Meet the young candidates for the SYP

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The Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) Election fortnight kicked off last Friday, and young people across Argyll are being urged to make their voices heard by using their vote.

SYP is the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people. The Scottish Youth Parliament’s vision is of a stronger, more inclusive Scotland that empowers young people by truly involving them in the decision-making process.

To date, SYP has been heavily influential in effecting change for young people across the country.

As a longstanding campaigner for Votes at 16, SYP’s involvement helped to bring about policy change allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in the Scottish Independence Referendum, and in all subsequent Scottish Parliament and local government elections.

SYP’s work to encourage the Scottish Government to raise the age of criminal responsibility from eight to 12 was also successful this year, when this long-awaited change was announced.

More recently, ten MSYPs met with the full Scottish Cabinet on Tuesday February 28 to discuss issues affecting young people today. This historic event is now set to become an annual meeting, and has firmly cemented the relationship SYP has with the Scottish Government in ensuring young people’s voices are not only heard but listened to.

Two MSYPs are elected from every parliamentary constituency in Scotland, and from our partnering national voluntary organisations, with a current membership of approximately 150 young people from various backgrounds forming SYP.

Young people aged 12-25 can vote in the Scottish Youth Parliament Elections during the election fortnight which runs from Friday March 3 to Friday March 17.

For more information on candidates standing for election, and details on how to place your vote, visit www.syp.org.uk/stand4syp.

 Meet the candidates

Alexander James Hardie for Argyll and Bute
Alexander James Hardie
Alexander James Hardie

Q1. Why do you want to be an MSYP? 

I come from a some what small town in the West Coast of Scotland where young people rarely get a say in what happens to the town they live in, so i want to act as a voice of my local community, to listen to young people in the hopes of improving education and solving issues within and beyond the town, and to also listen to what people want to do after education to be able see how to help young people improve their chances in getting a job to better their future.

Q2. What are the top three issues that you care most about?

poverty and income inequality
education
human rights

Q3. How will you consult with the young people in your area or organisation to ensure that they are represented well and their voices are heard?

To consult and listen to issues and ideas of people, I will ask for the suggestions of young people from my local areas, in the high schools and make sure to speak to variety to allow for a wider range of opinions from different age groups. I will also visit youth groups and organisations such as the cadets, scouts or groups who are campaigning for a certain subject to be achieved in the local region and beyond as well as pupil councils in schools.

Q4. Why should someone vote for you?

As a person, I am very neutral when it comes to most topics of discussion and I constantly rely on the suggestions and opinions of others to construct my own. I feel that this trait may be useful when it comes to consulting others to hear their main concerns and needs. I also consider myself to be determined and pursue my goals vigorously, I also take part in youth organisation and programs such as cadets which would allow me to meet other people to consult with. Finally I strive to connect and help people either directly or indirectly.

David McKinnon for Argyll and Bute
David McKinnon for Argyll and Bute
David McKinnon for Argyll and Bute

Q1. Why do you want to be an MSYP? 

I want to be a MSYP as I believe in change! I wish to persue a career in politics, and feel that this is a huge stepping stone! I also feel that I can help change many things for young people! I am also very good at contributing my ideas to any given topic! I am very efficient, and I can take the lead when necessary! I am a team player and love working with new people! Being an MSYP, will help me to change the things that annoy both the constituents and myself!

Q2. What are the top three issues that you care most about?

health and wellbeing
education
poverty and income inequality

Q3. How will you consult with the young people in your area or organisation to ensure that they are represented well and their voices are heard?

Firstly I will make various social media accounts, (on Twitter and Facebook) which will help keep my constituents up to date on the things I have done! I will hopefully be able to hold surgeries where I will meet with fellow constituents and see the issues they want resolved! I would also set up an email account specifically for my constituents to email me with any issues they need help or guidance with!

Q4. Why should someone vote for you?

You should vote for me as I am a born leader! I am always motivated to do the best I can for anything I set my mind to! I am very professional, I regularly speak to members of the public with my job! I’m confident, in myself and in my fellow young people! As I’ve said before I believe in change, I’ve been interested in politics from a young age and I feel that I can do a fantastic job for the constituency! I am passionate about many things and I am actively involved in politics! I attend protests, marches, and run a Facebook page with a few others with the same interests and same beliefs which is aimed for the youth of Argyll and Bute! I am easy to talk to, and will be committed to change for the better!

 

Jamie Archibald Murray for Argyll and Bute

t10 Jamie Archibald Murray 1no
Jamie Archibald Murray

Q1. Why do you want to be an MSYP?

I want to effect positive change within Argyll and Bute to ensure all young people receive the best possible opportunities and have the best quality of life. I want to make a meaningful difference to the lives of young people by continuing to speak and campaign on behalf of the young people of Argyll and Bute who feel they do not have a voice. I want to move politics to the sideline and put young people at the forefront of the political decisions in this country and I want to stand up for those who are forgotten about.

Q2. What are the top three issues that you care most about?

education

youth work

justice

Q3. How will you consult with the young people in your area or organisation to ensure that they are represented well and their voices are heard?

I will continue using my MSYP social media pages to engage with young people and politicians as this has proved an effective means for communication throughout the last two years. In addition, I will employ online and physical consultations which have also proved an effect means of gathering young people’s views. I would also ensure that I continue an open dialogue between the organisations that do a lot of work for and with young people.

Q4. Why should someone vote for you?

I am passionate about ensuring young people are allowed access to all they deserve, whether it be in education, work or in opportunity. I am an approachable person who always seeks the best for my constituents and always puts them first. This is something I will always prioritise. I have also attended every single SYP sitting held in my first term which illustrates my commitment to the responsibility as well as attending the 8t Commonwealth Youth Parliament in Canada where I proudly represented all the young people of Scotland. In terms of moving forward: Firstly, I will fight for an improved subject variety in our schools and colleges. Secondly, I will demand our politicians and council increase the opportunities for the young people of Argyll and Bute to ensure maximum equality and finally, I will campaign for an expansion of youth services throughout Argyll and Bute.

Ailie Lamont Stewart for Argyll and Bute

t10 Ailie Lamont Stewart 1no

Q1. Why do you want to be an MSYP?

I believe that in a society where many people mistrust politicians and people in power, it is crucial that young people show passion, empathise with others and raise their voices to empower others and help lead the next generations. This is why I want to take a stand and raise awareness for important issues as part of the Scottish Youth Parliament. I also feel like in a geographically challenged constituency like Argyll and Bute, sometimes young people feel like there is nothing to do, or that they can’t get involved in as much as people from, for example, Glasgow are able to. I want to change this and bring exciting empowerment projects to our area, as well as represent and speak on behalf of all young people around Argyll and Bute.

Q2. What are the top three issues that you care most about?

the environment

human rights

poverty and income inequality

Q3. How will you consult with the young people in your area or organisation to ensure that they are represented well and their voices are heard?

I will use social media and technology such as google hangouts and Skype to make sure I can reach every corner of Argyll and Bute. In terms of getting lots of people’s opinions and feedback, I plan to make use of Facebook/twitter polls and online surveys, something I already have lots of experience in. Once young people have established their views and opinions on various issues, I want to publish them on social media in order to really make others understand what is important to the young people in our area. When I can, I wish to hold local surgeries in each town in the constituency, and where it isn’t possible for me to be physically present I will use Skype for anyone who needs to get in touch with me.

Q4. Why should someone vote for you?

I think that what I believe in and the values I hold can resonate with lots of others. I am passionate about equality, climate change and refugee safety. I am also extremely driven when I know what I want, and will always do my best to deliver great work. I believe this is my most crucial quality in what I would work to achieve if elected MSYP for Argyll and Bute. I find it easy to cooperate and build relationships with others, no matter who they are or how different our personalities may be. This is another quality I would use to my advantage if elected MSYP, as I will not have to only maintain relationships in my town, but build completely new ones in the other places around Argyll and Bute. I look forward to challenges, and I believe I handle pressure well. I would like to think that someone would vote for me because they feel like I’m approachable, relatable, passionate, empathetic and hard working. I would certainly show all of these traits if elected, and make sure Argyll and Bute’s interests are put at the top of the Youth Parliaments agenda.

Stephanie Thomas for Argyll and Bute

t10 Stephanie Thomas 1no

 

Q1. Why do you want to be an MSYP?

I want to be an MSYP because of my continued interest in youth work. I understand the way SYP works and I enjoy standing for young people rights to a voice.

Q2. What are the top three issues that you care most about?

human rights

youth work

democracy

Q3. How will you consult with the young people in your area or organisation to ensure that they are represented well and their voices are heard?

The best way to consult with young people is to talk to them and use social media. I plan to interact with them on Facebook and twitter and to also have surgeries and drop in talk sessions and work shops.

Q4. Why should someone vote for you?

I think you should vote for me because I am a strong voice for young people with my continued interest in the area of young people’s rights. Also I have two years of experience and I am very able to continue in my role as an MSYP to stand for your voice.

Benedict Ray for Argyll and Bute

t10 benedict ray 1no

Q1. Why do you want to be an MSYP?

From a young age, I was always interested in politics, constantly asking about left wing and right wing and the different types of government. Social and world issues always being brought up at family dinners. This interest stayed with me and I now stand as a strong believer in democracy and social justice. The idea of being a MSYP was only recently introduced to me but nevertheless interests me greatly. The prospect of being able to change the country at a young age is daunting as there are so many possibilities with what can happen. I want to be an MSYP because I feel like it is something that I would not only enjoy but take great pride in.

Q2. What are the top three issues that you care most about?

justice

education

health and well being

Q3. How will you consult with the young people in your area or organisation to ensure that they are represented well and their voices are heard?

I would listen. I would make it my priority to make the youth and young adults of my area feel like they have a voice. By speaking to them in a positive and friendly manner and asking them questions relating to their personal issues, I would help give the youth a voice of their own. I would strive to find solutions to their concerns that would benefit them and their lives. As well as personal interaction, I would also employ the help of the internet using sites such as Facebook and other social media platforms to discuss relevant problems and their possible resolutions in a precise and direct manner.

Q4. Why should someone vote for you?

I would like to consider myself friendly and a good listener and I will often take matters to heart and try to see things from another person’s perspective. People should vote for me as I’m honest and want to try and help the people of Helensburgh and the surrounding area. I admit, I am not an expert in anything, I am just good at a lot of things. My plans and ideas are set out in a realistic layout with the thoughts and opinions of my constituency and country being the sole focus of their effect. I want to change the area of Helensburgh for the better and help as many people as possible on my journey, this is why you should vote for me.