i Editor's Letter: Encouraging political participation among young people


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The Independent Online


Today’s cover story explains a smart, beautifully simple plan to improve political interest and participation among young people. Based on a successful scheme in Northern Ireland, the initiative – a mass sign-up of 16- 17- and 18-year-olds in schools and colleges in England and Wales, announced today by the shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan – would be a priority for a Labour government if the party wins power next year. It is a plan that deserves to find support across the Houses of Parliament – and across other age groups.

Just 44 per cent of 18-to-24-year- olds voted in the last general election, falling to a measly 39 per cent of young women. That compares with 55 per cent of 25-to-35-year-olds, and 75 per cent among the over-55s.

That’s not because young people don’t care about politics or society. They are very politically and socially engaged. We know that from the emails, texts, Twitter and Facebook messages we receive, and from people  we meet at the student iDebates that we launched this year - a platform for  young people’s interests to be aired.


With the greatest respect to the President of the United States, the Scottish independence referendum will be decided in Scotland on a largely domestic agenda – and probably not swayed by his thoughts.


“We subscribe to i,” writes Thomas Lake, who runs Overstrand Hall in Norfolk, a the manor house turned kids residential activity centre. “I was wondering if you plan to include a World Cup wallchart in your paper before the tournament kicks off, for us to display around the centre?”

Tomorrow, Thomas. Inside your usual Saturday i you will also find an 8-page World Cup pull-out: a fixtures wallchart plotting teams’ routes to the final (or not…), a concise guide to  the 32 teams, 10 players to watch, and  introductory thoughts by i writers Tim Sherwood and Glenn Moore.