Darrell Barnard-Jones is head boy at Ormiston Sudbury Academy. Here he explains why young people are distancing themselves from modern politics.
With the free EU referendum debate taking place at St Peter’s, Sudbury on June 3, he urgers his peers to come along to help them make informed decisions and understand the world of politics.
“Too often, young people are told that politics should define them. ‘Liberals and communists, take a step to the left; conservatives and traditionalists, you’re to the right; everyone else, well…you can hover around the centre so people can mock you for not being extreme enough’.
That may seem like an oversimplified assessment of how young people perceive politics, however, for many it is very much the case. This situation becomes a display of parties and personalities and, in turn, distracts from the validity of young people’s feelings and opinions.
Young people are left in a situation where their creative and philosophical identity cannot inform their politics, with politics itself becoming an all-powerful beast that closes minds and reduces freedom of thought.
Why should a group of people so helpless bother to fight to have their voice heard?
In my opinion, we have lost control of politics, and young people have an incredibly important part to play in taking that control back.
Quite simply, young people are individuals who have the most amount of time to react to the most significant events of the past.
And it’s for this reason that indifference towards politics from young people is so utterly depressing - terms like ‘I’m not very political’ are left hanging in the air like the sound of a half-read book.
It’s about time young people allowed themselves to take advantage of opportunities that give value to their voice within the political landscape.
Opportunities like the upcoming Free Press debate that look to explore whether we should or shouldn’t remain as part of the EU.
Young people should not simply ‘fit into’ modern politics. They must engage with it, in order to grab hold of the opportunity to change it.
I urge all young people to take advantage local events designed to explain more about the upcoming EU referendum.
Take control of the situation by immersing yourself in it. Find cracks in modern politics, fill them, and expand further. Desire is the result of thinking. Change is the result of doing.