Rubiya Syeed

1. Will you be voting in the elections on May 7th?

Yes

2. Why have you taken this decision?

I feel that it is important that I go along and participate as the turnout of young voters is far too low, and politicians tend to dismiss my demographic as we do not make up a large proportion of voters. The most obvious way to change this would be to vote.

3. If you have decided to vote, have you decided who you will vote for?

I am currently undecided, although I have narrowed it down to between two parties.

4. Will the majority of your friends (aged 18+) be voting?

Yes, I would say just over half plan on voting, many of my other friends feel that they are not swayed particularly by one party in general, or do not feel as though their vote would make a difference.

5. Do you think young people are engaged with politics and feel properly informed about the issues at hand?

I think education on political issues is not appropriately incorporated into the school curriculum as the only time you would be formally educated is during Politics lessons, should you opt to study this at A-Level. As a result it is obvious that many people within my age group feel like they should not vote because they are not adequately informed to take on the responsibility of voting. From what I can tell, most young people know very little about politics and if they do know a little it tends to be about tuition fees, should they choose to move onto university level education, or certain local issues such as HS2. However there also are many young people who do take the effort to educate themselves further on political issues, and these people tend to be very passionate about politics; it seems as though there are few people who lie in between the two types.

6. What issues are most important to you?

Tuition fees
The NHS (privatisation etc)
Types of secondary schools (getting rid of private or grammar schools)

7. When you think of a politician, what are the first three words that come into your head?

Patronising, Intelligent, Tactical

8. How could a politician appeal to you in order to get your vote?

Unfortunately there is somewhat of a stigma against politicians being insincere and untrustworthy, and I have found that most politicians tend to live up to this stereotype. The politicians that I have come across however, that I actually enjoyed speaking to, and made me want to vote for them acted down to earth and polite, and they did not constantly say rude things about the other political parties.

9. What do you think could encourage more young people to get talking about politics?

Make them aware of issues from a reasonably young age so that they are more educated about the issues. I think politics can be very engaging and most people would care about how the country is run if they actually knew anything about it.

10. Will you be watching the TV Leadership Debates?

Definitely!

11. Which channels most inform your views on politics? (Eg. BBC news, broadsheets, actively seeking party manifestos, social media, TV leadership debates, etc)

My school, Aylesbury High School, have invited a local member of the 5 major parties to come in and speak to Year 13 for an hour each week to talk about themselves, a few of their policies and to end with a Q&A session. As well as this, the Youth Parliament representatives in my year group organised a local “Question Time” led by John Bercow as the presenter, and I found this very informing. As well as this, I make a point of reading a few of the party leaflets that come through the post box, watch the TV debates and reading the websites of the parties and issues that interest me.

12. Do you think local councillors in Milton Keynes serve the young population well?

They don’t seem to actively seek young voters in their party leaflets; however it is still early days. I expect that in the run up to the general election there will be a few last minute attempts to attract younger voters. For example, I recently received a letter addressed to me from the Conservative representative asking for my vote.

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