Student Series Part 2: Teaching Tomorrow’s Citizens to Campaign for Change

Ahead of the General Election in June, young Labour members and supporters from Romford, Hornchurch, Upminster, Dagenham and Rainham give their views on campaign activities and why they think young people should be more active in politics. Here’s what they had to share…


Ramota Lawal, Broadcast JournalisTelet Graduate from University of Nottingham, Hornchurch & Upminster CLP Youth Officer and HYL BAME Officer.

Why did you decide to get involved in student politics?

RL: To be frank, I was tired and frustrated of the deteriorating political and social conditions in our community. In addition to that, I wanted to improve community cohesion, tackle discrimination, improve educational attainment and provide a voice for all young people. Those disengaged I wanted to engage, those who felt underrepresented I wanted to represent them. That’s why I decided to get involved in Politics.

What do you think of young people’s lack of interest in politics?

RL: There’s no rejecting the fact that current political climate fails to captivate young people, truly It’s disheartening. However, the question is… what is politics? Politics is such a broad concept, one that young people don’t understand or are unable to define. Many believe it’s parliament’s, politicians and their policies, in a sense that’s correct – however, politics is much more, politics is everything and anything that is an issue, that you’re passionate about. We need to educate young people to understand that politics can be your frustration about the inflation of school meals, or the fact there’s less greenery to play football in Inner London because land is being handed to private investors who are building, in most cases, unaffordable homes. Once young people identify and understand that politics is anything, then they’ll be interested. Once young people understand that politics is attainable and it’s not just for the elite, then they’ll be interested.

Why do you think young people should be at the forefront of campaigning?

RL: Young people should be at the forefront of campaigning because it’s their future. I urge young people everywhere to be doers and leaders. Take positions in whatever form and spark change; you can campaign on social media, school, church anywhere. Young people need to be at the forefront of campaigning so they can effectively shape the future and live in a society and economy they want.

Why Labour?

RL: I chose the Labour Political Party after reading their manifesto and feeling all the views and aims were aligned with my morals and values. This is a party that cares for young people, listens to young people and wants to give a voice to all young people. That’s why I chose Labour.


Ife Thompson, 22, aspiring human rigIfehts lawyer, graduate from the University of Sussex in Law with Politics, runs her own charity called “Black Lives and More Charity.”

Why did you decide to get involved in student politics?

IT: As an aspiring human rights barrister, I believe it is essential that I understand the system used to create the rights I wish to enforce. I also liked the fact I was able to learn about new concepts such as the rule of law and anarchism. These systems of governance and ideologies gave me a new outlook on human behaviours and society as a whole. Having this wider factual context provided whilst studying Politics at university gave me the ability to understand legal arguments better and gave me viable ways to approach complex case issues. Law and politics work together interchangeably and it was its flexibility with my future career goal that drew me to want to learn more about politics.

What do you think of young people’s lack of interest in politics?

IT: I think young voters suffer from voter apathy, the current political system does not reflect them and politicians make little effort to focus policies on issue that affect them. We also are not taught politics at GCSE level, this I believe elevates young people’s disengagement in politics. They are taught to not be aware of politics and young voters are just reflecting the investment sown into engage them. This investment being none existent, therefore we should not expect young people to be interested in politics if there has been no platform created to harbour an interest.

Why do you think young people should be at the forefront of campaigning?

IT: Young voters should be campaigning because we are the new generation and all new agendas and polices will affect us the most. This was seen with the rise in tuition fees, tax increases, privatisation of the NHS and the cuts to legal aid. As we the young voters are still growing up and meeting new challenges, these changes will affect us as we develop. These new policies will affect how we will be able to spend our money and build our futures, therefore it’s important for young people to campaign.

Why Labour?

IT: They are the most representative party of the UK and they even have the first black MP in a cabinet position. Labour is a party for everyone and has redistribution of wealth at the heart of it. Clause 4 has been brought back by Corbyn. This reflects the Labour Party’s commitment to ensure we live in a fairer society. Labour is the party for the people and I am a part of the people.


Thanks to Ramota and Ife for their contributions, and to Christianah and Princess for organising the series!

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