Building platform for civic activism with youngest residents

It is wonderful that the “civic tradition” of children from the Polish Saturday School in Welwyn Garden City continues!

Last weekend, a group of children and a few members of staff visited the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council. Children had another opportunity to visit the Council Chamber, meet the Leader of the Council, newly elected Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Welwyn Hatfield.

Each time, our visits are interesting, engaging and very informative. Children listen attentively and they had a chance to learn to ask a number of questions:

  • What is the best part of being a Councillor?
  • When did you start being interested in politics?
  • Do you get paid for being a Councillor?
  • What is a Council Committee?
  • Are you planning to build a swimming pool in Welwyn Garden City?
  • How do you ensure that your residents are happy?
  • What are the reasons for a selection of particular colours by political parties?

Our most recent trip made me think. I realised once again that it is really important to make democracy “real” and ensure that each one of us, starting from our youngest residents, can easily relate to it. This is why it is vital to “civically connect” with people by using a simple language.

During our visit, our hosts made sure that, often complex and sophisticated vocabulary, can be easily explained. We have learnt that legislation equals a set of rules. The Leader of the Council is bit like a “local Prime Minister”. Bringing democracy closer to our younger residents has never been more important.

My personal highlight? One of our former Councillors once said:

We might have different political beliefs, we might have different ideas in terms of how the change should be implemented, however overall, most politicians have the same objective; to improve lives of our community. Our political journey may different, however the goal should be the same!

We must remember it, particularly today, when the political polarization and “politics of division” is becoming a norm.


* Michal Siewniak is a Lib Dem activist and former councillor

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • Alex Macfie
    john oundle: The referendum was advisory, and would probably have been annulled had it been binding due to electoral malpractice. As it was advisory, it didn't ...
  • Jack Nicholls
    You're not wrong about the way 'libertarian' is often used, but by the same token 'liberal' is generally interpreted as centre-right in continental Europe, Japa...
  • Jeff
    Libertarians reject the idea that individuals are rooted in communities. They are for individual freedom without qualification. This libertarian writi...
  • Brad Barrows
    I would like to see electoral reform for the Scottish Parliament - specifically a change from AMS to STV - being pushed by the Scottish Liberal Democrats as a k...
  • Andrew Tampion
    I agree with Jack Nicholls and Peter Martin (assuming the latter meant Johhn Stuart Mill but not John Smith). It seems to me that amongst Liberal Democrats too ...