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‘Young people do have political power and aren’t afraid to use it in Manchester’s council elections’, new National Youth Agency Chair claims

By Helen Le Caplain

The new chair of a youth charity claims that George Galloway’s by-election victory in Bradford West illustrates that young people do have political power and won’t be afraid to use in on May 3.

Don Stewart, Chair of the National Youth Agency, is a Bradford West constituent and argues that safe seats are no longer as secure as they once were, due to the increasing youth vote.

Mr Stewart said: “Safe wards no longer exist, and what happens in Bradford could be replicated in the North of Manchester, Leicester and Birmingham where similarly unstable demographic chemistry exists.”

He claims that a lot of young people many of them women, voted for the first time in the Bradford West by-election and chose Galloway as he campaigned on issues that resonated with them.

Many voters turned away from the national parties, and instead focused on the candidate who promised to deliver on both domestic and international affairs.

Galloway’s campaign leaflet pledged to stop the cuts, abolish tuition fees, restore EMA and return British troops from Afghanistan.

This, coupled with his stance on foreign policy issues including Palestine and Iran, proved popular with his supporters.

Mr Stewart said: “The voice of youth can be heard and can have real power when organised and focused.

“Young people are starting to vote early, and if they like what they can achieve then they will vote often. Expect them to vote again on 3 May.”

He added: “One Bradford spring does not make a summer but it might signal a cold winter ahead for stable conventional politics in our cities.

“With a Coalition government in power in Westminster, there is a vacuum for those wishing to register a protest in the local elections.

“That vacuum is now being filled by a range of alternatives, and the youth vote, in particular, is not bound by convention or precedent when deciding where to lodge its protest.

“Smart politicians would do well to consider what they are offering to young people right now.”

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