At a time where Russell Brand is arguably the leading political figure for young adults, what does this say about the state of British politics?
The poor turn-out of young voters is well documented within the media; according to MORI, only 39% of British adults aged 18-24 voted in the 2001 general election.
This raises serious questions about our society; is our government failing to educate and engage with young voters, or are non-voters simply lazy, disinterested individuals, that are ignorant of how fortunate we are to be living in a democracy?
I asked 8 young adults for their thoughts and opinions regarding British politics.
Aaron Game, 21 says: ‘I don’t vote because I feel like my vote doesn’t count for anything. This is because I do not feel the government have been doing enough to improve British citizens’ quality of life, and instead are prioritising other things. I don’t really understand politics; maybe, had I learned more about it in school, I could follow it better.
‘Although I understand politics a lot better after going to university, I think a more prominent, promising and relatable public figure as prime-minister would want me to learn more about it from a young age. They should show the younger generations why it is important to vote and what we can all do to help make a difference in society.’
Jordan Coxall, 20 says: ‘I vote because it annoys me when people moan about the economy and the government and stuff, but do not actively seek to change it. Some people have a lot to say about what is wrong with politicians, like David Cameron, but then they do not vote when they have the opportunity to make a difference. Some people are not even aware of what the other political parties are, or who leads them. People that are uneducated about current affairs and politics, yet feel as though they have to throw their opinions around, really irritate me.’
Yusra Hmeid, 22 says: ‘I have never voted before, because politics has never interested me and I did not see how it would effect me. However, I am now considering voting, as I realise that if I just sit on my backside and complain about the government, then I cannot expect to see the changes that I wish to see in our society.
‘I am interested in some aspects of politics; where it involves me, my life and my future, other than that I try and avoid it as much as possible. I am too busy concentrating on my life and education, maybe I will be interested in the future, but at the moment I find it boring and a bit of a headache.’
Mike Wilson, 21 says: ‘I vote because I have a right to know what is going on where I live and have my say over what happens. Politics is a crucial part of society, but I feel disheartened by politicians as they promise greatness yet, because of red tape, often fail to deliver.’
Amber Antona, 20 says: ‘I do not vote and, if I’m honest, it is because I do not understand politics. I am interested in it, but trying to understand it is hard work. I think that politics is important and the government should ensure that we are all educated about the election process – people need to understand what they are actually voting for and how it can effect them. Politicians should actually do something to help the public, instead of false promises.’
Leo Saunders, 20 says: ‘I do not vote because there is no political party that actually do what they say they will. I also cannot think of any changes in recent years that have had a positive impact on my life. I am a student and because of the rise in university fees, I now have to pay a lot more money to further my education.’
Charlotte Johns, 23 says: ‘No I do not vote and my reason for not voting is simple; I just do not see the point. Everyone that has been in charge has done nothing for me (the working class), so I give up. Yes I am interested in politics, but I just get angry when I talk about it, so I do not often talk about politics. I think politics is very important, we just put the wrong people in charge.’
Jack Jefferis, 20 says: ‘I do not vote as I do not really see a political party that can be trusted. They say one thing to get elected, but actually do the opposite. I find politics interesting but I do not really know much about it.
‘I think that politics should be compulsory in education, as it is so important and everyone is expected to vote. However, currently the only way you find out about each political party’s stance on important issues, is to do your own research using biased and unreliable sources, as those sources often support or favour certain parties. The government have been trusted to act on the public’s behalf, but they just seem to be helping the rich minority rather than the poorer majority.’
Just for fun, I also asked these young voters if they would choose to elect Russell Brand if he ran in the next general election and 75% said that they would!