‘Why should I vote’ was the question last Friday night when Julie Adenuga called together some heads to talk politics in East London. Elam College played host in a common room setting for a round table discussion on the upcoming election that no one even asked for. Streamed live and filmed by Boiler Room, the panel discussion was designed to cut through the bullshit.
No one was trying to learn politics in one day – instead, this was an opportunity to eavesdrop on an entry level discussion about the shit we were never taught in school. Constituencies, spoiled ballots, local MP’s and party manifestos were all the basic ingredients to get things going.
With 9 days notice, word of the event raised an all inclusive assembly of college students, activists and politically minded panelists. Everyone from Mega Man to Danny DeVito is having their say on Twitter and the recent #RegisterToVote campaign has driven 1.1 million people under 35 to sign up.
People had been busy slewing the Daily Mail for days and the #WhyVote panel presented a chance to cut through the noise and get to the real talks. With main party manifestos now out, this was the moment to question why our individual participation really matters.
Instead of being a Fuck The Daily Mail slash Labour rally the ‘Why Should I Vote’ discussion’s aim was simply to build a foundation of understanding. Talking through the practicalities of voting in an election and the terms and understanding that manifestos are essentially books produced by each party with their policy ideas. Clocking that rather than simply voting for Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn, when you go in the booth with your little pencil you’ll be voting to elect your local MP, who will represent your borough or constituency should they win. Using tools like They Work For You to check their movements and make sure your preferred local MP isn’t waste. Reaching out to cross party organisations like Bite The Ballot if you want to know more.
Politics is notoriously dry, but the community minded concept of ‘Why Should I Vote?’ simplified the lingo and allowed audience members to ask serious questions in an open forum. Giving air time to the ways that age mates can come together for a talk where no one says the words body count. Since many people didn’t turn up on EU Referendum day, things have been forecast to get shitter and each party has now set out their ideas of how they would fix it.
Whether you’re voting tactically or just giving it a try for the first time the point is young people can’t afford to let the older generation sort it out like your mum would with your washing. Everything from the petrol in your car to the robots coming for your job is political and keeping quiet on the sidelines only makes you an easy target and a ready scapegoat for those in power.