- always interesting to compare what's happening in the UK to here (U.S.)
- & always worthwhile to listen to Billy Bragg :
Though the outcome is hard to predict, the coming election could prove to be the most significant in a generation.
If the Tories are the largest party and are able to form a coalition with the Lib Dems and UKIP, austerity will be ramped up and anti-foreigner rhetoric will be whipped up in a referendum on EU membership. Should Labour be the largest party, current polling suggests their only viable coalition partners will be the SNP, pulling Labour to the left and putting federalisation of the UK back on the agenda. Even if they fail to win seats, significant numbers of votes cast for minority parties will put pressure on Westminster to reform the voting system to ensure that everyone's vote counts. That's a whole lot riding on a Thursday in May.
Whereas most elections over the past three decades have been about marginal differences in economic policy, there is much more at stake this time. As such, it's troubling to find that 7.5m people are not registered to vote. One million of those missing voters are concentrated in many of the key marginal parliamentary constituencies that will determine the outcome of the General Election. In 19 of the most marginal 50 constituencies, the number of unregistered student voters is greater than the majority for the party holding the seat.
Now I realise that Russell Brand has gained a lot of attention with his revolutionary idea of not voting, but I think the claim that 'they're all the same' fails to grasp the situation we face in May. If the main political parties were indeed all the same, then the outcome of the election would make no significant difference to our lives. That may have rung true in the past, but now, with exit from the EU, federalisation of the UK and a fairer voting system at stake, we need to hear from everyone.
This is especially true of those under 25. Politicians make policies aimed at older people because they know the older you are the more likely you are to vote. The Brandite argument ends up being a self fulfilling prophesy - "they never listen to me so I'm not voting". If we want genuine change, we need to counter that claim by making sure as many young people vote as possible.
Check out the pdf that is downloadable from the Hope not Hate site and see what you can do to help people to register in time for the election.
Democracy in crisis as 30% of young people are not registered to vote