Young people and UKIP

p_grammar-school_1670533cMany young people today seem generally disenchanted with politics. Ask them what party they support, and the majority will say either “no idea”, or “whichever my parent’s vote for”. Only a handful will be loyal to one political ideology. However, it is essential that our younger generation are aware of political issues that will affect them – either now, or in the near future.

Ever since the housing crash of 2007, mortgages have rocketed up to maybe ten, or even twelve times the average income – as a result, the banks are refusing to lend (despite contrary advertisements). Many young people have to live at home with their parents for years on end or resort to expensive renting. And, on top of this, young people have to put up with high youth unemployment, homelessness and, worst of all, the inability to smoke indoors! And why is this? The big three parties – Labour, Conservative and (formally in the big three..) the LibDems – are totally apathetic and insensitive regarding how real/average people live. Their decisions affect us every day, and we barely notice; we struggle on, complain a bit here and there, but these parties take no notice.

However, one party attracted me. A party that offered solutions to these problems. UKIP.

Living in one of the poorest areas of the country – the Camborne and Redruth consistuency, I found that many students were condemned to an education in a near-failing comprehensive. A comprehensive that barely boasted a 30% pass rate (A*-C) at GCSE. There was no alternative – the grammar school had been closed long ago under the Labour government. The nearest grammar school to me was in another county! I was lucky enough to earn a bursary to private school, where I stayed up until GCSEs. But this shouldn’t have had to happen – I should have gone to state school, but my mother wanted more. She had the right to desire a school with a better pass rate. And most parents should. But, thanks to the socialist system, we had it indoctrinated into us from an early age (trust me, I remember) that we are all equal. No individual is smarter than another. As a result, we should not have ambitions to strive for greater achievement.

But this is simply not acceptable. UKIP promises to open more grammar schools. These type of selective schools are desperately needed for disadvantaged children from impoverished backgrounds, who achieve well-below their ability due to the inconclusive and unhelpful state school system. In my local comprehensive, sources suggest that “high-ability” students achieve, on average, a B grade at GCSE – not impressive considering that we have endured grade inflation over the last fifteen years.

A more rigorous education system is needed. We need to bring back the O-Level! And, we have Nick Clegg to thank for rejecting this notion (he boasted about it ever so modestly), claiming that it was “two tier”. Oh, Clegg, do tell us where you were educated, again? In fact, the O-Level (and, alongside grammar schools) will actually help to eliminate the divide between the rich and poor. Poor children should be given equal chances to study academic subjects such as Latin or Greek at state schools, on the same syllabus as those at Eton or Harrow. This is due to the fact that the state school system doesn’t offer such subjects at all – only in the few grammar schools.

The examination board should be the same for every single child up and down the country to offer equal opportunity to everyone – all children should be given the chance to gain fantastic, respected qualifications, making it easier for Russell Group universities to “sort the wheat from the chaff”. However, state comprehensives (which should be named as such, contrary to “science academies” and what have you) should cater for average children with the CSE qualification, which keeps opportunities open, but doesn’t pressure them to pass exams rigorously, like in the system we have today. The CSE qualification should allow children to go into other trades/apprenticeships, which are desperately needed in our economy today. Children should be given the chance to work at every turn with the help of decent qualifications.

There should be a divide between the polytechnic and the university. Widening these parameters, as we have seen in the last fifteen years, devalues the degree qualification, and as a result, we have seen an increase in student tuition fees. There are only so many graduate jobs available in our country – and yet, around 50% of young people are attending university. This places a great deal of stress on the economy. Young people complain of unemployment in their area of skill, obtained by a degree. This is simply because there are not enough jobs in these areas, but the government still promises that there are! UKIP agrees – the degree qualification should not just be a worth piece of paper, but a high achievement. Many teenagers feel pressured to go to University by their schools merely to boost statistics rather than raising their chances of getting a job.

As well as this, I know for a fact that there is a definite social division between smokers and non-smokers. A divide that doesn’t draw attention to itself particularly, but it is definitely visible between us teenagers. As a libertarian, I believe that the choice to smoke indoors should be down to the landlord of a property (namely, pubs). There should be smoking and non-smoking pubs to accommodate both sets of people – rather than leaving the smokers outside in the rain! And, when smokers are forced outside to smoke, the chances of children breathing in passive smoke increases. The pubs, in my opinion, are places where adults (people 18 and over) should drink, smoke and socialize, as this keeps such activities restricted to an adult environment. Since the introduction of the smoking ban, more and more adults have stayed at home to smoke and drink – under the same roof as their children. UKIP believes in true libertarianism – thus the choice to attend smoking or non-smoking pubs. Smoking should be a free choice, not a means to control the masses.

Why do I support UKIP? I support UKIP because it supports freedom of choice. Freedom to say that you want a better future – with a prospect of more jobs, better education, and better infrastructure. Teenagers need to be offered a libertarian future – one that promises freedom of choice and responsibility, which is essential for young teenagers growing into young adults. Although this article doesn’t address all issues of the UK, it addresses the ones that affect teenagers the most.

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Rosie Ward is a member of Young Independence, the youth wing of the UKIP party, “I chose UKIP because it encourages freedom of speech, and the ambition to strive and become someone with strong opinions on politics. In my view, the other parties encourage a sense of political apathy among the youth of today, and this simply won’t do.” Read more from Rosie at http://www.rosaleena.co.uk or her Twitter @rosaleenauk

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