COLUMN: People gave their lives for us to be able to vote

Well, here it is, the election no-one expected is upon us and who knows how much our confused and divided country will be changed by June 8?

But the period immediately before we go to the polls is a neutral area, no party campaigning allowed, that’s all been and gone.

Yet without being partisan, whether or not you’ve made up your mind, there is one aspect affecting all parties which is worthy of comment.

What about young people?

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They tend to not vote. If you’re 18-24, maybe a student, unemployed or a young worker, if you’ve never bothered to register for the vote, then why should anyone bother trying to convince you? That’s a lost cause.

Yet when adverse party policies affecting your everyday life become law, it’s no good complaining and saying ‘no-one’s bothered about us.’

You could have influenced things just by a simple ‘X’ in a box. Therefore it is a worrying fact that young people are undoubtedly becoming an ever-declining force in UK electoral politics, and the downside of that is that young people are the future.

Yes, we all remember Russell Brand in 2015 rashly telling everyone “don’t vote.” He seems to have been silent during this election. However, his sentiments must have rung true with some. The proportion of registered 18 to 24-year-olds turning out to cast their ballot, according to the British Election Study, has consistently been below every other age group since the 1970s.

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It really is time therefore for the young to look forward to the kind of world they want to live in. If you’re labouring under the misconception that voting isn’t ‘cool’ or ‘hip’, it’s worth remembering that everything hammered out in Parliament from housing, health, security and education which comes into law and affects your life got there through an electorate who see the polling station and the ballot box as their only tangible chance every five years to have a say, to let our politicians know what we think of them and their sometimes batty ideas.

Don’t leave your future solely to the middle aged and the ‘grey vote.’ Get down to the polling station on time and make your mark, because young people can have a tangible impact on the election – you need to become involved.

This doesn’t necessarily mean being totally engaged by joining a party, but you have to realise politics matters to our lives – when this is the case, like in the Scottish independence referendum, young people did turn out and their increased numbers made a big difference.

Take five minutes out of your day and watch TV news, listen to the radio, buy a decent newspaper once in a while.

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People gave their lives for us to be able to vote. We owe it to those generations who fought for the democracy we now have to use our votes to keep it working.

Study the issues, and remember this isn’t a vote for Celebrity Big Brother or The Voice - this is your future, tick that box and make it happen.