Legacy of referendum at risk of going to waste

Web election count

800,000 people have fallen off the electoral register

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5th February 2016 by Paul Cardwell 1 Comment

Politicians are in danger of destroying the hope and the legacy that was left after the Scottish independence referendum according to the country’s youth parliament chair.

Jordan Linden MSYP said politicians churning out the same old rhetoric over votes at 16 in UK parliament elections and changes to electoral registration risks losing a generation of young people.

Linden hit out on voter registration day, saying it is clear something has gone wrong after data from the Electoral Reform Society revealed an estimated 800,000 have fallen off the voter registration list since changes to the system meant voters have to register as individuals rather than households.

“By giving young people a voice in some matters, and then taking it away again, we are in danger of dis-engaging and un-inspiring a generation of young people,” Linden said.

Legacy of referendum at risk of going to wasteJordan Linden MSYP

We are in danger of destroying the hope and the legacy that was left after the Scottish referendum

"We should be working harder to foster young people’s political interest, and sending a clear message that their voices matter.

“While we have experienced monumental progress here in Scotland, young people are still being excluded from a say on our future in Europe, and in UK government elections.

“Young people in Scotland thought that when we showed up en masse to vote in the Scottish referendum we had put an end to the myth that young people are apathetic. Yet we have still had to listen to the same lazy old rhetoric being churned up to deny 16 and 17-year-olds a say in their future. Young people have a right to have their voices heard and silencing us comes with consequences.

“More communication needs to be given to young people about registering to vote, and I call on the UK government to investigate the Electoral Reform Society's claims as a matter of some urgency.

“We are in danger of destroying the hope and the legacy that was left after the Scottish referendum. We need to send a clear message to young people that their voices matter, and that they are important and valued participants in the democratic process.”

Meanwhile, a census of members of the Scottish Youth Parliament has shown there are more MSYPs identifying as female than male for the first time.

There are 48% of MSYPs identifying as female, 44% as male, 3% non-binary gender, 2% other, and 2% preferring not to say.

59% of MSYPs are aged 16-17, up 10% since the last membership.

Linden added: “Young people are more interested in politics now than they ever have been, and the census of current Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament reveals this membership to be the most diverse in our parliament’s history.”

12th February 2016 by William Douglas

If I understand this correctly, young people who were registered by their parents for the referendum are not bothering to register themselves. Does this show a lack of commitment? Should they have been allowed/encouraged to vote at all? But it is not always as simple as that. My 15 year-old daughter (and I think her friends) has not registered because the first election that she will be eligible to vote in will be when she is 21.