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Published on February 9th, 2014 | by Jack Howlett
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‘The Lost Generation’ – Are We Going to Be Part of the 2015 General Election?

In just over a year, it will be general election time. As we all expect, all of the parties are going to try and entice us with their manifestos. Try and woo us with how their incredible policies are how they are going to magically change the current issues we face today, blah blah blah. So what can we expect will be on these manifestos? Issues with welfare? Problems with immigration? The ever increasing rise of energy bills? Well, one thing I don’t believe will be playing a large part of manifesto writing is how we are going to be dealing with the issues surrounding our youth. Like I said, we’ve been hearing a lot lately of the energy crisis, the debate over Europe, cuts to welfare etc, and these are sure to play a large part in the parties manifestos. But the issues surrounding our next generation seem to be off the political agenda in recent months. For me, this seems ludicrous if we are to look at the issues surrounding the under 25’s within Britain today.

There are some seriously alarming issues that our current youth are facing and going to have in upcoming years. The obvious ones are of course the fact that nearly half of our current youth are going to be slumped with around a fifty grand debt due to the rise in tuition fees. Not a brilliant way to start your adult life. Not only this, but the current housing market looks as if our youth won’t be owning their own house until they’re, on average, in their mid 40’s. Housing ownership is at its lowest since nearly 100 years, and this doesn’t look to be improving any time soon. Most alarming of all if the fact that for the first time in history, this generation, on average, will be earning less than their parents. This isn’t a surprising statistic when you look at the amount of our youth, still unemployed.

Currently youth unemployment is around the 21% mark with around a million of our youth currently unemployed. If we are to compare that to the national average of around 7%, it seems clear what part of society is getting the brunt of the deal. All of these issues mixed together doesn’t pose a particularly exciting future for our upcoming generation. If anything, it seems our generation are being put into the worst situation out of all groups in society. It is increasingly looking like a lost generation. A generation with worse prospects, worse living conditions, and a lot worse off.

This begs the question to me, therefore, why aren’t the youth on the political agenda? You would think with all these issues, there would be more of an effort from the state to help improve this situation? Surely? Well the simple answer is, no they don’t. Politicians don’t have a vast interest in appealing to the younger generation, because to put it bluntly, history suggests we aren’t particularly interested in them. Turnout for youth in the country is staggeringly low, so low in fact that it has so little effect on whether they are elected or not. In the 2010 general election, less than half of 18-25 year olds even bothered to vote. This is the reason why we are seeing politicians focusing on areas such as energy and Europe, because it’s these exact issues that are important to their core voters.

So what can we do about it? Well I think it’s time the youth within our society become more engaged within our political system. Give the people in power a reason to make us a key part of their manifestos. We can’t just sit back and watch as our future prospects slowly get increasingly chipped away. A lot of youth today are completely disengaged with the political system, and I think it’s important that this ends. We’re the upcoming generation, and therefore we need to begin to show how important we can be. I don’t believe any of us wants to live a life of minimal prospects. Let’s make sure this doesn’t happen. Let’s make sure the next government works for everybody’s interests within society, including our youth.


Please note that all blog posts do not represent the views of Catch21 but only of the individual writers. We also aim to be factually accurate and balanced across all content taken as a whole.

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About the Author

Currently studying Political Science at the University of Birmingham. Aiming to pursue a career in policy research within a Think tank after I graduate.

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