By Rhiannon James
Politics at the present can seem confusing to everyone, with many of us not understanding fully why we’re having another general election. This is arguably one of the reasons why young people between 18-24 have a low turn-out at the voting polls. With topics such as Brexit, the NHS and student finance appearing in the headlines daily, it is easy to become passive to current political issues. In order to avoid voter fatigue, it is best to break it all down into smaller, manageable sections.
The first step to immersing yourself in politics is registering to vote. The deadline is 23:59 on Tuesday November 26. You are able to register to vote at GOV.UK, it only takes a few minutes of your time. An important point to make is the fact that, as a university student, you are able to register at both your home address and your university address, but you can’t vote more than once. It is up to you where you choose to vote after registering in both locations, this makes it easy for you to vote as there will be a polling station where you are registered near to both of your addresses.
If you are finding the decision of who you should vote for too overwhelming, how about focusing on finding out about the candidates standing in your constituency. A good website to find out who is standing in your constituency is democratic dashboard. Whoever wins the race in your constituency represents you in parliament, therefore it is important to know who this person could be and what they stand for. Finding what you’re passionate about can make the decision of who to vote for simpler, for example if you feel strongly about climate change, then finding the party that aligns with your views on the environment could make your voting decision for you.
Enhancing your knowledge on politics can be daunting and many don’t know where to start. Making a conscious effort to follow current affairs is a step in the right direction. You can do this by checking the BBC News website daily or listening to radio news broadcasts in the morning or maybe even picking up a copy of Gair Rhydd every Monday. Finding a way to incorporate the news into your daily routine will make it easier for you to keep up with current affairs. Social media is a good way of incorporating news and politics into your daily life as many of us check the sites daily. The Instagram account @simplepolitics provides its followers with a simplified explanation of current political issues. YouTube videos are also an enjoyable way to improve your understanding.
There are always multiple ways of engaging with politics and current affairs, therefore it is now up to register to vote and make the conscious effort to educate yourself. Exercising your right and making an informed decision is a great feeling, you will leave the polling station feeling empowered.