Walking into a room of Unite members – bus drivers working on the South East coast, I mention the upcoming general election. This raises a grunt, followed by a laugh, and then a nervous silence.
Politics has become a taboo subject, many don’t think it’s their place and certainly don’t feel comfortable discussing it around colleagues. This is exactly why we’ve hit the road with Hope not HATE and the Mirror, not to ask for votes but to simply ask that our members – and the wider public are ready to cast their vote on May 7.
Recent research shows that possibly as many as one in four people living in the Hastings and Rye constituency aren’t yet registered to vote at the general election. In 2010 only 63.9 per cent of those on the register voted! Imagine the voice the people of Hastings could have if everyone voted.
With that level of voter participation it comes as little surprise that people sped up a little or diverted their eyes anywhere, not towards you, when you asked them about voter registration in the street.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Young trainee bus driver Jay told me he was looking forward to voting for the first time in May. He’s had the chance before but not bothered as, he says, the general election is the only one that matters. Jay reckons it’s time for young people to stop ignoring politics as it does them no favours – I agree.