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We’ve just completed a response paper on the voting age for the Youth Citizenship Commission.  Despite what people might have expected from us, we believe that the voting age should remain at 18, or even be raised to 21.  It is generally those young people who are already ‘on the inside’ and participating...

On Today I heard a report about the teachers and students at Croxteth School in Liverpool, which is under threat of closure in 2010.   The school is in a troubled area, close to where Rhys Jones was murdered.  One of the teachers described how the school was relatively small with a very mixed intake...

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Auditioning for GMTV

30 November 2008

Apart from acting, one of the most nervewracking things I have ever done is attempt to interview John Bird, the Big Issue founder and social entrepreneur, at the recent Chain Reaction event.  He is a most fascinating man - "I have a lifetime of experience to draw upon," he says. "I was born into the...

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The youth vote

12 November 2008

This is a transformational moment in American history; not just because the country has a black president, but because of the number of young people voting for the first time.   Research shows that once people vote for the first time, they will continue to vote for the rest of their lives.  More than...

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The Joy of Text

21 October 2008

Earlier this week my PR handed me her mobile.  One of our Changemakers had texted her and she couldn�t understand it.  �I don't speak young�anymore,�she said sadly.  It was the usual texting code with all its phonetics and abbreviations.  As is always the way with these things, about an hour later I...

The Rev Tim Hastie-Smith, chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, said in a speech at its annual gathering that young people would succeed not by retreating from society but by engaging with the big questions in a mature and reasoned way: "Offering possible answers and challenges...

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Driving to success

09 September 2008

I was talking to a driving instructor recently, and was reminiscing about my terrifying glory days kangaroo-jumping around behind an L-plate.  He told me that driving instructors face an even more difficult task these days, as many of the young people they are instructing either stopped attending school...

For the last twenty years we have had dynasties in the White House.  The Clinton and the Bush families have occupied the number one slot and demonstrated the support network that brings to great, if opportunistic (or some may say exploitative), effect.   Not much disaffected young people can relate to. ...

I'm excited and slightly apprehensive about giving up my job on 7th November 2008.  Not permanently you understand, simply as part of the second 11 MILLION Takeover Day.  My job is going to be taken by a young person for the day.  The previous Takeover involved 400 organisations, giving 10,000 children...

At its policy forum last weekend, Labour joined all the other mainstream British political parties in committing to lowering the franchise to 16 in its next election manifesto.  All to the good you might think.  Surely fostering young people's civic engagement is what all of us are aiming to do?  But...