Poppy Stowell-Evans Youth Climate Ambassador for Wales, Newport Youth Council and Newport East CLP Youth Officer 1st March 2021 Blog Wales Young people Share Tweet As a young person, I consider myself to be heavily involved in a range of activism from the climate crisis, to girls’ rights to Labour Party campaigns – a lot of my work is based around the fundamentals of equality and social justice. A belief I’m sure a lot of us will share. So to have the opportunity to put my activism into action through a vote feels fantastic. However, as someone with a passion for politics, I often find it difficult to pinpoint one reason explaining the importance of voting and politics within our society. This is because I believe politics encompasses everything. A political decision can impact the lives of thousands, even millions of people. One piece of climate legislation could quite literally change the world and show thousands of young people that you value not only their future but the future of the planet. One Bill passed in the House of Commons on immigration could literally save so many from unjust persecution. As well as this, politics empowers people, it gives people hope and motivates change. This power is equally wonderful and dangerous. That’s why I wanted to get involved in politics. I joined the Labour Party at the age of 15 in 2019 because to be frank, I was fed up. I was fed up with decisions being made in Westminster by a government who, I feel, don’t represent me or my beliefs. As a young person I saw that these decisions massively impacted not only my life but the community around me and yet I had no say in them. I felt voiceless. I felt as though this was unjust and unfair and subsequently channelled my frustrations into campaigning for my local MP, and then for Sir Keir Starmer and since then have established a Young Labour group in my city and am the current Youth Officer for my CLP. Subsequently, as someone who feels so passionately about politics, you must be able to imagine my excitement when Votes at 16 was announced. This will open a gateway for young people to influence democracy in Wales for the first time. But we mustn’t take this granted or be complacent. From what I understand, young people are ready to have their voice heard, we’ve demanded it. We’re ready for issues like the climate crisis, social inequality, and racism to be tackled head on – not just through words but through planned action. In my opinion, young people want to be involved in politics. We want to have our voice heard and respected and listened to. It is the duty of political parties and Governments to empower this and show young people that their voice does matter. That you can be trusted to protect their future, especially in such uncertain times. I believe to do this though, there is no choice but to adapt our methods of campaigning, The importance of social media should not be underestimated. It is also vital that young people are encouraged to register to vote. Votes at 16 is a revolutionary step and will provide the empowerment of so many young people to influence their future. I hope that this will enable young people to appreciate the power and the influence their voice holds. I also hope that this also causes decision makers to acknowledge this, and value the youth voice with the gravity it deserves.