The deadline to register to vote in local elections is the 18th of this month, and for the EU referendum it’s June 7th. Registering literally takes two minutes to do – I know, I’ve done it. Studying politics at university and having an incredibly enthusiastic A level politics teacher may have had something to do with this, but it’s also one of the most important things anyone can do as an adult.
Voting as a young person is so, so important because of how much politics affects us. Tuition fees, public transport, membership of the EU (which allows that all important weekend away to Amsterdam) are all affected by voters. It makes sense for the people the policy affects to be decided by those people – otherwise you just have a bunch of older adults deciding for you, and who wants them to tell us what to do?
The upcoming EU referendum on June 23rd is probably one of the most important votes of our lives so far, and so simple to vote in – after registration, it’s just a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote to the question of if we should stay in the EU or not. The EU was formed after World War Two to foster economic co-operation, and now allows goods and people to freely move around, as if the member countries were a single country. That interrailing across Europe you’re spending your summer doing? The EU is the reason you’re able to just get a ticket and take your passport to get into a country rather than going through the long, complicated visa process.
Currently the public are pretty split on whether or not to leave, with UKIP being the main campaigner to leave. About half of the Conservative MPs and a few Labour MPs want us to leave, because they think the EU imposes too many rules on businesses and doesn’t give us enough for the money we spend. They’re against free movement into the country, wanting Britain to reduce the number of people coming here to work, and are against a closer union or a United States of Europe.
But, the PM wants us to stay in the EU, along with Labour, the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Lib Dems, because they think we get a boost from being in the EU, making sales easier as well as the flow of immigrants – who are mostly keen to work, fuel our economic growth and help to pay for public services. These politicians think our status on the world stage would be damaged if we leave.
Politics is relevant and important to everyone, affecting everyone’s daily lives whether or not you realise it. It’s super important to register to vote and to actually turn up to vote, especially in the EU referendum on June 23rd.
You can register to vote here.