Ben Hale argues why it is critical for students to vote.
Edited by Isabel Aruna.
Fear is why I am writing this. I am terrified about the looming danger of my peers turning eighteen. It is not because they can get served in pubs or buy alcohol, it is something much more important, something that has the power to change the lives of every person in the UK. I am of course talking about the haunting prospect that many of you will be able to vote. That is right, you have the power to change the destiny of our country. But do you know why this scares me? It is because many of you will not vote, many of you will not share your views through the joy of voting. I am here to tell you that it is worth your time and to convince you that you should do it.
First off the right to vote is a right you have had since you were born. This right is something that the British people have had the power to do for years. Our generation has never had to fight for our democracy or rights; we are the lucky ones. There are endless people around the world who are not that fortunate, who are fighting for that right; we have seen in places like Egypt that people are dying just because they want to vote, they have given their lives for something many of you will not even consider. How is that right? We owe it to the people, who are sacrificing their lives, to vote. If you do not vote what are you saying to them? I am sure you are all thankful you live in a country that allows you freedom of speech, so imagine living in one that does not, think of what the vote means to them. It is a symbol of the freedom they desire, it is our duty to those who have died for the vote for you to use this right.
I am sure, like me, you have strong views about the rise in tuition fees, whether in favour of the rise or not, you still have the right to hold politicians accountable for what they have done. Voting is the best and simplest way of doing that, if you do not like what they have done then vote for someone else. You may be saying “So what if I don’t like that policy? No one else feels the same,” well you are wrong. If you dislike a politician’s policy then it is a sure bet someone you know does not like it either; I will wager that they know someone who dislikes the same policy. Before you know it you have got countless people that all feel the same, and a few people voting can change the course of an election. Sure the politician with the hated policy may still get in but you will have forced them to reconsider their position and whether or not they are really representing the people’s views. All of this can be achieved, if you just get up and vote.
Getting your voice heard is such a key reason as to why you should vote. Most people will have strong views about a particular area, whether it is education, the NHS or unemployment, there will be a politician out there who feels the same way. By voting for that person you are making your voice heard, you are standing up for your views and you are putting them across to those in charge. In doing so you are giving the clearest indication of what your views are, you are helping shape laws that will go on for a long time. That is what voting does.
Voting is a precious gift that so few young adults in the UK utilise, there is nothing else that lets you control the way in which your country is run. The power to change the way we learn and the way we work cannot be overstated; to have this power and not to use it is a crime that so many people are guilty of. So on the next election scheduled for Thursday the 7th of May 2020, which will come around a lot sooner than you realise, where will you be? Sitting around watch reruns of some TV show? Or will you be out there voting, making a difference to the country you live in?