Teenage Wasteland?

Engaging Young Voters

Published on by Nikhil Ramakrishnan

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Channel hopping last Sunday morning, I came across Robert Peston’s new show which featured a number of political heavyweights including Ed Balls, Esther McVey and even the Prime Minister David Cameron, but it was comments from the British music star Lily Allen and her topic of discussion with Peston which piqued my interest.

“I don’t think that young people aren’t engaged in politics at all, I think people are really really interested, but for some reason they are not voting” Allen answered to Peston’s questioning and this got me thinking about what is being done to encourage the youth vote.

More recently we have seen some innovative campaigns to deal with this predicament. Here are three that have surfaced in the last few weeks:

  1. David Cameron may not be everyone’s dream date, but rumours have emerged that the Prime Minister will join forces with Tinder, the dating app to encourage younger people to vote in the EU referendum. Similar to the NHS Blood and Transplant’s ‘The Wait’ campaign, when people matched with celebrities they were encouraged to become donors
  2. Ben & Jerry’s ‘Don’t Get Frozen Out’ campaign encouraged younger people to ‘Give a Fudge’ about the recent London Mayoral election and register to vote. The ice cream company dished out free scoops of their special Give a Fudge ice cream at a number of London locations
  3. Comedian and political campaigner Eddie Izzard has been on a 31-city tour in 31 days to persuade young people register to vote in June's referendum. Called the Stand up for Europe campaign, Izzard pinpointed younger people in his democratic quest commenting that “it’s the biggest decision of their lives”.

So there we have it, three vastly different campaigns from three very different figures in society. A politician, a global corporation and a celebrity have shown that there is innovation in political campaigning and measures are being taken to encourage young people to be active in politics.

In my opinion, social media will continue to play an increasingly important role on this issue and as Lily Allen concluded “maybe people need to start voting by mobile phone” if we are to see a substantial increase in youth turnout.

Certainly this is not the end of the matter and this problem cannot be solved overnight, but campaigns like these show steps are being taken to enthuse the younger generations in politics and this is moving in the right direction.  

Nikhil Ramakrishnan

Nikhil Ramakrishnan about the author…

Nikhil is an Associate based in London, having joined the company in 2016. After graduating from the University of Warwick, reading International Relations, he spent time with two public affairs and communications agencies focusing on transport and infrastructure, in addition to property and planning.

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