Under My Skin Is The Desire For Self-Determination

We live in a society with precious legacies that are sometimes overlooked, sometimes undervalued and sometimes omitted.

Have you ever felt frustrated over something in your life that has made you want to reach out for help? Has something made being at work or finding an apprenticeship difficult? Is the price of education too high for you to manage? Ever had trouble accessing healthcare? Do older people rarely take you seriously?

Your current legacy is your right to vote and decide on how you want your future to look.

Myth buster – voting is the most basic form of social action

“It doesn’t matter if I vote or not, nothing is gonna change!” / “I don’t trust those politicians on the TV”

As a young person who used to be sceptical about whether my vote would actually make a change, I have successfully proven myself wrong. I’m currently a part of Signpost Birmingham which tackles youth unemployment through raising awareness of different soft skills. Whilst being a part of this campaign, I have seen a huge impact on the young people that we have interacted with. Personally, this has been hugely beneficial for myself, as a social action campaigner, but I’m not asking you to lead a campaign to deal with social issues that you care about hands-on… instead, I am urging you to become to be part of social action.

We all have the ability and right to voice our opinion whether that’s through music, writing, social media or on our ballot papers. Ultimately, the truth is that the more of us young people that engage in politics (and vote!) will mean that it will be more likely that politicians will respond to our concerns and take us seriously.

Go to your polling station. Put a tick on your ballot paper. Be a part of the most important social action in our society. It’s literally as simple as ordering your fish & chips at the chippy but the difference is that your ‘takeaway’ will be that you will be a part of the future of this country.

Uphold the legacy

When were (all) men (aged 21 and over) given the vote? 1918.
When were (some) women (aged 30 and over) given the vote? 1918.
Until 1928, when women 21 and over were given the vote. Years and years later, in 1969, the voting age was reduced to 18 for both men and women.

99 years. 89 years. 48 years. Those years are how long we have been enjoying the right to vote. For young people, it has only been 5 decades since we have gained the right to vote but we haven’t been upholding our legacy, especially when we compare our turn out rate to the 35 year olds and above, our turnout rate consistently much lower.

Weighted Average Turnout of 18-34 year olds and older age groups -

Weighted Average Turnout of 18-34 year olds and older age groups

Difference in voting rates between those 55+ years old and those 16-35 years old (percentage points) -

Difference in voting rates between those 55+ years old and those 16-35 years old (percentage points)

Creating legacy

I was born in Hong Kong, a city that was caught in-between the anachronism of our colonial past and the current political realities under the rule of China. In Hong Kong, people are fighting for a more liberal and accountable political system with universal suffrage that could allow everyone the right to vote. Young people there have taken a particular important role in leading the change.

Ever since living in the UK, I have enjoyed the right to vote which has included voting in the last general election, local council election, EU referendum and the recent West Midlands Mayoral election. Although it can be frustrating not being able to control how our tax are being spent, not being able to be represented, not being able to be respected with dignity, not being able to self-determined; all because decisions are made by a small group of people, but I have still voted with huge enthusiasm. As a citizen of Britain, I urge all of you to #TurnUp at your local poll station and vote on the 8th of June! In particular, I urge all the young people to vote because this is our future and we will be the generation to live the reap the full effects of result on the 9th of June!

Reference: [1] [2]

Written by Brian Lee.

Want to write a guest blog? The themes for 2017 have been released, continuing with ‘Advice’ in June. Send your blog to bradley@beatfreeks.com, or contact for more information.


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