Lisa Nandy hosts Parliamentary event on empowering young people in politics
In conjunction with the Fabian Society, Lisa Nandy hosted a Parliamentary event this week on how we develop powerful and responsibly powerful young people.
With a panel of young people from all over the country, the event discussed the wide-ranging obstacles that prevent young people from getting involved in existing political systems.
With the spread of the economic crisis and the resulting social unrest reaching large parts of the world it’s been young people who have more often than not been at the centre of major political events – the Arab spring, Occupy Movement and a broad range of student protests. These movements show that there is a real desire for change, fairness and social justice among young people. The paradox however, is that while young people are at the fore of trying to create a new politics, they simultaneously lack a seat at the table of existing political power.
This lack of political influence is demonstrated by the fact that young people are less likely to vote; unable to do so before 18 and are unlikely to do so afterwards. Young people are underrepresented in politics and, as a smaller cohort, have less collective power than larger generations. However, these trends need to be set in the context of deep alienation across the board. This lack of participation should not be confused with apathy – evidence suggests young people are interested and active in politics but are increasingly finding alternative ways to express their views and act outside of the mainstream.
The meeting covered a range of issues and particularly focused on how to harness the energy, optimism and ambition of our young people and look to develop them as responsible and resilient leaders of tomorrow.