The general election is so close you can almost taste it, and, as it stands, it looks like June 8 might taste far sweeter than we first thought. Indeed, the lingering flavour of out-of-touch Tory – a rich mix of overdone steak and dusty old port – could possibly be banished from our mouths for the next four years, thanks to the huge surge in voter registration from young people: young people who care about nurturing and funding the NHS, access to education for all, making sure big businesses pay proper taxes, scrapping zero-hours contracts, making a genuine commitment to looking after the environment and not being an elitist d**k.
In 2015’s election only 43 per cent of 18-24-year-olds voted, but this time around masses and masses of you have given enough of a toss about our future to rummage under your beds, find that scrap of paper with your National Insurance number on it and register to vote. People who thought their voices weren’t listened to and people who thought the system was stacked against them have rallied together in a dazzling display of empowerment. Now the path this country takes could well be in their hands.
A record-breaking quarter of a million under-25s registered on the cut-off day last month, adding to a whopping 714,595 who’d already registered after the election was announced on April 18. As I write this, YouGov polls have revealed that the Conservatives are just five points ahead of Labour – who’ve been swiftly and surely closing the gap between the two parties over the past month. It’s enough to make you want to burst into the chorus from ‘Survivor’ by Destiny’s Child on the bus.
It’s not just that Labour’s policies will help out the UK’s young people the most – Jeremy Corbyn’s campaigning has been far more in touch with British youth than anything Theresa May has attempted. Rather than going on The One Show and talking about shoes, the Labour leader’s been acting like a hype band, opening up for The Libertines and collaborating with grime artists. A secret showcase on the BBC Introducing Stage at Leeds Festival and a PA at the Rampage sound system at Notting Hill Carnival seem sure bets for later this summer.
Until then there’s only one thing to do – and that’s vote. This Thursday, grab a pal and hit up your local polling station. But before you do, think about what kind of country you want to live in – a country run by people who don’t give a s**t about you, your family, your health and your future, or a country run by people who do.
With the polls narrowing, June 8’s result is looking increasingly up in the air. NME’s ‘plus one’ campaign wants you to take a mate to the polls. We know you’re a great person and you’ve already registered. But next Thursday, make sure your mates are up to speed.
The general election will be held on June 8, 2017.