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Jeremy Corbyn looking saintlyIllustration Anna Ginsburg

Us young people need to get our political shit together

Don't be that guy who doesn't register to vote

Right, let's get real. Today is May 21, you've been vaguely aware of the upcoming general election on June 8 for a few weeks, but you've been putting off the remarkably easy task of registering to vote.

Well, maybe not you, but definitely someone you know if you're a young person. The Electoral Commission have warned that 30 per cent of under 34s who are eligible to vote are not registered. There are approximately seven million people overall across Britain who are yet to register – that's more people than live in the whole of Scotland.

With this in mind we asked a bunch of 16-22 year olds in the UK for their thoughts on politics. Although some of them admitted their ignorance, many were able to articulate their "woke" political views with a bolshy intellegence classic of their generation. Watch the video below.

Anyway, now you've watched that, and as a further incentive to get your shit together, here's a handy list that should give you or your pals the kick up the arse you need to spend the literally two seconds it takes to get involved with politics in the UK. 


All the recent governments have aimed at the youth rather than old people, arguably because we don't vote in the same numbers as the over 65s. They've hiked up our tuition fees by thousands, cut our housing benefit, scrapped Education Maintenance Allowance and raised the minimum wage for all ages except for those under 25. If, in this election, we can turn out in the numbers that our grandparents do, it might mean our living standards stop getting overlooked. The generation before us is guilty of so much, from the Iraq war and fucking up the Middle East, to irreversable climate change. We can do and be better.


It should come as no surprise that Grime artists have been getting behind the drive in getting people to register to vote, so if you're worried being politically engaged makes you uncool, think again. As put by Bisi Akintoye in an article for gal-dem: "The reality is that (Grime has) a long tradition of engaging in political and social commentary – whether that was a knowing indictment of social inequalities, or discussion of inner city life that revealed the ongoing struggles of disenfranchisement and endemic racism." Even so, it's still undeniably exciting to see figures such as JME, Novelist and Stormzy rallying their largely young, working-class fanbases. Plus, if you get on board the Grime4Corbyn train you can look forward to a big tun up the week before the General Election.


An election has real-world consequences. One of the Liberal Democrats election pledges, for instance, is to legalise weed. Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert told the BBC that by allowing anyone aged 18 and over to buy cannabis in licensed shops, it would "reduce crime, reduce mental health harm and there's tax money for the state which can be spent on education and treatment". In terms of the other parties, Labour would pour money into the welfare state, and the Tories... Well, apparently they're suddenly into workers rights? Doing your research, reading political manifestos and actually seeing policies enacted is surprisingly exciting.


Even if you don't want to engage with politics as it stands – as Akala puts it, in some ways it is a "narrow view of political engagement" to think that voting is the only way to change things – thanks to the democratic system we live under, you do have the freedom to literally go to the polling booth and spoil your ballot. It's an ideological statement which arguably means more than sitting at home passively on your Xbox on election day. In the 2015 General Election, there were almost 100,000 "rejected" or "spoilt" votes and there are campaigns like Vote NONE which encourage united protest vote action in place of just, like, drawing a cock on your ballot paper.

The deadline to register to vote online is 23.59pm on Monday 22 May