10:22AM, Tuesday 21 June 2016
With just days to go until voters decide the future of our relationship with the EU, Slough Youth Parliament member Hamzah Ahmed, 18, explains why he believes young people are the key to the EU Referendum.
Social media has been a potent tool utilised for business, news and now politics.
If you are sceptical about this, just look at how Facebook got 120,000 under 35s to sign up for voting in a single day.
For a long time, voting behaviour indicated that people felt disenfranchised by the current political system and thus did not feel the compelling need to vote.
However, political activism has seen a rejuvenation of late. With 58 per cent of 18-24 year olds voting in the last general election and an unprecedented 80 per cent of Scotland’s youth voting in the 2014 referendum, young people hold the key to many future outcomes.
With the polls putting both remain and leave neck and neck it is more important now than ever before for young people to take some time out and vote in the referendum.
Whatever the outcome, young people will live with the results longest.
This view is also reflected by Slough’s Member of Parliament, Fiona Mactaggart.
When asked on her view of the importance of the youth vote, Fiona stated: “It’s your future, you’ll live in it for longer than the rest of us so make your voice heard.”
Facebook’s voter registration drive managed to crash the electoral register website, leading some young people unable to throw their names in at the last second.
Molly Jennings, an 18 year-old resident of Slough was one of those affected by this. When asked whether she would be voting, Molly said: “I didn’t feel that my vote would count as much but I still tried to register.”
The importance of voting in this referendum cannot be stressed enough.
This is a rare moment in which young people are the key deciders on the future of the United Kingdom. Both sides are trying to appeal to young people.
In the end this referendum is not a debate on immigration, free markets or regulations but for the future of the country. It is your future; don’t let anyone else make decisions for you.
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