Yesterday Tony Breslin and I were called to give evidence to the Speaker’s Conference. We were asked specifically about young people’s engagement in politics and what role if any, that citizenship education could play in getting young people interested in politics and choosing politics as a future career.
It was my first experience giving evidence to the House of Commons and I was pleasantly impressed by the collaborative nature of the questions from a cross-party committee. The nature of questioning meant that we were really able to examine some of the wider issues that concern young people’s political engagement particularly how we position engagement opportunities to young people.
it was rather bizarre that a group of politics geeks (including me), were trying to come up with a solution to young people’s lack of interest in traditional political process and the question that I was left with was “how do we engage young people in politics?” This was a particularly shocking question for me as I run a political literacy project, called Youth Act, here at the Foundation, so I should really know the answer to that question! When I got back to the office I had an epiphany caused by this video… In My Name
In essence this video shows that you can pull people into a discussion on poverty through a fairly shallow tool – a catchy video with some celebrities. Watching this video made me realise that political literacy is a journey and we have to ensure that there are enough options for young people from campaigning projects like Youth Act to UKYP and also Facebook protests. We need to sew up a ‘patchwork quilt’ of political engagement projects & resources so that young people can find a space that works for them that will lead them through the political system that makes decisions that affects their lives.