Young people at the Roundhouse give proportional representation the thumbs up!

The Roundhouse has a whole weekend of engaging young people in politics – from political debate, to graffiti walls and musical, theatrical and film entertainment. Do you feel counted?

On a fantastically sunny day – it was rewarding that so many young people had turned up for this hustings on political reform. I represented the LibDems, Meg Hillier (Labour), Antonia Cox(Tories). The Legal correspondent for the Guardian, Afua Hirsch and Fumi Abari, 16 year old member of the UK Youth Parliament added real interest and different viewpoints.

What was so fantastic – were the contributions from the floor. As Youth Spokesperson for the LibDems I am always banging on about the misrepresentation by the media of all young people as trainee criminals. My experience is always that they are positive, good and want to get on in life.

The hustings was chaired by Evan Davis (Dragon’s Den and the Today program – there’s a mixture). The first half of the hustings was about voting systems and the second half about who can vote.

We all gave our views on both of the subjects and in each case Evan Davis took a show of hands at the end of the discussion as to whose position the young audience agreed with.

On voting – proportional representation won hands down with about 80% of the vote.
On lowering the voting age to 16 – 90% were in favour.

Both Liberal Democrat propositions!

No wonder Nick Clegg today is reported in the press as going on the campaign trail to appeal to young people today!

0 thoughts on “Young people at the Roundhouse give proportional representation the thumbs up!

  1. So 90% of 16 year olds wanted to be able to do more stuff? I expect more than a few seven year olds might want to be able to vote too, or have more sweets for that matter. Not that I’m necessarily against 16 year olds voting, just it isn’t anything to shout about when the beneficiaries of a policy strongly agree with it.

    Were issues such as family and societal breakdown discussed? That would have been a far more interesting issue to hear about.

  2. Most young people who haven’t lost interest, want electoral reform and also want to clean up politics.
    They don’t need to be told that we need an end to wasted votes, safe seats, campaign by marginal constituency and tactical voting. Looking a bit deeper, do young people agree that we need to shift power from the Government, to the Parliament? The fact is we need higher calibre MPs who are more independently minded. We need MPs who are elected on their personal merits, not just because they have the right party label. The silver lining of the Lib Dems’ low number of MPs is that they generally stand head and shoulders above other MPs.

    One of the reasons our electoral system is rotten is that we are forced to ignore the qualities of the individual candidates and focus on voting for the party. It is not that we have forgotten the Expenses Scandal, It is just that the Electoral system doesn’t allow us any freedom to do anything about it.
    When you vote for a constituency representative on the basis of party label alone, you will get some lazy, incompetent, even corrupt MPs.
    You also get MPs who hesitate to vote except in accordance with the wishes of the party whip.

    Whatever Government we get from this unpredictable election must tackle electoral and parliamentary reform. We need an electoral system where MPs are elected on their own merits and thus can be more independent minded.
    We need an electoral system where everybody can vote for the party of their choice and know that their vote will not be wasted.
    We need a system which would allow voters to vote directly both for the best party and for the best constituency representative – Direct Party and Representative voting.