Tag Archives: young people

LibLink: Cadan ap Tomos on the young and the voiceless in Wales

Cadan ap Tomos is the Welsh Liberal Democrat spokesperson for young people, equalities and the Welsh language, and is a former adviser to Welsh Lib Dem Assembly Members. He has written a post for the Institute for Welsh Affairs with the title “The young and the voiceless?“.

He writes:

“Young people are the future.” An increasingly-used and well-meaning phrase that those in the political bubble will have heard more than once. Yet as well-meaning as it is, to an actual young person like me it’s one of the most irritating clichés of modern politics.

Condemning young people as merely the ‘future’ completely ignores the

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Engaging Young People in Politics

 

In the lead up to the EU Referendum young people were seen as the demographic that could decide whether the United Kingdom leaves or remains in the EU. There were all sorts of ideas to get young people to register, David Cameron was on tinder, “Register to vote” geo-filters were on Snapchat and even Facebook was notifying people of the registration deadline. On paper it seems like this would work, as a young person, I use all of those apps on my Smartphone. I was reminded of it constantly and I expect frequent users of either of these apps were too.

When the registration deadline was extended after the website crashed two hours before it was supposed to close, there were some rather vocal members of the Leave Campaign stating that it should have closed regardless and it was clear they were worried that a 48-hour extension could hinder the hopes of a Leave vote.

Where did it go wrong then? I was at University at the time of this and all my friends were registered. A recent study by Opinium has revealed 64% of 18-24 year olds turned out to vote which is the lowest out of the age groups, for example the same study found that 90% of over 65’s voted. Those 18-24 year olds who did vote, voted overwhelmingly in favour of remaining however.

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Fighting for votes at 16

In light of the recent referendum result, as a Young Liberal, I have found this result  disheartening and frustrating. Joining the party at 16 and now being 17, I have not yet been able to exercise my voice and vote in any democratic election aside from the Liberal Democrat leadership election. This matter disappoints me and,  I’m sure,  many other politically passionate 16 and 17 year olds massively.

From a personal perspective I cannot help but feel that there is an enormous need for change to cater for this currently unheard voice in politics. I and many other young people have been active  in the political landscape since the day I joined the party yet feel angry that I am not allowed to exercise my passionate views through a vote.

Young people have shouted louder than ever on the issue of the European Union and I feel unsatisfied and discouraged that David Cameron declined me and other 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote on an issue that has shifted the tectonic plates of British politics more than any other issue in recent times.

It is clear that young people favoured Remain by a landslide yet they did not get the decision they wanted. It could be argued that this is down to a lack of a voice amongst young people, but also the lack of action to energise the base of young people in the United Kingdom and galvanise their opinion on the issues that will affect their everyday lives and also their future.

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Catherine Bearder MEP writes: Europe is about more than the economy, it’s about opportunity

Catherine Bearder with Liberal Youth members October 2015At the official launch of the Stronger In Campaign on Monday it was great to see such a huge range of people, of all ages and from all walks of life, prepared to work together to secure Britain’s place in Europe. The board of the campaign represents all sections of society – students, the arts, business and trade unions – and almost half its members are women. This couldn’t contrast more with the male, pale and stale line-ups of the Vote Leave and Leave EU campaigns.

The challenge now for Stronger In will be to translate such a broad base of support into a coherent and positive message. We don’t just need to win over undecided voters, we need to make sure those who are broadly in favour of remaining in Europe turn up to cast their vote and play an active role in the campaign. Young people in particular are historically the least likely to vote, but the latest polls show 83% of them want to stay in the EU. They probably won’t get passionate about dry economic facts on the impact of Brexit on trade and investment. We need to develop a powerful and uplifting narrative about why Britain’s future in Europe matters to them and their everyday lives.

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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.

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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. 

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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:

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