Young people have their say on civic service
by Dan Leighton
The average age of the MPs that inhabit the Westminster Village is 50 years old. But tomorrow Westminster Central Hall will be ringing with the voices of a younger generation. Demos will be holding a deliberative convention with 70 young people to get their views on proposals for new national civic service scheme. This follows a convention held with members of the public on MPs expenses. Demos believes that deliberative events are a vital means of putting the public back in to public opinion.
According to much of the media, things have been going down hill for the nations youth since the golden days of national service. We have apparently moved from a society of disciplined and dutiful young people to one populated with feral youth, who respect neither them nor wider society.
Moreover, in wake of the economic crash people are talking of a “lost generation” of young people - who despite their best efforts could be facing long-term unemployment and insecurity.
Responding to such concerns Politicians have proposed a national civic service to reinstall a sense of civic duty, create a more cohesive society and provide young people with new social and personal skills. David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Frank Field have all set out visions for a form of civic service. These have been seen as means of doing everything from inculcating civility and respect to arming young people with new skills to survive in a tougher economic climate
But we’ve heard little from the people that are being expected to take part. While our convention can only ever create a microcosm of young peoples opinion, we hope that it will amplify their voice on proposals that could play a big part in their future.