‘Give an X’: YouTubers join Michael Sheen in urging young Britons to vote

<span>The actor Michael Sheen, part of the ‘Give an X’ campaign.</span><span>Photograph: Tibrina Hobson/FilmMagic</span>
The actor Michael Sheen, part of the ‘Give an X’ campaign.Photograph: Tibrina Hobson/FilmMagic

A last-minute drive to alert young British people to the risk of losing their say in how the country is run launches this weekend, spearheaded by many famous faces, including some not normally associated with politics or campaigning.

YouTubers such as Amelia Dimoldenberg, host of Chicken Shop Date, are lining up alongside singers and comedians, to join established names, such as Michael Sheen, Sir Stephen Frears, Es Devlin, Meera Syal, Billy Bragg, Paapa Essiedu, Emily Berrington and Ralf Little.

The urgent, “non partisan” appeal is a final push ahead of the voter registration deadline at 23:59 on 16 April and aims to get 300,000 more young people signed up by asking, “We Give an X – will you?”

Drawing on the support of performers and artists, the “Give an X” campaign argues that culture and creativity, although crucial, are not the most direct way to influence the world around you: “Voting is not just casting a ballot; it is narrating the stories of our communities and painting a vision of a better tomorrow. In the face of huge challenges nationally and globally, that has never been more important,” the appeal to potential voters reads” An open letter, published this weekend online, is supported by Campaign for the Arts and calls for “everyone’s voice” to be heard in Britain’s democracy.

The drive, also supported by comedians Luke McQueen and Ahir Shah and the soap actor Charlie Condou, was prompted by news that young people now form a major part of the estimated eight million people not yet registered to vote. According to the Resolution Foundation, voter turnout for 25- to 34-year-olds has dropped sharply to below 60%. The campaigners also want to call attention to warnings from the Electoral Commission that new photo ID requirements might exclude hundreds of thousands of citizens, disproportionately impacting those who are economically disadvantaged, disabled or from minority ethnic backgrounds.