So I get an email last week asking if I’d be interested in attending a Youth Media Agency event about voting. Immediately I say yes! Why? Because I’m all about encouraging people to have their say and helping provide them with the platform to spread their messages, and there is no bigger statement you can make than to VOTE.
Despite what the likes of Russell Brand and other non-voters say, I truly believe that it’s an important right/freedom we have in this country that we are allowed to vote for our leaders. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that I always believe in what they stand for and their policies, but I am very glad I can put my X in a box.
Now some of you might be reading this thinking, what’s the point in voting if the people you’re voting for don’t represent you or understand the challenges you face, and to some extent I hear what you’re saying, but in the same breath I say that if you refuse to vote or even register then no one will EVER care about representing you or understanding your challenges! Unfortunately I don’t think any vote at this election will magically solve all of this country’s problems around housing, employment, the health service, immigration etc.. but what your vote or being registered will do is start your engagement in the political process and the journey to making the changes that will start to tackle these issues in real terms.
There’s that famous saying by Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” and when it comes to politics I think this is so apt. If you imagine voting or registering to vote as the process of packing a bag and your supplies for this journey, and you haven’t even done that, then when/how exactly do you expect to get there?
So back to the Youth Media Agency event on Monday. It was held at Zero One in Soho and featured a multitude of exceptional talented young people from across the creative spectrum – magazine editors, film-makers, radio hosts, designers, digital experts and then me (I think I was the third oldest person in the room).
The launch event was for the new video campaign #xxvote.It’s primary aim is to encourage young women and young people in general to register to vote before the 20th April deadline! The very real and shocking narrative of the film depicts a world of harsh and extreme policies that marginalise young people. In the 2010 elections only 39% of young women aged 18-24 voted. If more young people don’t register (deadline is 20th April) then it’s expected that 800,000 eligible young people will not have voted. That’s 24% of the recorded 3.3million young people in the UK that could vote.. (figures from Youth Media Agency & YouGov research from British Future)
Hopefully my maths hasn’t let me down, but either way I hope this message is getting through – Register to vote, and then vote! Even if you decide to spoil your ballot paper (I’m not condoning or encouraging this) at least your discord with the system and its current policies will have to be noted and hopefully this will encourage somebody to step forward who is deserving of your political faith.
Watch the video and spread the word amongst your friends, colleagues, peers, family… The words of the video couldn’t be more true or scary, ‘If we don’t vote, we won’t matter’
So there I am just about to switch off for the night, but like most I decided to check my social media feeds for that final night time fix… A quick glance and it’s the same type of posts, Golden Globe red carpet, words of wisdom, but then I spotted a retweet from a friend with tag #FoxNewsFacts.
Now I’m not a Fox News follower, I prefer my news unbiased and well, researched! Over the last few months you’d be forgiven for questioning whether Fox News actually shares any of these values.
But I digress, let’s keep this about #FoxNewsFacts. This hashtag was getting a lot of traction and my newsfeed was full of tweets, retweets and favourites. The reason for the # was due to comments made by Fox News ‘Terrorism Expert’ Steve Emerson – see for yourself: http://youtu.be/hwq8Bwr9wUg
My first thoughts after watching this were; this had to be some kind of blooper showreel, but alas this was broadcast live and with no immediate retraction. (It should be noted that after the broadcast a fellow Twitter user (@pmatalack1878) apparently emailed Fox News complaining about their immense lack of knowledge regarding Birmingham and the UK. Since then Mr Emerson has sent an email apologising: https://twitter.com/pmatlack1878/status/554398263936569344)
But Mr Emerson’s apology genuine or not made no difference to the thousands of people that took to Twitter to lambaste Fox News and it’s reporting… There are some extremely creative people out there. Here’s a few tweets that put a smile of my face:
If Twitter was only good for only one thing then this would be it – Taking a multinational news organisation to task while making everybody smile!Twitter and Tweeters I thank you! And goodnight.