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About Me:18-year-old sixth form student, studying English Literature, History and Government and Politics. My articles will broadly cover topics from the current affairs of politics to reviews of books and albums, as well as adding my own creative pieces, whether it be short fiction or general opinion.
You may be sitting there twiddling your thumbs indifferently to the politics of Britain. And why shouldn’t you be? You have no say, after all. Whatever opinion you take is but a futile engagement anyway; who can dare challenge your apathy towards a system that purposely shuts you out?
Within this article I wish to rouse you from your harbouring reluctance, but not for the banal reasons, which you have doubtlessly received from adults (The ‘get engaged now, you’ll eventually be able to vote!’ types). Though such reasons are tremendously valid, and I would be a hypocritical liar if I were to deny espousing similar sentiments, I have begun to realise that there exists, for our generation at least, a greater reason for people of our age to become engaged in politics, and that is our parents.
Our parents. Those who raised us to be the people we are today. But what have they received? For someone coming from a working class family, as with many other working (and even middle) class families, it is clear that whilst my mother may be the sweetest woman in the world and love me unconditionally, she is politically inept as a result of her poor education. Inevitably you have heard that ‘times were so much different when I was your age’, and indeed they were. Education was not as valued then as it is today, with many leaving school as young as fourteen to go straight into careers. With such lack of not only education, but societal value of education, comes ignorance and apathy.
Education, at its main crux (though this seems to be lost in the void of ‘education as a means for a higher paid job’ indoctrination), teaches you not only knowledge and skills, but also the ability to have independence of thought. Indeed, if you have not been reclusively twiddling your thumbs, smiling in your blissful ignorance, then you will be well aware of the EU referendum on the 23rd of June, and the campaign tactics used to persuade people either way. I will admit to coming from a partisan view of the ‘Remain’ side, but the ‘Leave’ campaign is a perfect example of the exploitation of people whom have had no such education. It thrives off of, and seeks to tap into, people’s primeval base instincts of racism and xenophobia as a means to instill fear and hatred to advance their cause. I was in Bexleyheath the other day as Nigel Farage went around in his ostentatious bus blaring ‘get our country back’ and other such pseudo-patriotic drivel. But it wasn’t just the theatrics that angered me. A woman behind me, nudging another, pointed to an Asian family in front and said, proudly, ‘if we vote to leave, they’ll have to leave’.
This ignorance is dangerous. Not only has the campaign coupled itself with tabloid newspapers to blame every governmental failure on immigrants, but it has indoctrinated people into believing, wrongly, that a vote to leave the EU (of which Asian families have no affiliation) is a vote to somewhat perversely cleanse society of all foreigners, whether they be inside or outside of the European Union. And so this is where we, the educated generation, must come into play. We must see that we are not voiceless; our parents can be seen as conduits for informed opinion. Get engaged, research the views for as well as against, and make sure that those that can vote do it with an educated opinion.
Image Credits: www.usc.uwo.ca