The current coalition government has done a lot to scapegoat young people with the country’s crippled economy, but it seems a bit short sighted at the very least. Russell Brand’s article in the New Statesman got me thinking, what came first, disengaged young people or politicians that are totally disconnected from the education and work situation for people under 25?

At the Conservative conference last month David Cameron announced plans to stop anyone under the age of 25 getting Job Seekers allowance or other benefits. This comes at the end of a long string of Tory/ Lib Dem policies which negatively affect young people – the raise in tuition fees for University students, the closing of support service connexions and scrapping the Educational Maintenance Allowance are but a few to date. No surprises that he thinks there will be no electoral fallout for his party as a result. Why is this?

The answer simply lies with young people themselves. By not voting previously and not answering bad policies with the only thing that can change the system – a change of government – young adults have done themselves a great disservice nationally. Already I hear the rhetoric in my head, whirring around like paranoid ferret, ‘But we can’t change anything’ and ‘all politicians are the same’. The fact of the matter is that those statements are born of ignorance, not all politicians are the same, and the only way to know that is by educating yourself as a voter.

As for the second point of ‘we can’t change anything’, well, that might be right. For now. Only by making themselves a voting bloc can they hope to get even the most basic shred of positive attention from this dangerously out of touch government. Similar to the Green Party, which has never had any major electoral success, young people need to get their opinions into the mainstream discourse of politics, and then things might change. This isn’t some ‘call to arms’ – it is simple fact, by not voting, young people are allowing themselves to be ignored by politicians and demonised by the press.

This is why I am registered to vote, and whatever age you are if you haven’t already, I encourage you to do so. Register to vote by clicking this link (For UK citizens only):


So the answer to my initial question lies somewhere in between, young people have disconnected largely with the political discourse, but this has furthered the distance between them and politicians. The sure solution is to vote, and perhaps not for the people that have put many people under 25 at a great disadvantage to start life.

BY: Sam Wood

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