Exciting Times

Submitted on Wed, 04/11/2009 - 5:33pm

Political Reform is currently on everyone's lips and as MPs and Peers are forced to eat humble pie (not on expenses), I'm excited that things are slowly but surely changing. It's been quite a monumental week:

  • The Electoral Commission are considering a number of electoral reforms including weekend voting.
  • MYPs (Members of Youth Parliament) debated in the commons for the first time last Friday.
  • Independent politicians are gaining further public support and a schools program ran by the Hansard Society shows that young people support non-party candidates.

The Electoral Commission recently published their report on the successes and failures of the June 2009 European and Local elections. The Electoral Commission's research discovered that more people would vote if:

a) Elections were held on the weekend

b) People were able to vote before polling day

c) People were offered an alternative day to vote

Who knows if weekend voting would actually increase voter turnout, but it's certainly a move in the right direction. Would the British public give up part of their weekend to vote?

Members of the Youth Parliament attended its first meeting in the House of Commons last Friday.  Over 300 MPs passionately debated young people's issues such as; lowering the voting age to 16; youth crime; public transport; jobs and the economy and University fees.

The level of knowledge among these young people was quite incredible and would put most adults to shame. Seeing them in parliament squashed arguments that young MPs would be ineffective. Our own Hertford MYP, Alex Knight, attended the debate and looked very professional in his suit. Well done our MYPs!

Independent politicians are becoming a common theme in the political media and the public seems to becoming quite receptive to the idea. The Independent candidate for Glasgow North East, John Smeaton, has a Facebook group set up in his honour, John Smeaton Appreciation Society and has over 3,700 members. We wish him the best of luck in the upcoming by-election.

It also appears that young people are also extremely receptive to Independent thinking. Over 1 million young people in the UK have participated in the Hansard Society's mock elections in schools since 2003.

31 schools took part in the European elections in 2009, that equates to an astonishing 10737 votes. The Conservatives won the election with 17 votes, but the Independents were close behind with 15 seats. We hope that young people keep that Independent spirit.

The Hansard Society are running mock elections next year for the upcoming general election. If you're a young people and are interested, ask your teacher to sign up to the project.

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