Member of Scottish Youth Parliament for Edinburgh Central
I am absolutely honoured to have been re-elected as a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament in the SYP National Elections, which took place in March 2015. I want to thank everyone in Edinburgh who voted for me. It is an honour to represent the young people in my constituency. For the past two years, I have been involved in many Scottish Youth Parliament campaigns which have helped to shape historic changes in our society, such as the lowering of the voting age, increasing awareness of the importance of a living wage, and the implementation of policies to help young carers facing financial hardship. The Scottish Youth Parliament’s current campaign, POVERTY: See It Change It, aims to combat child and youth poverty in Scotland, and I’m looking forward to championing this campaign throughout 2015.
Throughout the past two years, I have enjoyed encouraging young people to engage with politics and make their voices heard. I particularly enjoyed encouraging young people to register to vote and have their say in the Scottish independence referendum last year. I had the opportunity to promote various hustings and events which were organised by SYP, and I attended many local debates in Edinburgh. I also attended ‘the Big Debate’ - a national debate which was held in the Glasgow and televised by the BBC. The Scottish independence referendum engaged people from all walks of life, and I believe it has had a lasting impact on young people’s enthusiasm for politics. Around 80% of 16- and 17-year-olds registered to vote in the independence referendum, and knowing that SYP engaged with over 18,500 young people and registered thousands of first time voters makes me extremely proud to have been an MSYP during this momentous occasion in our country’s history. This was definitely one of my highlights as an MSYP.
Recently, I’ve been watching numerous television debates and reading articles about the upcoming UK General Election 2015, and I am very excited find out which party will form our Government for the next five years. However, I am devastated that I will not be able to cast my vote on May 7th 2015, as I am not yet 18 years-old. This brings me to why I support Votes at 16 for all UK elections. I believe that 16-and 17-year-olds should have the right to have our say in decisions which affect our future. There are often misconceptions about young people, which suggest they are not interested in politics. I am proud that young people continue to challenge these misconceptions and prove them to be wrong. In Scotland, young people turned out in their masses to vote in the Scottish Referendum, and the overall turnout across the country was 84.5%, which is fantastic.
Once again, I want to thank the young people who have voted for me as their local Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament. I will strive to continue to deliver my promises and I hope that I can achieve more and more for the young people in Edinburgh Central, and also for young people all over Scotland.