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Young People debate hot topics like ‘Youth Gone Wild’ with MP’s and Lords inside the Houses of Parliament

On Wednesday 23rd November the Houses of Parliament saw a different crowd, nearly 200 young people from across London attended the youth debate entitled ‘Youth Gone Wild’ alongside celebrities, MP’s and Lords. The debate, which covered topics such as Gang Culture; the London 2011 Riots; and youth unemployment, is one of many events arranged around the country by youth initiative ‘Bite the Ballot’.

Members of the panel at the lively debate were: Tanya Franks (Eastenders Actress); Michael Sani (Host and Co-founder of Bite the Ballot); Rosie Feller (Age of Heroes Actress); Adrian Vitoria (Director); and Lord Storey. Also in attendance were MP Tessa Munt, Lord Shipley, Lord Roberts and Baroness Young.

The debate used state of the art technology to interact with the young audience, getting their views on a number of points through out the evening, asking questions such as ‘Are you too young to know enough about politics for the voting age to come down?’ to which 88% of the audience answered with ‘no’. Raising the question should the voting age be taken down to 16?

Also on the agenda was the age of which children should start learning about politics, how to vote and who to vote for, with many of the young adults saying that in the past if they had been given a chance to vote they would have gone with the candidate of their parent’s choice.

Societies perception of the youth of today was a hot topic, describing the stereotyping that they regularly endure, because of the clothes they wear or the size of the group they hang out in. Eastenders Tanya Franks identified that there is a problem with moving forward and away from these views due to stereotyping, Rosie Fellner agreed, stating “it’s good to communicate and take each situation on it’s own”. The topic of ‘young hoodies hanging around street corners’ appeared humorous to some of the attendees, a number even sporting the attire. One boy stated that the Summer 2011 riots only happened because ‘there is nothing for kids to do these days but stand around on street corners’ he related this to spending cuts and therefore closures of youth clubs.

Director Adrian Vitoria has had first hand experience with gangs telling the participants about his time in LA with infamous gang the Blood’s; and the children members who’s “lives has been made up of gangs”; and the culture of gangster that lives there. This is the fear of people in England that the small gangs with vicious intent are trying to aspire to.

With a lively debate and young people having a chance to ask questions directly to MP’s and Lords, this event lead to lots of smiling teens and more than a few young people deciding they will use their vote in 2015.

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