Monday, 16 May 2011

Why is Liberal Youth important?

I wrote this for http://libertinezine.blogspot.com/ which is the discussion forum site for Liberal Youth. Please show your support for the youth of our party by visiting this site.

 
Why does politics seem so far away from the youth’s problems of today? This is the question that I ask myself when I see young people hanging around in the park, on the streets and in shopping centres looking aimless.

Yet, last year we saw thousands of students demonstrating against the rise in tuition fees. There was fury in the air and they had an aim-to get the Government to leave the cap as it was. These demonstrations were a rare display of mass youth participation in politics and showed that youth do have the ability to give an opinion on political subjects. This is the paradox of youth politics.

So, how do we get the youth to participate in politics? Last year during the general election my house was used as a campaign base for our local candidate. There were dozens of youth who came from Goldsmiths University and other places to help out. For many of them this was the first connection they had made with politics. One of them who didn’t have a job or a college place even said that helping to campaign gave him a purpose to get up in the morning. I saw how these young people were really passionate about getting involved.

How do we sustain this interest so it doesn’t happen only once every five years? I can offer ideas about the under 16s because I am 11 years old. Holding political awareness days at schools would be a good start. Children get really excited when there is a day that takes them away from the normal routine of schoolwork so the children will be really happy to get involved in these political days. The problem will be that the interest will not continue beyond the day and the children will not keep in touch with politics. My suggestion is that we give the school little packs of information which the children can take away and look at. If we include a little key ring or a toy, that will increase their interest and motivation level. Children normally see politics as being boring so if we can do anything to make them more interested then that must be done. At conference I walk around the exhibition halls myself picking up freebies so I know what I am talking about.

For the over 16s we need to talk about how Liberal Youth needs to energise young people because after the bad AV and local elections defeat we need a progressive movement badly. This is where the youth can play a strong part in politics. A progressive movement is important to youth today because the economy has produced inequalities like fewer jobs for young people, unpaid internships and university option.



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2 comments

  1. I hope you don't mind if I plug the Social Liberal Forum conference on Saturday 18th June in London, see http://socialliberal.net/about/slf-conference-18th-june-2011/
    We will be looking at issues around inequality and what it means to be progressive that you refer to in your blog, and speakers include Simon Hughes, Vince Cable, Evan Harris and others outside of the party. I have to admit I cannot imagine going to such an event when I was 11, but if you enjoyed Lib Dem conference I would imagine you would enjoy this as well!
    On the points you raise I think you will find that people are interested in politics when they are not aware that they are talking about it! We all have opinions on how men should should towards women, and vice versa, what we think of ethnic minorities, gay people and so on. That is political, you cannot not be political.

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  2. Dear Left Lib,
    Thank you for leaving details about the conference. I would have loved to have been able to attend but I have a girl guides weekend away, unfortunately. Yes, politics is everywhere. Even children are political without realising it.
    from
    Maelo

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