Op-ed from Naked Politics: Young Scottish voices matter more than ever this election
Naked Politics amplify the views and opinions of young people, and create content about the issues young people care about across the UK through their digital platform.
Let us know what you think and join the conversation at the bottom of this article.
When it comes to young people, many view them as apolitical, or uninterested in politics, especially when it comes to voting in elections.
Whilst it’s true that young people do tend to engage less in traditional political activity, according to recent Scottish government data, 19 in 20 Scottish citizens think it’s important to vote in the 2021 elections, an increase of 15 percent since 2004.
And a significant reason so many Scots want to vote is down to young people, who are especially eager to participate .
The last few years have heavily impacted young Scottish people, from decisions made in relation to Brexit, to poor mental health, and facing the social and economic impacts of covid more greatly than older people.
Last summer there was also the rise of one of the biggest global anti-racist movements the world has ever seen, which young people were at the forefront of.
We engage young people across the UK on political issues, and platform their voices and viewpoints; this is because as a society we so rarely hear from young people and they are often excluded from political debate and decision making.
As a result, Naked Politics has worked closely with The Melting Scot, a platform that amplifies BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) voices to find out how Scottish young people feel about the upcoming election, what their biggest concerns are and what their hopes for the future are.
For a lot of young Scots, independence is on the tip of their tongue. Yasmin Luqman, 26, from Edinburgh, argued that although independence is important: “It has to be an inclusive independence movement as we’ve shown we’re better off as being part of the EU and not part of the Union. I am not for everyone just bringing their sort of racist rhetoric, homophobia, transphobia to the independence movement - that needs to be stopped and I’ve been seeing a lot more of it lately.”
Whilst not all were for independence, there does seem to be a general view that Westminster isn’t always an aspirational political institution.
Heather Knoxx, 18, from Linlithgow, thinks the Scottish Parliament is more unified than Westminster, she said: “I think the Scottish Parliament is kind of something to look up to. Down in Westminster there is a lot of animosity and there is a lot of anger and thinking back to things like Jo Cox. Abuse still happens here but in Westminster it is fostered within Parliament, whereas up here in general, the politicians show quite a unified front.”
They also showed a lot of interest in issues around support for refugees and asylum seekers, animal and wildlife conservation, and greater support for the NHS and other social services.
Whether you agree with young people in Scotland or not, what’s clear is they are very much invested in the future of Scotland, and are creative and imaginative about how they’d like the country to move forward.
Young Scottish voices matter, more than ever before, and we hope that they use the ballot box on Thursday to have their say.