Cast aside like old rags when we’ve done our part and then patronisingly insulted and expected to take it on the chin … well, not this time 

 

I don’t usually let articles written by the mainstream press affect me, but an article entitled ‘Youth and the EU – it’s all down to national insurance’, published on the 24th of May 2016 by the Evening Standard really got under my skin. The clear ignorance of youth issues on the part of the journalist and the clear condescension of the entire article was infuriating, but nothing out of the ordinary for the twenty-first century hysteria machine that is the British Media.

British media and politics has never shied away from being beautifully offensive to the next generation, from sarcastic articles to speeches and campaigns that question our intelligence, we have been attacked, belittled and misunderstood. I am 23, an entrepreneur and no, I don’t scream in fear at a task that does not involve a smart phone …

The Evening Standard’s article the other day, true to form, was incredibly condescending and although briefly touching on the issue of voter registration, ignored completely the main issue around politics and young people. We are interested in politics, indeed, young people are organising a debate on the 6th of June in parliament to discuss the EU! Politics however, is not interested in us unless it serves a very short-term purpose.

Looking back at 2010, we can recount how a whole generation was stabbed in the back by one political party, which used us to gain votes and then threw us aside once we had served our purpose.

With politicians that treat young people like pawns and free delivery services at election time, is it that much of a shock that young people move away from mainstream politics? Not to mention the horrific and ridiculous nature of both the IN and Out campaigns during this coming EU Referendum, with both sides trying to outdo themselves to see which can come out with the most outrageous statements.

I think it’s time we look at British politics and examine the reason why apathy has grown so much, rather than acting with such condescension by stating: ‘if only they knew where they had written down their National Insurance numbers’. The real issue is a lack of political education. Young people are interested in politics, but lack an understanding due to society-induced ignorance. Currently we assume that once we hit 18 years of age we suddenly become enlightened with all the political knowledge one needs to vote and engage … of course this not the case, it needs to be taught.

Politics should be taught in schools as a compulsory subject, it’s the one thing that allows us to be who we want to be, gives us a voice and creates a democratic society, yet we give it no time in schools — with the one exception of Citizenship which is so vague that it might as well encompass everything …

Maybe it’s time we look at the issue seriously, rather than just around elections and referendums. We might then just get somewhere without the need for out of touch commentary from an out of touch generation, referring to the next generation’s problems without consulting the very people they are blindly commenting on.

 

By Matteo Bergamini