99% Campaign Parliamentary event – youth unemployment and opportunities

99% Campaign Parliamentary event – youth unemployment and opportunities

IARS’ two youth-led projects, The 99% Campaign and London Youth Now, will be holding a Parliamentary event at 6.30 – 8.30pm, March 25th in Committee Room 15, Cromwell Green entrance. The Parliamentary event will discuss the long term social and mental health implications of unemployment, and what opportunities are available for young people to feel empowered and to build their skills through international opportunities. With new research published by the Prince’s Trust and Impetus-PEF, the impact of unemployment and the mental health consequences among young people is no longer a simple economic challenge, but a growing social concern. We will bring together young people with MPs, youth organisations to address the current difficulties in finding a job in the current climate. Please join us in this Parliamentary event as we hear from young speakers who are directly affected by unemployment challenges, Labour MP, Sarah Champion, Conservative MP, Tim Loughton and speakers from Prince’s Trust, Progressio and Impetus-PEF. Young people are encouraged to express their opinions on the topic and at the Q&A session. MPs will be asking the young panellists and audience members to discuss their thoughts about tackling unemployment and their experiences of finding a job. We would greatly appreciate it if you could RSVP by...
FGM – No Excuses!

FGM – No Excuses!

  FGM, or Female Genital Mutilation, is an issue that has been getting more and more media exposure. It is a painful practice that can have an impact on a woman’s health for her entire life. When it comes to government intervention, the issue becomes complicated. Many suggest that it is not the government’s place to interfere with such matters. I agree that often, government intervention involving cultural and religious matters can be clumsy and misplaced, or a thinly-veiled way of trying to get people to assimilate. FGM is extremely ingrained in some cultures, and we should not lecture other countries about how to deal with the issue. A gung-ho, imperialistic attitude that ignores the nuances of this practice won’t solve anything. However, when it comes to intervention within the confines of the UK, the law is clear: cutting the genitals of a young child counts as an infringement of their rights. And as traditional as it may seem, individuals in the countries where the practice originated are beginning to say there is no religious basis for the practice, which was an oft-used defence. So, why does it still happen? In countries across Africa, the Middle East and Asia (including Kenya, Yemen, Somalia, Oman, Malaysia, and diaspora communities in Europe, USA and Australia), FGM is carried out to make girls more marriageable, prove virginity, or to make the area ‘clean’. Why should a woman’s genitals have to be doctored in this way for her to be attractive or respectable? When the practice is carried out on girls living in Britain, or on British citizens who are flown abroad, it...
The reason why the majority of people don’t want to lower the voting age to 16

The reason why the majority of people don’t want to lower the voting age to 16

Why do the majority not want to lower the voting age to 16? According to the YouGov website the answer to me appears to be a lack of faith.  The general consensus seems to be that people of this age can’t make the right choice, and no this view is not just shared by the 25+ and the over 60s but also a large percentage of young people. Apparently, 57% 18-24 year olds oppose the idea, while surprisingly 51% of the 25-59 age bracket do. A statistic that I find slightly disheartening. Yes I may be 18 now, therefore legally able to vote, but I still don’t feel any kind of superiority over this age group. I also remember what I was like when I was 16 (not that it requires much backtracking) and I do not think my ability to vote has differed. The main reason why I think people lack faith in young people is due to some comments on the debate that I found on the YouGov website. A select few really stood out to me: the first one being, “I don’t know a single 16 year old or 18 year old for that matter, who I would trust to vote with the integrity and wisdom that voting requires”- Sir Timothy.  Now it comes as no surprise to me (maybe it would for Sir Timothy) but a lot of young people care about politics and are aware of how the government affects their lives, and just because we do not hear about it on TV, does not mean that it does not exist or is less important....
Police! Stop and Search – Finding Solutions to Duggan’s Verdict

Police! Stop and Search – Finding Solutions to Duggan’s Verdict

So the jury reached its conclusion: Mark Duggan was lawfully killed. Amidst a series of  assaults and accusations made at the Police and Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), the question that remains is, why is there such a divide between many communities and public institutions? And why is it that young people, particularly those with the extra complication of ethnicity, are still not treated as individuals deserving of equal status to that of the average middle age, white citizen? In discussing the Duggan case, very recently Labour MP for Tottenham, David Lammy recollected his own run-in with the police. In 2005, whilst making his way home from a constituency event, he and his brother were stopped in their tracks – 2 Black men driving an Audi – and accosted by a group of heavily armed police officers. Following a simple explanation of the MP’s identity, the police changed their tack and apologised for the inconvenience caused. The question is, what would have happened if that same person was lacking in status – would his race have overwhelmed his claim of innocence and what if he were 20 years younger? The riots which followed Duggan’s death were a shocking reminder of the widening divide between the police services and the younger generation, particularly groups who are often excluded from mainstream society. Some claim this gulf has been exacerbated by an acute lack of trust felt by those young people who are the main targets of ‘Police powers of stop and search’. Of late, stop and search powers have taken on a notorious significance. They have been blamed for a disproportionate...
Four Reasons for the declining political power of Britain’s youth

Four Reasons for the declining political power of Britain’s youth

Of late, it’s difficult to swing a cat in the British Blogosphere without hitting an article lamenting the appalling plight of young people.  These blogs are not wrong. We have a government that has a remarkable fondness for consistently clobbering young people, their most recent clobberings being the privatisation of the student loan book and the (inexplicably legal) proposal to remove Jobseeker’s Allowance from all under 25s. Yet the most damaging portrayal of young people is how we are commonly projected by mainstream media and our government. Whether intentional or not, we hear journalists and politicians adopt a paternalistic tone when speaking about young people, framing us as perpetual victims. In doing so they ignore the fact that we are a legitimate political demographic whose power and influence has been eroded over recent years for a series of tangible reasons. In an attempt to correct this, what follows are a series of suggestions for reasons behind the political disempowerment of the young. 1. Electoral Turnout “Decisions are made by those that show up”. Whether this quote was first coined by Harry Truman or Woody Allen isn’t particularly relevant. What is relevant is that between the general elections in 1964 and 2005 the percentage of 18-24 year olds voting fell from 76% to 34%. Although the prospect of a close finish in 2010 pushed the figure up to 51%, this was still by far the worst figure of any age group. As politics is ultimately about bums on seats, with these sorts of numbers, it’s easy to see how the Winter Fuel Allowance for 65-year-old millionaires has survived three years...