I briefly caught a discussion on the radio last night about youth and politics. I didn't hear the start or the end, but the discussion seemed to revolve around the revelation that something like 56% of 18-25 year olds have not bothered to register to vote. Furthermore, at the last election, although the overall turnout was just above 60% of the electorate the figure for those under 25 was just 37%.
I didn't catch the names of those involved in the discussion, but I heard someone say that young people were turned off politics because of the language used with "the right honourable this" and "the right honourable that". What a load of tosh. Why would the youth of today be put off by that when they weren't bothered in the least 50 or 60 years ago? Does this idiot think things would be better if Cameron referred to Brown as "the Labour dude" or Hague referred to his colleagues in the Tory Party as his "homies"?
I heard someone say that it would help if 16 year olds were given the vote. Why? If they can't be bothered to register at 18, what on earth makes this person think they'd do it at 16? In my opinion the voting age should, if anything, be raised not lowered.
The reality is that the youth of today, in general, prefer to whittle away their time on FaceSpace or MyTwit discussing clothes, pop music or gap years in Thailand. Those that do take an interest in politics generally prefer not to align themselves to some democratic process or political party, but prefer instead to sign up to non-democratic, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who seek to impose their agenda without having to go through the dreary process of competing in elections.
Today's youth have never been so popular. They have TV stations dedicated specifically for their entertainment but funded by licence fee payers. Even the non-specific TV stations tend to plan their output for the 16-35 audience (can anyone explain to me why BBC One's Friday night line up consists almost entirely of shows aimed at that age group when the vast majority of them are out getting plastered in some drinking warehouse on a Friday night?).
On our high streets we have shops who only seem interested in people aged under 40. Our pubs, clubs and restaurants seem to cater specifically for younger clientele - except those that want to exploit us older people by making us pay rip off prices for half a plate of barely cooked pureed sludge (I don't want a jus or foam or froth - I have my own teeth and I like to chew my food not suck it!).
Why do we have to keep making allowances for the youth of today? Particularly as they are, apparently, amongst the most stupid in Europe? They must be - why else would we have the highest teen pregnancy rates, binge drinking rates and drug taking rates? Everyone over the age of 10 knows that sexual intercourse leads to pregnancy, drinking too much makes you fall over in your own vomit and taking hard drugs leaves you as a hopeless brain-addled addict - but they still do it in more numbers in this country than any other in Europe!
I'm fed up of this pandering to the youth of today who are forever being told that we must do more for them*. Why? Isn't it about time we stopped treating them like children and made them face up to their responsibilities? If they don't want to vote - don't let them vote. Raise the voting age up to 30 and see if that gets a response. Tell them now - use it or lose it.
* At the same time as we are pandering to adolescents and perma-adolescents (those over 20 who refuse to behave like adults) we have become the most child unfriendly society I can remember.