Councillor Stephen Carr writes about the behaviour of some Councillors at the Broxtowe BC Meeting

Steve-CarrFor the first time since becoming a councillor in 2003, I was ashamed of Broxtowe Council last night.

We have a brilliant new 17 year old Youth Mayor and last night we were introduced to the new Deputy Youth Mayor. They are intelligent, articulate, moderate and well up to date with events.

We had a debate on a motion calling on the Government to consider bringing in voting for 16 and 17 year olds. I fully agree that people have differing views which should be respected. Whether you agree or not, there are ways to conduct yourself during such debates. 

These are some of the phrases used by councillors;

  • “The young people I deal with in the Youth Courts are not fit to vote.”
  • “People of this age are not able to comprehend the issues.” 
  • “They are not mature enough to make decisions.”
  • “Older people know more about the issues and young people are not able to make decisions about the important issues.”

These messages were delivered in a way to belittle, patronise and demean not only those 16 and 17 year olds not in the Chamber but also those in the Chamber. Our Youth Mayor and her deputy. 

She very bravely asked to contribute to the debate and gave a speech that had these councillors squirming in their seats. A speech that received rapturous applause from the public gallery.

After the vote, the Youth Mayor and her deputy left. I will be surprised after their treatment if they come back.

I would like to say to those Councillors, you are entitled to your opinions but please do not express them in a way that insults on the basis of age. 

You have brought shame on our town and Borough.

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5 Responses to Councillor Stephen Carr writes about the behaviour of some Councillors at the Broxtowe BC Meeting

  1. Fred R says:

    They’ve brought shame upon themselves for acting like that. All the ‘reasons’ you quoted them as saying could be, and have been and still are, used as ‘arguments’ against various ‘undesirable’ groups – eg the poor, women, folk of colour, non-property owners, and many more. The Victorians were saying the same things around the time of the suffragette movement. The same old same old. Essentially, ‘we’ are rational and intelligent people who can weigh up issues, and ‘they’ are thicker than 2 short planks or too led by emotion or too immature to make their minds up. In reality, older folk are as likely to make voting decisions based on ‘irrational’ emotions as youth, but we’re better at dressing them up as ‘rational’.

    What such ‘arguments’ don’t take account of is that voting is having a say in who rules you. If it were a matter of making an objective decision on issues then we might as well hand it over to computers. The point of voting is not to make a ‘rational’ decision based on ‘objective’ criteria, but to choose who is to represent you in council, parliament or wherever. It doesn’t matter if you’re in MENSA or have an IQ barely larger than your shoe size, you have the moral right to have a say in how you’re governed. In that sense, the case for the vote to be extended to 16 and 17yos is strong, because it’s their future as well as ours. Experience shows that giving them that responsibility does mean that they think carefully about the issues. The extension of the vote to those ages in the Scottish independence referendum of 2014 was a resounding success from reports I’ve read, with meetings of young people across the country raising political consciousness amongst a generation which many had written off as apolitical apathetic.

    Kudos to the kidz. It is a cliché, but still true: youth are the future. They’ve as much a right to have a say in it as us wrinklies.

  2. Donna MacRae says:

    I to was as that meeting last night and i was disgusted by the way the conservative councillors treated the youth mayor,she was a very clever lady and put good points across but for the conservative councillors to tap on the tables i think these in my eyes were behaving like children,it was no surprise that these two young ladies walked out very upset after being treated with such immaturity,i also noticed when councillor macRae spoke the conservative councillor longden walked out who may i had is for the same ward and is supposed to work with councillor macRae me personally i think the conservative councillors should hang their heads in shame and should send an apology to the youth mayor

  3. Jane Bowden says:

    How sad. We need young people to get fully involved in the democratic process and to show respect to others whilst expressing their views. What a bad example from the ‘adults’ on this committee! I do hope that the councillors involved go away and think on what happened and then amend their ways. An apology would be a great way to start a proper dialogue and encourage those young people to come back.

  4. Marian Booth says:

    It was ever thus! Can only keep listening to our future.

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