If I were Prime Minister: I'd champion the young and hold a cabinet meeting on top of Ben Nevis

Our series in the run-up to the General Election – 100 days, 100 contributors, but no politicians – continues with the adventurer and television presenter

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The Independent Online

As Prime Minister I would focus on two big things: building genuine stronger local communities and championing young people and the amazing contribution they make.

Strong local communities are at the very heart of a strong nation. I would encourage all employers to give more time and recognition to employees who volunteer. A nation that excels in volunteering has been proven to be wealthier, happier, have less crime and greater tolerance. Smart people assess others not by how much they earn, but by how much they care. How a nation looks after its most vulnerable people shows its true character.

When you have people from different backgrounds working together for a common goal, it gives a powerful sense of purpose, fulfilment and pride. There is a feeling that anything is possible when we all pull together for the common good. It is that "WW2" mentality that united the nation when we needed it most. And when people care, they can achieve amazing things.

Most importantly, I would appoint a Minister for Young People, who must be under 25. The role would be to scrutinise all decisions that impact on young people. "Policies for young people inspired by young people". Currently, the average age of an MP is 50, and history shows us that it is often the youngest leaders that dramatically change the world for the better. There is nothing like the creativity and optimism of young people and this generation more than any other deserve a voice in our country’s decisions.

I would also be the first Prime Minister to spend more time outdoors than in Downing Street. I would love to hold a Cabinet Meeting at the summit of Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis, Slieve Donard and Snowdon, the highest peaks across the UK. It would keep the meetings focussed and would remind everyone in positions of power of what we are here to protect: one of the most spectacular and dynamic nations on earth. It is critical that young people embrace getting out of their comfort zones, taking smart, calculated risks, and ultimately, to understand the value and power of grit and determination. In that sense I would want to lead from the front.

I would also ban suits, briefcases and biscuits at meetings. People hide behind suits and the biscuits make you fat and lazy. And I am done with politicians like that!

On top of this, I'd ensure that every child did an outdoor residential experience as part of their time at school. Mountains and the outdoors are great places to build character. The wild doesn't care how you speak or what your ethnic background; and time and time again I have seen adventures build a genuine pride and confidence in a way that no diploma ever can. Plus the great outdoors always inspires people to dream big!

I'd also fund social action from a much earlier age. Schemes for teenagers are great but the intervention can be too late. From 14 years of age, we have 12,000 Young Leaders in Scouting. But we have hundreds of thousands of kids from the age of six wanting to help make a difference and do some form of fun "social action" too. I meet kids like this all the time — kids who can make cleaning a village pond an adventure. There are so many inspiring young people who simply want excitement and purpose — and it is those we should be investing in.

For example, this year the Scouts are launching the Million Hands project, showing the difference Scouts can make when they join together and get involved in positive social action. Just imagine what we could do if we could mobilise the whole country? Sixty million hands would make light work of many of our nations community problems and it would help solve much of the disenfranchisement that young in this country feel. As Prime Minister I would throw money at such a scheme.

And finally, my hero the Scouting Robert Baden Powell rarely slept a night at home inside, but chose instead to sleep on the balcony of his bedroom. I love that and would want to be the first Prime Minister to do that at No 10. I would need the fresh air after all those infernal meetings!

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