Throughout the course of history political debate, discourse, uprisings and wars have navigated us through life. Whether it’s national or international affairs or smaller scale familial discussions there is no escaping it.
I grew up in a family who never really saw the need to be ‘politically active’ in the conventional voting sense. They would say statements like, “What’s the point it won’t change anything, my vote won’t count!”. Even when unpopular decisions had been made for local communities or the country, it has never occurred to them that it may have been their vote and the hundreds – possibly millions – of others’ uncast votes that may have made all the difference.
Lesson 1: Don’t complain in hindsight when you have refused to take up an opportunity; such as a vote – when it was afforded to you. Especially as it is free; not many things are in this world!
Know your voting rights. As it stands at present you can vote if you are registered, 18 or over on the day of election, a British/Irish/Commonwealth citizen, and not legally excluded from voting (further details are available online).
Sometimes government politics can seem daunting for young adults who are getting to grips with the adult world. There is nothing wrong and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed to admit that you don’t know something. I remember shying away for a long time, it took me a while to get my head round the bureaucracy and complexities of governance, laws and rights, and if I’m 100% honest with you, there’s still a whole cornucopia of knowledge I have yet to soak in. However, I feel phenomenally empowered, engaged and informed about the decisions that are being made and how I can influence them.
UK Youth Parliament and BBC Newsbeat are two useful sites aimed at younger audiences to get involved in news and politics.
Lesson 2: Soak it up, Soak it in, Talk about it.
We sadly live in a world where post-truths and alternative facts are dished out to us all through the media like daily vitamins.
It’s becoming increasingly more and more important to cross reference several news sources as possible whilst paying particular focus to well established and reputable media outlets. An online YouGov survey revealed that, “Given a choice of seven different news organisations including Sky News, ITV News and Channel 4 News, 58% of respondents ranked the BBC first for balanced and unbiased reporting. Sky News was second, with 15%.” It is generally considered that some of the least trusted and biased news outlets are those of the likes of The Daily Mail and The Sun – you have been warned!
Lesson 3: Do your research. Take most things in life with a pinch of salt. Be critical when it comes to secondary or tertiary data.
Life can be short. Take each day as it comes. No need to be perpetually miserable or passively stoic – have fun and receive ‘nuff love; but remember that your voice renders more ripples, in the big ocean of life, than you probably realise!
Written by Paige Jackson.
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