Less Talk, More Action Please

If I asked people my age which political party they supported, I can pretty much guarantee that the vast majority would have no idea how to answer. To tell you the truth, up until a year ago I’d have struggled myself to tell you more than the surface differences between them. So no wonder the media complains about a lack of youth engagement in politics.

On Thursday of last week, my politics teacher organised a question time at my school, with local members of the five most prominent parties- from Green to UKIP. One of the many issues raised was the question of how the parties planned to combat the ever-increasing political disengagement, particularly in youths.  It’s funny because all of the parties got pretty excited over this question, insisting that “something must be done about it” and “my party will take measures to combat this problem”, yet not a single one cared to explain exactly how they planned on doing this.

How can you blame people for not trusting politicians, when this is a clear example of a promise with no real substance. The only redeeming one of the bunch was Chris Watts (the Labour candidate in my constituency in the 2015 election), who was completely honest in plainly admitting that the parties simply don’t do much to appeal to youths because they know that the so-called “grey vote” is the one that really matters.

Is that really an excuse though? Do they expect it to just fix itself? It’s clear that voting turnouts are just going to decrease in a society which no longer has politics ingrained into its core; in which young people grow up not even having any clue  how our government works. And I fail to see any real efforts to prevent this.

This wasn’t the first time I’ve had this discussion though- I was lucky enough to meet with my local MP Claire Perry a couple of months ago and we talked about this exact issue. What’s ridiculous is that that when you talk to the individual members, they all seem to get it. They understand the importance of this issue and they really want ideas and advice on how we, the youths, believe it can be improved. Yet this never seems to to translate to a national level.. nothing is ever actually done, and talking about it doesn’t solve anything.

Whilst many politicians have argued that the fact that people like me are talking about this issue shows that not everyone is politically apathetic, and that events like the question time at school and meeting with Claire are great ways of widening interest. But to be completely honest, they are just preaching to the choir. The only people that attend these kind of events are those who care in the first place; what really needs doing is to target the youth population as a whole, and the only way of doing this is through education.

I have friends that live in America, and they are so shocked that we have no form of compulsory politics taught in school, accept for a tiny module in year 11 Philosophy & Religion that even the teachers seemed to show no interest in. Whilst there were people at question time that proposed compulsory voting as a way of forcing people to educate themselves, I see that  the best way surely is to just make it the norm to vote, as was the case when we had voting turnouts of 75-80%. If we introduced politics into the mandatory curriculum, then maybe people would actually be vaguely interested in voting. I’m not talking about in-depth analysis of parties and government as I do now in A Level Politics, but just a basic level of understanding is all I feel is needed to combat this youth disengagement in politics, which is a real problem.

I know this is unlikely to change anytime soon, but  I think it’s about time politicians were honest about what they are actually going to do to prevent the next generation from not even knowing the Prime Minister’s name. So less talk, more action please.


Dare To Bare

I was actually going to write a completely different post this week, but I couldn’t leave this be without saying my piece. As many of you will have seen, there’s a phase going round on Facebook where girls nominate each other to take a no makeup selfie and post it online before nominating their friends to carry on the trend. There are clearly similarities here with other, less innocent, phases such as the neknomination fiasco that actually resulted in multiple deaths. But this is for charity. Now I don’t know if I am the only one that took a while to actually realise this, as the first few posts I saw had no mention of the purpose behind the trend-it’s strange how a charitable campaign can be criticised,  but there are so many people who have just taken the opportunity to show off how good they can look without makeup, with no mention of the cause whatsoever. Eventually it became apparent that this was a campaign for Cancer Research UK- although whether started by the charity themselves or just some do-gooders I am unsure. The idea of it is to post your no makeup selfie next to a picture of your donation to the charity, which is done by texting BEAT to 70099, before nominating friends to pass it on.

As someone who only recently started wearing makeup again after 9 months without it,  I find it pretty sad that I’ve seen negative comments aimed at some of these girls; telling them that they should put the makeup back on or other unnecessary remarks. I find it disgusting that people assume that females should have to cake themselves in makeup because because, god forbid, everyone might realise that most girls don’t have naturally flawless skin and two-inch eyelashes. So of course it’s our duty to be something we are not in order to be attractive whilst men are allowed to just roll out of bed and go out without a glance in the mirror. I’m not trying to turn this into some kind of feminist rant, and I know that many women (including myself) wear makeup because they like to do so and not for anyone else, but people like this just make me angry and I couldn’t leave it without saying anything.

I just want to make sure that the whole message of this campaign is not lost; cancer is a horrible issue that is almost certain to affect you or someone you know at some point, and Cancer Research is a great charity. Do your no-makeup selfies to raise awareness and donate your £3, but don’t lose sight of what the real point in this is- saving lives not getting attention.