In which Anna McGovern, the Chair of Medway Youth Council, takes a look at the current state of our political conversations, and how things can be improved..
The political discourse in our society is fractured – and arguably, beyond repair. One could argue that our online discourse, in itself, is a broken mechanism, aside from the political sphere. When Caroline Flack tragically died, our collective response was to circulate the hashtag #BeKind across social media; a seemingly powerful message with the well-intended commission to implore a more “considerate” nature towards one another. That lasted mere days. Well-intended hashtags cannot shape the toxicity of our rampant society.
In which Anna McGovern, the Chair of Medway Youth Council, talks about the organisation achieved at their recent Annual Conference..
In a recent national ballot for young people called “Make Your Mark”, it was overwhelmingly highlighted that 40% of young people in Medway wanted “Protect The Environment” to be prioritised as a national campaign. This is our youth demographic, denied the vote – but longing for a say on their future. The timing of our Annual Conference couldn’t have been more spot on.
On the 20th November 2019, the Medway Youth Council hosted their Annual Conference for 2019 – “Climate Change – A Real Threat To Our Future!”. We invited young people from across Medway to partake in a series of workshops, have the opportunity to converse with climate change professionals, and to attend an afternoon Q&A panel focussing on the key themes within the climate crisis. We were particularly fortunate to have MidKent College in Gillingham host our event for the day.
The purpose of our Annual Conference was to educate and inform young people on the issues concerning climate change on a local and a national scale. Whether you join Extinction Rebellion, engage in a protest or even make small changes in your lifestyle – we wanted to impart onto our young people that there are so many ways in which they can contribute towards the reversal of climate change.
In which Anna McGovern, the Chair of Medway Youth Council, looks at the relevant issues for young people in this General Election..
Thursday 12th December will be a crucial day in the UK’s political sphere. It is the General Election – a day in which the people vote for who they want to represent them in Parliament. A total of 650 candidates will be elected as Members of Parliament (MPs) to decide laws and policies governing the UK. Individuals vote for the candidate they wish to represent them within their constituency on a Parliamentary scale. Many of these candidates will belong to a political party, but some candidates do stand independently. Current polls suggest a Conservative lead, with the Electoral Calculus website outlining an 82% likelihood that there will be a Conservative majority. But I tend to take these polls with a slight pinch of salt, because you can never truly know what to expect until the election result is announced to the UK. Individuals will be voting for their preferred candidate (or, in some cases, the “best” out of a bad bunch) within their constituency for the General Election.
In which Anna McGovern, the Chair of Medway Youth Council, looks at the challenges and abuse that have become all too common in our politics..
Politics has changed. It is not just about making a “difference” anymore; it is a slandering competition on who can score the most “party political” points. I have seen this myself, locally and nationally – and it only seems to be getting worse.
It is not only the “political activists” of Twitter subject to daily abuse, offline and online, for following a certain ideology. It is not only the local councillors who have to deal with being under permanent scrutiny for every action they make, whilst balancing full-time careers, family life and other personal affairs.
More than ever, young people are the demographic being subject to pertinent abuse. Young people being abused by young people. Young people being abused by adults, who surely should know better. There are so many cases of online (and offline) abuse I could name which could account to multiple articles in their own right. My point is that abuse in politics is so common nowadays that it overshadows what politics in itself should be about: making a difference locally and nationally.
In which Anna McGovern, the new Member of the UK Youth Parliament for Medway, introduces herself..
Young people do not have the vote. But we do have a voice. More than ever, society is recognising the truly immense power of youth social action. Young people are the next generation of adults – and therefore we deserve a say in what our futures will be.