I was 33 when I voted for the first time, due entirely to the fact that I was living incognito, my fear of being nabbed by the police stopping me from at least four elections. But there I was, ready to go to electoral war with Margaret Thatcher in 1979, sitting up all night to listen to the radio and witnessing her receipt of the mandate to form a government.
Last week, I sat up with my youngest son – who will not be eligible for a vote for another six years, if they keep the aged 18 threshold – and received a text that my eldest son had voted for the first time. Although my eldest son could not be seen as an affectionate follower of Russell Brand, he had up until last week largely taken the same political posture as him; seeing the vote as useful as a ‘chocolate teapot’.
Young people realised that so much was happening in their name, that they should do something about it
And then, of course, on the Tuesday days before the election, The Big Issue and UNILAD live-streamed an interview with Jeremy Corbyn, which may have helped stir more people into voting.
It all seemed as if young people had realised that so much was happening in their name that they might have to do something about it. And their capturing of the Labour Party a few years earlier, with their Corbyn groundswell of support seemed to put the kibosh on the laid-back ‘fuck’um’ school of politics.
Unlike in most elections there was this sense that the young were all over the place. The Big Issue’s partnering with UNILAD, apparently the largest online youth platform in the world, was a demonstration of that. And what a load of fun it was to watch! I don’t hand out many brownie points, being a classic old git, but I was truly proud when I saw Jeremy and our UK editor, Paul McNamee, chewing the cud over policy.