It is often quoted that the ‘only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing’ which is why today’s news is so disappointing. Not the usual depressing cavalcade of Trump based idiocy or the shocking revelation that North Korea aren’t good guys, but rather that electoral registration amongst school leavers has dropped 25% in 3 years. In some places it has dropped by as much as 75%. Now technically this has nothing to do with education or even careers specifically but it is a terrifying statistic. As a thinking adult it depresses me that I and many others lobbied and rallied for the UK to remain in the EU, shouting as we did, that this was too important a decision to be left to elderly racists who were denuding future generations of economic prosperity and opportunity. There were great clarion calls for 16 year olds to get the franchise but it turns out many of you just don’t give a shit.
If so many young people are failing to engage with politics it is hard to see how their voices will be represented at the General Election. We are standing on a precipice, a once in a generation, once in several generations rock face of unholy uncertainty and with the economic and employment prospects of everyone (not a word I use lightly) far from being a certainty, voting really is not just a right, it is a duty of the highest order of magnitude. Yes the options may be limited and for many unpalatable no matter which way you lean but throwing your hands up and disengaging from the whole process is the reaction of an irrational toddler. That’s of course generously assuming it’s a proactive decision to not vote rather than, that which I suspect, just a teaming mass of disengaged and feckless youth.
Percentages like many statistics are unhelpful without context but across the country of around 65 million it means that of those eligible to vote around 7 million people are unregistered and of those that are registered 40% didn’t bother. When you take out the kids which amount to a fair old whack that means that decisions regarding everyone’s futures are being taken by a very small number of people. But I would imagine the percentage of people grousing, moaning and humbugging up and down the land significantly outstrips those that actually bother to use their voice.
I cannot fathom what has happened in the last three years to have created such a critical mass of disinterest, now more than ever you would think that the events would inspire people to want to safeguard their futures. To take a stand and scream into the barrelling political winds that they are ‘mad as hell and won’t take this anymore’ but instead they seem content to fall back asleep waking in time to watch the afternoon repeats of Jeremy Kyle. They are unconcerned that the inane, frothing jobless lunatics that populate his sofa may just be a glimpse through the looking glass at their own futures if they don’t try and ensure that there is an economy to be preserved, opportunity to be nurtured and industry to work in.
I’m not quite old enough to resign myself to the inevitable nadir of our country so whilst I have air in my lungs I will continue to mouth off, but unless the youth of today grab the whole circus by the scruff of its neck then whatever you most fear for your future is the likely outcome. Simply put, the job market is tumultuous enough, don’t jeopardise the future you want by refusing to get involved in the shaping of it.