Young voter apathy is great news for the well-heeled establishment

Posted on: 26th June 2018

Attending Mounts Bay Academy’s assembly this morning I told students that the well-heeled establishment is very content with young voter apathy.

“The conservative establishment don’t want you to take an interest in politics. They don’t want you to vote. Because if you do… if you do… they’d have to take notice of you. Rather than ignore you, as they do at present.

“Turning up to vote may be the most radical thing you first do in politics.”

The school assembly began with a brilliant presentation by one of the Academy’s students of the cause of Emily Davison. The famous suffragette who successfully protested for the right to vote. Her commitment to the cause tragically led to her death but also to contributed to the success of the suffragette campaign 100 years ago.

Young people must be prepared to step forward and to protest if they want change. But not to lose their lives in protest as Emily Davison did.

I made the case for lowering the age of voting to 16. The age when you can get married, join the forces and pay taxes. But I warned that the ‘establishment’ will never take notice of young people if they don’t vote.

Only 45% of 18 year olds but 82% of 80 year olds voted in last year’s general election. Young people are taken for granted by cynical politicians. “They’ll smile in your face and then ignore you” – if you don’t use your votes.

I used examples from my housing and NHS campaigns to show how protests and campaigning can lead to beneficial change.