Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Youth Parliament Chair welcomes electoral franchise announcement

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office

Youth Parliament Chair welcomes electoral franchise announcement

©DN Anderson

 

15th December 2014

 

The Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Louise Cameron MSYP, has welcomed the expected announcement from the Prime Minister that powers to lower the voting age will be devolved to the Scottish Parliament in time for the next Holyrood elections in 2016.

The Prime Minister is expected to confirm the new powers when he meets with the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, later today.

The Scottish Youth Parliament has been leading the campaign to lower the voting age in Scotland for fifteen years.

Speaking about the announcement, Cameron, who issued a statement urging the Prime Minister to devolve the powers after the publication of the Smith Commission findings and who previously met with Lord Smith to encourage the electoral franchise to be part of the Smith Commission report, said:

“I am absolutely delighted that the powers to lower the voting age will be devolved to the Scottish Parliament in time for the next Holyrood elections in 2016. We worked hard with the Smith Commission to make a strong case for devolution of these powers, given our experience in Scotland.”

“The young people of Scotland proved, through their engagement in the referendum process, that they take their right to vote very seriously, and they have collectively crushed all of the myths and arguments against a lowered voting age.”

“However, we cannot be complacent by simply assuming that these powers will mean that young people will be automatically engaged. A lot of work and effort went into engaging young people for the referendum, and this needs to continue. If we get this right, and we can build on a very successful process of engagement seen during the referendum, we have the opportunity to create a voter generation of active, passionate and engaged citizens.”

Youth Parliament Chair urges Prime Minister to devolve voting age powers to Scotland – @weezeontoast

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

Thursday 27th November 2014

 

©DN Anderson

The Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Louise Cameron MSYP, has today urged the Prime Minister to accept that powers over electoral franchise should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

 

The Scottish Youth Parliament has been leading the campaign in Scotland to lower the voting age for over fifteen years.

 

Speaking after the Smith Commission published its Heads of Agreement, which included the recommendation to devolve electoral franchise powers to Scotland, Cameron said:

 

“We are delighted that the Smith Commission has recommended powers over the voting age to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament. Given the experience of the referendum, there is now widespread consensus among the public, the media and politicians that the voting age should be lowered to 16.”
“At the Scottish Youth Parliament, we have always known that young people are engaged, active and informed citizens, keen to play their part in creating a better Scotland.” 

 

“The referendum forced politicians, and other organisations to engage with young people more meaningfully, and at a scale never seen before. The Scottish experience of a lowered voting age has refuted many of the arguments made against it, and indeed a social attitudes research carried out by the University of Edinburgh also disproves many of these arguments.”

 

“With many powers over electoral administration already devolved to the Scottish Parliament, we believe devolving powers to lower the voting age is a logical and sensible next step which will make votes at 16 a reality in Scottish elections and continue the high levels of engagement with young people we experienced during the referendum.”

 

 

Notes to editor

  1. All media enquiries to Stephanie Brown, Communications Officer, 07753 410676/ 0131 524 0818, stephanie.b@syp.org.uk

Young people across Scotland develop creative solutions to violence as part of Scottish Youth Parliament Competition

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

We-CTV National Production Day

David and Martyna 2

On Tuesday 11th November 2014, young people from across Scotland came together to focus on ways to reduce interpersonal violence through creativity as part of a national competition, run by the Scottish Youth Parliament.

The We-CTV competition, facilitated by the No Knives, Better Lives initiative, encourages young people aged 11-18 to think about the problems interpersonal violence causes in local communities, and provides them with an opportunity to create artwork, literature or multimedia content to educate their peers on issues such as knife crime, abuse or online bullying.

Experts in video production, writing and art as well as knife crime and violence reduction were in attendance at Hampden Stadium to offer advice and support to the shortlisted We-CTV competition entrants.

Speaking about the National Production Day, David Stewart, Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament and We-CTV Champion, said: “I am delighted to have witnessed such fantastic energy and enthusiasm today from young people across the country who have entered the Scottish Youth Parliament’s We-CTV competition.

“We-CTV provides an opportunity for young people to use their creative skills to promote anti-violence messages, and our National Production Day has helped to equip them with the experience and expertise to get the most out of the competition.”

“Through our consultation work, we know that young people are concerned about knife crime and interpersonal violence, and they value the importance of researching and promoting solutions. The young people across Scotland participating in the We-CTV competition want to make a difference in their local community, and shape discussions that can pave the way to a safer and fairer society.”

The groups who made it to the national stage of the We-CTV competition enjoyed the opportunity to meet with creative experts and those working to eradicate violence from Scotland’s streets.

Sulayman Tabassam, 14 and from Castlehead High School in Paisley, who won the competition in 2013 said: “The We-CTV competition production day is a really enjoyable experience for all of the young people who attend.

“The great thing about We-CTV is that young people take part in every aspect of creating their ideas and turning them into a professional video for our peers. From developing storyboards, filming and then editing the finished video it means that we have had a chance to increase our knowledge and creative skills.

“Throughout the day we also heard from a number of speakers including the police, medics, lawyers and even someone who had gone to prison because of knife crime. Listening to their stories and what they have faced due to interpersonal violence, we learned a lot about the dangers of carrying a knife and it really opened our eyes to the consequences it can have on our own future, as well as on family, friends and local community.”

Gerry Farrell, a freelance creative who attended the event to pass on his knowledge on video production said: “The Scottish Youth Parliament and No Knives, Better Lives deserve all the praise and encouragement they can get for building the We-CTV project from scratch and sustaining it for so many years.

“Our young people are the ones who have most to lose from being sucked into violence or gangs early in their lives. We-CTV works hard with just about every secondary school in Scotland to teach useful life lessons to these youngsters at the same time as equipping them with communication skillsets that will help them flourish in years to come.”

The groups participating in the competition will submit their final creative solutions by Friday 16th January 2015. The shortlisted submissions will then go to an online vote from Monday 26th January 2015 – Sunday 8th February 2015, where the public will be able to decide the winner of the We-CTV competition 2014/15.

Find out more at www.syp.org.uk

Youth Parliament Chair encourages young people to stand in the SYP Elections

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

 

Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Louise Cameron, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, encourages young people to stand in the SYP Elections 

The Scottish Youth Parliament elections will be taking place in March 2015. The call is now open for young people all over the country to register their interest and stand as candidates to represent young people in their area.

The Scottish Youth Parliament is the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people and campaigns on a wide range of issues, and represents young people all over Scotland. It gives young people a national platform to voice their issues, turn them into positive actions, and influence Scotland’s decision makers.

To register interest to represent a local constituency, young people aged 14-25 should complete a Candidate Expression of Interest Form by Friday 31st October. Further information is available at www.syp.org.uk/elections.

Louise Cameron, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said:

“During what is such an exciting time to be involved in the heart of Scottish politics, I am delighted to announce that the call for candidates is now open for the SYP Elections 2015.

“The Scottish Youth Parliament is an entirely youth-led organisation, and Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament represent the views of young people across Scotland and strive to make a real difference by campaigning on the issues that matter the most to young people.

“Being a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament is a truly life changing experience. I would like to encourage young people from all over the country to consider standing as a candidate and to grasp this opportunity to ensure young people are continually at the forefront of shaping our society.”

Current Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) have produced a promotional video to encourage others to get involved in this opportunity to stand as a candidate and potentially become an MSYP.


Youth Charities Call On The Smith Commission To Consider Votes At 16

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Scotland will be viewed as a world leader by fully engaging and empowering its 16 and 17 year olds as fully franchised citizens active in the political life of the country.

The past few months have clearly marked a new era of democratic engagement. The Independence Referendum engaged young people in the political landscape in an unprecedented way. Over 100,000 16 and 17 years olds registered to vote.

Evidence shows they were amongst the most informed, engaged and questioning voters, carrying out their own own research and using multiple sources in order to come to their own personal decision. Many young individuals dedicated countless hours to campaign for both sides. On September 18th 2014, queues of young people entered polling stations for the first time in order to have their say on Scotland’s future, valuing that responsibility and casting their vote.

We, as an alliance of Scottish Youth Charities, representing 1.1 million young people, are united in our belief that we cannot let young people down and must continue to fully engage them in the democratic process. We as a country need to capture this emergent enthusiasm for the democratic process. We need to stimulate their ongoing involvement and we need to value their contribution.

We are therefore calling on Lord Smith to recommend a mechanism for the franchise for all future elections in Scotland to be extended to 16 and 17 year olds.

The Smith Commission should build in enfranchisement of our young people as a key principle and a core value in a fully engaged and effective devolved administration.

This ground-breaking enfranchisement of young people will ensure their voices are heard now and for generations to come.

We, as national third sector organisations working with young people in communities across Scotland, stand ready to support them.

Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive, Young Scot, said: “Young people have put to bed the myth that they are not interested in being involved in the democratic process. The huge level of engagement in the Independence Referendum vindicates all those who have campaigned for the extension of the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds. The truth about Scotland’s young people is that they are switched on, engaged and passionate about the difference they can make to their local communities and to tackling local and national issues.

We know that young people are doing amazing things to make their local communities a better place to grow up every single day. We look forward to continuing to work with them to support them to become active local, national and global citizens, whose contributions are valued and acted upon, and where young people – as shown throughout the debate – are leading the future of Scotland right now.”

Louise Cameron, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said: “The referendum has proved young people take the right to vote seriously. Over 80 per cent of young people registered to vote, and we have earned an extension of the voting age to all elections.

“I urge Lord Smith, the Prime Minister and the UK Government to look to our experience in Scotland when considering a new devolution settlement for Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom. The ability to lower the voting age to 16 for all Scottish elections should be part of this settlement.”


Youth Parliament to campaign to tackle child and youth poverty

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

The Scottish Youth Parliament’s (SYP) new national campaign will aim to tackle child and youth poverty.

Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament voted on a shortlist of campaigns on Saturday afternoon at their National Sitting held in North Inch Community Campus, Perth. The winning campaign was announced by Vice Chair, Terri Smith MSYP on Sunday 5th October 2014.

Speaking immediately after the announcement, the Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Louise Cameron MSYP, said:

“I am delighted that Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament have chosen to campaign to tackle child and youth poverty.”

“Research has shown that growing up in poverty affects the opportunities children and young people have available to them. We firmly believe that this must change and that more needs to be done to support these young people.”

“The Scottish Youth Parliament has made a huge impact with our previous campaigns, Love Equally and Care.Fair.Share. I have no doubt that we can be equally successful with this campaign and make a real difference to benefit the young people of Scotland.”

 

 

 

 

Youth democracy descends on Perth

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

 

Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office

Youth democracy descends on Perth

SYP53 Care.Fair.Share. Support

This weekend, the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) will host its 55th National Sitting in Perth.

The Scottish Youth Parliament is the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people. Nearly 160 Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs), who are elected every two years, meet three times a year at National Sittings to debate policy, select campaign priorities, and host events with stakeholders and other guests.

This Sitting is a key event for the SYP as this is when the full Membership of the organisation will vote on the national campaign priority for the coming year. These meetings are hugely important occasions that provide a platform for youth-led debate and decision making, truly empowering Scotland’s young people.

Speaking before the event, the Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Louise Cameron MSYP said:

“Nearly 160 young people will meet in Perth this weekend to debate policy, select a national campaign, and discuss how we can continue to engage young people across the country in politics.

“Through their engagement and participation in the independence referendum, young people across Scotland have demonstrated that they are interested in politics and they want to have their say.

“Our National Sitting is a vital opportunity for the Scottish Youth Parliament to ensure young people can continue to be heard by decision makers and shape their own futures. I am looking forward to meeting in Perth and discussing the issues that young people have told us matter to them, and working with my fellow MSYPs to affect positive change for young Scots.”

Also speaking ahead of the weekend, Dillon Kennedy, MSYP for Perth, said:

“I am looking forward to having the opportunity to welcome my fellow MSYPs to my hometown constituency for the Scottish Youth Parliament’s National Sitting. MSYPs are continually campaigning and working hard to engage young people across the country. I am excited to grasp this great opportunity to showcase the fantastic work the elected MSYPs for Perth and Kinross have been doing in our constituency.

“I hope that my fellow MSYPs will have a great time in Perth Sitting and that our Sitting will result in discussions and policy that benefits young people across the Scotland.”

Perth and Kinross Provost Liz Grant said that she was looking forward to welcoming the Scottish Youth Parliament to Perth, and added:

“I am delighted that the Scottish Youth Parliament will be holding their Sitting in Perth this weekend. The Youth Parliament is an excellent example of how young people can get engaged in the political process. We are fortunate in Perth and Kinross to also have a very active Youth Council and I hope that the Scottish Youth Parliament visit to this area will encourage more local young people to engage with politics at both a national and local level.”

Scottish Youth Parliament Chair says a lowered voting age must be part of new Scottish and UK devolution settlements

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

 Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office

Tuesday 23rd September 2014

©DN Anderson

Scottish Youth Parliament Chair says a lowered voting age must be part of new Scottish and UK devolution settlements

The Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Louise Cameron MSYP, has called on the political leaders of Scotland and the United Kingdom to include lowering the voting age to 16 as part a new devolution settlement for Scotland and the wider United Kingdom.

Speaking after the First Minister praised the level of engagement among 16 and 17 years old in the Scottish independence referendum, and a pledge from Ed Miliband at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester, Cameron said that lowering the voting age must be part of any new agreed devolution settlement.

Cameron, an 18 year old from Moray and Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament said:

“The Scottish Youth Parliament and our partners have campaigned for the voting age to be lowered since the Scottish Parliament was established 15 years ago. When this was included in the Edinburgh Agreement, we accepted the opportunity to engage and inform young voters.

“The opportunity was also for the young people of Scotland to prove that they take the right to vote seriously and justify for it to be extended across all UK elections. With over 80% of young people registered to vote, young people have proven that we take our right to vote seriously, and we have earned an extension of the voting age to all elections.

“As Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, I know how engaged young people have been over the recent months. As an organisation, we have been working hard to remove any potential barriers to participation. Scotland’s young people have been on an amazing journey. The national discussion about the future of Scotland has captivated an entire generation of young people. We have an opportunity to harness this engagement and ensure it continues for future elections and I urge the Prime Minister and the UK Government to look to our experience in Scotland when considering a new devolution settlement for Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.”

Youth Parliament Chair says the journey to deciding Scotland’s future begins now

Friday, September 19th, 2014

 

Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office 

  Friday 19th September

Youth Parliament Chair says the journey to deciding Scotland’s future begins now

©DN Anderson

The Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Louise Cameron MSYP, has said that the real work for deciding Scotland’s future begins after the referendum.

The Scottish Youth Parliament has been working on a large scale young voter engagement project from January 2014.

Speaking after Scotland voted to remain part of the United Kingdom, Cameron, a first time voter herself, spoke of the significant amount of positive work that had gone in to engaging young voters, and of the need to harness this post-referendum in order to shape a new phase of devolved politics in Scotland.

Speaking after the announcement, she said:

“Many people will say that the announcement of the outcome of the referendum was a historic moment in Scottish history, but I think the real achievement of this referendum has been the process. For the last two years, Scotland has been on the most amazing journey of political engagement, civic participation and national discussion.

As a young person, I have been absolutely astounded at the amount of effort that has gone in from schools, youth groups and other civic and voluntary organisations, and the campaigns, to try and remove barriers to participation and actively engage young people, particularly those young people who face more challenging circumstances. I am proud that the Scottish Youth Parliament led the way in developing innovative ideas and methods to engage thousands of young people, in an impartial manner, pointing them to sources of information to help them make an informed decision for themselves.

The process, and the level, of participation combined with extraordinary efforts to engage young people is the real achievement of this referendum. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to build on what has been achieved through this process, to harness all of the positive young voter engagement work that has taken place over the last two years to ensure Scotland’s young people play a key role in shaping  the next phase of devolution in Scotland. The journey of building Scotland’s future begins now, and we all have a responsibility to ensure young people are at the heart of it.”

Louise Cameron MSYP: Young people must shape our future today, but the journey is only beginning

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Today, we will witness one the greatest acts of self-determination in history where our country will go to the ballot box to decide the course of its own future.

There will be much analysis and discussion about the result, a lot of celebration, and a lot of disappointment. I don’t think anyone could say that this debate lacked passion. However, instead of focusing on the outcome, and what it might be, I want to focus more on the process.

However, I think we need to cast our minds back to October 2012 to fully appreciate what has been achieved from the process. The Scottish Youth Parliament, along with other organisations successfully campaigned for 16 and 17 year olds to be able to vote for the first time in recent history. This presented both a huge opportunity, and a huge challenge.

It’s no secret that young people aged 18-24 have always been lowest age demographic to turn out to vote. This has always led to all sorts of unsubstantiated remarks such as “young people just don’t care about politics.” From our work at the Scottish Youth Parliament, which primarily focuses on engaging young people with politics on the basis of issues rather than political parties, we knew that wasn’t true. Yet it was always quite tricky to disprove, until October 2012.©DN Anderson

For the last two years, Scotland has been on the most amazing journey of political engagement and civic participation. There has the usual confrontational party political element as always, but I guess that is to be expected; both sides are trying to win a debate. However, what has been more prevalent and more important is how the people of Scotland, and civic society, have engaged in this debate which will fundamentally define our path for generations to come. Many people who have never voted in their lives, or were once voters and have since become disillusioned, have become engaged or re-engaged over the last number of months. What is more impressive still is that the debate has turned into one of not just constitution, but of national identity, civic pride and self-determination.

As a young person, I have been absolutely astounded at the amount of effort that has gone in from schools, colleges and universities, youth groups and other civic and voluntary organisations, and the campaigns, to try and remove barriers to participation in this debate and actively engage young people, particularly those young people who face more challenging circumstances.

I am proud that the Scottish Youth Parliament has led the way in developing innovative ideas and methods to engage thousands of young people, in an impartial manner, pointing them to sources of information to help them make an informed decision for themselves. As an organisation, we have been out and about in schools, youth clubs, colleges and universities and city centres all over Scotland speaking to thousands of young people about why it’s important to vote.

The process and the level of participation, combined with extraordinary efforts to engage young people, is the real achievement from this referendum.

The task now is to build on this achievement. All of us have a responsibility to take the lessons, both positive and negative, and learn from them.

However, turning back to the vote itself, I want to encourage all young people to ensure that, regardless of their view, they turn out and vote. Historically, big decisions made by Governments and political parties have tended to disproportionally take into account the views of other demographics at the expense of young people. This is because those sections of society vote. If we want to have a say, if we want to be able to shape the future of our country, we must get out and vote.

In addition, there is a lot at stake. The Scottish Youth Parliament has long fought for the lowering of the voting age to 16. This has been an incredibly effective tool for engaging with young people for the referendum, as schools and colleges provide an invaluable forum in terms of accessibility. We want the voting age to continue to be 16 for all future elections. The eyes of the world are on Scotland, and the lowered voting age has been one of the most interesting topics for discussion. We have an opportunity to prove that when 16 and 17 year olds are given the right to vote, they will use it. If turn out is high, we have a mandate to secure the right for 16 and 17 year olds to vote in all future elections.

 
We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to build on what has been achieved through this process, to harness all of the positive young voter engagement work that has taken place over the last two years to ensure Scotland’s young people have their voices heard, as well as secure the right to vote for 16 and 17 year olds for all future elections. We all have a responsibility, so let’s work together and make it happen.