Read Mhairi Black’s by-election message to young voters: don’t Let Westminster lock you out

Don’t let Westminster lock you out

On Thursday 5th October, voters in Rutherglen and Hamilton West will have their say on who they believe is best placed to represent their views. This by-election will be the first in Scotland to which Westminster’s new restrictive voter ID laws apply. This law was passed by Westminster to stop eligible voters from having their say at elections, and it disproportionality affects voters like you. Don’t let Westminster lock you out from making your voice heard. Check you have an accepted form of voter ID online at, and if you don’t, make sure to register for a postal vote by 5pm today – Wednesday 20th September. You can also apply for a Voter’s Authority Certificate by 5pm on Wednesday 27th September.

Bluntly, Westminster has shafted young people across Scotland. The cost-of-living crisis has forced prices up and squeezed incomes – turning the goal of home ownership into a pipe dream for many young people who are blocked from getting on the property ladder. Then there’s Brexit. Brexit, supported by both the Labour party and the Tories, has ripped away so many opportunities from young people in Scotland. The Erasmus scheme once provided young Scots with the opportunity to live, work, study, and travel freely throughout Europe. These once in lifetime opportunities were snatched away from young people by Westminster while our colleges, universities and businesses suffered too. Labour’s own candidate in Rutherglen and Hamilton West doesn’t even support his own party’s position on Brexit. So why should you? Locally, here in South Lanarkshire voters overwhelmingly chose to stay in the EU by 63.1%. Yet, Scotland’s voice was ignored and Westminster chose to drag us out of the EU against our democratic will. The SNP is the only party offering Scotland a route back into the European Union, to enjoy huge benefits EU membership offers us, through independence. The pro-Brexit Labour party is lurching further and further to the right under Sir Keir Starmer – who has abandoned young people by dumping a raft of policies, including the right to free higher education.

In Scotland, the SNP has achieved so much for young people: scrapping tuition fees, free bus travel for under 22s, rent controls to give more rights to tenants and delivered real action on the climate crisis as one of the first nations to declare a global climate emergency. With independence we could do so much more. Young people deserve so much more than a narrow choice between red Tories and blue Tories. No wonder Westminster is blocking eligible voters from having their say. Our local SNP candidate, Katy Loudon, will fight for your rights at Westminster and pile pressure on the UK government to follow Scotland’s lead to hand 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote at all elections. A vote for the SNP on 5th October is a vote to build the greener, fairer and more progressive Scotland we know is possible. A vote for the SNP is a vote to make your voice heard on Scotland’s future as an independent nation inside the European Union. Yours for Scotland, Mhairi Black