Live Mag UK Visits Westminster

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On Monday, Live Mag UK hosted an event in association with Labour’s Shape Your Future Campaign at Westminster and it was pretty awesome

Live Mag UK at Westminster

The fact that young people are made out to be more interested in selfies and hashtags than politics is pure crap. The atmosphere that surrounded the debate, which was hosted by the Live team in assocation with the ‘Shape Your Future’ campaign, and discussion that took place earlier this week absolutely confirms this.

About thirty 16-24 year-olds excitedly made their way through the airport-like security at Portcullis House and headed right up to the Boothroyd Room. Just a little side note, the atrium at Portcullis House is literally what I want in my future home- it is just so legit! Anyways, while everyone mulled around, Ivan Lewis, Labour MP for Bury South and the Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary, strolled in and in true politician form went around greeting everyone in the room.

The first thing we were asked to do was to write down a word that we associated with politics and politicians. Some words thrown around were “corruption”, “untrustworthy”, “childish” and “lacking diversity”. I went with “dirty” because lets all be honest, politics can be one big dirty game.  Ivan didn’t seem shocked in the slightest. He has been going up and down the country holding these kinds of consultations with young people so he’s probably heard a lot worse.

Next, we were asked to split into groups of five. We were given the three main parties policies and asked to discuss them. We then used these policies as guides to write our own manifestos. This is where the most fun was had, and proved the idea that young people don’t care about real issues is just stupid.

Perhaps the reason young people have felt so uninvolved in politics is because these issues were not being addressed from their point of view. The main policies discussed were housing, employment, education and the NHS. We only had about 40 minutes to come up with our manifestos so I was really impressed by how eloquent and thought-out each group’s policies were.

From listening to all the ideas discussed in the room it seemed most of us were worried about affordable housing, the future of the NHS, low paying internships and apprenticeships and the fact that education should include skills for life after school. Rhammel Afflick, head of strategic development at One Big Community, made a really valid point in saying that while the Government seems to be pushing for more people to go into apprenticeships: “if employers don’t value apprenticeships as much as a university degree, then what’s the point?”

After presenting our manifestos, Mr Lewis took the floor. He spoke about his path to politics and then discussed the Shape Your Future campaign in further detail.

At the beginning of the day I spoke with Safa, an 18-year-old International Fashion Branding student, who said that if the election were held tomorrow she would not vote. “I feel confused. I don’t know who’s right or wrong,” she said.

By the end of the day she had been involved in discussing policies and listened to people debate important issues among themselves. A real change.

Labour have offered young people a chance to have their voices heard and to feel included.  It’s welcome, but whether or not that means they’ll get their vote is another matter.


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