Between apathy and hope – your chance to give yourself something to vote for!

More than 60% of 18-24 year olds do not vote and the number of young people voting has not reached the threshold of 50% for the past 25 years.


Peter Lesniak is the director of communications at Bite the Ballot

George Jean Nathan said a hundred years ago that ‘bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote’.

This statement is as true today as it was back then.

This is a call to action. For all those young potential voters, for those who feel disengaged with politics and democracy, for those apathetic to political challenges but also those highly involved and playing a role in their communities and society as a whole.

These are the facts: More than three-fifths of 18-24 year olds do not vote and the number of young people voting has not reached the threshold of 50% for the past 25 years.

This means more than 2.5 million young people have not had their say for over quarter of the century. Why, you ask yourself?

From a young person’s perspective our democratic institutions often have nothing to offer them. Firstly, there seems to be no response to their voices, even if they try to reach out. Tuition fees protests and riots demonstrated total lack of trust in our democratic system, or rather in the decision-making process.

Secondly, younger generations are not being taught the very basics of how to engage in the political process. There is a fundamental lack of practical knowledge about our democracy among young people coming out of education.

Thirdly, and most importantly, there was no platform of engagement and communication between young people and politics. Until now…

Having built the foundations of a nationwide grassroots network and having gained support from all major political parties, the Bite the Ballot campaign will use this to create a unique and genuinely youth-led political manifesto to give young people the chance to put across their views to policy-makers in government for the first time.


See also:

It’s all about turnout 24 Apr 2012

The grey ghosts of election ’92 could return unless voter registration is stepped up 15 Apr 2012

Clegg under fire over voter registration, party funding and youth unemployment 15 Nov 2011

The coalition are conspiring to lock the left out of the electoral process 23 Oct 2011

Harman: Lib Dems “colluding” with Tories to deny millions the vote 29 Sep 2011


With the official support from the manifesto-writers, the ‘My Manifesto’ project will help to bring about a revolutionary change in the way politicians perceive young people’s views but, most importantly, it will also give us, young people, something to vote for.

Here are three simple steps to contribute to the youth manifesto: 1) Watch the video; 2) Complete our survey; 3) Make a change!

This is a chance for each and every one of us to make our voices heard. Let us challenge the common misconceptions and project our views and concerns to those in positions of power and influence.

Show them that the silent generation, a vote-not-worth-winning, is not silent anymore. Make them take into account our perceptions, problems, ideas and suggestions and let the millions of young people across the country become a strong voice in the society.

I’ve had my say – now will you have yours?

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40 Responses to “Between apathy and hope – your chance to give yourself something to vote for!”

  1. Newsbot9

    Perhaps if there was a nation-wide party of the left, rather than the right or centre…

    (Not to mention, quite a few of the younger people who felt they were conned by the libdems last time won’t vote again for at least decades)

  2. afsaca.robin

    I agree with Newsbot, there is a political space on the left in Britain which needs to be filled. In Germany they have Die Linke, in France they have the Front de Gauche, in Greece they have Syriza to represent the anti-neoliberal economic and neo-conservative hegemony of the liberal-conservative and social-democratic parties. There is a need in Britain for a left alternative along the lines of the European and Scandinavian left parties led by the likes of Katja Kipping, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Alexis Tsipras and Pierre Laurent leader of the coalition of radical European Left parties. If the Coalition of Resistance were to field candidates as part of the European Left, maybe disaffected young and working class votes would feel there was a democratic choice to the left of the Tories, Liberal-Democrats and Labour parties which all accept the free market model of global capitalism.

  3. Selohesra

    A party to shout that things aren’t fair and to demand more of other people’s money is spent on them.

  4. Goo


  5. Selohesra

    Well articulated

  6. afsaca.robin

    Is Democracy Worth Defending? Danielle Obono Front de Gauche

  7. afsaca.robin

    Kate Hudson CND – Coalition of Resistance National Organising Conference 27.11.10

  8. father ted

    I think Respect could become the new party of the left. New Labour seems to be a busted flush. Even the fruitcakes that run this blog need reminding of their deeply held beliefs (re: paying interns).

  9. stew

    it would be nice to have a real alternative argued for. there must be millions out there who traditionally vote Labour who don’t really agree with its values.

  10. father ted

    yes it is. democracy and free speech (not to mention trial by jury) are worth defending from the authoritarian left.

  11. fjeffit

    New New Labour?

  12. Newsbot9

    No, no party based around a terror and terrorist supporter can do anything of the sort.

    You’re the fruitcake for simply mentioning them.

  13. afsaca.robin

    Respect has to narrow a base; this is why I would argue the Coalition of Resistance better replicates the Front de Gauche or Syriza. There needs to be a coalition of red and green left parties and social groups plus a link with the trade union movement as well, it’s worth reading Kate Hudson’s book for analysis on the way forward.

    The New European Left: A Socialism for the Twenty-First Century?

  14. gordon brown

    New Labour was close to being a terrorist party and their supporters were terrorist supporters. how many wars in how many years?

  15. gordon brown

    we’ve had enough of European socialism for a millenium. Gulags and gas chambers.

  16. gordon brown

    you need to sort the comments out. it says “14 comments”, then “showing 18 of 16 comments”. no wonder you lot bankrupted the economy!

  17. Newsbot9

    I’m a left winger, not a centralist. Moreover, I’m sorry to hear you oppose the Good Friday agreement.

  18. gordon brown

    The Good Friday agreement was a stunning vindication of the policy of the Major government.

  19. Newsbot9

    That’s historical revisionism of the highest order, especial given the importance of personal negotiation in these situations. (Of course, Blair will be remembered for Iraq and not that, which is also justice).

  20. Newsbot9

    Except, of course, you’re the one touting the gulags and gas chambers, anti-Semitic, historically revisionist far right fanatics like you (the only ones who can’t admit the truth of Nazi ideology being right wing)…

    How many million will you kill this time?

  21. Newsbot9

    We already have a Tory party, so what are you talking about?

  22. Newsbot9

    Ah yes, when only “acceptable” people get to vote it’ll be ideal for you. So sorry that your vote rigging efforts are in trouble. Gotta defend against the left having any kind of influence, and to make sure they stay as suppressed peons.

    Good right wing policy, Comrade Teddit.

  23. gordon brown

    I am an old fashioned British Liberal. I can see the parallels between nazism and sovietism, the khmer rouge and the rest of the socialists. Socialism comes in a variety of different flavours but the end results is always the same.

  24. gordon brown

    I think Labour and the postal voting system are responsible for a lot of vote rigging. As the judge in Birmingham famously remarked.

    I believe in the universal franchise – for humans. So that would deny the vote to irritating poorly written software such as yourself.

  25. Wolfie

    Where/how did you get from the European Left to ‘‘gulags and gas chambers’’ the Front de Gauche and Syriza belong to a long tradition of Marxist resistance which opposed both the excesses of Stalinism and Fascism. When it mattered most in Germany, France and across Europe including Britain the liberal political bourgeoisie were happy to allow the fascists to attack Jews, Gypsies, the disabled and trade unionist. Whereas communists and socialist were at the forefront of the resistance movement from Germany, France, Greece and across Europe and most successfully in Yugoslavia under Josip Tito’s leadership. The European Left under the leadership of Pierre Laurent national secretary of the Parti Communiste Français along with the likes of Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the Front de Gauche and Alexis Tsipras’ left coalition Syriza have nothing to do with gulags and gas chambers, this is an insulting remark which I would like an apology for any suggestion that as a Marxist I am or anyone who supports a left alternative to the neo-liberal economic and neo-conservative political project is associated with.

  26. Wolfie

    is associated with either Fascism or Stalinist national-bolshevism.

  27. Wolfie

    Selohesra, as Newsbot and fjeffit have indicated we have the Tory and Liberal parties plus new/blue-Labour all representing the class that expropriates the wealth created by the working classes and therefore wishes to redistribute spending on health care, education, pensions, unemployment and disability benefits from ordinary people to an over privileged minority who can afford private health, education etc. on their already bloated salaries and bonuses and from tax avoidance and evasion get out of paying their share towards maintaining a civilized society in which we all hope to live.

  28. Newsbot9

    To anyone who isn’t on your far right, I see. Entirely typical.

  29. Newsbot9

    Given your views, the only actual question is if you’re NF, BNP, EDL or another section of the far right.

    How many million in this country will you kill? It’s hallways the same, fanatics are fanatics and always lead purges.

    I’m a gradualist for a reason.

  30. treborc

    True so very true Labour has become Conservative with a small C.

    The Tories are back at trying to emulate Blair and failing, which is a bit of a shock really.

    The Liberals poor things have had it, as for Respect do not make me laugh

  31. treborc

    Blair will have the Iraq war around his neck and so he should, but he was the major player in the good Friday agreement, (no pun with major).

    Thank god we now have peace in NI.

  32. treborc

    For whom

  33. Newsbot9

    Don’t confuse him with facts, Wolfie. He’s got a good ideological head of steam up, and you might put him off his game! (heh).

    He jumps straight from the sins of the right to assume that everyone else would implement the same kind of policies against him.

  34. Newsbot9

    That’s a non-sequitur, Quite apart from the fact that YOU have plenty of parties who’d suit your vote, it’s well known that the lost 5 million exist.

  35. Newsbot9

    That’d be disqus. It’s really screwed up atm. Hello purple text on purple backdrop!

    You, as ever, are blaming something outsourced and screwed up by a private company. Some things never change.

  36. wf

    how do you know my ‘you’ isn’t directed at disqus?

  37. Newsbot9

    Wrong name to post under eh?

  38. HAL9000


  39. Newsbot9

    Two names, one man. He just posted under the wrong username.

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