Vice Chair Update
Festive December Edition
As schools close up for the holidays, and MSYPs from the North begin to enjoy the winter snowfall, this final Vice Chair Update of 2015 serves as a reflection on what we have achieved together as a Parliament in the past Year.
Elected just nine months ago, this membership has continued in the legacy of those before it - championing the issues young people care about. In fulfillment of each of your manifesto pledges to your constituents, you got to work on the issues surrounding your local communities. My twitter stream is a daily reminder of the fantastic work you are doing to benefit the young people in your communities.
When we come together on a project, we have a loud collective voice, with a large impact on a national level. Together, we have: launched our research report on child and youth poverty It’s not a choice; welcomed Amal Aldoseri, Vice Chair of the United Nations Right of the Child Committee, to discuss children and young people’s rights in Scotland; consulted with over 58,000 young people across the country to gain their views and insights into our 2016-2021 youth manifesto - and we’re not done yet; passed nine Member’s motions at the October sitting; watched 15 of Scotland’s MYPs debate in the House of Commons; launched our new website; chose a new national campaign on raising awareness of mental health conditions – and so much more!
In August we saw history in the making, as Votes at 16 was passed for all Scottish Elections. Many of you will have your first experience at the ballot this May. Yet this success is not to be met with complacency – we have more battles to fight, as 16 and 17-year-olds won’t be given a vote in the upcoming EU Referendum. The case for Votes at 16 is undeniable; we know that young people are capable to make decisions about their lives. As such the decisions at Westminster were watched with bated breath by many MSYPs. It was with sadness that I watched some MPs brand young people’s right to vote as a ‘financial burden’, and repeat the rhetoric that we ‘simply weren’t ready’. Let me be clear, young people are not just the future, but the today, the here and the now. So as we continue to push for electoral equality, lets remember that our voices are the most powerful to prove again that we are educated, informed, and passionate enough to vote. SYP is a living example of that reality.
2016 looks to be another jam-packed year, so I urge you to please get involved. Email or use social media to continue the conversation about the direction of our Parliament. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and I very much look forward to working together over the coming year.
Katie Burke MSYP
North East Fife Constituency
Vice Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament