picture of politics already at the age of 18. By getting our voice heard we can make our age group more interested in politics, so when the time comes for us to have a say, we will know what we are talking about and focus on making things in the UK better.
Our Target Group: Our potential target group is 18-year-old boys and girls that just turned to their “milestone into adulthood”. Eighteen is a magical age that gives you as great privileges as well as serious legal implications in most countries all over the world. According to the law, the eighteen is an official age for voting, buying a house, spirits, cigarettes or getting married without parents’ permission, as well as going to jail, being sued or making stock market investments (youngadults.about.com). Many people would argue, “Is it really appropriate age for voting still being a teenager?” On one hand, the age of eighteen obviously cannot give you enough knowledge and experience to give full objectivity in an election. But at the same time it would motivate you to get into politics in future and start deciding what is better for your country. This is where we come in, to show how important it is for eighteen year olds to learn about politics so they can prove that 18 is the right age to start voting and making a change. Of you are grown up enough to go to army and die for your country, why not to vote
Student cuts: The cuts don't just mean it will be harder for you to get into University next year, it also means you might not be able to get the money in loans, schools will have less supplies to help you with your studies, teachers will be cut and some schools and courses might even be shut down completely. These recent cuts have led to some intense demonstrations in London and other parts of the UK. The Media has shown these demonstrations as violent, scary and dangerous- highlighting the few events that caused chaos. Youth in the UK who are actually fighting for what is right so YOU can get an education, and the media has twisted this fight for our rights. The cuts will affect everyone, and it is unfair that the government is choosing to focus these cuts on education. Does the UK government not care about educating it's youth? We are already seen as the "jilted generation" that is having most difficulties getting jobs and internships, and it will only get worse. We have to stand up and fight for our rights, even though we are only teenagers and young adults.
How will change happen? Change will happen when youths become more aware about the ongoing politics in our country. Change will happen when youths will be aware of how much injustice is happening against them and the other minorities. Change will happen when they actually start voicing their opinions and voting according to how they need to.
Which organization will affect change in a negative way? The anarchists and people who are trying to fight against the government using violence, are able to disrupt this campaign, because they are the ones misrepresenting the youths. The BNP party is able to hinder this youth awareness about voting because they will be the first ones to be in trouble once youth is aware and starts protesting in the right way! The BNP according to HOPE not hate campaign have a lot of fascism and racism, and often use this to gain votes at their advantage. The organization still rejects integration, equality and basic human and civil rights for people it describes as “non-indigenous” or “civic British” and claims to put the interests of “the British people”, by which it means white Britons, first. So, while the BNP has attempted to distance itself from its past it remains a racist party in the European fascist tradition. The BNP has described itself as British nationalist, racial nationalist and more recently, ethno-nationalist. Its leader, Nick Griffin, has at times also referred to the party as a civil rights movement, especially since its electoral defeat in May 2010. In recent years the party has concentrated on opposing Islam and actively campaigns against the establishment of mosques, halal meat and what it calls the “Islamification” of the UK". (Hope not hate, 2011) Hence this political party would never want to lose control and hence will try and hinder such performances of creating awareness.
Other campaign groups: There are many various topics in the other campaign groups in our module. There is one titled ‘The Revolutionaries’ who are focusing on the same things as us, politics and the student cuts for young people in the UK. We have helped them by joining their facebook group and promoting them on our website/facebook group. The same with the group ‘V.O.T.E’ who are also focusing on getting young people to vote in the UK. We have also helped the ‘alcohol awareness’ campaign by signing their campaign. They are focusing on local issues such as making the N14 bar at Trent Park campus shut down earlier. We have joined the facebook groups to support ‘Higher Knife Crime Sentence Campaign’ and ‘IamSafe’ who focus on safe sex. Members of groups such as ‘IamSafe and ‘the Hungry Hippos’ (Focusing on stopping eating disorders) have helped us by handing out our flyers at Trent Park campus and around where they live. Greg in our campaign also helped the group 'Healthy Food' by printing tshirts for them. We have added links to many of the other campaign facebook groups to our website under 'links'! Resources Voting reform referendum planned for next May (2011) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10483841
BBC NEWS | UK | Politics | Voting age 'should stay the same' . (n.d.). BBC News - Home. Accessed March 18, 2011, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3637953.stm
Category. (n.d.). Parenting Young Adults - Tips for Parents of College Students, Teens and Young Adults. Parenting Young Adults - Tips for Parents of College Students, Teens and Young Adults. Accessed March 18, 2011, from http://youngadults.about.com/
HOPE not hate (2011) HOPE not hate. Available at:http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/hate-groups/bnp/) [Accessed19th March 2011]