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Politics no image

Published on November 7th, 2012 | by Isabelle Mngadi
Image © [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="566"] Bite the Ballot have launched an on-line survey, which allows young people to influence the political manifestos of our country's leaders © Bite the Ballot[/caption]   In light of the government’s on-going attempts to fulfil the needs of today’s youth, the urge to speak out among young people has never been stronger - and as demonstrated by the recent party conferences and abundance of policies affecting Britain’s youth, expressing one’s opinion has never been more important. As more and more young people call for the voting age to be lowered, and organisations such as Bite the Ballot, Votes at 16, and Catch21 provide more opportunities for young people to get involved in politics it has also never been easier to express your opinion, and to believe that what you say will be heard and can make a difference. Accordingly, Bite the Ballot have launched the My Manifesto project, an online survey which aims to collate the views of young people aged 14 to 25 and present them to political party manifesto writers in January 2013. Essentially, this will ensure that political leaders know exactly which issues are most important to young people, and how YOU think they should be dealt with, thus making “greater the chance of giving young people something to vote for in 2015.” The anonymous survey deals with every issue affecting young people of today and tomorrow, and allows you to tell manifesto writers what matters most, and what doesn’t really matter to you at all. So, what are the principal issues mentioned on the survey, and where do you stand? One issue which is arguably the most significant facing young people today is unemployment. Between April and June of this year, the unemployment rate for 16 to 25 years olds peaked at over 1 million for the first time in 15 years. Since then, the numbers may have gone back under the 1 million mark, but the Evening Standard’s recent Ladder for London campaign, and the prominence that providing opportunities and apprenticeships for young people took during this year’s party conferences, demonstrates that unemployment remains a big issue to overcome. In the instance of Ladder for London, the Evening Standard was able to help ten young people find paid internships in one of the world’s most prestigious investment banks, and promises to facilitate many more - but the sheer number of unemployed reminds us that the solution will not always be so easy. Nick Clegg and Prime Minister David Cameron have promised increasing numbers of apprenticeships in order to provide more effective routes into work – but is this enough? And with the recent changes to the education system, it is clear that the final destination of work is being considered earlier than ever. The English Baccalaureate, which is set to replace GCSEs, is intended to add ‘rigour’ to English, maths and sciences in secondary schools, in order to improve overall teaching, and combat the dumbing down of exams and lowering of grade boundaries. Although the Ebacc raises valid concerns about whether it is right that young person’s should future should rest on one exam, Clegg has promised that the added difficulty will be met with equal ambition in improving teaching standards. In a similar fashion of optimism, Ed Milliband has pledged his support for “the forgotten 50%” who do not attend university, and has raised the bar for education by promising that if the Labour party in the next election they’ll bring in a technical baccalaureate, compulsory English and maths until the age of 18, and more apprenticeships. Given the harsh competition for jobs and high tuition fees which make attending university an improbability for some, more vocational qualifications, work experience, and in-school preparation for the world of work are just what the next generation needs. Furthermore, as the UK is plunged deeper into state of austerity in order to tackle the budget deficit, the task of preparing the current and upcoming youth for leading successful, independent lives has never been more important. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has announced £10bn in benefit cuts, on top of the £18bn announced in 2011, with under-25s being the first to lose out in housing benefits. As he has said: “How can we justify giving flats to young people who have never worked, when working people twice their age are still living with their parents because they can’t afford their first home?” The result of this will be that getting on the property ladder will be even harder for first-time buyers. Bite the Ballot’s survey also draws attention to other crucial issues such as the voting age, which some argue should be lowered to 16. A recent referendum debate held in Scotland saw the country’s 16 and 17-year olds quiz a panel of politicians for an hour on how an independent Scotland would affect immigration, taxes, and the country’s representation in international sports, which, as the Olympics this year have shown, can be a major boost to national pride and morale. The nous with which Scotland’s youth addressed these key issues demonstrates that young people are completely capable of understanding the complexities of national politics, and that their opinion on other issues which My Manifesto addresses, such as transport, sexism and crime is equally valuable. During the UK Youth Parliament’s third annual debate in the House of Commons last November, one of the topics addressed was transport costs for 2011. In a series of strong and well-expressed arguments, the effects of transport prices on a young person’s prospects concerning employment, education and poverty were highlighted. And as the country celebrates the end of a summer without the society-splitting riots of last year, the on-going question becomes how instances of crime and delinquency among youths can be reduced. Currently, most youth offences (19.5%) are violence against a person, making the eradication of crimes committed by young people a community issue. In recent months, the Metropolitan Police have made changes to the alienating and often prejudiced stop and search policing method, but what else can be done? In support of their scheme Bite the Ballot have also been touring the country and signing up young people to the Electoral Register, meaning that more of the electorate during the next election will be under 25s, and political parties with any sense will therefore be seeking the first-time vote like never before. So what are you waiting for – let them know what you think about every topic discussed, with Bite the Ballot’s My Manifesto survey.

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The hand that writes the manifesto…

Bite the Ballot have launched an on-line survey, which allows young people to influence the political manifestos of our country’s leaders © Bite the Ballot

 

In light of the government’s on-going attempts to fulfil the needs of today’s youth, the urge to speak out among young people has never been stronger – and as demonstrated by the recent party conferences and abundance of policies affecting Britain’s youth, expressing one’s opinion has never been more important. As more and more young people call for the voting age to be lowered, and organisations such as Bite the Ballot, Votes at 16, and Catch21 provide more opportunities for young people to get involved in politics it has also never been easier to express your opinion, and to believe that what you say will be heard and can make a difference.

Accordingly, Bite the Ballot have launched the My Manifesto project, an online survey which aims to collate the views of young people aged 14 to 25 and present them to political party manifesto writers in January 2013. Essentially, this will ensure that political leaders know exactly which issues are most important to young people, and how YOU think they should be dealt with, thus making “greater the chance of giving young people something to vote for in 2015.”

The anonymous survey deals with every issue affecting young people of today and tomorrow, and allows you to tell manifesto writers what matters most, and what doesn’t really matter to you at all. So, what are the principal issues mentioned on the survey, and where do you stand?

One issue which is arguably the most significant facing young people today is unemployment. Between April and June of this year, the unemployment rate for 16 to 25 years olds peaked at over 1 million for the first time in 15 years. Since then, the numbers may have gone back under the 1 million mark, but the Evening Standard’s recent Ladder for London campaign, and the prominence that providing opportunities and apprenticeships for young people took during this year’s party conferences, demonstrates that unemployment remains a big issue to overcome. In the instance of Ladder for London, the Evening Standard was able to help ten young people find paid internships in one of the world’s most prestigious investment banks, and promises to facilitate many more – but the sheer number of unemployed reminds us that the solution will not always be so easy. Nick Clegg and Prime Minister David Cameron have promised increasing numbers of apprenticeships in order to provide more effective routes into work – but is this enough?

And with the recent changes to the education system, it is clear that the final destination of work is being considered earlier than ever. The English Baccalaureate, which is set to replace GCSEs, is intended to add ‘rigour’ to English, maths and sciences in secondary schools, in order to improve overall teaching, and combat the dumbing down of exams and lowering of grade boundaries. Although the Ebacc raises valid concerns about whether it is right that young person’s should future should rest on one exam, Clegg has promised that the added difficulty will be met with equal ambition in improving teaching standards. In a similar fashion of optimism, Ed Milliband has pledged his support for “the forgotten 50%” who do not attend university, and has raised the bar for education by promising that if the Labour party in the next election they’ll bring in a technical baccalaureate, compulsory English and maths until the age of 18, and more apprenticeships. Given the harsh competition for jobs and high tuition fees which make attending university an improbability for some, more vocational qualifications, work experience, and in-school preparation for the world of work are just what the next generation needs.

Furthermore, as the UK is plunged deeper into state of austerity in order to tackle the budget deficit, the task of preparing the current and upcoming youth for leading successful, independent lives has never been more important. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has announced £10bn in benefit cuts, on top of the £18bn announced in 2011, with under-25s being the first to lose out in housing benefits. As he has said: “How can we justify giving flats to young people who have never worked, when working people twice their age are still living with their parents because they can’t afford their first home?” The result of this will be that getting on the property ladder will be even harder for first-time buyers.

Bite the Ballot’s survey also draws attention to other crucial issues such as the voting age, which some argue should be lowered to 16. A recent referendum debate held in Scotland saw the country’s 16 and 17-year olds quiz a panel of politicians for an hour on how an independent Scotland would affect immigration, taxes, and the country’s representation in international sports, which, as the Olympics this year have shown, can be a major boost to national pride and morale. The nous with which Scotland’s youth addressed these key issues demonstrates that young people are completely capable of understanding the complexities of national politics, and that their opinion on other issues which My Manifesto addresses, such as transport, sexism and crime is equally valuable.

During the UK Youth Parliament’s third annual debate in the House of Commons last November, one of the topics addressed was transport costs for 2011. In a series of strong and well-expressed arguments, the effects of transport prices on a young person’s prospects concerning employment, education and poverty were highlighted. And as the country celebrates the end of a summer without the society-splitting riots of last year, the on-going question becomes how instances of crime and delinquency among youths can be reduced. Currently, most youth offences (19.5%) are violence against a person, making the eradication of crimes committed by young people a community issue. In recent months, the Metropolitan Police have made changes to the alienating and often prejudiced stop and search policing method, but what else can be done?

In support of their scheme Bite the Ballot have also been touring the country and signing up young people to the Electoral Register, meaning that more of the electorate during the next election will be under 25s, and political parties with any sense will therefore be seeking the first-time vote like never before. So what are you waiting for – let them know what you think about every topic discussed, with Bite the Ballot’s My Manifesto survey.

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About the Author

Isabelle Mngadi

Isabelle has recently graduated from the University of Kent, with a degree in Comparative Literature. She has completed work experience with her local MP, Ann Keen, and during her time at university, a significant portion of her studies were dedicated to exploring neo-colonialism and post-colonial development in Africa and Latin America. She has a background in working with young people from the UK and all around the world, and is passionate about helping them express their voice and be a positive influence to those around them. She is mostly interested in discussing international politics, particularly the intricacies of conflict resolution, globalisation and the establishment of human rights.



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