Because today I got the chance to talk with John Bercow- speaker of the House of Commons- about why nobody votes, the daily mail being a fascist rag, and the value of the UK Youth Parliament.
I actually don’t agree- there is of a high standard of debate in parliament! But the key to improvement is information. What I mean by that is, the wider the source of knowledge that MPs have to draw on, the better the debate.
What needs to happen is that in every debate, we need to be thinking “How will this impact on young people?”. Essentially, having more opinions creates a better debate.
The amount of people who vote in each general election is pretty low. Is this just because of young people not voting?
Well, there is some truth in that. It’s to do with young people, who are ‘turned off’ by the political system. I have a theory- we live in a consumerist culture where anything you want, you can have at the touch of a button. There’s this sense of instant gratification everywhere. Well politics isn’t like that. It doesn’t give that instant gratification.
And because it isn’t always immediately rewarding, many young people think “UGHH. What’s the point?”. But respect is a two way street- and the only way we can get the respect of young people, is if we respect them.
I actually chair the UK Youth Parliament, which is where young people hold parliamentary debates. They were going to give the job to the deputy speaker, but I said I would love to do it.
What are your thoughts on the UK Youth Parliament? Do you think it actually achieves anything?
I do. Apart from anything, it’s bolstering the self confidence of young people. At 17, I was just starting politically, and I would never have had the confidence to do what these young people are doing.
And the UKYP improves young people’s skills at speaking, placing thoughts about policies, etc.
Has there been an overnight change? No! Has it achieved everything? No! But it’s a very well established parliament whose status is growing all the time.
What are your thoughts on the negative portrayals of young people in the media?
Young people face a lot of difficulty with the media, so they need to use other ways of getting through to the public. Young people do good things, and should publicise this- whether that’s through use of radio, internet, blogs etc.
The UKYP is very effective in putting out a good image of young people! I mean, I see far more good than bad things associated with young people!
But with regards to national newspapers ideas about young people- are the Daily Mail interested in printing stories of young people in a positive light? Are they hell! They’re just some crypto-fascist rag!
Well on that note, it’s been lovely speaking to you!