Young people, make your voice heard…register to vote NOW!
BHASVIC had a hustings today with all the political parties represented, not by local candidates but by students. It’s a seriously scary thing to do (believe me!) so I really take my hat off to all the students who sat on that stage and spoke with passion, insight, and real knowledge about their party’s positions and beliefs.
These students didn’t just do themselves and their parties proud, they were a real testament to just how passionate and engaged young people are. Not only did hundreds of students turn up – the hall was packed to the rafters – it was also in their break time so they chose to take part in debate, it wasn’t forced on them.
The best bit was when questions from the floor were invited. Literally dozens of students lined up by the microphone to ask a question. It was fantastic and inspiring to see.
I was there to speak to young people about the importance of registering to vote and then using that vote. I wanted to tell them about one principle and two reasons why they should, so let me tell you why here:
First, the principle. Change is happening very fast in 21st Century Britain. Nothing can stop that change. In fact, not voting doesn’t mean change won’t happen, it just means you won’t have a say in what direction it goes. So not voting is actually an action too: it gives power to other people and right now the people who benefit most when young people don’t participate in are those with populist and nationalist agendas. Change is inevitable, so be a part of it.
And for the two reasons to vote. First, this is about your voice. Democracy is much more than elections, at its best it’s a constant process of engagement and shaping the things that matter. But elections are milestones in our democracy, a time when we can take stock, consider, and change direction. It’s a massive moment in our public life. It’s the single most important time for you to express your values and chose the person who will give you voice and exercise the collective power of our community alongside 649 others as we make decisions about everything from climate change policy to keeping the streets we live in safe. Please, don’t miss out on the chance to be heard.
And finally, your country desperately needs you. Our country is crying out for the engagement of young people in greater numbers. Your experiences, insight and yes, wisdom is needed. Wisdom isn’t something you automatically get with age, just look at Boris Johnson for proof! Wisdom comes about when you learn from experience and reflect on the things you’ve gone through in life. I know many, many young people who are caring for others, working to pay bills, and deeply engaged in the biggest issues of our day. In a democracy though, the most meaningful way of turning that enthusiasm into power is to vote.
If you still don’t believe me, consider this: in the Brexit referendum, if turnout had been the same for young people as it had for those over 65, the result would have been for ‘remain’. See, your vote matters!
***You have until midnight tomorrow to register*** and you can do it here: