I’m Lauren, and politics affects me.

Tell me a little about you…
My name is Lauren White, I’m from Newcastle and a true northerner. Currently I’m in Year 12 studying for my A Levels in English Language, RE, English Literature and History. You can follow me on Twitter: @lxurenwhite
Did you vote at the last election? And why?

Unfortunately I couldn’t vote in the last election because I was only 15 when it took place. I always find it extremely frustrating that I can’t vote, especially since I stayed up and live-tweeted the whole thing for a Twitter account!

What would you say to those who don’t vote?
I would say I totally understand the argument that all politicians are the same crooks, liars and money-grabbers. It’s easy to understand it. However, if you don’t vote you aren’t entitled to complain about anything that happens in politics that would impact your daily life. If you don’t try to change anything then you fail by default. Even if you’re voting for the lesser of two evils (or even spoiling your ballot paper) exercising your right to vote is important. If you’re a woman, I feel it’s especially important. Women died so that we could vote. Don’t throw it away.
What issues at election time are most important to you and why?
The obvious key issue for this election is Brexit and what kind of Brexit this country wants. Personally, I don’t want a hard Brexit because I think that would be so much more detrimental to the UK than the idea of Brexit in the first place was. However, it is important that this election isn’t all about Brexit otherwise this country will be heading downhill fast.
Other policies on education and mental health are what concern me most. They are issues that desperately need addressing and should be the key issues discussed by all politicians. Education is so important because it is literally the future of the country and if neglected or too poisoned by intrusive government, that’s a whole generation messed up. Mental health illnesses are an epidemic and not enough is being done about it – something needs to be done quickly.
Have you ever been involved in politics beyond elections?
Yes. When I was eleven I wrote a letter to my local MP to help stop my local woodland from being privatised. And when I was 14 I wrote again to him about my school dropping A Level RE from the curriculum and my school’s academy trust making 31 teachers redundant.
I am also pretty active on Twitter and writing editorials as well as information articles to make politics more accessible.
Are there any causes/interests you’re particularly passionate about? And how does politics impact on these interests?
As you can probably tell, I’m passionate about education and mental health. Politics basically decides whether or not this country is able to thrive because of what type of an education it gives to children and then how it supports them with their mental wellbeing.
I am also seriously worried about the north east. As someone born and bred here, seeing it totally degenerated makes me so angry. We die younger up here, have a poorer education and have the highest unemployment rate. The levels of inequality between us and the south are ludicrous and governments need to start changing it instead of simply pledging to.
Does politics have an effect on your work or study?
In terms of work, yes because I write political articles and commentary! But it also affects my study because the school I attend has been on one heck of a rollercoaster ride thanks to politics. The school I was supposed to attend shut down because of cuts and we all merged with a one a few villages away. It was underperforming and so converted to an academy.
We’ve had three new headteachers too in the space of five years. Politics has had a huge impact on my studies.
Do you discuss politics with your friends?
Usually, yes. It always comes up, whether it is the glorious communist memes or genuine political conversation, we talk about it.
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Guest Blogger

These blogs explore the way in which politics affects us all, and why political engagement is so important if we seek to protect or even change our communities on a local and national level. Want to be involved in our next interview? Tweet us @VotingCountsUK or email contact@votingcounts.org.uk, you don’t have to know anything about politics to get involved! We’d love to hear from people from a wide range of different backgrounds, interests and with new ideas.

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