A year and a half ago I had a reality check; a sign that I was actually getting older. My career path had finally progressed but with that came an introduction to an unwelcomed guest. This unwelcomed guest is more commonly referred to the tax-man; making frequent appearances in my payslip every month. When you deep it, the amount of money you get taxed is startling. Here in the U.K. we love to praise the ‘free’ healthcare in the country but that ish is being funded from straight out of our pockets! My little retail job prior meant that this was never an issue but as I’ve gotten older, the obstacles I face are seemingly a lot more costlier. The not so costly yet equally important topic I’ve also been up against is a political one. Which party am I going to vote into government? As a young adult, it’s definitely something we need to take very seriously.
First and foremost, politics has never been an area of interest for me and assuming the BNP don’t have a meteoric rise into power (in which case I’ll have more pressing concerns to deal with), it’ll probably never be much of an interest. A bunch of guys promising change, rarely seeing it through and making excuses as to why they didn’t deliver; a way too familiar theme. And it’s rinse and repeat with these politicians, you just don’t know who to trust. As a result, I’ve always had the ‘my vote can’t influence anything’ mentality. With roughly three quarters of the U.K. population eligible to vote, I was convinced that my solitary vote would not drastically manipulate a political outcome and maybe I’m right with that too. Growing up in South East London meant if you’re not voting for the Labour party then it’s a wasted vote ‘cos you know they’re gonna win lol. The problem with this mentality though is that it’s one shared against many young people nowadays. One person’s vote may not be significant as such, but the opinions of the masses could definitely sway decisions.
It’s no secret that the majority of politicians focus on the older generation. Young people don’t get as much attention because politicians aren’t bother about targeting a demographic that hardly votes hence doesn’t serve their purpose of getting into government. The younger generation will continue to be handed extortionate university fees and pay unrealistic property prices because our needs aren’t taken into account. To be honest, if I had to pay £9k per year to study then my education would’ve been happily and successfully terminated at the age of 18. I would have to be guaranteed a footballer’s salary for me to logically put myself in that much debt. Not even my African mum could convince me that that would be a sensible idea. Young adults are definitely an after-thought in these scenarios but maybe we should do more to make our voices heard. Living in a society and not taking advantage of how it’s influenced is really taking your voting privilege for granted. We live in a country where we have the freedom to vote, a feat not everyone has access to.
From conversations I’ve had with other young adults, the lack of voting can also come down to a lack of education about the political parties and politics in general. I always find it fascinating when it’s election season ‘cos you have the people who couldn’t care less, then you have the people who became MP’s overnight and weighing in on all things politics on Facebook and Twitter. These are the things they should’ve taught us in school, but as young adults now were need to take accountability for our mishaps and educate ourselves. Don’t get me wrong though, if you’re still sitting on the fence then absolutely no sweat. The voting will go on, the ballot papers will be counted, and you’ll deal with the party (or parties) that are chosen. Certain man can’t even name the current Prime Minister so voting is fairy-tale for them lol. Unfortunately the way things are looking, you’re likely to feel screwed no matter who’s in charge!