1. There are so many ways to make traditionally dense and somewhat boring/challenging information REAL and RELATABLE
It was my first time attending a Beatfreeks event, my first time attending a poetry slam, but what hit me most was how information, that I am aware of and have been mulling over for months, is just different in this medium. It means something different and it makes me think differently. Opinions and thoughts that I thought were set, became fluid, and it was no longer the same old argument. In the coming few months there will be so many ways to consume news about the EU Referendum, make sure you choose ways that are creative and provocative – this is how change is made!
2. There may be no one issue that will be strong enough to help you make a decision
For me and perhaps a lot of people, there are so many dimensions to these arguments, so many cases that make me think I will resolutely vote to stay in, and at the very same time vote to exit, and currently there is no one argument that is strong enough to help me make a decision. So instead I will have to create a balance sheet (Gilmore Girls generation!) and whichever one is longest will be the way I vote. This notion scares me a little, because I have always allowed single issues to be the driving force in my decision making (be it education, foreign policy, welfare, housing) but this year it will be different and I will have to embrace it!
3. When we think about the EU – it is important to think holistically and with empathy
The way that we are currently discussing the UK’s place in the European Union is so immediate that you’d think it was a recent decision – but it is not. The EU has been in existence since 1953, and we joined the ECC in 1973 (confirming that decision by a first referendum in 1975). My point is that the politics of the EU goes way back. It has a history, we can count both its successes and its losses and these are important when we look to make up our minds. Think broadly about what it has done, what that cost, who has benefited and who has lost out. Don’t let people tell you how you should think or what you should think.
Coupled with this, one discussion that was the most poignant to me last night centred on Greece. The politics of the Greek state is complicated and diverse and there are lots of arguments to me made. One person’s truth is another’s abject lie, but what I believe in most is showing empathy. Youth unemployment was 48% in October 2015 and has been higher than that since the economy started faltering. That means that just shy of half of all young people in Greece do not have access to a steady form of employment from which they can support themselves and potentially those around them. As a young person in the UK, I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like to have that many young people not have a means to support themselves. The EU is more than just a super structure, it affects millions of people’s lives and it affects ours. Think about that on polling day.
4. Linked with this – think about how the EU affects you as a young person and will affect your life
This may sound like selfish politics, but I can assure you it is not. Politicians appeal to those who reward them by voting for them. Politics is about preference and we have to make sure we become somebody’s preference. On Thursday 23rd June 2016 you will have the chance to vote on an issue that will affect your life. You may not see the effects right away, but as young citizens it will affect us.
Whether it effects your financial situation (you pay more to use your phone abroad, or even you can no longer travel abroad because flights become expensive) or on the other hand, when you do start paying tax, whether you want to see a proportion of your earnings go to a membership of an organisation you do not care about or dislike.
These are just a few ways that it could affect young people. So on the 23rd don’t get lost in the arguments of others – think about how it will affect you and the change that you want to see.
5. Crucially all of this is pointless if you are not registered to vote
Knowing what you want to see different and the changes you would like to make is AMAZING – but are you part of a system that allows you to do something about it? I have no idea which way I will vote on the 23rd, but what separates me from a lot of people my age is that when the time comes I will be able to register my opinion on the European Union. If you are not registered by June 7th 2016, you will not be able to have your say on the EU and your choices will be taken away from you. The funny thing about politics is that it affects you regardless of whether you choose to participate. So be part of it and register to vote today!
Who can vote: British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens over 18 who are resident in the UK (Citizens from EU countries – apart from Ireland, Malta and Cyprus – do not get a vote)
Registration Deadline: Tuesday 7th June 2016
When: Thursday 23rd June 2016
If you want any more information about registering to vote or how to be part of local political change email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to write a guest blog? The theme for June is ‘Appreciation’. Send your blog to email@example.com, or contact for more information.
If you liked the sound of this event, be sure to come to Politics & Play on 20th of May, talking about important topics at Teenie Weenies soft play centre. Limited tickets. Get yours now; aswell as Ministry of Data which is on 4th of June at Millenium Point. Are you up for a Big Night In or Out? Or EU confused? Turn up to rave about some dodgy data as we consider, to Brexit or to Bremain. Book your place now.