How do we refresh democracy for young people?

How do we refresh democracy for young people?

#GE19 & Campaigns, Blogs, Democracy
'They dont appear to know what they're doing in Westminster' (first time voter, Croydon). The 5th of December was #DemocracyDay when Young Voices Heard joined twenty other organisations calling for a range of measures to address disenchantment with democracy*. The day was coordinated by the Electoral Reform Society who commissioned a mini-poll* from BMG Research on the attitudes of the electorate on how well politics is working and whether they felt they could  influence decision-makers. When asked to describe their opinion on how politics is working 82% of 18-24 year-olds agreed that it needs improving and 68%  felt that they do not have very much/no influence over decision-makers in the country as a whole. The first view is close to an average of 84% for all ages of voter, but…
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Election 19 #YouthVoice Manifesto – Nothing about us      Without us!

Election 19 #YouthVoice Manifesto – Nothing about us Without us!

#GE19 & Campaigns, Blogs, Democracy, Young Voices Heard
Its been two years since I posted my last 'General Election Call To Action’ and a ‘Youth-Voice Agenda’ to highlight youth people's concerns and campaigns, especially those who could not vote.* I followed up with an open letter to the Prime Minister and Party Leaders calling on them to 'talk to young people not about them' – both during and after campaigns – and to consider introducing a series of reforms that would prioritise youth issues and embed meaningful #youthvoice and #participation in our democracy going forward**. Here is my updated open call for this election – “An Advocate’s Youth Manifesto” – inspired by the #youthvoice movement, from individual campaigners to national consultations like the amazing Make Your Mark Ballots of recent years organised by the UK Youth Parliament, the…
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Election 2019 – #Youthpower

Election 2019 – #Youthpower

#GE19 & Campaigns, Blogs, Democracy
"Too young to vote, but not too young to be heard by those that do." By James Cathcart, first published in 'Children Young People Now' | 09 November 2019 | At some point during the election campaign commentators and parties will focus on policies relating to children and young people, such as education and knife crime and will also target the 18-24 youth vote with promises around employment, housing and debt, and of course, Brexit. However, there is another influential group, whose agenda is usually ignored by the mainstream media and public opinion in the run up to elections, but whose influence should not be underestimated in voting households since the last election - children and young people under 18. While too young to vote they are not too young…
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Youth Charter 2019 – Youth Minister 2020

Youth Charter 2019 – Youth Minister 2020

Blogs, Democracy, Young Voices Heard
Youth Charter pending?  Youth Minister overdue! Have the stars aligned, at last, to create the conditions for a meaningful dialogue between youth sector stakeholders and decision-makers, resulting in a higher profile for youth policy development and a lead from Government? Following the ‘Serious Youth Violence Summit’ in early April 2019, the Government announced that it would be working with the youth sector in the coming months, to produce a Youth Charter that will “set out a vision for young people for the next generation and beyond”. The Government repeated its commitment to “giving young people a strong* voice on issues they care about” (first set out in last years Civil Society Strategy, DCMS). Sports and Civil Society Minister [with responsibility for that departments youth policy but its a stretch to…
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UK Youth Parliament’s ‘Make Your Mark’ ballot TOP 10 campaigns 2018, reviewed

UK Youth Parliament’s ‘Make Your Mark’ ballot TOP 10 campaigns 2018, reviewed

Blogs, Democracy, Young Voices Heard
The UK Youth Parliament #MAKEYOURMARK ballot is published (header photo), and the polls are open. Anyone aged 11-18 in the UK can now vote for their priority campaign until 10th October through their local school/youth council/online. In recent years young volunteers have mobilised nearly a million of their peers to vote across the U.K. making it the largest consultation of young people in the country if not Europe. The annual debate of the five of these campaigns by the Youth Parliament in the House of Commons, was one of the highlights of my year when I was at The British Youth Council, but its the results of the popular vote that is a fascinating, sometimes surprising and even ahead of the curve the Westminster bubble. It's what matters to next…
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Votes at 16: House of Commons Vote?

Votes at 16: House of Commons Vote?

Democracy
How would MPs vote if there were a free vote this session? 'Votes at 16 - Are we ready, willing and able?' is a question not just for young people, but for MPs and society. In this Paper, first published on 27/03/18 the author asks 'Are we about to enter a new age for democracy? Is that ‘age’ to be sixteen and will it be more than about voting, and encompass a broader agenda of democratic dialogue between young people and politicians?"  Reviewing 'what's new' and exploring 'what's needed' in the Votes at 16 debate going forward this Paper was first presented to the UK Political Studies Association Annual Conference, Cardiff, March 2018 and a referenced copy is available on request, ahead of publication. It is shared here in advance…
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Votes at 16 : All-Party Parliamentary Group 2018

Votes at 16 : All-Party Parliamentary Group 2018

Blogs, Democracy, Young Voices Heard
Is now the time for a new parliamentary body, such as an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), to enable cross-party dialogue to explore consensus on lowering the voting age to 16 with measures to sustain it?  Votes at 16 for all elections is achievable but not inevitable. It is such an important constitutional change it demands a great political and public consensus to be sustainable [lesson learnt from Brexit].  This article explores why and ways to move forward. (more…)
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A Strong #Youthvote Is In The National Interest because..        (2/5/17)

A Strong #Youthvote Is In The National Interest because.. (2/5/17)

Blogs, Democracy, Young Voices Heard
A strong #youthvote turnout is in the national interest because it is a measure of the health of our democracy, an early indicator of the life-time relationship between voters and their representatives, a sign of understanding, a dividend of education and a measure of mandate. We need to nurture it, and if we feed it, it will grow to benefit us all. However, evidence suggests the trend has been in the other direction. This blog was first published at the beginning of May 2017 when the General Election had just been announced, and formed the basis for an open letter to political leaders on the day of the result in June which can be found in a referenced Paper for the Political Studies Association in February 2018. To be published but contact us for…
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“Youth Voices Heard – in Parliament”

“Youth Voices Heard – in Parliament”

Blogs, Democracy, Young Voices Heard
Getting "Youth Voices Heard" in Parliament is one of the three top priorities of the 'Young Voices Heard' initiative. (the others being in the Boardroom and in Communities. It is based on the assumption that the health of a nation's governance is proportionate to the level of participation of its young people in public life, and in particular, their understanding and engagement with their Parliament. This blog was first written by the founder of Young Voices Heard in 2017 but was expanded and developed into a Paper for the Political Studies Association in 2018 which is available on request and awaiting publication. (more…)
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