The Future Gen’s campaign proposes that a new post should be formed in parliament for a minister specifically focused on reviewing all new bills in relation to their impact on future generations, as is currently the case in Hungary. Bill’s implications are assessed, be it with regards to environmental degradation and resource use, or in relation to other direct effects on today’s young people who, with the voting age at 18, are currently not properly represented in the UK political system.
Although showing some initial enthusiasm about our work in this area (acknowledged sceptically by the young people) Walker characteristically went on to express doubts as to the adequacy of depth in our campaign plans, stating that it was unlikely to be met willingly by other politicians. He continued by raising concerns about whether our proposed parliamentary position would coincide with a democratic system, arguing that it would be hard to devise a fair election process for such a potentially powerful individual in parliament.
Uproar was triggered amongst the young people, with blatant feelings of dissatisfaction and even alienation surrounding our current political system coming to the fore. Other issues came flooding out, from the lack of youth volunteering funding along with high youth unemployment and the controversial Welfare to Work scheme, to the government’s inadequate support for renewable energy and tackling climate change. They successfully highlighted the massive problem of short termism in parliament, emphasising the necessity of the Commissioner for Future Generations.
Walker was left with little room for manoeuvre, and departed expressing his willingness to take our campaign forward, coupled with his commitment to the importance of volunteering as part of the Big Society. From our eyes the debate was largely a success, and his final words were positive, but the big question remains… will they be followed up with action? Or will the encounter merely perpetuate our high levels of dissatisfaction with a political system that appears to rely so heavily on rhetoric, not followed through with physical actions in the real world outside of Westminster?