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.