Glamorgan Gazette Column
Chris Elmore’s Westminster Eye
If the 2017 General Election illustrated one thing, it’s that young people were energised by politics in a way which is becoming increasingly, and worryingly, uncommon.
More than half of 18-24 year olds turned out to vote on June 8th, which is a 16% increase on the 2015 General Election. There is clearly still more to be done to encourage young people to become more engaged in politics.
I was delighted last month when the Welsh Government announced proposals to extend the right to vote in Welsh local elections to 16 year-olds.
Alongside this, the proposals include: electronic voting, changing the day of polling day from a Thursday, and allowing voting at places other than traditional polling stations.
Personally, I believe that this represents a real modernisation of our democracy, bringing our decision-making processes into the digital age.
What a contrast this illustrates. We have a UK Government which consistently fails to give young people a voice or a fair deal in society, with a sub-standard minimum wage, the trebling of tuition fees, and a lack of investment in infrastructure to provide them with a sustainable future. In Wales, we are lucky to have a Welsh Labour Government which is investing in our young people by building new schools, creating skilled job opportunities and ensuring their voice is not lost in Brexit negotiations.
It shows what progressive change Labour can make when in power and will hopefully act as a pilot for a future UK Labour Government extending this right to all elections.