i Editor's Letter: A chance for young people to be heard by our politicians

We're working with Bite the Ballot to provide dialogue between political leaders and youth voters

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The Independent Online

In politics, we know: if you don’t vote,  you don’t count. Young people haven’t  disengaged from politics; Westminster  politics has disengaged from them.

We’re trying to change that.

A superb new creation by the youth democracy movement Bite the Ballot will see political leaders questioned by  a studio audience of young voters, all live-streamed on the web for a mass online audience. Leaders Live, hosted  by ITV News and Bite News, powered by Twitter and YouTube and supported  by i, will be the first live-streamed conversations between our political leaders and young people. They will go places British politics hasn’t reached.

David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband, Nigel Farage and Natalie Bennett will represent their parties. The aim is to cut through the spin and jargon that can choke political discussion. Viewers online will be able to send questions via Twitter, challenging the leaders as the action unfolds.

Each leader has chosen three topics;  a fourth “wildcard” topic will be chosen  in advance by people online. Leaders Live kicks off next Wednesday, 26 November, at 6.30pm, with the Green Party’s Natalie Bennett. Bite the  Ballot is in talks with the SNP and Plaid Cymru about their leaders.

Mr Miliband (8 Dec) says it would be  “a chance to ask direct questions and  get straight answers”. Mr Clegg (16 Dec) adds: “This will take leaders to where young people are already active.” Mr Farage (2 Dec) calls it “a fantastic opportunity to hear their concerns and take their questions directly”. Ms Bennett says: “Streaming has an immediacy and accessibility that’s refreshing.” Digital entrepreneur Jamal Edwards, who is backing Leaders Live, says: “We don’t need a revolution, we just need participation and to engage and empower young people in the decisions affecting them – which will benefit our country.”

More details on how you can watch and get involved over the coming days.  A chance for genuine political  dialogue. Bring it on.