Young People & Politics
I have spent the greater part of my life working with and for young people, from my days as a `pirate` disc jockey on Radio Caroline, through work as a BBC Radio One "Newsbeat" Producer, as a BBC and Independent Television Producer and Director of programmes for teenagers to my present involvement with Uniformed Youth Organisations and the Try-angle Awards Scheme
My knowledge of the music charts is no longer as comprehensive as it once was and I have had to recognise that the young man who once thought of himself as a teenage idol is now older if no wiser!
I have always recognised that for those whose ideals have yet to be battered by reality and disillusion what party-politicians think makes little difference. That does not, though, mean that we who are party-politicians can or should fail to recognise that young people are savagely and passionately interested, for instance, in the environment, in animal welfare, in the poverty and lack of investment in the developing world and in human rights.
This is not a generation that is especially selfish or self-centred or simply hedonistic, it is a generation that cares. It is up to us to create the framework of education and opportunity in which ambitions and dreams can be realised and made to come true - and, sadly, to some extent, that does lead back to party-politics if only because the framework costs real money to build.
Instead of browbeating young people into voting at the General Election or “lowering the voting age to sixteen” we have to make politics relevant by creating better and rewarding vocational education. We have to overturn the idea that young people are "troublemakers" and we have to make our streets safer for late-night users. We have to improve the health services available young people and to promote sexual well-being. In short, we have to have policies that take the hassle out of being young so that those who are young can get on with their lives in security and with enjoyment.
We can do all of this and I am committed to playing my part to making sure that we, in the House of Commons, will.
There is concern because "young people don`t vote" and "young people aren't engaged in politics".
Should anyone be surprised? My own experience suggests that, aside from a few political anoraks, young people have, and have always had, better things to do with their lives than to mess with the stuff of party politics.