York Open Democracy For Under 30s

Friday evening saw the first debate to promote the message of open democracy hosted by York Conservatives at St Peters School.

The Under 30s Question Time style debate the main parties represented from Councillor to MEP. The panel of Godfrey Bloom MEP (UKIP), Julian Sturdy MP (Con), Cllr James Alexander (Lab), Cllr Dave Taylor (Green) and Cllr Carol Runciman (Lib) all promted their different messages on the questions set by the audience. The different ideas brought forward by the panel produced some healthy debate on a variety of issues. A huge thank you needs to go to Bill Goss a student from St Peters who is actively involved in debating, acted as chair to the debate.

The questions that were asked covered the EU, ECHR, energy production, regional devolution, party funding, voting age and how poiticians interact with younger generations The twitter stream in the background of the panel was used by the audience and Cllr James Alexander; showing how new technologies can be a useful tool in engaging with the public. Some members of the audience did consider the fact James Alexander was tweeting while talking was impressive. James Alexander commenting on how good it is to interact with those who aren’t there at the time, but others thought it to be showing a lack of respect.

The question on Europe had a big response from the panel and the audience, it showed a real divide between the different political ideals. Julian Sturdy, who supports an EU referendum believes it is up to the people to decide and a referendum is needed. An equally mixed response came from where the future of energy production lies with Dave Taylor focussing on energy saving and renewables over nuclear and traditional methods, and the carbon capture programs are to be applauded. Godfrey Bloom saw the current rising prices of energy due to green technologies hurting many putting the case for fuel poverty being a higher priority than the faux climate change. Carol Runciman stated how the focus is equally important on renewables, biomass and nuclear.

The panel debate was a great success and we are looking to repeat the event for all ages in the Autumn. So keep your eyes peeled.

A few good tweets from the evening:

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