Wednesday 27 June 2007

Tune in and take part

The New York Times is leading on a story that young Americans are are now rediscovering an interest in politics. They're also more likely than most of the US public to support a left-leaning government. No surprises there, readers may say, as hasn’t it always been the case that the young are more left-wing? Actually, the most recent feature of young people’s voting habits across western democracies has been that they don’t. They’ve turned off and tuned out in relatively large numbers.

The New York Times/CBS News/MTV poll showed that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are the two presidential candidates that the 17 to 29 age group know and are most likely to vote for – also giving President Bush an extremely low 28 per cent approval rating.

It would be interesting to see a similar poll in the UK. Groups most likely to vote here tend to be 30 plus. Decisions on knife crime, youth facilities, policing, education, sport, employment, foreign policy, the environment, the economy, women's rights, the minimum wage, etc; all affect the young as much as they do the rest of us. It would be good to have more of them (whatever their views) using their considerable electoral weight to choose which politicians get to make those decisions at a local and national level.

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