Voter registration links and information at the bottom of this article
Can you imagine what the world might be like if awful people weren’t in charge of everything? If, instead of Johnson, Trump, Bolsonaro, and Duterte, we had leaders who put the needs of their citizens and the environment over those of hedge fund managers and Exxon Mobil shareholders? If nothing else, less of the planet would currently be on fire.
Being an old Gen X-er, I’ve lived through the tail end of the Cold War, the Falklands War, two Gulf Wars, a couple of recessions, and the Credit Crunch. And yet I don’t remember a time when the UK felt so divided, or a time when society’s ugly undercurrents were so close to the surface. The recent surge in both protest movements and wildfires around the world point to a population and a planet in need of leaders with a different set of priorities.
Fortunately, there is now a General Election on the horizon, which affords an opportunity for us to make some changes. However, if the result of this election is to take us in a different direction to the last three major UK polls, it is likely that a far larger proportion of young people than usual will need to vote.
Brexit is likely to skew voter intention for this election, with many people abandoning their traditional loyalties in order to vote for the party they believe will deliver their preferred Brexit outcome. Whether this be a swing from Labour toward Lib Dem, or away from the Conservatives towards the Brexit Party, no-one knows exactly what will happen, other than the election result is likely to be very close.
In this sort of situation, an increase in young-voter turnout could make the difference, and yet in the 2015 and 2017 elections, turnout among the 18-24 age groups was between 40% and 50% (British Election Study).
A great many bartenders belong to this demographic, and being bartenders, tend to be the sort of people who value inclusivity, tolerance, diversity, and the environment, so if things are to change, it’s vital their voices are heard and their votes counted come election day.
Young people often say they don’t vote because there is no point, that the Boomers and Gammons have got everything stitched up. That their vote won’t make a difference. Well, more so than in any election I can remember, that is not case this time. It’s going to be a tight result, and even a slight upward swing in young voting could genuinely make a difference.
So, make sure you are registered to vote. Make sure your friends are registered to vote. And make sure you haul your hungover backside out of bed and down to the polling station on election day: Thursday 12th December, 2019.
How to register to vote
To vote in this general election you must be registered to vote, and 18 years old or above on election day.
You must be a British citizen, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland, or a Commonwealth citizen who meets certain eligibility criteria. You must live in the UK, or be a British citizen abroad who has been registered to vote in the last 15 years.
It takes about five minutes to register on the government’s website, or you can register by post. You will need your National Insurance number, date of birth and address.
Students can vote using their university or home address. It is legal to be registered in two areas, but a criminal offence to vote in both.
People who are away for work or a holiday on election day can vote by post or proxy, which means nominating someone to cast a ballot for you. Your proxy must be a registered voter over the age of 18.