As much as I despise the term millennial, I fall smack bang into the category: I’m in my twenties and working in London. I’m constantly accused by the media of being entitled, selfish and told that all I want in life are beanbags and wifi. The most entertaining accusation of which is that millennials spend too much on flat white coffees and if we stop buying avocados then, of course, we will be able to afford a house. To add insult to injury, we have also been told that we can’t complain about the current political situation because we didn’t all exercise our right to vote (because to date, clearly every single individual from every generation has voted in every single election…).
Let’s get this straight. I work hard. I’m no more selfish than the generation before me and I buy flat white coffees and eat avocados because I now know, thanks to this fabulous Buzzfeed quiz, that I would have to give up a grand total of 48,750 avocado on toast brunches to scrape a deposit together. But in all seriousness, in the current economic climate and Brexit uncertainties, do any of our generation have much hope of becoming homeowners without risking bankruptcy? Probably not.
Our generation are the ones who will have more social and economic issues than the previous welfare state generations. So actually, all things considered – we do have a reason to moan, even though we get blamed for it. But tell me, doesn’t every other generation moan and complain? Perhaps the difference is that for us when we look to those in parliament to tell us we will be ok in the future, we don’t get any actual reassurance in facts and figures, contracts and laws. We are just as concerned as other generations are, for our wellbeing and we complain about issues affecting us just as much as pensioners complain about cuts and inheritance tax.
Our MPs don’t understand our generation simply because they are not part of our generation. Unfortunately, this lack of understanding runs so deep that MP’s are equipped with a handbook to try and ‘get’ us (I wonder how many chapters are dedicated to our diet of avocado brunches?).
So what does this election mean to me?
When it comes to the next four years, there is one word which is floating around: unpredictable. The Conservatives promise economic stability, yet they don’t know how to back this up in the wake of Brexit and Labour over promise social policies with concerns over budget. While some of the minority parties have great ideas, they don’t have the following or backing to make it through to the big boys at the top. In an ideal world, there would be a party which invests in its children and the younger generation, who reaches out to them and listens to what they say, but there isn’t. There never has been. Remember, once not so long ago our parents were the ‘millennials’ of their time, just with a different name.
While I understand that there is never likely to be a political party which represents everything I stand for, I was hoping for one which I can relate to enough to feel empowered and hopeful when I cast my vote on the 8th June. I’ve looked through the manifestos and entered into more policial debates than I can count, I’ve looked at how the next four years will shape my job, where I live and how my community interacts but I am still at a loss – nothing speaks to me. I know who I won’t vote for but I am not sure who I will vote for is the right choice either.
Will it change?
So clearly, this is nothing new. The generation who are now in power are still picking up the mess that the generation before them left. There is no doubt then, that we will be the ones to pick up the mess which is currently unfolding. This pattern is something which is reflected across the world and those in power make the conscious decision to absolve themselves of all future consequences – because they will be six feet under by the time the effects start to happen.
So rather than bringing hope for our generation, this election is uncertain, but if we are honest with ourselves, we have never been in certain and stable times. All we can do now is stand by our values and vote for what we think is right. And really vote. Go to polls, chat with your friends and family and get out there. Start a new narrative, but this time let it be one that you can control. And for God’s sake – be a moany millennial!
*Image from Pexels.com