In anticipation of the 2011 Holyrood elections, the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) has consulted with thousands of young people to create a Youth Manifesto for Scotland. For us, this youth manifesto represents the purpose of the Scottish Youth Parliament – an organisation which represents Scotland’s diverse 14-25 year old population and provides a forum for them to express their views and ideas, and a vehicle to help them campaign for change on the issues which are most important to them. The Youth Manifesto is therefore a key tool in our role as the democratic voice of Scotland’s Young People.
This is not the first time we have released a manifesto. In 2007, the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) created a youth manifesto ‘Our Scotland’. This was shaped entirely by consultation with over 6,000 young people and we used this document to represent young people’s views in the Scottish Parliament elections that year. We also used the findings and responses as the basis of the Scottish Youth Parliaments subsequent policy work. Over the period of 2008-2010 we ran almost twenty campaigns, numerous consultation responses and many other political engagements based on the statements contained within the manifesto.
This Manifesto is drawn from an even wider pool of young people. There were 42,804 responses from young people across Scotland. This makes ‘Change the Picture’ the largest youth consultation of its type in Scotland. This is the genuine voice of Scotland’s youth – and it deserves to be heard.
‘Change the Picture’ has been an enormous, if incredibly fulfilling, project for the Scottish Youth Parliament. It started with the aim of involving 15,000 young Scots – in the end we had nearly three times that number. However, in an age where there are accusations young people are apathetic about policy this document is a compelling rebuttal. It shows young people are engaged, involved, and have a vision of how they want Scotland, and society to exist. The SYP’s role is now to take their views, and try and help influence those in power to create the Scotland our young people desire, and deserve.