Who is representing young people in the 2015 General Election?

The 2015 General Election is less than a week away, and the party leaders are frantically trying to secure the elector’s vote by promising us a better economy, NHS, education system and so on. The Electoral Commission reports that 2,296,530 people registered to vote online and of these, 707,171 were 16-24 year olds. But who is representing the youth in this election?

As young people we are constantly being told that we don’t vote or we are disillusioned with politics. For some this might be true, but for those 707,717 of us, it seems we are quickly forgotten about post-election campaign. For instance, in the 2010 election the students of Sheffield Hallam put their faith in Nick Clegg as he pledged to stop the rise in tuition fees and ‘introduce a fairer alternative.’ The result… tuition fees increased from £3,000 to £9,000 per year, whilst banker’s bonuses were not so harshly affected by the cuts. With regards to this election, only today was it revealed by shadow Secretary of State Danny Alexander, that the Tories allegedly plan to cut welfare by £12 billion. The repercussion being no child benefit, and benefits for those aged between 18 and 21 slashed – any wonder we are disengaged with these 50+ middle aged men?

A couple of months ago Russell Brand, who many deem the voice of the youth even though he is pushing 40, famously told us not to vote. However, that would be counterproductive as the next 5 years are immensely important especially, if like me, you are graduating this summer.  This week Brand interviewed Ed Miliband and it saw the Labour leader cleverly reach out to the ‘disillusioned youth’ through a popular figure who has got people talking about politics – something Cameron, Clegg and the rest of the political elite have not yet done. I realise this article has not directly answered the question – ‘Who is representing young people in the 2015 election?’–partly because three old men are. In parliament there is a distinct lack of young voices and PMQs mainly looks like Eton on a mad one. However, this should not be construed as me saying don’t bother voting. I urge you to vote so that in these next 5 years, young people will be represented not only by party politics but people who actually are youthful.

This personal policy guide from The Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2015/apr/22/election-2015-what-do-the-party-policies-offer-you is a quick and easy way of knowing what political party best suits you.

By Eleanor Woulfe

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