"I will never vote and I don’t think you should, either. To genuinely make a difference, we must become different; make the tiny, longitudinal shift. Meditate, direct our love indiscriminately and our condemnation exclusively at those with power. " - Russell Brand, writing for the New Statesman
Yes, Russell, that's all very nice. Meditating and eating kale and glorious revolution etc; I'm sure the world would be a much better place. But what if a revolution is not right around the corner? What if, come 2015, young people take your advice and don't vote - instead allowing the Tories to sail straight back into power, maybe with UKIP at their side. And imagine we have to endure another five years - with the revolution mysteriously dormant - of elitism and poor-shaming and an added dose of racism from our government.
I'm not saying that Britain will never have a revolution, because predicting the future implies a kind of arrogance that I'll leave to Brand and his lot. It might, but it also might not; and in the meantime, we need to work with what we have. And what we have currently is a government which makes things better for the rich and worse for the poor. Even if voting in another party (*cough* Labour) won't cause a shift in the whole paradigm that Brand keeps banging on about, it might make life easier for people who are struggling to afford food and the bus fare to school. A government without a bedroom tax would be better than one with it, and if you're going to ignore these day-to-day, solvable problems to look only at the great spiritual deficit of capitalism, you are an elitist.
Our political parties are cuts of the same cloth in many ways, but not in all, and some governments are a very different kind of cloth than others. The welfare state would not have been created had people not voted for Attlee in 1945. The bedroom tax would not have come into being had people not voted for Cameron in 2010. Voting does matter, it does genuinely make a difference. So until Brits rise up in revolution to form a socialist utopia, fucking vote.