The New Generation of Political Activists

Submitted on Wed, 15/07/2009 - 9:52am

Young People are among the worst represented group in politics. The average age of an MP is 50 and the youngest MP is Lib Dem Jo Swinson, aged 29. Some politicians are undoubtedly popular with young people; Boris Johnson and Vince Cable are good examples. But even though we may laugh at Boris Johnsons gaffs and applaud Vince Cable's witty comments in Parliament, the best people to comment on young people's issues will always be young people themselves.

Voter apathy is a huge problem amongst the under 25s. The British Social Attitude Survey shows the massive difference in attitude towards voting in the different age groups in the UK. In the last survey in 2001, 36% of 18-34 year old questioned believed they had a duty to vote, but this percentage looks small compared to the 77% of over 65s who agreed with the statement. But it is arguable that young people are extremely involved with politics, they just don't vote.

Young people are getting involved with a wide range of issues they are passionate about, using new and engaging methods. We are seeing a new generation of political activists, who have swapped the banners and placards for online petitions and YouTube. In Iran, campaigners against the current regime used Twitter and Blogs to spread their message around the world. Not only was their government unable to stop it, it worked beautifully.

A few months ago we were mentioned in the Hertfordshire Mercury regarding the lack of activity in the Youth Council at East Herts District Council. Unfortunately it appears that nothing has changed, the website hasn't been updated for months and there are no meetings scheduled for the future. This is a missed opportunity for young people in East Herts.

You may be thinking what does this have to do with us? As a political organisation we would really like to see more and more young people involved with politics, no matter what their political allegiance. In response to this, we have just created a guide for young people and ways in which they can become politically active, which we hope will help. You never know, we may inspire a future councillor, MP, MEP or even Prime Minister!


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