It’s not a shock to the public eye that political interest amongst the young population is declining in the UK.

The process in trying to obtain a grasp of political affairs and the system of which they are comprised can be incredibly daunting and off-putting for the younger generation. The majority of the younger generation have adopted the view that politics is for much older people who have a responsibility to take part in general elections and the likes as it has a direct impact on their future – not the youth.

The younger generation are the people least likely to take part in elections. According to an Ipsos MORI representation survey in 2011, it showed that a mere 39 percent of 18 – 24-year-olds voted, in comparison to 70 percent of those aged 65.

There are many reasons as to why the younger generation do not choose to participate in voting procedures, such as:

–          Apathy

–          Impact

–          Knowledge

Apathy is usually demonstrated by little or no interest in the political processes; there is a lack of trust that politicians engender with their promises prior to voting followed by growing cynicism. The jargon used within the political realm is almost equivalent to a foreign language for a young person. Just as when you are in a language class in school listening to a string of sentences which you cannot even start to comprehend – you switch off.

Impact is the fact that many of the younger generations in the UK believe that even if they took an interest and tried to make a difference within the government, it would be shunned and unaccounted for. Many of the younger generation are being disillusioned with politics. The younger generation simply believe that their voices are not being heard on the issues particularly affecting them. The Ipos MORI survey in 2001 concluded from a survey that the younger generation were most likely to say that they felt “powerless” in the election process.

Knowledge – Many of the younger generation out there haven’t a clue about politics other than the occasional squabbling between rival parties in the House of Commons and the frequent yelling of “Yay” and “Nay”.

A frequent debate topic is whether voting age should be lowered to the age of 16. Many people from the public believe that the younger generation do not have the knowledge needed to be able to make an intelligent and informed decision about which party they should be voting for and why.

The lack of knowledge in political affairs is the result of the absence of politics as a topic in schools. Ideally, the education sector should be aiming to promote political education for the younger generation much earlier in their lives.

As a young person, I find it incredibly hard to initiate a conversation about politics with the majority of my peers Some only associate politics with “men in suits frolicking around debating money and being childish”. In schools across the UK, pupils are being taught religion and citizenship as a compulsory part of school education. My  underlying question then: why is politics not incorporated or seen to be a vital part of life and not made compulsory by the Department of Education? Incorporating politics will make the younger generations more insightful and knowledgeable voters so that they won’t wish to shun the topic all together.

Many of the younger generation’s attitudes towards the whole political process – elections and parties – seem to draw on the point that at elections, candidates fail to provide substantial information about the policies and campaigns they are supporting.

Not all hope is lost – the EACEA (Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency) are convinced that even though the younger generation are not actively involved in politics in terms of voting, they actually communicate their opinions on “political issues even more actively than older adults”. How is that possible? You might think.

The media is one of the most influential pieces of technology that every young person in the world is involved with in one form or another. The EACEA support the fact that the political participation of the younger generation is actually not declining, but they are showing their views on political issues on a new level – through social media.

A survey conducted by the Eurobarometer survey in 2012 shows that 15 to 24-year-olds have clearly taken the lead with the highest percentage “expressing political views on the Internet or social media” at 42 percent. This shows that the younger generation appear to get most of their political information from the media, especially from social media sites.

Despite this, it is evident that a lot more work needs to be done to strengthen the relationship between the younger generations and politics. Even though it is obvious that the younger generation have some interest in politics, not many voices are being heard.

It also appears that they are clearly unaccounted for and perhaps a change in registration procedures and campaign demographics will help raise the chances of more people being involved in politics – something that affects everyone’s lives one way or another – who participate actively by voting.

Politics has a place for everyone, everywhere in the world.

 

References:

–         http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/electoral_commission_pdf_file/0019/16093/youngpplvoting_6597-6188__E__N__S__W__.pdf

–         http://www.libdemvoice.org/politics-is-losing-people-especially-young-people-what-do-we-do-about-it-36090.html

–          http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/focus-on/young_people_politics_en.php

–          http://kennyimafidon.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/The-Kenny-Report-2-Is-Politics-for-young-people.pdf