Eleanor Golding - Research on British Youth Council (BYC)

The BYC vision is 'A world where young people are respected, and able to influence and inform decisions that affect their lives or on which they have strong opinions.'

They began in 1948 and was set up by the British Governments Foreign office in preparation for the 'World Assembly on Youth' and the original purpose was to unite youth against the forces of communism. In 1968 they gained independence from the government and now have a network of over 500 local youth councils. The BYC have many ongoing campaigns such as:

  • Funding our future - For fairer higher education funding
  • Save our youth services - campaigning against cuts to services for young people
  • Votes at 16 - to lower the voting age to 16
  • Youth on board - empowering youth to get involved in decision making.

They aim to represent anybody under the age of 25 and want to empower all youth to take more of an interest in politics and to stand up and be heard about the issues that affect them. They have many ways that you can get involved, you can work for them or joing your local youth council and you can participate in any of their ongoing campaigns. The easiest way however is to join their 'Online action network' on facebook to become part of their dedicated online taskforce from the comfort of your computer. They send messages with instructions and get young people to inform their peers about the campaigns which they are running, tell you how to get involved in other online campaigns, and send regular opporutnites to help you get your opinion heard by the people that matter. This last option is the one that we will be trying to get Middlesex students to join.

Neha Kaushal- Research upon the Electoral Reform Society

The Electoral Reform Society is an independent campaigning organisation working to empower and inform the voter. They give people the tools and information to change our government for the good. Their aims are:

  • Ensure all votes have equal value
  • Give effective representation to all significant points of view within the electorate
  • Allow electors to vote for their preferred candidates without fear of wasting their votes
  • Ensure the accountability of individual representatives to their electorates

They also run education programmes for school and the genral public. With Reform it is all about fairness, they want peoples votes to count for the best possible politicians. They explain that in Britain there are several different types of voting systems but only two main ones are used: 1) First past the post and 2)Alternative vote. They have listed all the different types of voting and how each one of them works. To take action upon this campaign people must sign up, become part of the campaign and support the campaign for fairness, so donate money.

They use a lot of resources in order to achieve their campaign, they have monitored and researchered election outcomes in the United Kingdom and abroad over a long period of time. So their research is really in depth. They also appeal to schools so voting is explained to 16year olds, statistics is used to evaluate on present and past elections.

Neha Kaushal- Research in schools students aged 16

I conducted some research in my old school, Edenham High School in Shirley. I spoke to a group 25 boys and girls, these are the results that I found.

  • Nearly all of them did not know how to vote, some thought it was done by post
  • Half of them want people to come in and talk to them about voting so they feel prepared for the future
  • Half of them don't take any interst in voting, because they feel that the government doesnt really listen to them even when they get a chance to act
  • All of them are concerned about the future especially 2012 when tution fees raise, they fear that they wont be able to afford it, or even pay it back
  • At least all of them would like lessons on politics and voting. Some said it would give them the knowledge and guidence of what is happening with the politicians.
  • Half of them didn't know who our current priminister is
  • Some said that they want the voting system to be more equal, as in if there was to be the same percentage of votes for two politicians, then the country should vote again.
  • Make voting more fun, engage with the people who are voting, edcuate us in the right way, and maybe students might vote
  • Some people said that their parents don't vote beacuse the politicians don't stick to thier promises. So they see it as a let down
  • Some people also said that their parents don't vote because they are just not interested
  • Half of them suggested that the voting age should start at 16, because this is a legal age for other things, but not voting
  • Voting is usually directed to the adults and older generation, it is never focused upon young people like us, so how do they expect us to know who to vote for or what they do
  • Thinks that mini events should be held before the voting so that people understand exactly who they are voting for
  • Nearly all of them said that they will atomatically vote for the same party as their parents vote for
  • Voting doesn't attract young students because it's not aimed at them, and they have other things to worry about at this age
  • when they do vote at the age of 18 some of them want their votes to count and make a differnce, but some of the students feel as if they would be wasting their time and their vote won't count. They want to feel secured when voting.

Neha Kaushal -Research video recording: of what middlesex students think about politics. Next time we meet I can show yo the video. Here are the questions I asked:

1st person: Ahmed, studies business Management Question I asked: How does politics effect students? What do you think the government needs to improve on?

2nd Person: Chesney , studies Finance and Accounting Question I asked: Are schools at fault for not educating students about politics?

3rd Person: Jazmine, studies Business marketing Question I asked: Did you take part in this year’s student protest

4th Person: Patricia, studies Marketing Question I asked: Did you vote this year and who did you vote for and why?

5th Person: JP, studies Bio medical Question I asked: As a student do you feel that your needs are being ignored?

6th Person: Bablu, Richmond college student, studies: media, Business, and Finance Question I asked: How do Politian’s affect your life as a college student?

Neha Kaushal- Research students- "About my vote" This website is great as it gives vital information on how to register, reasons on why to register to vote and how to vote. It even appeals to students that can spend just 3 minutes of their time to click a few buttons and vote. It answers all the questions that students would ask. I think we should consider this website and get in contact with The Electrol Commision.