Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Guardian Debate: Attracting Young Councillors

Back in July 2014 I took part in a live online debate for the Guardian about whether or not enough is done to attract young councillors. You can read the full piece on their website HERE.

This was their round up of my contribution:

Jessica Powell was elected in May, to Pontnewydd ward in Torfaen 

Age 18 is a suitable time to become a councillor: 
That's not saying all 18-year-olds would or should want to do it, but I don't see why an 18-year-old is any less suitable that an 81-year-old. A good diverse range of opinions and characters is what you want in any organisation.

Given public opinion, people are afraid to claim the expenses that they are entitled to: 
Nobody wants to be criticised on local messageboards and in the local paper – particularly the latter as people like my grandparents read it every evening.

Limiting terms would attract more young people: 
Before I stood for election I was dating a politician and it was pretty intolerable. They never have any free time, and when you do get hold of them people keep coming up to interrupt and ask them about constituency issues. I understand a bit better now, but it's definitely no fun for the partner. The attitude sometimes seems to be that you go into local politics for life, and in your teens or early 20s that's not very appealing.
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