Beware the Youth Voter

As Government parties scramble to figure out what they did wrong, many still don’t appreciate the seismic shift caused by the increase in voting by young people

Advertisements

“I feel that the youth turnout probably will exceed the average turnout nationally.”

Kevin Donoghue, the Union of Students in Ireland president, has just come from the count in the RDS in Donneybrook to the USI offices in Ringsend. It has already it has become clear that no party has won the day.

“I think there was huge engagement,” Donoghue says. “I’ve been doing voter registration drives and voter registration campaigns with USI for a couple of years and I’ve never seen anything like it before.”

Discussions about the formation of a government are expected to take weeks. Many party strategists say that a lot of soul-searching is needed. The overriding feeling among Fine Gael and Labour members is shock. None of them saw this coming.

Continue reading “Beware the Youth Voter”

Why We Don’t Get What We Vote For

Why young people are not being represented and what they can do about it

Originally posted on Campus.ie

Pat Leahy wrote a piece in the Sunday Business Post, arguing that Fine Gael are going to war to get the “the middle-ground voters who feel they have a stake in society.”

Leahy didn’t say anything that wasn’t conventional wisdom. Representing other groups is nice, but at the end of the day, it’s the middle who will make or break a party.

We see this reflected in how the parties are campaigning. Each of their key issues speaks to the middle aged tax payer.

We also saw the same thing in the last budget, the budget which supposedly gave something to everyone, except to young people.

The 2011 Census showed there are about 350,000 people aged 13-18, and this group is now at prime university age, 18-23. There are also around the same number of people in the age group just above, aged 24-29. Therefore, more than 1 in 6 people is a ‘young person’.

You would then expect that about 1 in 6 policies would cater to young people, and so would 1 in 6 politicians.

While it goes without saying that young people are not a homogenous group, there are certain issues which affect us particularly which have passed notice and gone under the radar.

Continue reading “Why We Don’t Get What We Vote For”

A Defence of Millennials

This article originally appeared on Independent.ie

Hands up if you can’t stand the word ‘millennial’.

There’s a good reason to. Books describing our generation also call us “Generation Me” , “Excellent Sheep”  and the “Entitled Generation”.

The best summation of why millennials suck was a viral blog post that circulated a couple of years ago called ‘You Are Not Special’ by Wait But Why.

The post argued that the reason we are unhappy is because we all think we are special and expected to find our dream career the moment we leave college.

So basically, we’re entitled.

It is frankly ridiculous to generalise about the largest generation in history, spanning millions and millions of people born between 1982 and 2000, all over the world. Are some young people narcissistic, lazy and entitled? Absolutely. But so are people in every generation.

However I could maybe think of a few reasons that millennials in Ireland might be unhappy, apart from the fact that not everyone realises how special and amazing we are.

How about the fact that most people in our generation will never own a home?

 

Continue reading “A Defence of Millennials”