North Northants teens give their views on the local elections: 'We should be taught about local government alongside maths and English'
Ahead of tomorrow's ballot, student journalist Kasturi Datta, from Kettering, has spoken to the next generation of voters about their views on local politics
North Northants teens believe that their views are being overlooked during the run up to the local elections.
That's the verdict of three youngsters not yet eligible to vote who spoke to the Northants Telegraph in the build up to the tomorrow's (Thursday, May 6) ballot.
As voters across the county head to their local polling stations to cast ballots in the local elections, teens from Weldon and Kettering believe that, as result of being below the voting age, the opinions of young people are overlooked, regardless of the direct impact that the election results may have on them.
They said that there is real a need to educate young people and to get them involved in local politics.
Bishop Stopford students Maria, and Ngaire, both 15 and from Kettering, and Corby Business Academy pupil Sullivan, 17, from Weldon, feel that more knowledge and education regarding the local and general elections should be imparted to young people.
They share some scepticism about the effectiveness of the local elections and the scale of change that follows.
Maria said: “Every time that we have had an election of some sort, there has never been a great big change that has affected us. When it comes to concepts like climate change, there are simple actions that people could do, but if the local council are not going to enforce that then what is the point in voting?
“I agree that every vote counts, but sometimes I am unsure if what we are saying is really being listened to. I think we need to find a more effective way in either listening to people’s opinions or bringing them up.
“We are learning Geography and history, but we’re don’t know much about this country. I feel that if young people are neglected and when it comes to politics, and if our new opinions aren’t encouraged then we are just going to stay where we are.”
Ngaire said: “I think that young people becoming involved with local elections will in turn lead to better community spirt and remove the concept that politics is for the older generation. I think that the local elections are important, but issues that young people are concerned about do not get the same attention as things such as the mighty pothole.
“I would like to see a change to how policing is viewed in the county. I think that community police coming into schools and talking to young people about how they can help prevent main types of crime and how we can help the police reduce crime, through workshops and assemblies.
“At this moment in time young people do not have enough knowledge on politics to make an educated vote in a local or general election. However, if we were taught more about local government alongside maths and English, it would be great stepping stone. Hopefully this will remove the mindset of ‘my single vote does not matter so there is no point in voting’, that many young people have.”
Sullivan said: “I think it would be interesting to dedicate some tutor time or assemblies towards politics and discussing how it is relevant to us, I know I would appreciate learning
about it more.
“I don’t think local elections are massively important, and in terms of going about your everyday life I don’t know how much it will change especially during the pandemic.
“Most young people including myself don’t even know who our current councillors are. However, with social media I think it’s much easier for young people to get their views across now and inform themselves a bit more. I think if there is a generation that fixes the communication gap in between young people and politics, it will be us.”