Time To Make Our Young Political Voices Heard

James Jobson has a view on the change needed and how to get it.
January 18, 2023

I recently read a fascinating online article by Colette Kaines Lang titled ‘Tired of politics? Maybe that’s what unites us‘. Collette is a great writer who makes a lot of interesting points. Like many young people she is anaesthetised by political fatigue. At the end of her piece, she asks is it safer for us to scroll through Instagram rather than keep up to date with politics from deaf politicians?

My answer is an emphatic NO.

As a young political activist, I want to kiss goodbye to the Tory corruption, mismanagement and austerity that have blighted my life since my mid-teens.

Instead, I want to welcome with open arms a government where everyone benefits from a fairer, greener future.

Boris Johnson (remember him, currently gigging around the world at £250,000 a pop) was elected in 2019 on a levelling-up agenda, but I don’t see day-to-day evidence of this programme in my life.  

A holiday in Bristol earlier this year highlighted the stark reality of Johnson’s abandoned manifesto pledge. I witnessed first-hand the disparity between the wealthy city in the South West of England and my hometown in Berwick and most urban conurbations in the North of England.

Levelling up? Berwick Left Behind Compared To Bristol.

Our towns and cities in the North are poor through no fault of their own, but because the Tories have purposefully left us.  

Great locations and great people with huge potential continue to be indiscriminately swept under the rug as ageing mean-spirited Conservatives in their ‘castles’ in the shires believe the North starts at the Watford Gap.  Is that why London and their southern England heartlands get all the major investment and we have to be grateful for a few crumbs flung in our direction?

Want to change it? Well, get active. Become a political activist and walk the walk and talk the talk.

In a conversation with one of my best friends a short while ago, we touched on this. She wasn’t particularly interested in politics, but, has begun to feel differently as the twelve years of Tory misrule intensified and made our lives even worse.

Like me, she wants change, she wants to see the Tories out and she wants to make life better for everyone across our country again.  

She also, like me, wants to have the opportunity to learn more about it and believes it should be taught in schools so people can learn about it and other current affairs early on.  

As someone who was taught about it through Modern Studies in the Scottish education system, I couldn’t agree more. By understanding the technical ins and outs of politics in the classroom, I am able to form my own opinions and make my own political choices, without prejudice.

I have a confession. I am an executive committee member of the Berwick upon Tweed Constituency Labour Party and I have been campaigning hard to get our message out there and unite young people.  

In the aftermath of the worst election defeat for over forty years, Labour has been rejuvenated. People can see the Labour Party stands for economic growth and stability, fairness and social justice, equality and acceptance; in fact, a party ready to govern.  

Colette suggests the ‘buzzword’ should be ‘listen’ but doesn’t think it will catch on anytime soon.  

I agree: If Johnson, Truss and Sunak had listened to their advisors and the experts we wouldn’t be facing a huge 7% drop in living standards over the coming years.

But just because they are deaf, we can still hear. I am listening. Labour is listening. And you’re ‘listening’ by reading this.

I have always been very vocal listening to people and the CLP listened to me and agreed. When we go out across North Northumberland, we don’t just want to spread our message but we also want to listen.  

What’s more, we want young people across the North East to unite as one body to show everyone that political fatigue isn’t going to condemn us to an uncertain future.