The reason this blog post is slightly later than I intended is because it has taken me a good few weeks to process the sheer enthusiasm and interest in politics seen at the latest Scottish Youth Parliament sitting. Galashiels in the Scottish Borders provided a stunning backdrop as around 150 politically-engaged young people came together to discuss ideas proposed by individuals and committees, hear the new manifesto and witness the launch of the new campaign.
It was a truly incredible weekend, made better by the support and encouragement of the SU Scotland team – myself, my fellow MSYP Laurie Donaldson and our support worker Noel Slevin – ensuring we stayed on time and were at the appropriate places when required.
My personal highlight of the sitting was the SYP awards: an evening of food, entertainment and appreciation of the contributors of those associated with the Parliament. It was an excellent opportunity to witness the real engagement and potential of a group of young people from all walks of life: those from wealthy backgrounds, those from less privileged areas, those in employment, students and school pupils. The recipients of the awards were inspirational young people who had dedicated hours of their personal time (whilst still ensuring the quality of their school work did not suffer) to help young people in need achieve their full potential.
The overarching lesson of this eye-opening weekend in such a picturesque location was the sheer potential of the young people of Scotland. As I write this post, I have just seen in the news the photos of the Scottish National Party (SNP) manifesto launch where an entire auditorium is packed out with young people eager to participate in politics and ensure that their (our!) voices are as influential as those older than us. In a similar way, the sitting emphasised the strong views and impact young people can have on Scotland and its politics if we are given the means to do so and not disenfranchised from the political system in its entirety, and the SYP provided the perfect way for young people to engage and be involved from the smallest local level to bringing serious change through Holyrood contacts.
All in all, a thoroughly fantastic experience, and I would like to just express my thanks once more to all those who voted me in last year, allowing me to have access to opportunities like this.
Thank you very much for making it to the end of another blog post, and I hope this one wasn’t too rambly!