Involve young people in democracy, says Lucas

By staff writers
21 Apr 2010

The Leader of the Green Party, Caroline Lucas, has insisted that young people should be allowed a greater role in the democratic process. The Green Party is calling for votes at 16 along with a Young People's Executive Council in each local authority area to represent youth concerns.

Lucas pitched for the youth vote while delivering a “one-minute manifesto” on BBC Radio 1. She told listeners that “We're the party that wants to bring our troops home from Afghanistan and stop bankers from receiving unfair bonuses”.

She added ,”We want to double investment in activities for young people and build more affordable homes for first-time buyers”.

As BBC Radio 1 has a mostly young audience, appearances on the channel are often regarded as crucial by politicians seeking the support of younger voters.

More than half of people aged 18-25 did not vote in the last general election. While some have attributed this to apathy, others have argued that younger people are given the impression that their votes and opinions will make no difference to the political process.

In a statement released after the interview, the Green Party reiterated their commitment to doubling expenditure on local authority youth services, “ensuring access to quality facilities for music, art, drama, dance and youth clubs, as well as sports”. They added that “the ‘Young People's Executive Council' scheme would give young people aged 11-17 control over a chunk of their local council budget, approximately £25,000, which will be a designated youth fund”.

The Greens are keen to emphasise the central involvement of young people in their own party. The Young Greens have their own conference and magazine.

Twelve of the Green Party's general election candidates are under 30, including Matthew Butcher, a 21-year-old student contesting Nottingham South. The Green Party say that Butcher has worked to develop links between students and the long-term resident community in Nottingham.

[Ekk/1]

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