Brexit fuelling young peoples’ rising interest in politics
PUBLISHED: 12:38 17 April 2018 | UPDATED: 12:38 17 April 2018
“Young people are beginning to realise that politics, whether or not they like it, influences every aspect of their life.”
Those are the words of one of the young people who were picked by their peers to serve as a member of the Norfolk Youth Parliament.
Much was made of the ‘youthquake’ in last year’s general election, with one poll suggesting turnout among 18 to 24-year-olds went up by 16pc.
The British Election Study cast doubt on that, with their study showing the youngest voters did not turn out in any greater numbers than in 2015, although people in their 30s did.
While debate continues to swirl about whether the ‘youthquake’ - was a myth or not, young people in Norfolk are in no doubt that their generation is increasingly interested in politics.
Brexit, they say, has had a role in galvanising interest, with a frustration among some young people that a decision likely to have major ramifications for their generation, was made by people of an older vintage.
George Bowman, 17, pictured right, a politics student at Thorpe St Andrew High School, has, with three of his schoolmates, set up an online site called The Speaker, specifically to make politics more accessible to young people.
He said: “With Brexit, I think that might have energised young people because they felt they couldn’t have their say.
“The decision was being made by people who might not be around to see the impact of how they voted and I think that has made a lot of young people want to express themselves.”
George said, at the last general election, Labour had “done very well” in using social media to appeal to young people and the Conservatives were now trying to catch up.
Fee Robinson, 15, is the Norfolk Youth Parliament member whose comment is at the top of this article. Fee’s interest in politics came from personal experience as a trans student.
Fee said: “Politics is the best platform to stand up for what you believe in, I grew tired of meeting fellow trans people whose schools didn’t listen to what they were saying.
“I grew tired of mental health services not listening to their users and instead are listening to business people. It was time to take a stand and that’s what I did by becoming an MYP.”