As the UK Youth Parliament gears up for its debate in the House of Commons on 23 November, Total Politics interviews 5 budding young politicians on the 5 issues they will be deliberating.
Last year, in a ballot of 65,532 votes 5 issues were chosen to be debated in the House of Commons. They were transport, bullying, green, poverty and tuition fees. UKYP voted to “make public transport cheaper, better, and accessible for all” and set up a Select Committee to work on the issue and to create policies.
One year on and almost four times as many votes cast, the Youth Parliament has spoken and here are 5 MYPs discussing this year’s main issues and their passion for politics:
Natasha Browne, Solihull, West Midlands
I will be arguing against the curriculum for life, which is about educating young people about skills they need when they are older. The problem is that there are such big differences on national, region and local basis. I think it would be better to teach students how to think and how to adapt. We could even have drop in centres where students can ask questions about issues that affect them.
I became interested in politics because it affects my day to day life. I saw how adults and teachers do so much for us and I wanted to give something back. I enjoy being a MYP but I am not sure if I want to go into politics when I am older, my other big passion is maths.
Rhiordan Langan-Fortune, East Lothian, Scotland
I will be doing the summation for the National Minimum Wage debate. At the moment, young people are getting a raw deal and so the National Minimum Wage would benefit the economy and fight poverty; it would help all age groups.
I have been fascinated by British politics for a long time, as it is the mother of all democracies. I ran to be a MYP because I get to represent my area and also meet likeminded people and have interesting debates. I will definitely pursue a career in politics but I am not sure what form that will take; I wouldn’t want to be a “career politician”.
Ailish Brown, Hertfordshire, Hertford
I will be arguing against making transport cheaper, better and more accessible for all, because I think attempting to achieve this in a year in unrealistic. I think that other issues, such as the ‘Curriculum for Life’ are more important and more realistic.
I first got interested in politics after watching the news and later joining my local youth council and youth forums. I only found about the Youth Parliament the night before, but I applied and now I’m the MYP for Hertfordshire. I like being able to get views and ideas across to the people who have the option of listening. I hope to study law, politics or PPE at university and perhaps run for local council in a few years.
Michaella Philpot, Essex, South East England
I am arguing for equal marriage because I think that the gay community is growing among young people and they want an equal voice. Young people voted for it so it must be important.
I joined the Essex Youth Council and then the local Parliament. I became an MYP so that I could get the voices of young people heard nationally and take it to a higher level. I would like to continue on this path and go into government in the future.
Ryan Davies, Llanelli, Wales
I will be arguing for the importance of youth unemployment; why it is so high and the ways to tackle it. I believe that everyone should have equal opportunities and prospects for work.
I always wanted to be a journalist but then I realised, they always report on what is wrong with the world; I want to be part of a profession that makes a difference. I became an MYP so that I could see a change in my local community and this has enhanced my view on getting into politics. I definitely think that I will pursue a career in politics in the future.
The MYPs will be debating these big issues in the House of Commons on the 23 November 2012. It will be their opportunity to put forward their own and their constituents’ views, with the winning proposal being put forward for MPs to discuss and take action on. The debates, chaired by Speaker John Bercow MP, will be broadcast by BBC Parliament.
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