Vice Chair Update

Katie Burke's avatar

Katie Burke

26 April 2016

One of the most challenging questions I’m ever asked about being an MSYP is ‘Why do you do this? Why does your work with SYP matter?’. Exactly a month ago I found the perfect answer to this question, and became able to clearly articulate my passion for Scottish Youth Parliament for the first time.
72,744 – that’s the reason that we all do the 6am starts, the long community council meetings, why we battle with our teachers and tutors over the absolute NEED to get our classes registered to vote, and so much more. The mandate of Lead the Way gives us a refreshed drive to keep pushing for the issues that matter to young people; to ensure that the voices of those we represent are heard and not dismissed.
During the manifesto consultation period, I remember speaking to a young person at a stall I had set up in a local youth café. She started completing the questionnaire, but upon reaching the question on gender neutral toilets, she stopped and looked at me. She said as a transgender young person, gender-blind bathrooms were a meaningful change needed, and that no-where when she watched TV or read the news online, had she seen what she termed “ordinary politicians” speaking about this as an issue. This conversation exhibits our importance and our influence. We are bringing the issues that affect young people into the forefront, but these are also the issues that make our society fair for everyone.
Our Parliament amplifies the modern needs and concerns of Scotland’s young people and puts them at the front of the minds of decision makers. No matter which party is in Government, no matter whether we personally agree with the political leanings of our new MSPs, it is essential that as the elected voice of Scotland’s young people, we make ourselves known. Once our newly elected MSPs are settled into their offices and roles, we will be sending you some resources to aid you in your engagement with them. These will include a template introduction letter, as well as a toolkit that covers ideas for engaging your local representatives with the results and findings of Lead the Way.  
Looking ahead to the next few months, it is so important that in the lead up to the Western Isles we work individually to become a collective presence; using our mandate to be the voice for the young people of Scotland.
Vice Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Katie Burke MSYP for North East Fife