Tag Archives: young people

Opinion: In defence of the Scottish Government’s plan for named persons for every child

I am writing this article after becoming increasingly frustrated at the tone and level of debate with which many people in our party are subjecting the Scottish Children and Young People’s bill and in particular the provision for a “named person” for every child.

Many of you will be asking what a “named person” is. If you choose to listen to the Daily Mail, the Christian institute and an assortment of other hysterical social conservatives this represents the introduction of state sponsored guardians whose mission in life is to spy on families and enforce political correctness. However I choose not to listen to these groups. I choose to listen to the countless social workers, teachers, child protections professionals, youth workers and other professionals who are backing this legislation.

What this legislation actually does is provide for a single point of contact for every young person from the ages of zero to eighteen so if ever that young person requires support from services or a welfare issue is raised by professionals, these organisations are operating in tandem rather than working in isolation. This will operate in a similar manner as health visitors supporting mothers and infants. For the vast majority of young people the named person will be a midwife then a health visitor followed by their primary school headteacher and finally their secondary guidance teacher.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 13 Comments

Opinion: Political education is essential to get young people into politics

Disengagement in politics is a growing concern, especially for my generation. Many claim they don’t know how the system works, who to vote for or don’t feel that their vote can make a difference. Thus, action needs to be taken to engage young people in politics and the as a Lib Dem member I am convinced that they are the right party for the job.

The problem stems from schools, there is a lack of political and economic education, which I feel should be made compulsory. No one told me what first-past-the post was or how the House of Lords works. My passion for politics provided me with the drive to learn and become engaged – so much so that I’m doing a degree in it! Undoubtedly, not everyone shares my passion, we all have differing interests, but that doesn’t mean that students shouldn’t be provided with political education. In Wales, learning Welsh is compulsory until 16, yet politics didn’t feature on my curriculum once during my time in school. Surely being educated in the political system that governs my country, is just as if not more important that learning a second language. Students should be made aware of the importance of voting, learn about how the economy works and the role both economics and politics play in their lives.

It is very easy to say that young people don’t care about politics, when the truth is that many don’t understand politics because no one cared enough to tell them about it. Not only this, it is often argued that politicians reward older generations for their votes with fuel allowances, whilst my generation seem to gain very little. This excludes young people further from the political sphere, as a lack of political education combined the feeling of disregard for young voices creates further disengagement. 

Posted in News | Also tagged | 18 Comments

A chance to take part in Channel 4/Shout Out Youth Leaders’ debate

We’ve been contacted by Shout Out, a news network for young people who are looking for audience members for a youth leaders’ debate they are holding a week on Tuesday, 28th April, at 8pm in Central London. It will be broadcast on All 4, Channel 4’s digital channel. Channel 4 News reporter Fatima Manji will chair the debate with representatives from the Conservatives, Greens, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, SNP and UKIP. Alex Harding, the Chair of Liberal Youth, will be our representative. The leaders will field questions on issues that matter to young people from a studio audience, made up entirely from voters aged 18-25, some of whom will be visiting the ballot box for the first time.

Matteo Bergamini, the founder of Shout Out UK said:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | Leave a comment

Opinion: A manifesto for young people

Young people are neglected by politics, and understandably so. With less than half of 18-24 year olds voting at the last election, few campaign strategists would advocate making serious commitments with relatively few votes up for grabs.

There has therefore been a temptation for all parties, the Liberal Democrats included, to save their eye catching commitments for older voters. Pensioners have both a high turnout and are generally more numerous than the young in the first place, are therefore rewarded with expensive policies such as the triple lock on pensions and free bus passes.

Nevertheless, to neglect younger voters would be a mistake, if for no other reason than we won’t be young forever. With the rest of our lives to vote, but also crucially to volunteer as activists, there is a lot at stake. Is it preferable to ignore us and hope to win us over from another party in later years, or to do something to earn our support in the present? And who knows, in presenting compelling, believable offers to young people, which take into account their views, then just maybe more will see the point in voting now.

And you know what? Our Liberal Democrat manifesto does just that.

Over the last couple of years the party has given Liberal Youth the chance to put forward our ideas and views into the manifesto process. The manifesto team and Federal Policy Committee have been genuinely willing to listen and the impact of this on the final document is significant.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 21 Comments

Nick Clegg announces £150 million to help young people with eating disorders

Nick, Ibrahim and Norman in Brent mental health visitYesterday, Nick Clegg and Norman Lamb visited a youth centre in Brent where they announced £150 million was being invested in services to help young people with eating disorders. From the BBC:

Mr Clegg will say he wants to see services transformed, with the focus shifted from expensive institutional care to targeted community-based provision.

Eating disorders cost the NHS around £200m a year, and the bill for in-patient care averages out at £98,750 per admission.

From 2012 to 2013, there were 2,560 hospital admissions for eating disorders in England – a rise of 8% on the previous year.

One in five of those taken into hospital with an eating disorder was admitted and discharged on the same day.

But one in 17 stayed in hospital for longer than six months.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 4 Comments

Berwick candidate Julie Pörksen seeks views on post-16 transport

Julie PorksenThe issue of transport so that over 16s can get to school and college is one close to Berwick Liberal Democrat PPC Julie Pörksen’s heart. She told us why earlier this Summer:

In the eighties, being a rural Northumbrian kid, I used to get the school bus to Ponteland, and just stayed on it for sixth form. Those wanting to go to college had to find their own way. Raising the age of participation and encouraging parity between a sixth form and a college education can only be a positive step for the opportunities and career and life choices for our young people.

If we are not to discriminate between 16-18 year olds in urban and rural areas across the whole country we must guarantee their rights to access free state education – and free transport is an integral part of that access.

So let’s be about action not just words – lets change the law and actually enable everyone to get on in life.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 5 Comments

Opinion: Beware false promises on apprenticeships

At the Conservative Party Conference George Osborne made the startling announcement that there was to be 3 million new apprentices. Just like that.

At first this seemed to be astonishing,  however” informed sources” tell me it is 3 million over the whole 2015 – 2020 period, in other words the story was being “spun”.

I served a traditional apprenticeship and found that eventually lead me indirectly to a higher degree in a Russell Group University, so apprenticeships are something I take continuing interest in.

With this I am inclined to ask the question, how many of these apprenticeship positions are actually new jobs as opposed to employers re branding pre-existing or extrapolated jobs as apprentices?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

Opinion: Intergenerational Fairness: Are we really building a fair future for our young people?

The challenges that young people face today are considerably different to what the previous generations faced. The baby boomers spent much of their lives enjoying a resilient and rewarding economy, with prospects of owning a house regarded as being the norm.

These days, as a young person, it’s not even a realistic goal, let alone normal. Between 2001 and 2011, house prices rose three times faster than wages. As a double whammy, we saw the recession hit wages and young people’s employment prospects particularly hard. Whilst unemployment is dropping, too many of us know young people settling for part-time work, …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 39 Comments

Opinion: Post 16 transport: It’s time to change the law to enable everyone to get on in life

Ear buds 'n' earsFor many 16 year olds across the country the post-exam, pre-result time in the summer should be a time of freedom, working a summer job to save some money or hanging out with friends and family, sure in the knowledge that come September they will be on track to take the next steps in life.

Northumberland’s young people are facing uncertainty this summer. The previous Liberal Democrat administration at County Hall had guaranteed the right of free post-16 transport to the most suitable accessible course. This has been taken …

photo by:
Posted in News | Also tagged and | 9 Comments

Opinion: Young people benefit from the EU. We need to persuade them to vote for the party of IN

Youth on the Move in Volos 20Each one of us who was glued to a screen or radio for the Nick vs Nigel EU debate last Wednesday will have our own opinion of who lost and who won as facts, rhetorical points and the affection of the audience were fought over. But I’ll tell you whose affection wasn’t fought over – that of Britain’s young people. And I, along with friends in and outside the party, was disappointed.

The lives of young people in this country – your children, your activists, you …

photo by: EU Social
Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 9 Comments

Clegg acts to ensure opportunities for all young people

Nick Clegg is spending today announcing new initiatives to help young people with their career choices by improving career advice in schools, allowing job centre plus to give advice to 16 and 17 year olds and to improve opportunities for work experience.  There will be a UCAS style “one-stop shop” to help those young people.

From today’s Independent:

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, will pledge to “end the snobbery surrounding vocational education” that limits the prospects of those who do not go to university, and promise them “an equal shot” by helping them to make the right choice after taking

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

Nick Clegg and Vince Cable highlight Liberal Democrat achievements in higher education

When I went to speak in the St Andrew’s University debate last week, I did a bit of what I described as getting the tin opener and the worm can perilously close to each other, but pointed out that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds were twice as likely to go to university as they were 10 years ago. I also pointed out that those graduates on the lowest incomes would be paying much less than they were under Labour.

I was greatly assisted in preparing my remarks by Stephen Tall’s piece in January on the latest data in which …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 27 Comments

LibLink: Baroness Floella Benjamin: Positive role models can break cycle of despair

Baroness Floella Benjamin has written for the Voice website about what the government is doing to help young black people find jobs.

More than 30 million people are now in work and since the 2010 General Election, the number of people claiming the main out-of-work benefits has fallen by 566,000. This is great news and my party, the Liberal Democrats, have worked hard in government to achieve success stories like these, listening to people’s concerns and ensuring the right support is being put in place.

But disappointingly there’s no denying that unemployment is still disproportionately high amongst young black people, especially men

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

A Minister for Youth Affairs is needed to stop young people being driven out of rural life

Jane Dodds BridgeIn our part of the world, rural Powys, driving is often the only practical way to get around, especially for young people. The proposals this week to improve young driver safety could have a severe impact on the job prospects and lifestyles of young people in rural areas like ours.

Montgomeryshire in mid-Wales is the least densely populated county in England and Wales; 59.3% of us live in isolated, rural hamlets and isolated dwellings. Getting access to health, education, housing and jobs is a challenge for anyone living in a rural community like this. Add on to that the challenge of being a young person and the barriers mount up.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 5 Comments

Opinion: War on Weltschmerz

A Liberal Youth training sessionWhen friends have lost their belief in religion, they usually describe not the freeing of bonds, but the emptiness left without a moral compass to guide them.

My youngest daughter popped in after work today looking rather sad. When I asked her the problem she described herself as feeling weltschmerz. Never having heard of this before, I got her to elaborate. She told me of the alienation, the resignation and the overwhelming sense of the cruelty of the world. This is not a woman prone to melancholy, …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 15 Comments

Opinion: SNP’s ill thought out proposals discriminate against young people

Drew's first driving lesson - Some rights reserved by akarmyMark McDonald, SNP MSP for North East Scotland, has recently proposed unjust new restrictions on young drivers. His proposals would mean that 17-25 year olds, regardless of driving experience, would be banned from driving between 11pm and 4am every day, as well as preventing them from carrying passengers in their vehicles.

This is based on a discriminatory assumption that young people are generally bad drivers. Even although there is a higher risk as

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 17 Comments

Opinion: Labour are to blame for the “lost generation”

Here’s a question for you. How have Labour got away with pretending that the crisis of a “lost generation” of young people has nothing to do with them? Listening to Ed Miliband pontificate about the plight of the young in Britain, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Government in which he served had nothing to do with the current crisis of devalued qualifications, lack of jobs, high house prices, crippling debts and a rising cost of living. Those young people who are thinking of joining Labour because they’re angry at the current situation should consider a few facts.

A …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 21 Comments

Youth Justice: the prison governor’s view

One of the most powerful pieces of learning for me during 34 years of being in and out of custodial establishments is the capacity of their residents to respond to opportunities; to being appreciated and congratulated for work well done; to being respected for doing something worthwhile. It is the realisation that this might have been their first experience of any of this that initially takes the breath away, and always disturbs. Although, therefore, Governors have to concern themselves with secure and safe custody and, yes, maximising resources to provide opportunities for offenders in their custody, and doing …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 1 Comment

LibLink: Chris Huhne – Tough on crime? Jail’s not the answer

Over at The Guardian’s Comment Is Free website, Lib Dem shadow home secretary Chris Huhne argues tht locking up more people is a populist ploy that doesn’t cut crime. Instead, he says, we should focus on rigorous community sentences instead. Here’s an excerpt:

It should be a given that important matters of public policy are based on evidence and research, rather than political whim. Why, then, is the field of criminal justice uniquely and scandalously divorced from this obvious rule? … Both continue to try to frighten the public into the arms of their party. It is this politics of

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

Opinion: A legacy of mediocrity

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has just published a report saying the way to combat recession is to up the number of university places. I disagree.

The problem is that while we have a culture where there’s a course for everyone, we have a degree for everyone – smart or stupid, talented or talentless. This has led to a system where only two grades matter – First or Fail. A First sets you out from the majority of candidates for employment, who leave with 2:1s, 2:2s or thirds; a fail means you’re back to square one. Anything in between is simply a blur of the average, and companies have no desire for the average.

But surely a degree should mean something? A degree should mean that someone is clever, whatever the grade. However, with degrees filled up with students who got EEE at A-level, it naturally devalues the system.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 22 Comments

Opinion: Youth justice – a golden opportunity for the Lib Dems

Youth justice has risen, zombie-like, from the place unloved political issues go to die. In July, the Government published an interim report on The Youth Crime Action Plan, its “comprehensive, cross-government analysis of what the government is going to do to tackle youth crime.”

This prompted vigorous activity from the think-tanks and NGOs, and a predictable silence from the dead who may live again, aka the Conservative Party.

Last week, the Liberal Democrats published data showing that the number of 10 to 12 year olds convicted of a criminal offence rose by 87.2% between 1997 and 2007. Nick Clegg, remarking on the figures, argued that:

It is a disgrace the Government spends eleven times more locking up our young people than it does on backing projects to stop them getting involved in crime in the first place.”

Unless you happen to be keen on nineteenth century penal philosophy, Nick’s comment seems to make excellent sense. I would suggest, however, that it is, at best, carelessly imprecise. At worst, it indicates a refusal to challenge the prevailing conservative narrative on youth crime. Given recent reporting of events in Doncaster, a measured rebuttal is more critical than ever.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , and | 3 Comments

Labour teaches kids the new 3 Rs: Remand, Raw, and Recession

Three stories today – see if you can spot the blatant connection.

First up, the first R: Remand. Lib Dem research today revealed that over a million kids have been convicted of a criminal offence over the last decade, with a further million cautioned since Labour came to power in 1997. Here’s the breakdown of figures as revealed in an answer to a Lib Dem parliamentary question:

* 1,033,454 children aged between 10 and 17 have been convicted of a criminal offence since 1997. This includes almost 30,000 10 to 12 year olds.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 2 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarChris_sh 2nd Sep - 12:51am
    @John Tilley To start from the end, it makes no odds whether you agree or not, I'm not looking for either. I'm looking to see...
  • User AvatarCllr Mark Wright 2nd Sep - 12:02am
    @David Allen - I don't know if "Mark Argent" is meant to be me, but Paddy was active in the special forces 40 years ago...
  • User AvatarSteve Kay 1st Sep - 11:22pm
    If you genuinely believe the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes should be described as tragic rather than the unlawful killing of an unidentified, unarmed...
  • User AvatarChristopher 1st Sep - 11:20pm
    Paul, I'm aware that you were born in Cornwall and live in Berkshire. Cornwall is a ceremonial county and unitary authority of England, and is...
  • User Avatarnigel hunter 1st Sep - 11:03pm
    Quite a debate going on between Chris_Sh, john Tilley, Roland. Times change history moves on today different circumstances exist. Yvette cooper says we should house...
  • User Avatarpaul barker 1st Sep - 10:44pm
    "The English are not gifted artistically" ? In 1946, when Neo-Romaticism was at its height, when The (third?) St Ives school was picking up steam,...