You might be heading to the polls, but we bet you know someone who isn’t
Tomorrow (June 8) is the big day. Your chance to vote in the upcoming Most Important General Election Of Your Lifetimeᵀᴹ
You may think this need not bother you. We know that you, dear, sweet, devastatingly good-looking and politically-engaged NME reader that you are, are already planning on heading to the polls. Of course you are. You’ve read the manifestos, you’ve made up your mind, and you’re going to make your voice heard on the 8th June. Well done you.
But don’t recline smugly on your laurels just yet, there’s still something that you could do today that might, at the risk of mildly overstating things, Change The Future Of The Country Forever. It’s time to text a mate and remind them to voting. Tomorrow might be just another Thursday for them. They could be blissfully unaware about, you know, the biggest deal in the world. Maybe it’ll piss it down, and they’ll stay home.
This is, after all, not just about individuals but about whole generations. We know that in the 2015 election, only 43% of people aged 18-24 and 54% of people aged 25-34 cast their vote, compared to a massive 78% of over-65s voted.
While interviewing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn last week, JME summed up why many young people haven’t voted in the past – and why he will be this time around: “I’ve never voted before, ever, ever,” he told Corbyn. “I’ve grown up making the best out of what I’ve got, and being optimistic with what I’ve got. People like me who have never voted, we feel like we’re going to have to make the best of that situation. Sometimes you feel you don’t need to vote, it doesn’t matter, no-one has our best interests at heart anyway, so whatever happens we’re gonna still struggle, still grind, still come through and flourish at the end. Whereas now, we seem to be seeing someone that we can actually trust, someone that’s human.”
We’re sure that you know people who still take the view that voting doesn’t matter. A quick and highly unscientific poll of all the under-24s in the NME office found that while a full 100% of them are going to vote, they all know lots of young people who haven’t. They pointed out that while much of the media’s attention has focused on pointing out how violently opposed Labour and the Conservative’s policies are on student fees (quick summary: Labour, nada fees. Tory, muchos fees), the majority of young people don’t actually go to uni, so this may not make much of a difference at all.
Plenty might live in a ‘safe seat’, so they won’t bother voting, because what’s the use in trying to dethrone an MP who’s been in power for decades? But every vote counts. For example, if 2,000 more people vote Lib Dems in a Tory stronghold, the media and political parties will notice. What might not be a massive change today could instigate a sea change in the future.
In fact, the bigger issues may well turn out to be around housing and jobs. So if you know people who aren’t at uni but still live with their parents and may not want to do so for the entirety of the rest of their time on this earth, or who are concerned about things like zero-hour contracts, maybe drop them a text today and check whether they’re voting.
Remember, there’s actually no such thing as not voting. If you don’t turn out to vote in person, you end up voting in another way by doubling the value of some old person’s vote. So text a mate today. Like sex and table tennis, voting is even better when you’re not on your own.
Additional words: Jamie Milton