Wednesday, 27 March 2013
Youth Branch meeting for the Option A campaign
Date - 2nd April
Time - 4pm
Place - No. 20 Commercial Buildings, St Helier
Next week, during the Easter holidays, I'm chairing a meeting to hopefully form a Youth Branch for the Option A campaign.
Anyone who considers themselves young is welcome to attend and have a discussion about the role we young people can play in the referendum campaign to secure a resounding victory for Option A.
If we get ourselves organised quickly, we can get school groups sorted to put up posters and canvass their school colleagues to build up support from one of the most important electoral groups in the island.
Option A provides a chance for islanders to finally all have an equal say in how their island is run, no matter where they live in Jersey, and to bring Jersey into the 21st Century. This is something that should resonate with young people who are a lot smarter then they often get credit for, and who still have an idealism not eroded by years of cynicism.
So if you are young and want to be a part of this, or know people who are, please come along!
The meeting room is next to Normans opposite the Steam Clock. It should be easy to find, but if there are any problems, please give me a ring on 07797 811130.
One of my first experiences of being vocal about local politics was in 2008 during the Senatorial election campaign, in which my school Hautlieu hosted a hustings specifically for young people (16-18) who had just been given the vote.
There were around 21 candidates in that election, yet only 20 students turned up to the hustings.
The JEP wrote a big article with a picture of the practically empty hall with a big headline criticising young people for being apathetic. I was pretty infuriated by this portrayal of young people and wrote my first letter to the paper to set the record straight.
The reason the meeting had been so poorly attended was because the schools had done virtually nothing to let the students know that it was actually going on. It wasn't mentioned in assemblies, no teachers told us about it and it wasn't on the school noticeboard. I only heard about it through word of mouth from someone who knew one of the candidates.
From what I gather, this was exactly the same in the 2011 election.
Frankly, the schools need to pull their finger out. We have been trying to organise some sort of school debate and be allowed to go in and do talks on the options and canvass young people and we are hitting all sorts of pathetic stumbling blocks.
How can a democracy expect to flourish if they don't allow politics in school? When I was at Hautlieu we had no political education whatsoever. I was lucky that I had a fantastic history teacher Michael Sheldrake who did his best to keep us informed, but it was not an official thing.
Obviously it's important to avoid indoctrination, but the schools way of doing that appears to be to just cut out any political discussions whatsoever, which is totally counter productive.
Regardless, we'll persevere and do our best to try and spread the message.