Why Young People in the UK are disillusioned about politics, 2015 Election
I am a young person in the UK and I take an interest in politics, however many of my peers don't, and overall across the country less than half of 18-24 year olds voted. I feel this is a tragic statistic however at the same time completely empathise with why these people don't feel motivated to care about the impending election and the effects it will have on them.
Never ending cycle
Very few politicians specifically put young people first, policies are often targeted at older generations. With all politicians talking about cuts to spending for this election note that they most of the things they pledge to protect are of no effect to young people (free bus passes for pensioners, ect), however at the same time make cut backs to services for the youth.
The reason politicians target the young is quite simple, they aren't losing many votes. Cuts need to be made somewhere, so the best place from a politicians point of view to make them is where it will cost them the least votes, even better if you can make cuts for under 18's because they can't vote at all. Young people feel more and more disillusioned by feeling that they are the brunt of the policies and thus feel jaded and don't vote, causing the vicious circle to continue.
We feel removed from politics
Even as someone who is interested in politics you may be shocked to hear that I have never seen an MP in my life. An MP is the person who is meant to be MY representative in parliament, however it is very difficult to feel included when this person takes no interest in you. (My MP is Micheal Gove if you are wondering).
Ed Miliband did his well publicised "Non Dom" speech at my university (Warwick), I knew many students who stood outside the building waiting for Miliband to come past hoping that he may interact with the students and answer any questions, sadly he walked on straight by, the speech itself was not announced to students beforehand and no students were invited to the event on their own campus. This is even more infuriating considering that the Coventry South constituency is one where labour is facing pressure from the green party to hold the seat with Warwick students making up a large part of the population.
If this same pattern is repeated all across the country then it is yet another reason why young people feel disillusioned, we are simple not included, either that or politicians are fearful of including us due to the feelings and opinions students have not helping their PR persona. That brings me on nicely to the next section.
Conservative election video, could not be more cliche
Party Politics is fake and full of lies
Most young people have seen straight through the PR allure that politicians have built up around them by their parties, and the clever rote answers or question avoiding that they provide in every single interview they do. Newspapers run front page stories throwing around vastly exajurated statements against one politician which the other party helped dig up, causing petty arguments and name calling rather than debating serious issues and facts.
It is obvious to see that every event that a main politician attends on the run up to the election is carefully orchestrated to run like clockwork and avoid any possible slip ups, this avoids people who want to ask serious and difficult questions to politicians being allowed the chance to do so. This infuriates young people as it means our questions are never answered and all we see is images of politicians smiling gauntlessly in factories/hospitals/schools for photographers.
Students specifically still feel betrayed after the tuition fee rises of this government despite its wide disapproval, the changes meaning that we are left with huge amounts of debt. This feeling of betrayal has hit the Lib Dems hardest due to their pledge not to increase fees, however it also added to the general distrust of politicians and their ability to listen rather than toe the party line.
Who will you vote for?
Electoral system means many votes don't count
In many constituencies (including my home constituency of Surrey Heath), there is almost very little point of me voting since my opinion will be completely ignored. Many young people who live in "safe seats" across the UK feel the same way. Even if David Cameron said that he planned to kill every first born child a large proportion of the people in my constituency are so set on their ways they would still vote conservative and the seat would still be theirs, the opposite being true for Ed Miliband in labour strongholds. This is a major flaw in first past the post voting system, it means that up to 49.9% of the population can be completely ignored and a party could still get 100% of the commons. Proportional representation would allow everyone to feel that their vote counts, however this won't happen because it is not in the interest of the two leading parties (hence why Cameron proposed such a ridiculous system for the 2011 referendum).
For many young people voting really is a waste because mathematically it would make no difference even if all young people voted in one direction, in that case how do you expect those young people to take any interest.
For all of the above reasons it is pretty obvious to see why young people in the UK have very little interest in politics and the 2015 election. We feel that our needs/views/opinions and often votes are widely ignored.
There is no real solution to this problem, voting would often mean voting for parties who you disagree with (anything but labour or conversative is often a wasted vote), however not voting is part of the problem in the first place. As much as we try to get our opinions known then they are just pushed down and ignored, or as in the student protests met with force. It is only a matter of time however before these feelings boil over.