By Alex De Boick
"If young people want a political establishment that reflects their views, they will have to fight an uphill battle."
Today has brought the unsurprising news that young people are the ones who will bear the brunt of the economic recession unleashed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Coming as no surprise to anyone who has recently attempted to find employment, the statistics show that unemployment has risen to its highest level in two years.
While all age groups and demographics have been affected, the 16-24 age bracket has been hit considerably harder than others. The Office for National Statistics has suggested that 13.4% of 16-24-year-olds are currently out of work, compared to 4.1% nationally.
Yet this figure only tells part of the story. Nearly every day we are given stories by the press about people who have applied for staggering amounts of jobs and hearing little back from any of them. This only goes to demonstrate the frustrations that young people up and down the country are experiencing in the mega-competitive jobs market.
Of course, employment is not the only issue that young people have had to face. Thousands of GCSE and A-level students faced exam confusion and downgraded results based upon a discriminatory algorithm that determined outcomes through previous results. This rightly caused outrage and protest amongst students who had worked tirelessly hard to achieve the best results they could and improve their life chances.
As we have previously outlined, the protests were a great example of how powerful the collective voice of young people can be when attuned directly to the political system. At a time when, paradoxically, young people are being blamed for spreading the virus and also being told to return to school, work or university, it is clear that this collective voice will continue to be necessary for young people to forge a better future.
A second economic recession in the space of ten years. Climate change. Covid-19. Unemployment. These are all issues affecting young people - often to a bigger degree than other demographics. Climate change is the best example of this. While teenage activists like Greta Thunberg tirelessly campaign the issue, many world leaders are content to simply push off the issue of climate change and decry it is as a hoax. After all, the world's got to start getting "cooler" sooner or later - right?
Speaking of Trump, the current presidential race is interesting as both candidates are in their 70s (if Biden wins, he will be 83 by the time he leaves office), while the average American is 38. A young population is not a new thing for the US, but it's interesting to note the staggering age gap between the electorate and their two choices for president. The world is a very different place for young people nowadays compared to the youth experienced by these two men and politics hasn't caught up with the times. Candidates popular with young people, such as Bernie Sanders (admittedly no spring chicken at 79), are shunned by the political establishment in favour of the status quo imagined by these ageing politicians.
If young people want a political establishment that reflects their views, they will have to fight an uphill battle. The best thing we can do is to encourage each other to get involved in the debate, learn about the issues that are facing the world, join parties that reflect their individual views and, most importantly, vote.
If you're a young person disillusioned with politics or simply wish to learn more, get involved with us at DemographicaUK. Follow our social media for the very best in political discussion, commentary and debate. You can also submit articles or pitch an idea via our email: firstname.lastname@example.org