Young people must be included in policy making, and no one should be excluded from participation in our democracy on the basis of age, citizenship, permanent address, incarceration or anything else. For as long as UK democracy is conducted through a representative system, everyone living in the UK over the age of 16 must have the right to vote in elections, conducted via proportional representation, so that everyone’s vote is reflected in our government and is worth the same.


Whether we like it or not, the UK government is an incredibly powerful institution with access to resources, funds and labour that give it the power to run a country, but also to implement a Green New Deal, Teach the Future and take decisive first steps in combating the climate and ecological emergency.

Make no mistake, we believe firmly that systemic change is needed far beyond the electoral politics of any one country to achieve climate justice, but for as long as we live in a system of representative democracy we feel that it is vital that everyone gets a fair and equal say in how that democracy is run. Our initial demand to Empower the Future called for the government to incorporate youth views into policymaking and to lower the voting age to 16, but as it stands that would do little to empower youth voices. Under First Past the Post, millions of votes count for nothing as the nature of this electoral system gives the candidate who wins the most votes in a constituency 100% of the power. This means that people are forced to vote tactically or candidates are returned who are actually strongly disliked by the majority of their constituents. Boris Johnson’s government won 56% of Parliamentary seats in the 2019 election on 43.6% of the vote, meaning that most people who voted did not want him to be Prime Minister. We are now faced with a government that does not take the climate emergency seriously and a racist, bigoted and narcissistic Prime Minister. While we stress that climate justice needs to go beyond the electoral politics of the UK, the immediate negative effect of this government will be disastrous for our climate.

Voting rights are also restricted in the UK, young people without citizenship or who are in prison would not be able to use the rights that those of us who are more privileged would benefit from. We wholeheartedly reject the notion that an arbitrary status like citizenship should in any way affect someone’s access to their rights in a country. Denying someone their human rights based on where they were born is racist, it’s as simple as that.

This is why we are updating our demand to call for a system of proportional representation where every vote counts and is worth exactly the same. For as long as we have a representative democracy, it should be based upon a fair voting system. We are also demanding that everyone who lives in the UK and is over the age of 16 be given the right to vote and that the government eliminate barriers to people voting, such as fixed address requirements and voter IDs.

This is a climate and ecological crisis, but it is also a systemic and civilisational one. The economic and political system of exploitation and exclusion we have here in Britain and across the planet must be rejected and replaced with a system of democratic, consensual decision making. This is by no means our idea of a perfect system of government, but we feel that it is a step in the right direction for as long as we continue to operate within the framework of a representative, Parliamentary democracy.