“I’ve given up politics,” announces Peter Hitchens in our extended interview. Well, I find myself thinking, wouldn’t that be nice. Wouldn’t it be nice to be in the kind of position where the outcome of whatever political turmoil is hiding around the next corner would affect you on such a minor level that you feel that you can calmly choose to ‘give up’ on it all? The truth is, even if we do have that kind of privilege (and very few of us do), ‘giving up politics’ simply can’t be an option.
I know, I know. It’s exhausting. In under three years we’ve put up with the Scottish Independence referendum, a general election, the EU referendum, party leadership campaigns galore, the US election, the French election, and now, before the Twitterstorm has even had a chance to think about starting to settle, we’re back in General Election mode all over again. By this point, we’re just wondering when it’s all going to end, so we can go back to how things were before all of this mess. But in reality, it never really ends; in the words of Theresa “Strong and Stable” May, there’s no turning back.
Don’t get me wrong: you can hide yourself in the library or while away your days with Netflix (or reading the latest edition of Nouse, of course). Or you can do your part. Your vote might not seem like much, but just think of Paul Snell, a BNP candidate who ran for a seat on Amber Valley Borough Council in 2008 and lost out by just one vote. Your ballot matters – and so does the box you tick.
This is no time to say This does not affect me or I don’t have time for this. Whatever happens next month will have an impact on all of us. It might sound ridiculous, but with the NHS threatened, foodbank use at an all-time high, and never-ending slashes to education and welfare spending, the decision on 8 June will, for some, be a matter of life or death. And these aren’t problems that just happen to other people: rising living costs and cutting of grants and maintenance loans mean thousands of students are at real risk.
So, I know you’re busy. I know you’re fed up of checking social media only to discover what awful thing has happened in the world today. I know you don’t want to deal with the world’s problems. But I also know you’re probably looking to procrastinate whatever essay or exam revision you’re supposed to be working on right now. Last week, The Guardian published that 93 per cent of students eligible to vote have now registered; if you’re one of that remaining seven per cent, take two minutes to register to vote. Do a bit of research; talk to the people around you, and work out what you think.
Vote on 8 June. And the next day, whatever happens overnight, don’t give up politics.