Young voters are turning down their call to the polls, politicians should listen to them

 

I have always been keen on watching political debates on television, trying to grasp the ideology of each party. However, lately it occurred to me that politics is no more than an inquisitiveness in my opinion, and it has transformed into a lost interest. I am lucky enough to live in a country where democracy prevails and where women can vote, which is still not the case in many places.

When I was about fifteen years old, as the 2012 French presidential election approached, I developed an interest in politics. Somehow, I found a party that seemed to echo my beliefs. A certain weariness emerged after watching myriads of debates between leaders of different parties, whose cleavages seemed to depend more on their egos at times than on their political stance. More so, recent events, including the Brexit referendum, have been bewildering. As a non-British citizen, yet a proud European, I have been impassioned, much to my surprise, to learn the results of the long-awaited referendum. It turned out, in my case, to be an absolute wake-up call as regards to politics in general.

To my eighteen-year-old self, today, politics doesn’t hold meaning anymore. Over the years, in numerous countries, politics has merely become an area of studies, eventually leading to a well-paid career. Politics concerns elections, terms and high wages and seems to have lost its essence. Indeed, nowadays young people struggle to find a party which echoes rightfully their ideas. It is not that people don’t believe in politics anymore, or in the power of democracy. The problem may lie in the fact that they have to vote for elderly representatives whose party still stands for hundred-year-old views. This phenomenon has resulted in an increasing abstention rate during elections. In fact, in the 2015 general election not more than 50 per cent of 18-to-34-year-old British citizens voted, among which only 40 per cent voted from the 18-24 category, according to a poll made by the Intergenerational Foundation (IF).

To speak for myself, I do not believe that you can do politics today by taking a dualist viewpoint, or by questioning progress. I do not believe that politics should be about banning marriage for same-sex couples, refusing them a fundamental right. It shouldn’t be about counting refugees either, as if they were only figures, and refusing to let them enter a country because of prejudices.

Today’s politics has engendered noxious catchphrases such as Farage’s ‘… take our country back’, echoing war-time mentality when nations fought for lands. Generation Y does not focus anymore on whether some should not have the right to marry and others be forbidden from crossing a border. It has in fact proved to be the most accepting generation. Does this mean then that politics has lost its efficiency and become a dead issue? Not quite yet. As a matter of fact, generations to come will have different issues to solve, among which are climate change and unemployment; politics will have a say in these matters.

2016 has been a turning point for many countries which have seen their parties infected with xenophobia and regressive thinking. There is a crisis in the way that politics works today. Our society is facing issues that cannot be tackled the same way they would’ve been in the 1980s. We should not take into consideration politicians that are keen on fulfilling their own agendas. They are harmful for politics. Indeed, we need change, we need a new system and we need to work together. In order for us to face tomorrow’s challenges, a renewal in politics will be crucial.