Live from Parliament Free Speech


Live from Parliament

Free Speech asks whether young people are being failed by politics in a live edition from Parliament. Panel includes Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg and Labour MP Stella Creasy.


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INTLRNSZ Quick sell fee with Big Ben, I'm not an idiot, I will tweet

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that right now we are live from Westminster. We have come right to

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the heart of Government on the day that mains at the has said that many

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young people regard the Conservative Party as aliens from another plan

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yet. To ask why do so few young people vote join us now live on BBC

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Three from parliament. I'm not Not voting out of cap -- apathy, but

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indifference. Young people should engage. I I think young people

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should vote and we need new ideas. I don't vote because there is a

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majority in the area I live and the vote would be lost. It's OK, I have

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made it, I'm here, I'm Rick Edwards and we're at Central Hall, Charles I

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was tried her and some what more recently Nelson Mandela and Bill

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Clinton have spoken here. There can't be a better place to debate

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the issues that matter to young people. We have 150 of them packed

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in here tonight for Free Speech parliament.

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This is the first live-ever transmission from Westminster

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Central Hall, it is a chance to connect with Westminster and

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democracy. Our audience are here to do just that, we want you to do at

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home the same. We are live and I want you to shape the debate. So get

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on-line right now with Facebook Twitter and the BBC.

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S The Power Bar responds immediately to what you want it to do. Use the

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harsh tack yes or no, followed by the first name of a panellist, each

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time you agree or disagree with them. And here is our panel, whose

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first job in just one sentence is to tell us who they are and why they

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are here. I'm Owen Jones and I'm a panellist and author, and I look 12

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years old. I'm here to talk about how young people can organise and

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fight for their future. I'm Deborah Meaden, business woman, and investor

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on Dragons' Den and older than Owen. I'm here to be a voice for -- for

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the people. I'm Jacob RhysMogg and a Tory and not an alien. I'm Stella

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Ceasy a Labour Party MP from London. I'm here because people like you are

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the future and we have to make sure we are working with you to make

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Britain a better place. That is the panel for this evening. Let's get

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going. It is time to start a revolution, or so says Russell Brand

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and singer Morrisey has stepped in to support him today. They claim

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that not voting is the first step. And only around half of all

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18-24-year-olds are registered to vote. Revolutionary or not

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interested. Here are some opinions. There is not much point in

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registering because I'm not planning on voting. No young people will do

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what they are saying in parliament, so we need to be letting our voice

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out in different ways. It is more important than ticking a box every

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five years. I think more young people should

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vote like me. When young people don't vote their voices are not

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heard. We need more involvement in how the political system works. If

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we start voting politicians will pay more attention. If you don't vote

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nothing will change. I believe having the right to vote is a

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privilege, so many people have died for our rights to vote. The problem

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is I don't trust the politicians and their manifestos. Next time I vote I

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will spoil my ballot. I'm exercising my right to vote but I'm saying

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nobody represents me. I didn't realise you had to register to vote,

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between university, work and paying the rent I didn't get round to it.

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Voting should be more accessible. I'm not surprised that the turnout

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for voting is so low amongst young people.

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We have a question from Rhys, what do you want to ask? I is it worth

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voting. Jacob is it worth voting? Yes it is, because that will Decide

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which Government is in power. If you look at how elections have gone, in

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1997, classic example, the Conservatives after 18 years in

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power lost to an overwhelming Labour majority because people felt it was

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time for a change. In 2010, not quite as big a change. But again one

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Government goes and another comes in. Does it make any difference? Yes

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it does. The things I would do and the things Stella would do are

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different. I believe in a whole different set of things which I hope

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to try to persuade you of. I'm very concerned about this level of

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apathy, because if people don't get involved and become disinterested

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then it will be very hard to change things and you will simply have a

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small group of politicians running the show with very little

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accountability. So do vote and why not stand, put your views forward

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rather than just taking mine or Stellas or anybody else's. Logic,

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what do you think about voting? Personally the one thing I did take

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from Jacob is I agree you should stand yourself if you think there is

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something wrong with the system. Ultimately myself I have never

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voted, I have never voted because I feel there are fundamental flaws

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within the system itself. The term "democracy" is used very loosely,

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the definition of a democracy is we're all eligible citizens,

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participating equally. If we are unable to get the vote from every

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citizen in the UK we can't claim a democracy. On top of this we also

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have a Royal Family who we are unable to democratically vote in or

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out of power, they have the most power, we all know out of everybody

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to get the Government, they are more powerful than the Government

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ultimately I don't see a democratic country so I don't see there are

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people there to lead us the people. So for that reason I don't vote.

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What is the alternative, how would you chan things? To change things I

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think the first step is for politicians to get the people on

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their side. To make the people actually like them, as people, to

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take a liking to them. To agree with their policies. So when things like

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Mark Duggan gets killed, these injustices that affect the people

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directly and the people are affected by this, because it is the police

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that are carrying out the injustices. When these things

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happen, this is the point when politicians need to make their

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voices very, very heard and make sure justice is passed out. That way

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I would vote for you. Do you believe in revolution like Russell Brand?

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Not an aggressive and physical revolution, I think the mind set of

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the UK population needs to change. That will be of great benefit to us

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all. Remember we are live if you want to get in touch you can on

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Twitter and on Facebook. Who here is very much in favour of voting? It is

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important for the young people to realise they have to exercise their

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right, even spoiling your ballot is better than not saying. Both sides

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of Government you need to say your want your opinion and to be heard.

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Whether or not you agree with any party is a different thing. Like

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Logic and Jacob said if you really disagree that strongly get out Stan

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yourself. But by not voting and sitting at home you are not sending

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out a positive message in my way. Who is not for voting? I I have

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voted once, the only reason I voted was a negative reason, I was a

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single person who was benefitting from the current party in post. And

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the changes the other party would put me in a financial burden,

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because of my children I voted. It didn't go my way so I kind of

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thought no-one else represents what I believe in at the moment so I take

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it upon myself in my job and in my life to get my point across and my

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voice heard in a different way rather than actually vote. You won't

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vote now? Not until there is someone actually I believe represents what

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I'm about and understands the situations that maybe I'm coming

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from or other young people that I will work with. Until there is

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someone that really represents where they are coming from and

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understanding the barriers and issues they are facing I'm not

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willing to vote. How would you respond to that? I'm really worried

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by what you say, what you are talking about is exactly what

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politics for me is about. I got involved in politics not because I

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wanted to change Governments but lives. The decisions we can make

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sheer and at a local level change people's lives. Actually what we

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need is for everyone to be part of that conversation. When you say look

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I was part of it and then I'm going to drop out of it, we won't hear

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your voice. The decisions that are made are by the people in the room

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who do take part. It does really trouble me that people feel. I agree

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there are lots of problems with our political system right now, it is

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not a process thing but a culture thing, it is an understanding about

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how change happens. If we don't change that we won't hear your

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voice. Equally your concerns won't be represented. I'm worried by what

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you say, we all miss out as a result. How would you change things.

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How would you enfranchise this lady? Part of this is about the culture of

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politics. The people understanding how they can make change happen.

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What role like myself and Jacob. We have different opinions and contrast

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in what we want to do. But the idea that 650 people alone in Westminster

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have all the ideas and energy to change the country, doesn't accord

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with reality. We need to get you more involved. That is about the

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process we use. I call this place Hogwarts gone wrong, because the way

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in which it is structured doesn't meet with the way you want us to be

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involved in your lives. We want to change the culture that says just

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because you want to compromise or more people wanted a different

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position it didn't make a difference. I wish there was a

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different way of doing this. I maybe when I was in difficult situations

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at the time, I thought I would go and see my local MP and maybe talk

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to them. I I felt I had strength to do so, they didn't want to listen. I

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was someone that wanted to help myself and wanted to go to work and

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didn't rely on benefits, within I asked for the meeting and

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appointment, I gave them the chance to open their ears but didn't. Why

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would I rely on the system again. If you agree or disagree with anything

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being said or have any solutions let Tina know? Please do, this one from

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Steve who agrees with your point made in the audience. This has come

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in from Luke: What is the point of voting no, matter who is in charge

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people always disagree with the Government. And this one to Stella

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and Jacob from Alex who says: The current make up of MPs is nowhere

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near representative of the people, privileged and out-of-touch, what do

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you think? Deborah, are MPs privileged and out-of-touch?

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Out-of-touch, yes. I think actually I have spent very little time in

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these walls, but whenever I do I think have you actually stepped

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outside of this and talked to people. And the lives that they are

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living beyond these walls. I have heard people convince themselves

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that they know an awful lot about how people feel and I think well I

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walk around my every day life and they are not reflecting what you are

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saying. I think they are definitely out-of-touch. But the whole thing

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about voting for me is that voting is the end product of the thing that

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you need to do first and the thing you need to do first is engage with

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people. This is what we are talking about. Engaging with people so they

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actually get what matters. Now, not voting is a problem for me, because

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it is like having that silent argument where you don't tell your

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partner why you're not speaking to them any more, you just go quiet.

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Nothing happens. What I think is the utopia is telling, it is not waiting

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for the Government to tell us what they are going to do, it is not

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hearing what they are going to do and saying no I don't like it, it is

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sending loud and clear messages, saying this is what is important to

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us and you need to reflect it, because if you don't somebody else

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gets my vote. And do you know, these guys, MPs spend their life trying to

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find out what it is that matters to you, trying to win your votes. And I

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think there is this disconnect between people trying to get their

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message across and the people who believe that they are hearing a

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message. But it is not necessarily your message. What's the root cause

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of this disconnect if one does exist, Owen? The point about the

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make-up of parliament is really important. We need a parliament that

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looks like the people it represents, that means more women, more people

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from ethnic minority backgrounds, it means more people who worked in

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supermarket, call centres, who know what it is like to struct well a

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bill, and understand what it is like to be stuck on a social housing

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waiting list. It is more profound than that. This is plea, I won't get

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on my knees but I will being people watching to think this through. We

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live in the 7th richest country on the face of the earth and half a

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million people are now dependant on food banks even as the wealth of the

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top 1,000 people booms like it has never boomed before. The people in

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this audience and the people watching face this future, go to

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university and they will be saddled with decades of debt. Even if they

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graduate they will face a job they would have gotten without

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university. They will struggle to get an affordable home, where half a

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million people are stuck on social housing waiting lists. They will end

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up with many jobs where they will slog their guts out and come home

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with a pay pack et that doesn't let them -- packet that doesn't allow

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them to support their families. And this is my plea, the way we get

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change in this country isn't by waiting for the people at the top to

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give things to us out of the goodwill and generosity of their

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hearts, if you like, but by people organising from below. All the

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things we have in this country, everything we take for granted was

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given to us because people got out there and organised and struggled.

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That included the vote. We say as a cliche people died for the vote,

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they died for it because people with power tried to stop them getting the

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vote because they knew how powerful it was. Not just voting it means

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organising, protesting, it means like the likes of UK Uncut, who

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occupy businesses and shops of owners who weren't paying tax, the

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?25 billion we lose because people won't pay taxes. My plea is this,

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whatever you do, whatever it is, even if you don't think voting is

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the way forward, don't leave politics to politician, organise,

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stand in the best traditions of this country, ancestors who got all the

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things we take for granted, and don't let your future be taken away

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from you by people who are making you pay for a crisis at the moment

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you didn't actually have anything to do with. LINEBREAK APPLAUSE

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Beautifully impassioned, I wish you had done it on your knees! Time to

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look at the panel. Instant judgment, are you ready to find out what the

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audience thought so far. Let's power up the Power Bar tonight. And

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Deborah, you are connecting with the audience at home the most at the

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moment, Stella you are a close second and Jane could be you have

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got a bit of catching -- Jacob you have a bit of catching up to do. P

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Here in the blue jumper? You can stand up if you like, you don't have

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to. It is weird claim I I just wanted to ask, considering in

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Scotland next year there will be the independence referendum and

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16-year-olds are allowed to vote, do you think by lowering the voting age

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to 16 more young people will be empowered to vote. Jacob do you

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think it will engage young people more if the voting age was lowered?

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If I was 16 I would have voted because I'm interested in politics

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all my life. I don't think that is the real problem, I don't think it

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is the voting age, it is failure to persuade people that voting will

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really change things. That is what has come up in this discussion. But

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I would just like to add, here in this room we have talked about

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people dying for the vote. Emily Davidson the sufficient fret get hid

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in a cupboard yards from here and died under the king's horse getting

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votes for women. People were tried for their life in this room to get

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freedoms for British society. It is not just talk to say people died for

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the right to vote, it is real and immediate in this room. Gentleman

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here with the white shirt and blue jumper, only blue jumpers tonight.

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Up you get! I I was going to say in terms of the question about getting

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young people at 16 to vote, I was going to ask are you not accepting

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that because of the involving 1. 5 young people in our democracy. We

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are spending too much time on voting, voting is one aspect of

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being a citizen which you should do, democracy doesn't stop at the ballot

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box, there is many other things we should get involved in. I don't know

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if you said it earlier about young people being interested in politics,

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of course they are interested in politics because they are interested

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in issues that affect them. That doesn't make sense. I know young

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people aren't interested in politics in the broader sense, not

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necessarily becoming a politician, but through social media campaigns,

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on-line and social action, they are interested in politics and the

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problem is more of them need to stand up and politicians to come to

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young people. You only see politicians when it is time for

:19:33.:19:36.

votes. So 2015 is when I start seeing people knocking on my door,

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until then nobody comes again. The disconnect is massive. I agree with

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you, I have been a passionate campaigner of votes at 16, not

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because it will get more young people to vote, because I think it

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is the right thing to do. I he a social action background. What I

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take issue with, when we talk about out-of-touch, what is out-of-touch

:19:58.:20:00.

is the way we make decisions in this country. This is not a customer

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complaints desk. It is where we all come together to decide the world we

:20:07.:20:09.

want to create. That is not just going to start with voting, it is

:20:10.:20:12.

about participation and what all of us can do to support each other to

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achieve our potential. So the only thing we are doing is voting every

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four years, we are missing a trick, you have so much to give to Britain

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if we don't find ways of working with you in your communities to

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support each other. 16 is just the start of the conversation, a broader

:20:27.:20:30.

conversation about the role all of us can play. I resent the idea if we

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could find 650 perfect people that would be job done. It is much harder

:20:36.:20:38.

than that, it doesn't mean we shouldn't try to get there. We have

:20:39.:20:41.

to find answers as well as actions. There are lots of angry

:20:42.:20:45.

anti-establishment messages coming in. This is one we can bring out.

:20:46.:20:50.

They are saying there is a problem with the panel we have here tonight.

:20:51.:20:57.

Do we not fitter those ones out. This gentleman here? I personally I

:20:58.:21:02.

think we should be looking at electoral reform once again, I don't

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think "first past the post" don't do justice, we should look at

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proportional voting systems, more people and more significant parts of

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society are represented when we do go to vote. You look angry, Sir? I

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I'm happy i think it is interesting, no offence but... Here we go. But we

:21:23.:21:29.

have a panel of two professional career politician, a celebrity, a

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multi-millionaire business leader and someone from the mainstream

:21:33.:21:36.

media, no offence Owen you are the exception that proves the rule. I

:21:37.:21:42.

think, you know where is the UK Uncut, the occupied movement where

:21:43.:21:46.

are the communities mobilising against fracking at the moment.

:21:47.:21:49.

There is a danger we present politics as something that happens

:21:50.:21:52.

with experts in a far away place. Politics has always been about the

:21:53.:21:56.

little people we are not, can I finish, I'm sorry I am going to

:21:57.:22:00.

finish what I'm saying, because there is a danger that we go to the

:22:01.:22:04.

same people who cause the ecological, social and economic

:22:05.:22:07.

collapse to find the solutions and that's not going to work. In the

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three decades that I have been on this planet no party in this

:22:12.:22:17.

building has presented a serious challenge to neo-liberalism, cuts,

:22:18.:22:22.

the widening gap between rich and poor, and unjust foreign policy.

:22:23.:22:25.

What can people here do about it, they have to get creative. They can

:22:26.:22:32.

vote every four years, Jacob you said maybe stand for parliament,

:22:33.:22:35.

maybe you have a few million quid you can lend me to do that. Plaits.

:22:36.:22:44.

-- LINEBREAK APPLAUSE LINEBREAK -- LINEBREAKAPPLAUSE LINEBREAK

:22:45.:22:48.

APPLAUSE. I find that really difficult,

:22:49.:22:51.

because I hate being put in a box where they say I have millions of

:22:52.:22:54.

pounds. I didn't always have millions of pounds. Putting me or

:22:55.:22:58.

anybody into that box doesn't mean they care or worry about the same

:22:59.:23:01.

things. If I didn't care I wouldn't be sitting here, I would be sitting

:23:02.:23:04.

in a nice warm place at home. It is a very dangerous thing. I'm not

:23:05.:23:13.

talking about me or dangerous place. It is not fair to put people in

:23:14.:23:17.

boxes because there are many different people here from different

:23:18.:23:20.

backgrounds and everybody can have their own particular things they

:23:21.:23:23.

really worry about, that is dangerous thing you said. I I'm

:23:24.:23:28.

sorry you are upset I'm more worried about the people in this audience

:23:29.:23:31.

who can't afford to access the decision makers in both of your

:23:32.:23:38.

parties. Because they didn't afford millions of pounds to get democracy,

:23:39.:23:44.

democracy is a sick animal. Like yourself I'm sure we have been on

:23:45.:23:49.

many demonstrations, I was taken by my parents on the march against the

:23:50.:23:54.

poll tax when I was five-year-olds I started chant, it was my proudest

:23:55.:23:57.

political moment probably. The point about that march against the poll

:23:58.:24:00.

tax, that demonstration, if you like and the movement against the poll

:24:01.:24:03.

tax, people didn't wait to vote, they got out there and protested.

:24:04.:24:08.

Millions of people refused to pay the poll tax, including my own

:24:09.:24:12.

parents. Because of that it got rid of the poll tax and got rid of

:24:13.:24:15.

Margaret Thatcher and kick her out of Number Ten. The point there is

:24:16.:24:18.

don't just leave it to the professional politicians if you

:24:19.:24:21.

like, don't just leave it to the political elite, protest and

:24:22.:24:24.

politics is something you can all get involved in. I think you have a

:24:25.:24:27.

responsibility to do that. Whatever your political views are, actually,

:24:28.:24:31.

because I can't emphasise how difficult your futures are going to

:24:32.:24:35.

be unless you get out there and start organising and protesting and

:24:36.:24:38.

forcing the people at the top, forcing them to hear you. That is

:24:39.:29:14.

the only way we ever get change Should sex at 15 be legal? The

:29:15.:29:18.

politicians have said no, but an expert in public health said it is

:29:19.:29:23.

time to lower the age of consent to make it eatsier to get sexual health

:29:24.:29:29.

advice on the NHS. The professor says we have to accept that one

:29:30.:29:34.

third of young people had sex at 15. Did you? It is OK, you can admit it.

:29:35.:29:40.

Any of you, come on? A few of you. I was expecting a third, obviously.

:29:41.:29:45.

Abbey, where is Abbey? You have got a question. Was David Cameron right

:29:46.:29:50.

to reject calls to lower the age of consent to 15. Was he right to

:29:51.:29:55.

reject those calls? I have a young daughter, who if I can't persuade

:29:56.:30:00.

her to go to a convant the age of consent for her should go up to

:30:01.:30:05.

about 50! But I appreciate that can't be public policy. I think it

:30:06.:30:10.

is very difficult, the issue about the age of consent is that sexual

:30:11.:30:15.

intercourse may lead to a baby. What you have to ask yourself is will the

:30:16.:30:19.

parent be able to look after a child? And if you feel comfortable

:30:20.:30:24.

with that, then at 15, then you could say that would be a reasonable

:30:25.:30:28.

able of consent, if you think 15 is too young, then I think you should

:30:29.:30:32.

say that the age of consent should remain higher. Although I quite

:30:33.:30:37.

accept that very often babies don't result, they sometimes do. And you

:30:38.:30:40.

have got to think of that life that may be created and the

:30:41.:30:44.

responsibility that the parents would then have to that child.

:30:45.:30:50.

Stella you are grimacing. This is why I got involved in the campaign

:30:51.:30:54.

earlier this year to make sure sex and relationship education was

:30:55.:30:57.

statutory in all schools. What worries me is one in three girls say

:30:58.:31:01.

they have been sexually harassed in school. We teach young people about

:31:02.:31:06.

all sorts of issues but not about consent, equality and respect. What

:31:07.:31:13.

worried me about the health aspect saying people weren't able to access

:31:14.:31:17.

information. That is not true. You want to talk about decisions we are

:31:18.:31:21.

making as a society, the decision to make sure young people are thought

:31:22.:31:25.

about the mechanics and the principles of respect and equality,

:31:26.:31:31.

it worries me when we have these debate, teen pregnancy is an issue

:31:32.:31:34.

but making sure everybody is confident about their bodies. One of

:31:35.:31:37.

the things about the age of consent, a lot of people in the survey said

:31:38.:31:40.

it was helpful for them being able to say no, at this point I don't

:31:41.:31:44.

want to do that. When we are seeing young girls under that kind of

:31:45.:31:47.

pressure, I'm keen to give them as much power and control over their

:31:48.:31:51.

bodies as possible. LINEBREAK APPLAUSE

:31:52.:31:54.

I will come to the rest of the panel. This had a huge response.

:31:55.:32:27.

LAUSE If they are young and ready then they are more likely to go and

:32:28.:32:34.

find protection, because it could be humiliating for them otherwise. The

:32:35.:32:39.

lady below you. Sorry but your view there kind of sums up what I think,

:32:40.:32:43.

sex is such a taboo subject and everyone is so scared of it, because

:32:44.:32:47.

we are not educated about it. Saying people shouldn't have sex because

:32:48.:32:51.

you are going to have babies is so ridiculous, the amount of

:32:52.:32:53.

contraception is out there for girls, that is so absurd. We need it

:32:54.:32:59.

to be an open subject to talk about. There is so much help for girls out

:33:00.:33:05.

there, and boys too. By saying oh no hush, hush you will get pregnant.

:33:06.:33:10.

How backwards is that. Sex is a natural thing, and it is something

:33:11.:33:13.

that people should not be afraid about asking about and getting help

:33:14.:33:20.

for. The gentleman here? We spend too much money sorting out the

:33:21.:33:24.

problem of sex, such as chlamydia and all of this, we need to pump

:33:25.:33:27.

more money in to the sexual education, start at year 6, not year

:33:28.:33:32.

9. There is too much waiting until they are older, people are getting

:33:33.:33:36.

sexually active when they are 12, having it at 15, that's when they

:33:37.:33:39.

are starting to get the education. You need it before. I had when I was

:33:40.:33:45.

11. That is the age limit that you have got to go to get the prevention

:33:46.:33:49.

and to educate them at the contraceptive measures. Give them,

:33:50.:33:56.

let them be aware that condoms are available. Get them earlier. The

:33:57.:34:02.

lady with the hair? Why are we educating young girls about

:34:03.:34:05.

contraception, we should be educating them into getting a career

:34:06.:34:10.

and a future for themselves. That is absolutely ridiculous. Not mutually

:34:11.:34:16.

exclusive. It is ridiculous, girls at 15 what on earth are they doing

:34:17.:34:21.

having sex, I am 17 I haven't had sex and I'm proud to say it, do you

:34:22.:34:25.

know why, because I want to better myself. We live in a country where

:34:26.:34:29.

girls have so much opportunity they can better themselves. I came from

:34:30.:34:33.

Thailand the other day, I stopped in Saudi Arabia, women can't even

:34:34.:34:37.

drive, we are allowed to do so many things. Go out there, get an

:34:38.:34:42.

education, get a proper job and educate our own selves to do better

:34:43.:34:48.

with ourselves. No, no, no. Girls at the age of 15 they are still babies.

:34:49.:34:53.

I have quite a few friends that have had babies at the age of 14 and 15,

:34:54.:34:57.

they are babies, how can a baby educate a baby that is wrong.

:34:58.:35:11.

This lady here? I have been a peer educator in sexual health for the

:35:12.:35:18.

past two years, I think we are getting this conversation completely

:35:19.:35:21.

wrong. Within I go to schools and colleges and youth clubs and

:35:22.:35:24.

prevention clubs and I talk to young people about sex, the first thing I

:35:25.:35:28.

tell them is I'm here to give you the correct information to make your

:35:29.:35:31.

own decision. We shouldn't be talking about the decision they are

:35:32.:35:33.

making we should be talking about giving them the correct information

:35:34.:35:37.

to make those decisions. Sex education needs to be part of the

:35:38.:35:40.

curriculum. Not just education, about relationships, about emotional

:35:41.:35:44.

health and all of that, it needs to be part of the curriculum. We give

:35:45.:35:47.

people information to make their own decisions the thing about sex and

:35:48.:35:55.

the baby that is ridiculous. I like to say I think ultimately you have

:35:56.:36:01.

to ask yourself what's the aim in lowering the consent, do we want

:36:02.:36:05.

more younger people to have sex at a younger age. Because if it is it is

:36:06.:36:09.

kind of backwards logic to me, because then you end up lowering the

:36:10.:36:14.

driving limit, you end up lowering the alcohol limit just to balance

:36:15.:36:17.

things out. It doesn't make sense to me. So keep it at 18, 21! ! Owen you

:36:18.:36:25.

are a father? 21, blimey. At the end of the day people will have sex when

:36:26.:36:29.

they are ready to have sex. Whatever the law says. I think if it was a

:36:30.:36:33.

situation at the moment where 15-year-olds were being criminal --

:36:34.:36:38.

criminalised for having sex with each other I would support it, but

:36:39.:36:43.

it isn't happening. If people were prevented from getting education and

:36:44.:36:49.

condoms then would want it. I have to challenge the audience. In the

:36:50.:36:53.

United States when they have got rid of sex education in various states

:36:54.:36:58.

and promoted abstinence instead, guess what happened, teenage

:36:59.:37:02.

pregnancies and STIs went up. Because people weren't getting the

:37:03.:37:06.

education they need. You have to be pragmatic about it. You said you

:37:07.:37:09.

weren't ready, but that is your choice, if we deprive other people

:37:10.:37:13.

of the education that they need so that they can make an informed

:37:14.:37:18.

choice, people will still have sex, but they willened up maybe not

:37:19.:37:22.

having safe sex, they will maybe put their own health at risk. Maybe they

:37:23.:37:28.

will end up pregnant. You have to be pragmatic about it. If we don't

:37:29.:37:35.

promote sex education we will have more children having children and

:37:36.:37:40.

higher STIs. You can educate people about sex without lowering the age

:37:41.:37:46.

of consent. I don't support it, we have come out of these horrendous

:37:47.:37:51.

child abuse scandals recently. I'm a bit frustrated the conversation has

:37:52.:37:54.

shifted, one of the good things that came out of that horrible Jimmy

:37:55.:37:58.

Savile scandals is people were actually coming forward and sharing

:37:59.:38:02.

their experiences. One of the big problems we face, and this is a

:38:03.:38:05.

discussion we need to have is people who are abused as children often

:38:06.:38:08.

can't come forward, they are often not believed, there is a very small

:38:09.:38:11.

proportion of people who do come forward. We need to support them. I

:38:12.:38:15.

think that's where the conversation should be. Not in terms of lowering

:38:16.:38:18.

the age of consent, supporting people to come forward who have been

:38:19.:38:21.

abused as children and that's a debate we need to be talking about.

:38:22.:38:28.

I just think most age conditions are arbitary, you know there is no

:38:29.:38:32.

evidence that, it is not fact should it be 16, 17, 15, I completely agree

:38:33.:38:37.

with the rest of the panel. The issue for me isn't about 16, 15 or

:38:38.:38:43.

17, it is preparing young people, young people, young men to

:38:44.:38:48.

understand or to be able to make their own choices about when they

:38:49.:38:52.

want to have sex, when they are ready to have sex. Honestly it is

:38:53.:38:56.

not my business whether it is 14 or 21, as long as those people can make

:38:57.:39:01.

those choices and they are prepared to make those choices. I do,

:39:02.:39:04.

however, if you forced me to say how did I feel about the age of 16

:39:05.:39:08.

whether it should be 16 or 15. I would say it should be 16. That is

:39:09.:39:12.

because I think there is a level of protection. I think sometimes it

:39:13.:39:15.

might help those young people to say no, no, no. It is not right yet. So

:39:16.:39:20.

if I was forced to I would say that. It is not about that, it is about

:39:21.:39:23.

education. This lady here? Hello. I just wanted

:39:24.:39:30.

to, again reinforce the education thing. And I think what you guys are

:39:31.:39:35.

all alluded to is the fact it is about education and it is not just

:39:36.:39:38.

about the sex part, it is about the relationships. I currently work

:39:39.:39:43.

with, I'm trying to work with young women my age 18, 19 who have been

:39:44.:39:47.

through domestic violence relationships and ended up with two

:39:48.:39:51.

kids. The thing is there is just not enough education about how to teach

:39:52.:39:54.

young kids how to be productive adults. It is not just about the

:39:55.:39:58.

mechanics of the contraception, and even the contraception, there isn't

:39:59.:40:02.

enough education about that in my opinion. I mean do many people know

:40:03.:40:06.

that there is a male contraceptive pill. Right now we are using

:40:07.:40:10.

bulletproof vests rather than getting rid of the gun. It is kind

:40:11.:40:16.

of ridiculous as it stands. Great analogy. It is overly focussed on

:40:17.:40:19.

young women, it is not just about the sex. That is why I'm passionate

:40:20.:40:23.

about getting sex and relationships. Right now we will teach them about

:40:24.:40:28.

compound interest and composting but the Government refuses to put

:40:29.:40:34.

consent the cirriculum for girls and boys. One in three young women

:40:35.:40:37.

saying they are sexually harassed in school, that prevents them getting

:40:38.:40:42.

an education. It is like saying that you can't access the information

:40:43.:40:47.

until you are 16. You have a legal right to advice and you should

:40:48.:40:51.

exercise that right and you can make your choices. A lot of big ideas in

:40:52.:40:54.

here, we have to move on. What are people saying at home. An emotive

:40:55.:40:58.

response. The power bar. We reset it at the

:40:59.:41:28.

end of the voting debate. Deborah you were in the lead, Stella a close

:41:29.:41:32.

second and you are still in the lead, Stella close behind. Well

:41:33.:41:42.

done. Girl power! Let's change the subject again, latest unemployment

:41:43.:41:46.

figures show the numbers of jobless 16-24-year-olds fell by 9,000 over

:41:47.:41:49.

the summer. When we asked you to post the questions you wanted to put

:41:50.:41:53.

our politicians on our social media sites, the issue of unemployment

:41:54.:41:56.

came up again and again. Here are some of Westminster and Holyrood's

:41:57.:42:01.

finest answering your questions. There is some sign of what we have

:42:02.:42:06.

done, massive expansion of youth contracts, and apprenticeship, work

:42:07.:42:10.

places, it is starting to make an impression. My own view is that one

:42:11.:42:15.

of the things that we have failed to do so far is simplify the system. I

:42:16.:42:20.

speak to so many young people where they go on to college or school or

:42:21.:42:24.

university. They have so many different choices and so many

:42:25.:42:28.

different schemes and budget lines and acronyms. It is a sort of

:42:29.:42:33.

spaghetti junction of options. Day one of me as Prime Minister, I seek

:42:34.:42:37.

to mobilise every business in this country behind getting young people

:42:38.:42:40.

back to work. We said if you were in Government now we would be taxing

:42:41.:42:45.

the bankers' bonuses and saying to every young person unemployed for

:42:46.:42:48.

more than a year we will guarantee you a job with the minimum wage with

:42:49.:42:53.

proper training. I think the first thing I would do is stop the

:42:54.:42:55.

rhetoric from this Government that makes it sound as if it is their

:42:56.:43:00.

fault as if they are sitting around want ago life on benefits. It is not

:43:01.:43:04.

just the case of not having a job and income, it is about not having

:43:05.:43:09.

hope. We would massively invest in apprenticeship, a massive investment

:43:10.:43:13.

in jobs per se, we don't agree with the austerity programme. We think at

:43:14.:43:16.

a time of economic difficulty that is the time when the Government does

:43:17.:43:19.

need to invest. We have got the only, in Scotland, youth you

:43:20.:43:25.

Employment Minister in Europe. We have the only person where it is her

:43:26.:43:30.

responsibility, youth employment. We will guarantee every 16-19-year-old

:43:31.:43:34.

if they are not in education, training or a job to be offered

:43:35.:43:37.

training place. As a result youth unemployment in Scotland has fallen

:43:38.:43:43.

25% in the last year. Since the last general election, 1. 4 million new

:43:44.:43:45.

jobs have been created in the private sector. What the Government

:43:46.:43:49.

has to do is create the tax regime to incentivise companies to invest

:43:50.:43:52.

and take people on. A vibrant economy is the cure to youth

:43:53.:43:55.

unemployment. OK we have a question from Steve. Where is Steve? What do

:43:56.:44:03.

you want to ask? With the amounts of NEETS, young people not in education

:44:04.:44:08.

or employment increasing, but think our education system is allowing

:44:09.:44:12.

young people who are lazy to stay lazy and not look for work. Are we

:44:13.:44:18.

allowing young people to stay lazy who are lazy? I don't know if you

:44:19.:44:26.

can apply that is As a general question. I spent my life living in

:44:27.:44:31.

rural areas and London. It is very hard for young people to find work.

:44:32.:44:35.

I don't divide them into whether they are on long-term been fits, it

:44:36.:44:40.

doesn't matter, we are failing to get young people into work. That

:44:41.:44:44.

starts with education. That means that people are being led to the

:44:45.:44:49.

wrong place or being offered the right opportunities in the right

:44:50.:44:53.

types of jobs, they are not ready to take up jobs. In my rural

:44:54.:44:58.

communities they are taught to do things, they are on apprenticeships

:44:59.:45:02.

with no hope of a job at the end of it. That has to be completely wrong.

:45:03.:45:07.

To me, I park the benefits issue. I actually think most young people

:45:08.:45:11.

don't get up in the morning thinking, well actually maybe I got

:45:12.:45:14.

up in the morning Iing this I don't want to d -- morning thinking I

:45:15.:45:19.

don't want to do anything. Most young people want a career, they

:45:20.:45:23.

actually do want to work f they find themselves trapped in benefits that

:45:24.:45:30.

is our fault, not their fault. I think ultimately the problem with

:45:31.:45:34.

employment is that people work 9-5 all the hours God sends, and

:45:35.:45:39.

basically just making enough money to cover their bills. So it is not

:45:40.:45:44.

an incentive for people to go out searching to try to get a 9-5 job 40

:45:45.:45:50.

hours a week, when I'm only able to barely live. So there has to be some

:45:51.:45:53.

kind of adjustment on that side to where, if people do go out and spend

:45:54.:45:57.

all the hours working they actually get to live a fairly luxurious life,

:45:58.:46:03.

because they put the hours in. So whatever your trade I think. There

:46:04.:46:09.

is more to work than money. And I know, please don't criticise me for

:46:10.:46:14.

saying that. Please don't, I'm a millionaire of course I would say

:46:15.:46:18.

that. The truth is that you feel better when you are doing something,

:46:19.:46:21.

you are achieving something, and actually if you go out and start

:46:22.:46:24.

doing something where you are not earning enough money, before you

:46:25.:46:28.

know it you take your next step. I started with no money and I started

:46:29.:46:33.

earning tuppence but I went out and I did it, I felt better. That is my

:46:34.:46:37.

point. It is not just about the money. Particularly when you are

:46:38.:46:40.

young. You have got to start on a path that says I'm going to make my

:46:41.:46:44.

life for myself. And not just wait for it to happen. Of course I

:46:45.:46:48.

understand totally, a lot of people do have that principle. But if for

:46:49.:46:52.

years and years you continue to go out there and work for work's sake

:46:53.:46:57.

and there is no savings, there is no way for me to feed my children,

:46:58.:47:01.

there is no way, I can't send my children to university, there is

:47:02.:47:07.

still problems I face, it doesn't make sense. I'm talking about young

:47:08.:47:12.

people at the start of their career, if you are working you feel better.

:47:13.:47:15.

Just in terms it of the question, I'm sick to death of unemployed

:47:16.:47:20.

people generally being blamed, sorry, for a massive unemployment

:47:21.:47:23.

crisis that Government after Government are responsible for. We

:47:24.:47:26.

have got a million young people now who are out of work. We have a

:47:27.:47:31.

situation in this country where the majority of people in poverty are

:47:32.:47:36.

people in work, this idea that work is almost the route of poverty and

:47:37.:47:41.

it is not true. The reason it is a scandal, we have 66 young people

:47:42.:47:46.

chasing every single vacancy in retail and shops, where is the Sun

:47:47.:47:51.

and Daily Mail hunting down these young people sending CV after CV and

:47:52.:47:55.

no response. The reason it is a scandal is if you are young and

:47:56.:47:59.

unemployed you are more likely to be unemployed in later life and have

:48:00.:48:04.

lower wages. That is why we need for example a house building programme

:48:05.:48:07.

to sort out the housing crisis but also create lots of jobs. We need to

:48:08.:48:10.

learn from other countries like Germany, where they have taken on

:48:11.:48:13.

the environmental cries by creating hundreds of thousands of renewable

:48:14.:48:17.

energy jobs, which are jobs that people have dignity, they are

:48:18.:48:25.

skilled and paid a decent wage. The argument needs to be not just

:48:26.:48:29.

kicking young people, and the debate about how to kick young people

:48:30.:48:34.

harder and take state support away from them. The argument is how to

:48:35.:48:39.

create skills to take on the housing and environmental crisis,

:48:40.:48:44.

politicians are failing to do that. You say politicians are failing to

:48:45.:48:48.

do that the on-line community are giving a kicking

:48:49.:49:03.

A lot of hands. In the green jumper? Yes, you were saying about young

:49:04.:49:13.

people working and it makes them feel better working, that's not true

:49:14.:49:17.

not necessarily. If you are put into a job where you don't enjoy it, you

:49:18.:49:21.

are only doing it to pay for yourself to go enough to pay for

:49:22.:49:26.

your travel as a young person. We don't get much pay. Some of my

:49:27.:49:31.

friends earn ?4. 95 an hour, it is OK but it is only enough to pay for

:49:32.:49:35.

a certain amount. You want to get into, some people want to finish

:49:36.:49:38.

school and get straight into the working environment to pay, like, I

:49:39.:49:43.

wish just to go into work and get enough to pay for myself to actually

:49:44.:49:48.

get good things, be able to get a car, instead of going on Transport

:49:49.:49:53.

for London. It is a question of trying to fund that to make wages

:49:54.:49:59.

higher. I think firstly I think that, I work with a charity and we

:50:00.:50:04.

get a lot of young people who have degrees, masters degrees, who don't

:50:05.:50:11.

know how to write a decent CV. I think employment skills used to be

:50:12.:50:15.

put into a curriculum at an earlier age. To come back to Deborah's

:50:16.:50:19.

point, at the end of the day the definition of slavery is working all

:50:20.:50:25.

day and only enough to feed and clothe yourself. Why are young

:50:26.:50:29.

people being forced into slave labour jobs? I completely agree with

:50:30.:50:39.

Owen. I work for UK Youth Climate Coalition, we are looking at green

:50:40.:50:43.

jobs, there is so many brilliant opportunities. This Government

:50:44.:50:48.

incentivised solar panels and we saw a brilliant boom, we saw young

:50:49.:50:52.

people being put into apprenticeships and people getting

:50:53.:50:55.

sustainable skills, and yet that investment has been cut, green jobs

:50:56.:50:59.

are now taboo in this current Government. We're seeing an

:51:00.:51:03.

opportunity for investment and for something sustainable in a long

:51:04.:51:06.

period of growth it will be completely removed and ignored.

:51:07.:51:17.

Myself, I do agree what Deborah was saying about how some people enjoy

:51:18.:51:21.

the work they are doing. For myself, I have always been involved in youth

:51:22.:51:25.

work, I decided even though I'm not getting paid for it I will do it

:51:26.:51:31.

because I enjoy it. Through that, once I finish I set up my own

:51:32.:51:36.

charity, I set up a homeless shelter in Brixton. I did that myself, not

:51:37.:51:40.

getting paid, even though everyone is talking about money, money,

:51:41.:51:44.

money, I think may main thing is if it is something you enjoy you will

:51:45.:51:48.

do, and you might get rewards afterwards. Your main first protocol

:51:49.:51:53.

do what you want to do first and not always jump for money and see how

:51:54.:51:57.

you can get this and that. You should be paid for it properly. I

:51:58.:52:01.

want to commend what you have done. Take this as another counter point

:52:02.:52:05.

quickly, because we have so many people working for poverty wages, it

:52:06.:52:09.

actually costs the taxpayer, because we end up lining the bosses pockets

:52:10.:52:15.

with tax credits. Most people on benefits are people in work, we are

:52:16.:52:18.

doing that because people like yourself are slogging your guts out

:52:19.:52:22.

and not getting paid possibly. We need to address that because it

:52:23.:52:26.

costs us all. There is clearly a problem with youth unemployment in

:52:27.:52:29.

this country, as there is a problem with unemployment, and nearly 2. 5

:52:30.:52:33.

million people in Britain are out of work. I do believe that those people

:52:34.:52:38.

want to be on benefits. I think the overwhelming majority, young or old,

:52:39.:52:42.

want jobs, want to be looking after themselves, and their families. What

:52:43.:52:47.

can Government do about it? What Government can do is set out the

:52:48.:52:55.

framework for the economy. . They can can try to make sure the economy

:52:56.:53:01.

is stable and make sure businesses are there and it is easy to take

:53:02.:53:04.

people on. That is where Government policy should be directed. The other

:53:05.:53:07.

thing we have to do is recognise we are in a highly competitive world

:53:08.:53:11.

against places like India and China that weren't competing with us 20 or

:53:12.:53:15.

30 years ago, to compete with them we need a better educated work force

:53:16.:53:20.

that is able to take on high-paid, high-value jobs. I don't want to

:53:21.:53:24.

compete with India on shoe manufacturing. Because that's not

:53:25.:53:28.

going to be where the money is. That will not provide a standard of

:53:29.:53:31.

living for British people that will be acceptable. So we need knowledge

:53:32.:53:36.

jobs and those will come if the Government is successful with

:53:37.:53:45.

Michael Gov, he's reforms are put in. And we need a tax system that

:53:46.:53:50.

allows people to employ people. This is where there are strong

:53:51.:53:54.

differences between myself and Jacob about what you can do about it. I

:53:55.:53:57.

share his analysis that the future is about competing in a global

:53:58.:54:01.

economy. Owen is right there are 66 young people chasing every single

:54:02.:54:04.

job, that is really hard going. One of the things that really concerns

:54:05.:54:07.

me, we talk about a million young people being unemployed. Some of

:54:08.:54:10.

those young people have been out of work for more than two years, in

:54:11.:54:14.

fact we have seen a three-foaled increase of young people out of work

:54:15.:54:18.

for two years. It is a difference being out of work for a few weeks or

:54:19.:54:22.

months than two years. Your skills are out of date, employers ask for

:54:23.:54:26.

gaps in your CVs. There is so much more Government could do, that is

:54:27.:54:30.

the challenge. That is the potential n that global economy unless we get

:54:31.:54:33.

young people to achieve what they can achieve we won't be able to

:54:34.:54:36.

compete. It is not just about the tax and regulatory regime, it is

:54:37.:54:40.

about the things like the Future Jobs Fund, guarnteeing jobs to make

:54:41.:54:43.

sure those young people have the skills to compete. It is about

:54:44.:54:46.

quality apprenticeships, we have talked about that, over the last

:54:47.:54:51.

year the ones created are going to over-25-year-old, we are cutting off

:54:52.:54:53.

potential before it has an opportunity to achieve what it can

:54:54.:54:56.

do. Deborah I agree with you, work has to be about passion and

:54:57.:54:59.

commitment. I'm here because I'm passionate, but I also recognise

:55:00.:55:03.

that prices have risen twice as fast assuages in the last couple of

:55:04.:55:07.

years. That gap for people, that too much money at the end of the month.

:55:08.:55:11.

Deborah listen, what matters to these young people is if they can't

:55:12.:55:15.

take opportunity, in my local community we have a youth

:55:16.:55:17.

unemployment black spot. The gentleman is talking about travel,

:55:18.:55:23.

you are earn ?1 a week as an apprentice but ?35 a week for your

:55:24.:55:28.

travelcard, you can see why where the money is going. We have to help

:55:29.:55:32.

them get on the first step of the rung. And if not we will have a load

:55:33.:55:40.

generation of potential. You completely misunderstanding, my

:55:41.:55:44.

point is benefits, if it was a choice about doing nothing and

:55:45.:55:47.

staying on he benefits or going out and working, even if it is not the

:55:48.:55:51.

wage you want, I believe you have got to work. You two can talk

:55:52.:55:55.

afterwards, we have to find out what people at home are saying. Lots of

:55:56.:55:57.

comments coming in: APPLAUSE Tax cuts, tax avoidance for

:55:58.:56:25.

the rich, corporations and low wages for the rest of us. Deborah and

:56:26.:56:31.

Stella neck and neck on the debate. Overall tonight Deborah you have won

:56:32.:56:38.

the final Power of 2013, you have the final 20 seconds to have your

:56:39.:56:41.

say. I wasn't expecting to win. Can I just tell you how invigourating it

:56:42.:56:47.

is to sit here and how wonderful it is to sit here and see how engaged

:56:48.:56:50.

all of these people in this room are, because this is exactly what

:56:51.:56:55.

needs to drive politics. Coming from you, not waiting for the politicians

:56:56.:56:59.

to tell you, you to tell the politicians. It is very

:57:00.:57:04.

invigourating, thank you. That is almost it, thank you very much for

:57:05.:57:07.

our invigourating audience, our panel, to parliament, and you at

:57:08.:57:11.

home for sending in your comments. The debate continues on-line as

:57:12.:57:14.

ever. This is the last Free Speech of 2013, we will be back next year.

:57:15.:57:19.

In the meantime we will lead you with Britain's leading politicians

:57:20.:57:23.

telling us what free speech means to them. It is about the ability to

:57:24.:57:27.

change things and in a democracy. We debate about freedom of speech and

:57:28.:57:30.

whether you can say one thing or another, and whether expressing one

:57:31.:57:32.

view to the offence of another person should be allowed or not, but

:57:33.:57:36.

we just don't appreciate how amazing it is that we can express ourselves

:57:37.:57:42.

freely. Free speech means saying what you want even if it offends

:57:43.:57:46.

people. It is an opportunity, a programme like this is one of the

:57:47.:57:48.

few opportunities in the conventional media, newspapers and

:57:49.:57:51.

television where there is that opportunity. Free speech means to me

:57:52.:57:57.

that everyone can feel confident in saying what they think and believe.

:57:58.:58:00.

In particular it means when you are in a group of people who you know

:58:01.:58:04.

don't agree with you having the courage still to say what you think

:58:05.:58:06.

and what you believe.

:58:07.:58:08.

Free Speech asks whether young people are being failed by politics in a live special from Parliament. Many 18-24 year olds didn't bother voting in the last general election, so the under-30s audience ask MPs why the main political parties are failing to connect with them. As well as a panel including Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg and Labour MP Stella Creasy, the leaders of Britain's political parties give exclusive interviews explaining what they are doing to engage young voters and answer questions set by the Free Speech social media audience, including ones on youth unemployment and freedom of speech.

Rick Edwards chairs proceedings, with Tina Daheley (Radio 1 Newsbeat) gathering Twitter, Facebook and website messages from viewers at home.


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