What struck me about Parliament Week was the enthusiasm amongst young people, when given the chance, for engaging in our democracy. It reminded me of a particularly inspiring young person I have the good fortune to meet back in March.
Isaac Warburton, who picked up the top prize in our competition with this critical and creative video on Budget 2012, joined us at the HM Treasury to present the Youth Budget.
I decided to get back in touch with Isaac and he kindly shared his reflections of the day in this guest blog post.
Reflections of a Chance to be Chancellor winner
By Isaac Warburton
There aren’t many opportunities for young people to have their say. The only chances we do get are often patronising, and there’s no better way to disengage a teenager than by being condescending – Chance to be Chancellor is different. I’ve always been extremely opinionated, some people say I have too much to say, but I don’t think we can ever say enough. There’s a lot wrong with this country, and while everyone talks about it, nothing is ever done about it. If we want change, we need to expose the flaws in the system and continue to raise awareness until something’s done about it! Chance to be Chancellor is a perfect way to channel your views and frustrations, whilst contributing towards a meaningful document called the ‘Youth Budget’ which is handed over to Downing Street.
Young people are the future, we are the ones who face the fallout of the decisions that are made today, so why shouldn’t we have a say in it? Obviously many opinions that we as young people have will be ‘miscalculated’ due to our natural naivety but a lot of what we have to say is far more relevant in this ever changing world than some of the outdated views held by the older generations. Chance to be Chancellor provides young people with an opportunity to have their say and have their voices heard.
I’ve never really won anything before, so when I entered the competition I didn’t expect much. I was hopeful that my entry might break into the top 10, however I never thought for a minute that I would win. Visiting Downing Street was surreal to say the least, the doors are actually bigger than they look, and the letterboxes are in fact sealed shut – something which I’m sure you all wanted to know.
I can’t stress how rewarding this experience could be for people thinking to apply. Whether you win or not it’s a great feature for your CV and really shows that you have a passion for current affairs – employers like that. It will help you grasp economic and political concepts, while opening your eyes to the bigger picture. Even if you don’t win the competition, your views will still be incorporated into the ‘Youth Budget’ – which features the views of everyone who participated.
My advice to anyone thinking to enter is to just go for it. Don’t go with a half-hearted entry, why not take your essay and turn it into a script – find someone who’s half good with a camera and make a video! My parents and teachers told me not to bother with the competition and to focus on exams instead, but if you manage your time well and don’t watch Eastenders for a week or leave Call of Duty on the shelf you’ll be fine. Anyway, everyone has A-Levels, why not stand out from the crowd and become Youth Chancellor!
Give it a go, what have you got to lose?
Isaac Warburton, 18