Alicia Caley is 21, from Mansfield, and she volunteers with Vote for Policies.
No one has ever sat down with me and explained the way our political system works, and yet, I am expected to go out of my way to: a) register to vote and b) put an X in a box on a ballot paper indicating a party I would trust to govern my country.
So many people in my age bracket (18-24) are in a similar position. There is all this ‘election talk’ that is dominating the news and yet, we don’t feel like we understand enough to engage.
Last week I had this conversation with my housemate, Miles, who felt exactly the same. He had no interest in voting, he didn’t want to engage with something he knew nothing about – and understandably so. We both had this yearning to know more so that we could be a part of it all but needed some way to find out which party we actually would want to give our vote to.
And rather than following the way our parents have always voted, my generation has started to question the reasons for voting a certain way. We want to know what the parties can do for us.
This is the first election I can vote in. I wanted to know which party suited my needs best so I looked at a few different surveys, all of which were useful. I liked the Vote for Policies survey because it presented the actual policies of all the main contenders and asked you to choose based on the real policy sets. I would have to compare them myself and start to really think about where I stood, and for the first time, I knew what my options were.
So when Miles said he wasn’t going to bother voting, I just told him to have a look and he did the survey too – and he was actually more surprised at his result than I was. Going into it with no preconceived political biases, he was stunned when his result swayed heavily in one party’s favour. I suppose reading what some parties want to do to your country has a miraculous way of igniting a passion that you never realised you had.
Whether in the end you choose to vote or not, just make sure you sign up and be counted in the statistics. The deadline is this Monday April 20th and all you need is your NI number and a spare 3 minutes.
Just don’t leave it too late – you might be kicking yourself when May 7th comes around and you realise that you really do want to have your say.
And please share this post with your friends and family. Thank you