LETTER: Why young people don't want to vote

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The Independent Online
Sir: Polly Toynbee attacks me for writing "Don't Vote, Don't Care" in The Guardian. I did not write that phrase; the headline writer did. My article argued, rather, "Don't Vote, Do Care"; don't be fobbed off with this travesty of democracy, but ask for more.

I, together with Irvine Welsh, Suzanne Moore, Swampy, John Pilger and millions of others, have seen nobody worthy of our support on Thursday. If we vote anyway, we will confirm politicians in their corruption and complacency.

Far from being airheads, we want to stimulate a debate about how to change a political process where the words "choice" and "opportunity" are used, but no real choices and no real opportunities are offered. Thirty per cent of the electorate may stay at home this Thursday. Then any party looking to gain or retain power at the following election will find it advisable to wonder how people can be brought back into voting. They may begin to ask what changes are necessary to make young black people, or older poor people, or people in disadvantaged areas, or environmental protesters, feel that Parliament represents them. And then an honest debate about democracy may begin at last.

NATASHA WALTER

London N6

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