Question of the month: what does politics mean to you?

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Have your say

Spurred on by the recent elections, the YOB & BYP team have been discussing what politics mean to them.

A report by the UK youth parliament suggested that young people are becoming more and more alienated by politics. But what is your view on this?

We asked young Borderers to comment on this and we weren’t really shocked by the results, but that’s not to say they were good. Fifty per cent of the young people we spoke to said they would feel uncomfortable speaking to family and friends about politics and that, in fact, they couldn’t be bothered and had no interest in politics anyway.

We asked if school helped young people to understand the role of politicians and again half said they felt modern studies had failed to teach them the facts.

The point was made that they would like to have learned more, but due to the dynamics within the class, this was made difficult.

Rose Hadshar (17, Kelso High) said:  “I’d like to learn more about it in school – rules that they can’t influence us mean that some teachers feel unwilling to talk to us about it.

“Besides, I think there is a general ignorance about current affairs in schools that could be very damaging.”

Thanks to Lee Thomson on our Facebook page, who said: “Our school teaches about politics in modern studies and all about voting and how it works.”

It’s good to know the information is reaching some people.

Eighty per cent of those we spoke to said that they felt politics was not open to young people and that even if it was, they just can’t understand all that’s going on so quickly lose interest.

Jenny Anderson, however, was aware of the role the MSYPs play and said she was able get information from them.

Jodie Wright from Jedburgh Grammar School explained: “Yes, I think politics is open to young people, but I don’t feel it affects me personally. I wouldn’t mind leaning about politics, but it is not necessarily relevant to my life.”

The biggest concern for us is the fact that these young people, aged between 14 -17 years old, are the next generation of voters and they aren’t being given the information and tools now to learn about and understand the system.

How can we expect them to vote when they have no idea who or what they will be voting for and what all the jargon and fancy words mean? Can someone not make politics simple so we understand?

Janine Jeffrey, Simone Crowe, Louise Chapman, Alastair Bennett, Jackie Hanlon and Daniel Millin, from Border Production Unit in Galashiels, had a great debate on this and they were concerned about the lack of provision in the Borders for young people, which has led to vandalism and boredom, when just 40 miles up the road in Edinburgh every street is bursting with opportunities for young people.

But with some people living literally in the middle of nowhere they feel that they can’t access any of the activities that are on offer anyway.

We think that if the MSYPs could get more involved in the schools, maybe they could help young people understand the complexities of politics.

Something has to be done. We just can’t keep going the way we have been or our young people will end up being lost among the masses of information that they are bombarded with around election time.

We’d like to thank everyone who took part in our survey. If anyone wants to join in with any of our monthly questions or wants to write for the youth pages please join us on Facebook – just search YOB/BYP. YOB team