Observations with Richard Beecham: When the chips are down – get out and vote

CHIPSO FACTO Will chips soon be the only thing young adults can afford to eat if voting figures continue to decrease?
CHIPSO FACTO Will chips soon be the only thing young adults can afford to eat if voting figures continue to decrease?

“Can someone lend me 50p for some chips?”, asked a peckish friend.

Immediately, the warning sirens begin to sound, in a shrill, accusatory honk. Skinflint alert.

Two other chums came to the conclusion that they would lend him 50p, but only so long as they could scoff a third of his £1.50 portion of chips.

At first, I took this as a mildly amusing and logical solution to a problem that was entirely the fault of the frugal chipee, and his empty stomach later on would be just punishment.

But these situations seem to crop up more often than they used to.

A quid for some fags here, 50p to put in the bank to make up a tenner to get out of the machine there, £50 for the leccy bill and you can have those milkybar yoghurts in my fridge.

Everyone is skint.

Mine is a strange generation – promised so much during our formative years, with television providing an aspirational, frenetic bombardment of lifestyles and our parents’ comparatively steady job prospects. By the time we entered adulthood in the late 00s, the party was over. Someone spent all the money.

It seems to be because of this that hand-to-mouth existences have become so accepted as part of modern life. Zero hours contracts have become the new norm. Is it any wonder young people are disillusioned?

Earlier this year, comedian Russell Brand suggested in the New Statesman that people should abstain from voting in protest at the ruling class’ ignorance of their hardships. It seems some were way ahead of him.

Just over 50 percent of adults under 25 took to the polls at the last general election, while 78 percent of over-65s made their voices heard.

So it seems fitting that the Institute for Fiscal Studies this week published a report that showed standards of living among young adults have been hit the hardest since the recession – incomes for twentysomethings have fallen sharply since 2009 – while income for pensioners is, incredibly, five percent higher than pre-recession figures.

If more elderly people are voting than youngsters, who do you think politicians are going to be pandering fiscal policy towards?

If we are to take such a dim view of political parties so as to think they want nothing more than power, then why should we expect them to engineer policy towards you if it doesn’t mean anything to their chances of becoming elected?

Voting is about more than the choices on the form – it is about making sure your problems are taken into account the next time around.

So register to vote for next year’s general elections – it is your duty for future generations to see that they are not without the things you take for granted.

Until this oft talked about revolution comes, it is your only realistic choice.

Now lend us a chip, would you?