Spoiler Alert - Do not read if you are enraged by the stereotype that many young adults do not understand politics and are unaware of current affairs. This entry is based on exactly that. Apologies for the intense naivety.
What is today to you? Today in 1536, King Henry VIII ordered that every single church had to have a bible. Today in 1889, The Eiffel Tower was completed and opened to the public. Today in 1914, the British House of Lords rejects the women’s suffrage. Today in 1994, the channel tunnel between England and France was officially opened. Today in 2010, it is Election Day and by the end of tonight, England will have a new Prime Minister.
I’m old enough to vote. But being South African, I actually have no idea if I'm allowed to vote! I also have an EU passport via my mother, so I am an EU citizen. I am also officially considered a "UK student" for finance purposes at uni - I'm assuming I have residency here then? I actually have no idea and I never thought was of any importance. Regardless of what I intend to do with my life, where I intent to be and what I intend to be doing, I am living in this country NOW. Many people I know say they aren't going to vote as it "doesn't affect them", "won't be living in the UK when I'm older anyway" or simply "I dunno how to register". I realise I am at no position to say WELL HOW CARELESS YOU SHOULD VOTE when I haven't even checked if I’m allowed to. But still, in the aid of being hypercritical, they should have more interest, it affects everyone, you are living in the UK now and registering is easy!
Even worse than not knowing whether I'm allowed to vote, I do not know anything about the British parliamentary system. I couldn't tell you which parties are left wing and which are right. I have no idea who each leader stands for and what their policies are. (Look away now if you are adverse to common sense) I only clicked on to the fact that "tories" is an abbreviation for the conservatives recently. How's that for lack of common sense. I guess this is due to my extreme lack of interest in how the country where I live and get my (quality) education from is run. Before moving here, I thought the queen ruled England and that the Great British flag was the same as the English flag. How's that for lack of education. As I'm getting older I do realise how much things I considered unimportant at around the age of 15 in fact have a very big impact in my future life.
I'm not one of those people who are scared and refuse to think about the future - in fact I thrive on planning and plotting my future life. I want to flourish and succeed. And now that there are talks of a certain party raising student fees and reducing the loan amounts, I realise how lucky I am to be at university now and not in five years time where there is the potential for this to happen (they haven't won, yet). I wouldn't even be at university if fees were double the price they are now and I had an even smaller loan. My parents just about support me now - hence my part time job. I don’t want to be aged 50 and still paying off student debt, living in a 1 bed apartment with my 3 children and husband because we can't afford anymore due to our debts. I want my children to live an open and adventurous life, I want to open the world to them and give them anything and everything I desire.
These are the three main parties and who stands for them today. One of them will be Prime Minister by 00:00am tonight.
Conservative - David Cameron
Labour - Gordon Brown
Liberal Democrats - Nick Clegg
I guess you could call me a fair-weather friend to politics. Only when I hear of policies and ideas that have the potential to affect my life do I suddenly have interest. This is typical of a lot of people I know that ARE voting today. I know I should take more interest and I think I will, and I know I will know a lot more by the next election in four years time. Forgive me for saying this but Google has been my saviour, as has my various friends who have engaged in conversations about voting. Hearing their concerns and their thoughts has definitely opened my ears and mind to problems and concerned I hadn't previously thought of. It has also cleared up the whole "who leads which party and what they stand for" thing. I have been educated - trust me! How can I live in a country and not even know anything about how it's being led. I am embarrassed with myself.
Who says I'm going to have children anyway?