Shannon Connelly

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

Yes

2. Why have you taken this decision?

I feel that as a young member of society it is particularly important that I vote so that political parties begin to target their policies at supporting people my age, rather than the current majority of voters, age 65 and above. 18-24yr olds have consistently made up the smallest proportion of votes in the election, along with the ageing population of the UK, this has led to political parties working in the favour of the elderly population. I believe that this constant trend in the demographics of UK voters needs to change in order to ensure future policies of all parties are directed at the population as a whole, not just specific groups within it.

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

Not yet, I will look more closely at the different parties’ policies nearer the time as well as watching the debates, before I make a decision.

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

Only about half of my friends have said they will be voting.

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

No. As politics does not really feature as part of the National Curriculum, young people can only become engaged in politics if they have a genuine interest themselves, which is very rare. Many of my peers have said that they have chosen not to vote because they are unaware of what the different parties stand for and what policies they have that would benefit them. If young people were more informed about the issues in hand, either through the media or the education system, this would encourage more young people to vote, and make them feel more confident in doing so.

6. What issues are most important to you?

Poverty – 1 in 5 people in the UK are living in poverty, which is far too high a figure for such a wealthy nation, better schemes need to be put in place to ensure this figure improves. The Education System – Recent changes to the education system have almost completely eradicated coursework. Although this will reduce the gender gap in achievement, the eradication of coursework will in turn lead to students lacking the basic skills needed at both university and work which coursework provides such as writing up reports, communication skills, in particular public speaking etc.

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

Indecisive, Deceitful and Biased

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

If their polices benefit society as a whole rather than just one class and age group, so that everyone in society benefits from the country’s development in some way, not just those who are providing the most income for the country. A politician would also appeal to me if they have clearly considered the importance of our relationships with certain nations.

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

If political issues were included in the media and within the education system. Young people spend the majority of their time at school, on the internet and watching television, therefore if politics became part of the curriculum and viral videos or short films were made around politics, they would talk more about the subject.

10. Will you be watching the TV Leadership Debates?

Yes.

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

BBC Newsnight, actively seeking party manifestos

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

I believe they do, in particular through the Youth Cabinet and MySayMK, however these could be promoted better to encourage more people to take part in these schemes.

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