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


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


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


young people regard the Conservative Party as aliens from another plan


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


in here tonight for Free Speech parliament.


This is the first live-ever transmission from Westminster


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


five years. I think more young people should


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


for voting is so low amongst young people.


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


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


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


1997, classic example, the Conservatives after 18 years in


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


small group of politicians running the show with very little


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


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


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


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


something wrong with the system. Ultimately myself I have never


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Mark Duggan gets killed, these injustices that affect the people


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


that are carrying out the injustices. When these things


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


someone that really represents where they are coming from and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


because you want to compromise or more people wanted a different


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


living beyond these walls. I have heard people convince themselves


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


think there is this disconnect between people trying to get their


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


graduate they will face a job they would have gotten without


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Scotland next year there will be the independence referendum and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


of course they are interested in politics because they are interested


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


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


necessarily becoming a politician, but through social media campaigns,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


proportional voting systems, more people and more significant parts of


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


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


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


multi-millionaire business leader and someone from the mainstream


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


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


are the communities mobilising against fracking at the moment.


There is a danger we present politics as something that happens


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


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


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


same people who cause the ecological, social and economic


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


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


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


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


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


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


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




APPLAUSE. I find that really difficult,


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


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


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


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


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


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


boxes because there are many different people here from different


backgrounds and everybody can have their own particular things they


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


responsibility that the parents would then have to that child.


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


earlier this year to make sure sex and relationship education was


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


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


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


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


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


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


about the mechanics and the principles of respect and equality,


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


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


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


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


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


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


bodies as possible. LINEBREAK APPLAUSE


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


contraception, we should be educating them into getting a career


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


making we should be talking about giving them the correct information


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


curriculum. Not just education, about relationships, about emotional


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


and promoted abstinence instead, guess what happened, teenage


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


promote sex education we will have more children having children and


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


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


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


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


Savile scandals is people were actually coming forward and sharing


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


education. This lady here? Hello. I just wanted


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


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


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


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


through domestic violence relationships and ended up with two


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


compound interest and composting but the Government refuses to put


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


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


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


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


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


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


response. The power bar. We reset it at the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


university. They have so many different choices and so many


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


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


to mobilise every business in this country behind getting young people


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


or employment increasing, but think our education system is allowing


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


wrong place or being offered the right opportunities in the right


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


people generally being blamed, sorry, for a massive unemployment


crisis that Government after Government are responsible for. We


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the environmental cries by creating hundreds of thousands of renewable


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


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


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


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


create skills to take on the housing and environmental crisis,


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


do that the on-line community are giving a kicking


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


jobs, there is so many brilliant opportunities. This Government


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


people being put into apprenticeships and people getting


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


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


opportunity for investment and for something sustainable in a long


period of growth it will be completely removed and ignored.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


doing that because people like yourself are slogging your guts out


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


jobs and those will come if the Government is successful with


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


potential before it has an opportunity to achieve what it can


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


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


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


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


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


take opportunity, in my local community we have a youth


unemployment black spot. The gentleman is talking about travel,


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


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


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


generation of potential. You completely misunderstanding, my


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


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


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


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


comments coming in: APPLAUSE Tax cuts, tax avoidance for


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


few opportunities in the conventional media, newspapers and


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


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


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


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


and what you believe.


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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