It is clear youth engagement in politics has hit a new milestone. Over 1 million young people voted in the UK Youth Parliament’s Make Your Mark consultation, giving young people a voice that is often drowned out in UK elections.
In recent years, the focus on the younger generation has come to the forefront of political debate, when leaving the European Union, arguments for the future of our children were the rallying cry of both the Leave and Remain campaigns. Perhaps, the best way to decide our future is listening to those who will run it.
From government statistics, the trend of young people eligible and registered to vote is clearly increasing, with 0.8% more people registered to vote in December 2017 than the previous year, continuing from the 2.6% increase between 2015-2016, totalling over 1 million young people in England alone, registered to vote in the Brexit poll in 2016.
Can Theresa May and the Conservatives restore the faith of young people, and convince them, their voices are being heard?
However, is it entirely true? Are young people really concerned over Brexit, when only 64% of young people aged 16 – 24, registered to vote and actually did (not all for remain), compared to the 90% of over 65’s? Are young people yet to determine the importance of our right to vote and how it has ultimately changed our future?
Polls show that whilst over 70% of 16-24-year-olds did vote to remain, just shy of 30% voted to leave. It is important to distinguish the differences in opinion among this age range, often categorised as one, with one label; inferior, because 16-24-year-olds, although growing in number, are still the minority demographic.
What do young people need now?
Research Director, Laura Gardiner says “It’s understandable that Brexit is dominating the current political debate… But for many young people, core issues such as having more security at work, at home and in retirement, will have even more importance. Politicians from all parties need to understand that.”
Others disagree, an 18-year-old pro-Brexit campaigner, Steven Edington, has supported Brexit since its conception, with years of dedication, he believes Brexit should be looked upon as an opportunity and does not see young people as overlooked in government but encouraged.
Do you agree with Steven – are young people the secret politicians?