Tell me a little about you…
Did you vote at the last general election? And why?
Yes! I’ve been eligible to vote in the past two general elections and have voted in both. I believe it’s vital that young people use their voices and vote. After all, we’re the ones who are most impacted by the future of our country!
Even before I was 18, I followed general elections carefully and had strong views on who I would vote for, so I couldn’t wait to finally get out there and put that cross in the box! Both times I’ve been very engaged in the election, spreading the message and sharing why I think everyone should get down the polling station.
What would you say to those who don’t vote?
I completely understand why some people don’t vote. It can be very overwhelming and complicated, and I know people who don’t believe their vote will make a difference. That just isn’t true. If everybody in the country voted, the results might be very different. Absolutely every aspect of your life is governed by politics- your career, your health, your home. It just doesn’t make sense to me that you wouldn’t want to have a say in how these things affect you. Whether you want change or you’re happy with things as they are, your vote will go towards that.
The old argument that all politicians are the same doesn’t really apply at the moment since we have some very different party leaders right now. Even so, going to the polling booth and abstaining, whether through spoiling your ballot or leaving it blank, will send out a message that you’re not happy with the current politicians. This is your chance to tell the government what you really think, so make the most of it.
What issues are important to you at election time and why?
Historically, the biggest issue for me has been education. I used to be a primary school teacher so it was very important to me that any party I voted for had strong policies on how to drive education forwards in a way that was beneficial for both children and teachers. Although I no longer teach, this isn’t something I’ve ruled out for the future and I’m still hugely passionate about education so this remains a really important issue for me.
Having received mental health treatment from the NHS, the protection and reparation of our health service is another issue that I have strong feelings on.
Finally, my husband and I are looking into buying our first home in the next few years so we’ll be looking into policies on home ownership, particularly first time buyers.
Have you ever been involved in politics beyond elections?
I’ve written to politicians to raise issues that are important and sharing my own experience to explain why they’re such pressing issues for the country. I was also a member of a party for a year, although I didn’t really make the most of my membership.
I’m hoping to count votes at a general election sometime, but unfortunately, I won’t be able to do it this time round. During the last general election and the EU referendum, I wrote a series of blog posts to share political information and I’m planning similar for this election too.
Are there any causes/ interests you’re particularly passionate about? And how does politics affect these interests?
I travel a lot, particularly around Europe, so issues surrounding travel, currency and relations with other countries have a large impact. Since I’m hoping to involve travel when I study for my PhD in a couple of years, political issues around travelling as a UK citizen will play a role.
Does politics have an effect on your work or study?
Absolutely! When I was teaching, politics impacted every single hour of the day, from what I taught and how I taught it, to children’s lunches and after school clubs.
Now that I’m studying, I use loans from the government to pay my tuition fees and course-related materials. My course is very specific and only offered by one university. Because politics have such a vital impact on higher education, the very reason I’m able to study this cause is because of politics.
Do you discuss politics with your friends?
Yes and they have very different attitudes. One friend refuses to vote (which endlessly frustrates me!) but the others are very engaged and believe in discussing politics openly. My husband is a member of a party and very passionate about it, and I have another friend who is standing for local councillor.
Then there’s my friend who is voting in her first election after turning 18 last year and is eager to learn as much as possible. I don’t always agree with my family and friends, and in the past we’ve voted for different parties, but it’s important to have open, respectful discussions in order to understand what issues most affect other people.