No more more virtue signalling, students must vote if they want to see real change

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By Fiorenza Dell'Anna, First Year, English and Spanish

After much deliberation and disarray in Parliament, we are finally being given a chance to vote in a general election. The members of generation Z who have long since lamented the fact that they were not able to vote in the 2016 referendum, are finally being given something of a say in the future of the UK.

As a generation, we are immensely active in the political sphere, in that much like our politicians, we like to talk… a lot. Far from apathetic (unless it really matters), we frequently share our opinions on Instagram and Facebook. The real social media enthusiasts feel the pressing urge to disseminate their opinions on Twitter, the unashamed on Snapchat. Either way, everyone finds their voice and an outlet made up of unwitting spectators who will be subjected to their -frequently intolerable - views. University students, who have an international reputation to uphold, usually do live up to the expectation of idealistic zeal that is thrust upon with them. We wear the badge proudly. But to quote T.S. Eliot, when we are actually given an opportunity will we ‘have the strength to force the moment to its crisis’ or will this general election underline a harsh truth about our own hypocrisy?

This question arises in the light of the fact that there is already much talk surrounding the difficulty for students to vote, given the date of the general election (12th December). There is something of a painful irony in this, which brings to mind a common Italian joke. A knight in professing his love to a princess, tells her he would cross rivers, climb the highest mountains, and undergo the most arduous struggles to save her. She tells him that if this is the case, she would like to be saved now. He replies ‘Now? But it’s raining now.’ For a generation who comment, share and most importantly talk, as much as we do, one cannot help but notice similarities in our approach to the election, if the date and place are enough to cause a hindrance.

There is much talk surrounding the difficulty for students to vote| Unsplash / Arnaud Jaegers

Needless to say, the solutions to this “problem” (if it could be classed as such) are very simple. Primarily, registering to vote is of the essence. However, it is crucial to emphasise that it is neither viable nor legal to vote twice. That is to say, if you register to vote in Bristol as well as in your home town, you cannot vote twice as you would be committing electoral fraud. If you are already registered at your home address, you are well in time to arrange for a postal vote as the deadline for applications is 5pm on the 26th of November. The process of application is hardly one that could be deemed time-consuming, and is beneficial on every front.

The student commuity is one of the most politically vocal | Epigram / Fergus Ustianowski 

However, resignation appears to be something of an emblematic trait of our generation, which brings to mind the fact that many of the people who now woefully condemn Brexit, didn’t register to vote at the time of the 2016 referendum or worse still, prioritised Glastonbury festival over their right to vote. Taking into account the fact that the student community is one of the most politically vocal in the current climate, it would be the final nail on the coffin of Brexit ironies if people once again gave into their laziness by not registering to vote or making alternative arrangements.

Register to vote here

Whether you are a bleeding-heart liberal, a Remainer, a Brexiteeer, or even a “closet-Brexiteer”, the one thing you cannot be at this general election is a hypocrite. Please stop subjecting your friends to your views on social media and use the time more productively to register to vote, if you really want your voice to be heard.


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