Saturday, 27 June 2015

A Priceless Value: Youth in Politics

Good Evening (or morning, afternoon, night... whichever is appropriate!) to you all!

I'll start by poiting out the obvious: I haven't written a blog in a couple of months now. So, first of all, apologies for that. I was quite tempted to do one on the United Kingdom's political voting system and the effects of that, but that was something I didn't quite get round to doing. I think waiting for the both mental and physical affects of the General Election to wear off took longer than I'd predicted...

Anyhow, I'm back now and seeing as things have (relatively) gone back to normal, I intend to post as regularly as possible.

So, as you can tell tell from the title of this post, it's going to be on the issue of Youth in Politics. I've been wanting to write this piece following a trip to Pembroke College in Oxford on Monday with other young writers, and I must say, the event definitely served its purpose in inspiring us to write. The event there was also to celebrate the winners of The Orwell Youth Prize 2015 (which I'll touch on later), so congratulations to everyone who won or was short-listed.

Following the tedious journey there, our morning consisted of a tour of the college (and it is pretty beautiful, if I can say so myself!) and then a writer's seminar in the morning. I won't describe every single thing that was said or done during this period, but to summarise, we came to realise there was more of a link between writing and power itself than one would have thought. I'm not just talking about famous authors who have written books on different political ideologies and became successful. I'm not just talking about those who wrote diaries or memoirs in historical events, inspired and became famous, like Anne Frank, say. I'm talking about us. Any of us have the power to change anything with words. We have social media, we don't have to be of any authority to get a book published and we have the ability to get involved. I know the campaigns for the General Election are over now, but that doesn't mean it's too late. It never is. It can never be too late for you to pick up a pen and write. It doesn't matter if you're responding to something you've seen on the news, or whether you're debating an issue on paper. You're developing yourself. You're engaging yourself. As Orwell said himself, there is no issue that isn't a political one. Politically engaged youth nowadays hold a priceless value.

Edging away from the more annecdotal side of things, and putting the question forwards to you: would you rather be fed watered-down information straight from Westminster, or would you rather be out there, experiencing things for yourself? I know what I'd choose. Getting involved with a party local to you, actually bothering to research instead of being indoctrinated by the media and speaking to people in general about such issues are all ways you can benefit yourself. To understand is to know. And seeing as we are the future, we need to know.

16 and 17 year-olds are put off of becoming politically engaged. Fact. I see it myself happening in the Sixth Form. We can only thank Mr Cameron for not allowing youth of that age to vote, and that is a factor that prolongs the involvement of youth in politics. It appears that, unless you have a burning interest in politics, voting is a chore. Even thinking about it seems to be a chore. I've spoken to people whilst canvassing who were relying on their (mainly Conservative) parents to tell them who to vote for. Never mind what party would have benefitted them as individuals. This needs to stop. We cannot benefit as a nation when only a minority are actually taking politics seriously. And politics isn't what the stereotypes play it out to be.

Things won't get easier. Depriving yourself the opportunity to vote and thinking you can block out anything political won't make things better. We can't all play 'Boo Radley' in today's society. Just by reading this post, you're politically engaging yourself which is exactly what needs to be done. We can't be brainwashed any more. We can't be patronised and have people be condescending to us any more.

After all, we are the future.

Anyway, have yourselves a lovely rest of the weekend. As always, thank you for reading! Much appreciated!


Sophie x

P.S, thank you and well done to everyone reading this that partook in the Orwell Youth Prize Celebrations 2015. It was both quite an amazing and insightful day, so once again, well done!

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