‘Politicians not listening to young people’…

A NEW report suggests that young people in Northern Ireland are disillusioned by politics. Having said that, both the DUP and Sinn Fein appear to have attracted growing numbers of younger members in the recent past.PA reported:

Even though nearly half of them [young people questioned in Northern Ireland] believed issues such as health and education were relevant in their lives, many were disengaged from mainstream politics.

A study into the attitudes of 16 to 24 year-olds by the Institute for Conflict Research claimed that 41% felt politicians did not listen to their views.

But 67% said they would vote for them if they did.

Half of the respondents associated politics with the peace process while a third believed local politics was mainly about sectarianism.

Nearly 50% who voted claimed their family was the greatest influence on how they chose a candidate and 36% felt they had something to contribute to politics in Northern Ireland.

Seamus Magee, head of the Electoral Commission`s Office, said: “It is clear many young people are passionate about issues that affect their lives, but are turned off by the mainstream political process.

“Many feel they have something to contribute to politics in Northern Ireland and would be willing to become more involved if they were persuaded that politicians are listening to their opinions and concerns.”

  • Patricia

    What we need is more politicians on Big Brother.

  • tim

    id rather see them on drugs…they expect us to follow in their fucked up footsteps

    fuck that…peace, love and happiness, not politics 4 me

  • Ben A

    Christ, another ‘yoof’ survey shambles. I suppose the launch of the paper was accompanied by some appalling youth drama group showing how, with a little bit of Peace II funding, boys and girls from both sides of the peace wall can make awful cacophonous, barely coherent avant garde theatre.

  • Crataegus

    Patricia

    What we need is more politicians on Big Brother.

    I agree, fill it with politicians, cause a drop in viewing figures and closes the wretched thing.

  • Golddigger

    “both the DUP and Sinn Fein appear to have attracted growing numbers of younger members in the recent past.”

    Have they now?! So where, pray is the DUPs youth branch then? Sinn Fein in fairness do have a half decent youth section but no better than the UUP or the SDLPs youth sections.

  • Stalford

    Golddigger

    Look at the councils – the DUP have more councillors under 30 than any other party. The DUP doesn’t need some namby-pamby “yoof wing” – they promote young talent in the world of serious politics not on silly “advisory panels” like others have.

    Ben A

    Good to hear from you again! I still have a copy of Hugo’s election manifesto – a great giggle.

  • Golddigger

    “Look at the councils – the DUP have more councillors under 30 than any other party”

    That ain’t saying much in Norn Ireland where the average age of councillors is 52.7 years!

    Besides the DUP have all the structure in place for a youth organisation but no one seems to be in it….curious, don’t you think Christopher?

  • Stalford

    Not curious at all, but reflective of the reality that DUP members who are young aren’t wasting their time faffing around with a “yoof wing” and pointless committees – they are getting promoted, pushed and encouraged into public office at a higher rate than in any other party in Ulster.

    Still, I suppose we don’t have a nonsensical blog that acts as an embarrassment to our party at election time – how we envy others!

  • Golddigger

    What I think is embarassing is having to sit through a gospel reading before every meeting…..

  • Stalford

    We don’t have a gospel reading before every meeting. Oftentimes the reading is taken from the Old Testament.

    Anyway Rebecca, when your party has any popular support I’ll listen to you.

  • Stalford

    “What I think is embarassing is having to sit through a gospel reading before every meeting…..”

    It could be worse, you could have to stand through the singing of the National Anthem at the end of a branch meeting – unless of course you happen to belong to the Holywood branch of the UUP who abolished this outdated practice so as to not offend any “new Unionists”.

  • Ben A

    If Stalford wasn’t married, and Becca didn’t already have a farmer in line for a shot at the title, I’d ask them to get a room.

    When either of your parties has more than 100 parliamentary seats, or either of your youth wings extends beyond 50,000 members then have a word with us.

  • IJP

    Although I would caution Cllr Stalford about overplaying the ‘popular support’ card (once you’re at the top, there’s only one way to go), I think it worth saying that: a) I thank him for that very interesting note re Holywood branch of the UUP (!); and b) he makes an interesting points about ‘youth wings’.

    Can I open this up to the floor – do ‘youth wings’ really have a function? What about ‘women’s networks’? Have people found these useful or otherwise?

  • Ben A

    The youth wing depends upon the party. Parties like the Conservative Party need one to renew the idea flow and membership of the organisation; it can be argued that the only real function of CF is to generate a campus presence. CF was fairly radical, advocating drug decriminalisation, having a debate on legalisation of prostitution, etc.

    The DUP had a youth wing, but it didn’t work, since many of those with active political ambition in that party fall into the -and i’m not being deliberately uncharitable here- ‘young fogey’ character. The strength of the DUP is that it’s insular, controlled and disciplined; there’s little radical about a married man in his early twenties being elected to City Hall, if the married man in his early twenties habitually stalks the corridors of power in a disciplined party.

    The UUP (and by extension, YU’s) seems much closer to the CF model, and has a lot going for it as a social invention.

    Oily young socialist groups (SDLPY, ÓSF inter alia) need to exist, largely to develop a base and to control that base (but with certain freedoms, life, for instance, the freedom to run up a hill with a cumann after soldiers) These groups seem to be for people who earnestly want to be seen to be hip, human and humanitarian.

    As for women’s groups… Conservatives abolished them through a vote from within. The Union of Students in Ireland abolished its women’s campaign, and I think regrets the decision. It certainly made my work a lot more difficult.

  • Still, I suppose we don’t have a nonsensical blog that acts as an embarrassment to our party at election time – how we envy others!

    Thats rich coming from you!

    What about your failure of a website, remember http://www.fairdealin.blogspot.com/

    Whatever happened it???

  • What about your failure of a website, remember http://www.fairdealin.blogspot.com/

    Whatever happened it???

    I think he got 4 comments and packed up shop.

    Ben

    and i’m not being deliberately uncharitable here- ‘young fogey’ character

    Ah, so you too remember Christopher’s legendry jumpers that he wore around QUB 😉

    I think it was part of the November deal that there could be no progress until Christopher decommissioned all those jumpers, with witnesses of course.

    We would also need at least a six month “decontamination” period to ensure he didn’t go back to his old ways. 😉

  • Golddigger

    Stalford

    I’m just curious to know how many young members the DUP actually has, discounting former young unionists who are mostly heading swiftly towards 30, I know of exactly three members in their early 20s.

    In terms of influence, 2 of our members were elected to council at the last election, another 2 are on the party officer team, many members work in party headquarters

    “It could be worse, you could have to stand through the singing of the National Anthem at the end of a branch meeting”

    As for that comment, I think it states in the DUPs rules that

    ‘Each meeting of the Party shall be opened by the reading of a portion of Scripture from the Authorised version and closed by the singing of the National Anthem’

    Sounds like fun times.

    Ben

    “CF was fairly radical, advocating drug decriminalisation, having a debate on legalisation of prostitution, etc.”

    Indeed, I have alot of admiration for conservative future, they are certainly a model to which the Young Unionists would aspire to in terms of their organisation, numbers and some of their ideas. This is only the third year since reformation for the Young Unionists, we have done alot of work but as ever there is much work to do.

  • Animus

    Little wonder that young people are disillusioned with politics if their families are the main influence. I wonder how many people over 25 would say that politicians ‘don’t listen to their views’ – I warrant it might be higher than 41%.

  • Stalford

    Re. my blog. It only existed to catalogue my Newsletter articles. Since I no longer write for the NL, it had served its purpose. I also simply do not have the time to run a blog.

    Ben A – maybe it isn’t so good to hear from you after all!

    The truth remains – the DUP has more young councillors than any other party in Northern Ireland – young people are encouraged into the structures of the party (5 out of the 6 principal officers in my Westminster Association are below the age of thirty) and are supported when they stand for election.

    PS. What sort of a Conservative acts as convener of one of the most left-wing unions in the country?

  • Stalford

    Golddigger

    Lets hope you are never elected to a council or Westminster – you might *die* of embarrassment as every meeting of those bodies opens with a prayer and/or reading.

    Ah well, being an Ulster Unionist there’s little risk of you being elected to anything!

  • Golddigger

    Very evasive christopher, have you recently joined New Labour?!

  • Cynic

    Young people and Northern Ireland politics…? We’re not interested. How can we hope to influence any majority of voters on this island when the events of the last 30 yrs. (or the last 600) are all that seem to matter? Talk to young people – all we hear about at election times, when it really matters, is stuff that happened before we were born.