UNEXPECTED PERKS

Don’t Let Those Boomers Have Your Say for You. Fucking Vote.

Here we are then. That all important date is coming up very soon, and we had best be prepared for it. December 12: Bill Nighy’s birthday.

What a man. Absolutely stole the show in Love Actually. Oh, and also we have a general election that will potentially decide the outcome of our country for generations to come. Yes, I am talking about Brexit, but I am also talking about literally everything else too.

The media tends to portray this as the Brexit election when that’s really a single facet of what’s happening right now. As important as this election is, not only for the future of this country but also for our place in the world, the level of disillusionment that we (especially our generation) are going through is just worrying. 

Though it’s not surprising. The general sentiment that people I spoke to had was that they were just fucking tired. As young people, growing up in a post financial crash Britain, our futures haven’t exactly looked bright.

According to the Luxembourg Income Study Database, millenials will be the first generation who that be worse off than their parents. Our prospects don’t exactly look great. And the people who want to represent us in Parliament aren’t any better. If democracy is meant to be a marketplace of ideas, then this market looks less like the beautiful bazaars of Istanbul and more like the Shambles, selling variations of the same cheap grinders with weed decals on them.

Regardless of whether your blood is as red as Labour, blue as the Tories, or as bile-yellow as the Lib Dems, we can all agree that the status quo does not cut it in any way. The Independent reported in January that 17,000 people have died while waiting for their disability claim to be approved or denied. 

The Trussell Trust alone had to deliver 1.6 million emergency food parcels last year, a 19% increase from the year before and a horrendous 73% increase from five years ago.

HMRC’s own figures tell us that between 2014 and 2016, 2.5% of the country held more than 25% of all the wealth in the country. It’s no wonder that so many people hold so much mistrust and cynicism when it comes to the people who are meant to represent us, because when it comes down to it, peoples lives have been ruined by the political games that the ruling class have been playing for years. 

You would expect that all of this would accumulate in an apathy and a general disinterest in politics. And five or so years ago, you would’ve been right. If you mentioned politics at a party, you would’ve gotten the same look that I get whenever I talk to random York St John people in the smoking area of Fibbers about Foucault (I know, I can feel your eyes rolling through the page).

It was the type of thing that only weird dudes with ponytails got really into. But now, if you don’t have an interest in politics, people give you a look that says “Jesus Christ… how?”. To be fair… how?

In a time like ours, with a situation like the one we are in now, it just seems irresponsible to not take part in politics one way or another. The number of different causes that young people now stand for is inspiring. Like I said before: the status quo just doesn’t cut it for us anymore and we’re taking action.

There have already been so many youth-led protests over climate change, austerity, Hong Kong and all other things that we just don’t like about the world. If we see something we collectively don’t like, we go out and make it fucking known.

The work that these activists do is invaluable. Not only in the bullshit “raising awareness” way, but by mobilising people into becoming more and more active in their political lives.

I think it snowballs: once you get interested in and involved with a certain issue, it seems natural that you’ll get more interested in and involved with other issues. This sort of snowball transcends where you exist on the political spectrum. Youth movements across all parties exist: Momentum for Labour, YC for the Tories and even Turning Point York (keep your fingers crossed lads, fourth time lucky, eh?) for your weird flatmate who calls women “females”.

Youth involvement has always been the lowest of all age demographics, while retired people tend to be the ones who come out of their care homes in droves. This can change in an instant, if you just give a bit of time to actually think about what you care about.

Instead of spending your Thursday mornings watching “LoFi hiphop beats to study/chill to” while regretting everything you said to your best mate last night, give the news a read. Find out who’s running in York and your home town. Look at what they’ve said about issues you care about, see if they’re promising things that you think are good for the country. (If anyone reading this lives in Southhampton, Craig Fletcher is running on a platform of enhancing esports in the UK for the Liberal Democrats.) Most importantly, go out to vote. It takes so little time to register, and it takes even less to draw a cross on a piece of paper in a primary school hall. 

If none of this is convincing you, I have one last thing that might do the trick. Think back to your hometown. Think of the pub that you and all your mates go to. Think of the ruddyfaced, bloated sack of shit who sits in the corner and doesn’t say anything but inconspicuously stares at all of your mates arses. Think of how he tried to buy you a drink once, but his horrible leer and the stench of old pork scratchings caused you to run out to the smoking area. Are you going to let that boomer have more of a say in the running of this country than you do?

Let’s face it, he’ll be dead in ten years. You’ll be the one who has to deal with the consequence of his actions, while you sat at home and cried about the floppy-haired boy who got off with your flatmate instead of going out to vote. If that doesn’t make you want to vote, then I don’t know what will.

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