1. An introduction to the issueEdit
- (a) Its background
Most young people do not want to vote and this creates a massive impact on who takes over or remains Prime Minister. The most notable election in recent years was in 2010. The results hung parliament, which led to the drastic decision of creating a coalition government between the Conservative Party and Liberal Democrats. David Cameron became Prime Minister of England, and Nick Clegg becoming deputy Prime Minister. There has always been much debate about young people voting in national elections, and has become more of a priority than a choice as time has gone by.
- (b) Why it is so pressing now
The reason why this issue is so pressing now is because the results of the last election has meant that a lot of students are angry with the current government. A good example of their anger is the student protests in November and December over the increase of tuition fees, and cuts to University and college budgets.
We think that is we try to persuade more young people, particularly virgin voters, there is a chance things might change for the better, thus strengthening the British economy rather than weakening it. But even if they continue not to vote in future elections, they will hopefully realise that if they want their welfare and lifestyles to be improved for both them and future students, then they are going to need to resort to voting when of age.
- (c) Why you want to take action on the issue
We want to take action on this issue to make young people more aware of the importance of voting and that it can make a difference.
- (d) Why should people support you?
The problem of young people not voting is a global one. We believe that the more people and groups who support us, the more likely they will to vote in general elections when aged 18 or over.
Whoever is elected into Parliment has the authority to make drastic decisions with regards to British society as a whole - including, education, work and taxes - that affect them in some way, both now and in the future.
2. Key factsEdit
- (a) Use reliable sources and cite them
Little, B. (2010) Radical Future – Politics for the next generation, London: Soundings. “Many of our generation are detached from politics because politics has detached from us – we are disregarded in electoral calculations, disenfranchised by main parties’ relentless focus on middle-aged Middle England”
Himmelweit, H. T., Humphreys P and Jaeger M (1993) How Voters Decide, Philadelphia: Open University Press. “Turnout at elections varies considerably – during the period of study it was comparatively low in 1970, high in 1974 and returned to about the 1970 level in 1979 and 1983. By comparison with European countries turnout in British general elections is low but by comparison with American Presidential elections it is high. Their turnout is not much more than half the voting population. It is therefore no accident that the majority of explanations as to way people vote should come from political scientists from the other side of the Atlantic. […] a ‘rational’ voter is someone who will vote only if the expected utility of voting rather than abstaining is great enough.”
The Guardian, 2010. Students protest. [online] available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/gallery/2010/nov/24/tuition-fees-universityfunding?INTCMP=SRCH [These pictures show how the students are represented (violent) by the press so it might be useful to have them.
Joel Cohen for the Independent, 2010. The weakness of the tuition fees protest. [online] available at: http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2010/11/14/the-ambiguity-and-weakness-of-the-student-protest/ Presents a view arguably positive towards students. Useful as it presents the protest as weak and so demonstrates that a solution should be found differently (-> vote!).
UK National Statistics, 2011. '''''Population Estimates for UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. '''[online] available at: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/hub/release-calendar/index.html?newquery=*&uday=0&umonth=0&uyear=0&title=Population+Estimates+for+UK%2C+England+and+Wales%2C+Scotland+and+Northern+Ireland&pagetype=calendar-entry&lday=&lmonth=&lyear
UK National Statistics, 2011. '''''Elections (Local, National and European). '''[online] available at: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/hub/government/central-and-local-government/elections--local--national-and-european-/index.html
The UK Youth Parliament, 2011. Home page. [online] available at: http://ukyouthparliament.org.uk/20418/index.html
(b) Present the information in a clear and concise way
We – the iPod Generation – are facing serious issues concerning our futures as citizens and individuals. One can think of the job market that is saturated and absolutely not thought to accommodate the majority of young people taking a degree now or in the few next years. Many more issues (tuition fees, education cuts, NHS,…) are also tearing apart the flimsy social cohesion our ancestors tried to make blossom when they marched and protested (e.g., The Suffragettes).
We believe it is time to take action and make our voices heard, as they deserve to be. The first action each young person should take is to vote. It appears the number of attainers (people who voted) at the elections was very low (see c. for tables).
Voting expresses our power in a democratic society, actively and positively shaping our futures.
[The Suffragettes is a derogatory label to describe the movement for women’s suffrage in the United Kingdom, and in particular members of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). It originated from a Daily Mail article.]'
(c) Use graphs and tables if appropriate
(d) Explain why these facts mean you think something must change
More than half of young people (aged 18 to 24) do not take part in the voting process, with just 39% voting in the general election last year.
Our current political landscape is inadequate and we are facing many more obstacles when it comes to jobs, education, health,… Those in power now (coalition government) are making cuts to these areas, meaning large parts of the community will struggle to find jobs, etc.
We can’t accept to be kept away from the political spheres any more. We have to get involved in the decisions being made that could threaten our futures. We want to change this by campaigning to promote voting among young people.
3. Who else is involved?Edit
- (a) Which other groups are campaigning in the same area?
· UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) http://www.ukyouthparliament.org.uk/
· British Youth Council (BYC) http://www.byc.org.uk/votes-at-sixteen
· Vote To 16 http://www.voteto16.ca/?page_id=16
- (b) What do they do?
UK Youth Parliament: A national charity run by young people for young people aged between 11 and 18 years of age. They hold campaigns, online forums, debates and workshops in relation to issues, such as young voters and votes for 16 year olds. Any young person between these ages can join to help try to make a change to the voting system.
British Youth Council: This organisation believes in the right for 16 and 17 years olds to vote in public elections throughout the UK. Campaigns are held by young people who support this trend and aim to persuade young voters above the legal age to vote in elections. The main goal is to influence decisions locally, nationally and internationally.
Vote To 16: Aims to persuade the UK government to lower the voting age to 16 through petitions and campaigns.
- (c) Could you help them and they help you?
We could help them by joining in their debates, online discussions, getting involved in campaigns, and becoming members of their organisations.
They could help us by asking young volunteers from such organisations to discuss the importance of voting in our event.
- (d) Are any groups opposed to your positions?
- (e) What’s their argument?
This is the only political movement that constantly urges a boycott of parliamentary elections because of the belief that we as citizens are assailed with a barrage of promises and pledges from all political parties. Anarchists are strictly against democracy, describing elections as a way of resigning one’s own liberty. They do not perceive voting as an expression of power and equality for all, but rather as an easy opportunity to be oppressed.
4. How could change happen?Edit
Change can only happen through action. More action needs to be taken in reaching out to young people, educating them about politics more in schools would be a major step. This would allow them to see how politics plays such a big part in society today.
Local MPs and politicians must target young people when planning the economy, etc. If both started appealing to young people and sticking to their promises, young people will be persuaded to vote. When the general elections take place politicians seem to have goals set only in the interest of adults and older people. They need to start making goals for the young people as well.
More campaign groups should be set up to get young people involved and to spread the word. Also voting adverts aimed at them, why they should and what the outcome could be if they choose not to.
Further advertisement strategies to attract young viewers e.g. adverts to persuade young people to vote at shown during specific shows they are likely to watch on TV.
(a) Which individuals and organisation effect change?
The individuals that can make a change are:
- Education system
- MPs and politicians
- Young people who are passionate about politics spreading the word
- Various campaign groups e.g. active citizen’s virgin voters.
- Advertising companies
(b) How can you put pressure on them?
By pointing out the outcome of the recent coalition government and what the future may be like if parties like this stay elected.
Focusing on the changes that have been made which have affected the young generation and point out how this could have been avoided if young people had took an interest and voted.
Showing them how easy it is to place a vote and how it is less time consuming in relation to going shopping, cinemas, clubbing or pampering yourself.
(c) What methods would be best to use to bring that about?
- Advertising is a major method however this is very costly.
- Having a guest speaker at schools or in town centres on a regular basis.
- Campaign groups campaigning in locations/businesses which attract young people e.g. central London, various places such as cinemas, restaurants etc.