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Tag Archives: youth vote


I haven’t written on the US presidential election yet. The concept of Romney – openly homophobic, opposed to sex education, opposed to any form of government funded health care – actually winning this election terrified me so much that writing about it rationally and objectively is incredibly difficult. But, I do think it is important that we talk about it here. Obama won the election because of the single women’s vote, African Americans’ vote, Hispanic vote, Native American vote, and many other groups. This has been broadcast by every pundit – some claiming it as a victory, a broad mandate, others protesting that few white men voted for Obama.

What people haven’t been talking about, is the youth vote. Both last week, and four years ago, young Americans voted overwhelmingly for Obama. In that election, there was a surprisingly high number of first time voters, people who were inspired to vote, and care about formal politics, for the first time.

Maybe you don’t have, have never had, a candidate like Obama to vote for. But, I don’t want to wait for the politicians to come to me. I know, they should be wooing your votes, our votes, but if they aren’t, all that proves is that we need to force them to listen. Some of you have the right to vote for your police commissioners this Thursday. That’s real, that’s important. Do you complain about being stopped and searched? About being scared to walk through the streets at night, alone? About not being taken seriously, as a young person, when you go to report a crime? This is your chance to tell people what you think about that.

In the 2005 UK general elections, only 37% of the 18-24 year olds who were registered to vote actually showed up on election day[1]. Not counting anyone who simply wasn’t registered to vote. Out of over 7 million people in that age-range, over 4 ½ million young people didn’t manage to vote[2]. Polling data suggests that labour won that election with 40% of the vote, compared to the Conservatives 32%[3]. That election wasn’t even particularly close, and the youth vote could have swung it. Are you hearing me? If we actually voted, we could decide elections.

So, please, guys. Vote this Thursday, make your voices heard.

Information about candidates –

How to vote –


So, the election is the day after tomorrow, Thursday the 3rd of May. I was originally going to give you all some information on Jenny Jones and Siobhan Benita in this post. But, I’m out of time. Sorry. Jenny Jones’s website is here and Siobhan Benita’s is here.

Who to vote for…

If you’re still not sure who to vote for, I’d recommend
You answer some questions about what you believe, and what is important to you (it takes about 5mins). Then it will tell you which candidates you agree with most.

How to vote…

You should have had a “polling card” by post already. This tells you where to go to vote. If you haven’t had one, you might not be registered. Or, you might have forgotten about it, or someone else might have opened and binned or moved it. You can contact your local electoral office here to find out if you’re registered. You do not need your polling card to vote.

Polling stations (the place where you go to vote) will be open from 7am – 10pm, so you can go before or after work, school, or college. You go in to the polling station. You go up to the desk, and give them your name and address. They’ll check you’re registered, then give you your ballot papers (the pieces of paper you vote with). All polling stations should be accessible, and have ballot papers available for blind and partially sighted voters. If you need any help on the day, you can ask at the polling station – it’s their job to help.

For the London Mayoral Elections, you will be voting for three different things

1)      You’ll be voting for the Mayor. You do this on the pink ballot paper. You can cast two votes. In the first column, you put an X next to your 1st choice. In the 2nd column you put an X next to your 2nd choice.
First they’ll count everyone’s first choices. If someone has more than half of the vote, they’ve won. If not, everyone except the two people with most votes (Probably Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone) will be taken out. If you voted for a candidate who’s now out of the election, your second choice is given your vote. Whichever candidate now has most votes wins.

2)      You’ll be voting for your local London Assembly Member. You do this on the yellow ballot paper. The London Assembly represents you to the mayor. Your Local London Assembly Member is a bit like your MP. You put an X next to candidate you want.

3)      You’ll be voting for the London-wide Members of the London Assembly. You do this with the orange ballot paper. You put an X next to the party you want to win. The parties who win more than 5% of the vote share the eleven places depending on how many votes they get. (So if the Conservatives get 40% of the London-wide assembly votes, they’ll get four out of the eleven London-wide places)

I’m using the same structure as I did last time. But, there is a slight difference. Unlike Livingstone and Johnson, Paddick has not created a set of key policies. I read his manifesto and summarised what I thought the key policies were. But, that makes this more opinion than the first two were.

 Brian Paddick says[1] he will…

 -Make people convicted of crimes work in the community to repay their debt to society (while learning new skills so they’re less likely to reoffend)

-Improve policing – better stop and search policy – retraining police officers on dealing with cases of rape and sexual violence

-Create a new independent public commissioner for standards to enforce good policing

– Introduce new tube discounts – an “Early Bird” discount, a one hour bus ticket, and a part-timers’ travel card.

-Pay everyone working for the GLA (Greater London Authority – the people who work for the London Assembly and the Mayor) a London Living Wage. Make all companies doing work for the GLA pay a London Living Wage. Name and shame large employers who don’t pay the London Living Wage.

 -Create Youth Hubs across London, open 7days/week, where young people can socialise, and receive advice or support.

 Establish a London Green Investment Bank and a London Transport Bond. (Safe places for people’s savings, investment for transport and the environment.)

 -Create an extra 40,000 homes and bring 50,000 empty homes back into use. Create an on-line portal where good landlords are registered so people can find them.


OK, according to the structure I’ve used so far, next you get some information on what the candidate’s done in the past. He hasn’t had a political position before; he’s worked in the Metropolitan Police for over 30 years.

Policies he’s supported, and things he’s done…

Resigned as Deputy Assistant Police Commissioner after a well-publicised clash with the Commissioner over the police shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes.[2]

Told police that people found with cannabis should be given warnings and have the drugs confiscated, instead of being arrested, as police should be dealing with serious issues (heroin, cocaine, street robbery and burglary…)[3]

Communicated directly with local people via the internet about crime and policing.[4][5][6] (First two links are the forums he was using, third is the BBC reporting on something he said on one of them)

Overall (yup, my own opinion again)

I believe that Brian Paddick’s policies are very positive for young people, in everything from crime and policing, to education and jobs, to youth-work, he’s saying positive things. I know people, however, who regret voting for Liberal Democrat candidates, as they feel the party and its members haven’t lived up to their promises. Brian Paddick has a history, in the police force, of doing and saying what he thinks is right, though, so he might be more reliable.



I’m doing Ken Livingstone for Labour today. The same rules apply – I’ll try to be clear what’s fact, I’ll add plenty of links to my sources and other people’s opinions.

Click through for more information on Labour’s Ken Livingstone.

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