Posted by Jake on Saturday, January 31, 2015 with 6 comments | Labels: Article, Big Society, elections, Graphs, MP, politicians, the government
2,400 or so years ago an ancient Greek, possibly the philosopher Socrates, said:
"Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers."
2,400 or so years later another figure from the past, Michael Gove MP formerly Secretary of State for Education, was still searching for bright ideas to get the young to do the right thing. Gove encouraged teachers to discipline wayward youths by getting them:
People often complain about the youth of today, imagining things were better when they were young. The evidence of the last few millennia suggest young people have always been really annoying.
However, there is one way today's young have clearly fallen behind earlier generations of youngsters. According to the British Election Study, it is only since 1997 that young people really got out of the habit of voting.
Combining data from three sources,
- Population, from the Office for National Statistics
- Voter registration, from the Electoral Commission
- 2010 General Election turnout from Ipsos-Mori
|Note that 18-24 band is 7 years wide, while others upto 84 are 5 years wide.|
Changing a person's habits, whether young or old, is very hard. But to get them to do just one thing just once is much easier. Look no further than your local supermarket to see the science of manipulating us into impulse buying. Various academic papers suggest over 50% of our supermarket purchases are unplanned. So why not get the youth to impulse vote? Even if they make the wrong choice, as tends to happen with impulse shopping, at least they get into the habit of choosing and learning from their mistakes.
Political parties, its time to get your older supporters to get their juniors out to vote. Parents, it's time to get your voting age offspring to vote. You know what motivates them better than Nige, Nick, Ed, Dave etc.
It's particularly worth it in certain constituencies, where 18-24 year olds can be nearly a quarter of voters:
And it's particularly worth it in constituencies where just 1 in 20 non-voters voting for the second placed candidate would topple an MP (all other things being equal):
According to a report for the Electoral Commission by Essex University, after the 2005 General Election:
Surely in this 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, this 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill's death, that can't be so hard?
Remind them of their Civic Duty! If you need help, then try this: