postcard from a twentysomething

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Indy Lifestyle Online
When it comes to politics, I suppose I have the same mainstream, liberal views that most people would own up to: I think prejudice is a bad thing, I don't mind doing my bit to pay for schools and hospitals, and I can't read the Daily Telegraph letters page without vomiting. But even these mild opinions make me, the statisticians say, the exception to the apathetic rule. Most of my generation is disillusioned with party politics, channeling their dissatisfaction with the country into alternative forms of protest, such as camping at proposed motorway sites. It's an activity I'd consider myself, but sadly I have a receding hairline, so I'd look stupid with dreadlocks.

For all my efforts, I have not persuaded any of my friends to join a political party. They see it as a token gesture, although, from my own experience, every penny of my membership fee is vital. Without it, the party couldn't afford to send me letters every week asking for more money. So why are Britain's twentysomethings so uninterested in Westminster? Is it because there's no incentive to listen to the Today programme now that Mark Radcliffe has taken over from Chris Evans? Is it because the House of Commons is full of cowardly, crooked, mendacious, pompous, egotistical fanatics? Well, yes on both counts, but it's also because general elections haven't resulted in any change for as far back we can remember. Since we were young children, all that elections have meant is that there's a Spitting Image special on TV, and the Tories get in for another term.

We have a clear memory of only one Prime Minister being dethroned, and while that was the cause of hearty celebration in colleges up and down the country, we couldn't take the credit. So, why should we be thrilled by the current political drama when our experience tells us just how it's going to turn out? We know that every day until 1 May there will be stacks of newsprint complaining that there is too much in the media about the election. We know that there will be hundreds of polls telling us what percentage of people don't believe what they're told by the polls. We know that whenever we ask anyone who they're voting for, the most common answers will be 1) nobody, 2) Labour, 3) Lib Dem, and 4) That's between me and the ballot box.

It's the same old story. So, there is only one way to restore our interest in Parliament, and it has nothing to do with "youth issues", with their insulting premise that when we're older we'll be allowed to join in with adult politics and dress up as chickens. No, if MPs are really keen to get young people involved, they must ensure that the Government changes.

For the good of the political system as a whole, for the sake of the democracy of this great nation of ours, every Tory MP should resign, first thing tomorrow, thereby proving to Thatcher's children that one party won't be in power forever. After 15 weeks at number one, even Wet Wet Wet insisted that no more copies of "Love Is All Around" were pressed. Tory MPs, do you want to be considered less patriotic than Wet Wet Wet? Do your duty.

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