Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament
Young people could decide the next UK Government. It’s that simple. We have a huge opportunity to ensure that the issues that are important to us take centre stage with only one day left before the General Election.
The referendum in Scotland sparked a renewed interest in politics and democratic processes among young people. More than ever before, politicians had to go the extra mile to engage young people about the issues that matter most to them. The General Election should be no different.
At the Scottish Youth Parliament, we champion the importance of civic and political participation. We passionately believe that young people should be participants in democratic processes, and that elected representatives have a duty to listen to our views given that many of their decisions will directly affect our lives. We go out into communities and talk to young people about why it’s important to vote, and why our votes matter. Traditionally, we have always said that it doesn’t matter what the election is, it is important to vote no matter what. However, I cannot help but see the unique opportunity presented to us in this election.
A recent poll conducted by YouGov suggests that 68% of young voters between the ages of 18-24 will definitely vote. In addition, a further poll conducted by YouGov earlier in March commissioned by the British Youth Council showed that as many as two out of three young people were undecided about where their vote will go. This provides us with an opportunity to define the election campaign. As a group of voters, our views and choices matter in this election.
With the polls showing that the outcome of the election is too close to call, and with the likelihood of a hung parliament increasing by the day, there is a massive opportunity for young people in Scotland, and across the rest of the UK, to push the parties on the issues that matter most to us.
By the end of the next parliament, many of us will be seeking our first job, buying our first house, starting a family etc. It’s important that we recognise the impact our votes can have on many of these issues over the next five years. We should push the candidates in our areas to outline their plans for improving employment opportunities, for creating more apprenticeships, for eradicating child and youth poverty, for providing more affordable housing, for increasing wages, for advancing and protecting human rights. These are the issues that matter to me. But what matters to you?
Whatever matters to you, you as a young voter have the opportunity to get the answers you need to decide who you should vote for in this election. Make no mistake about it, the candidates need your vote. Your vote and your voice matters.
With one day still left, I would really urge the young people in Scotland and across the rest of the UK to grasp this election by the scruff of its neck, and ensure it delivers better outcomes for you, and the other young people in your area.
Most importantly of all, no matter your views, or what issues are important to you, make sure you vote on 7th May.