Diary of a first-time non-voter
'I live in the main "younger voters" area of Birmingham - Studentsville - and I have yet to visit a student house whose residents take all their empties down to the bottle bank.'
The newspaper on Monday told me that Tony Blair is going to promise to put more money into greener causes, like solar energy and wave power projects (1). The article suggested that Blair is being advised to show an interest in all things environmental, in order to ‘enthuse disaffected younger voters’.
News flash: we aren’t only concerned with the environment.
I live in the main ‘younger voters’ area of Birmingham – Studentsville – and I have yet to visit a student house whose residents take all their empties down to the bottle bank or sort their rubbish for recycling. In my house most of the trash takes several weeks even to get into the bin, and by then it’s too late to sort it into recyclable categories. Everything has grown into similar greasy lumps.
The ranges of organic food in UK supermarkets do seem to be popular with student shoppers, but I think this has more to do with the food’s shorter shelf-life (meaning it gets reduced in price fairly quickly), than a yearning for chemical-free living. I have seen a lot of ‘save energy – stay in bed’ and ‘save water – don’t wash up’ stickers, but that is about as far as a lot of people’s environmental enthusiasm seems to stretch.
Most of my friends went through a phase of being really angry about what humans are doing to the planet at some point in their youth. Most now associate it with being 15 and angry in general.
Now, when students read about global warming, they will think it is something to avoid – but they will also read about 10 other things that they have stronger opinions on. It would be impossible to list all the causes people around here hold no-knickers parties to raise money for.
I hope Tony Blair doesn’t work on the assumption that all young people fit into the dreadlocked soap-dodging tie-dyed tree-hugging category, or a lot of us are likely to remain untouched by his green fingers.
(1) See Blair bids for green lobby, Guardian 5 March 2001
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