Interviewing a Member of the Youth Parliament
By Iona Gaskell | 24 October 2017
In January 2017, sixteen-year-old Humayan was elected to be Member of the UK Youth Parliament for Reading. I'd actually never heard of anyone being an MYP until I chatted to him - but it sounds like pretty interesting stuff. Alongside his political duties, he’s still got time to study for his A levels and he plans to go on to university after finishing school next year. Further down the line he's got his sights set on some pretty big targets...
1. When did you first become interested in politics?
I first became interested in politics during the 2016 US presidential election, which was the first election that I'd paid much attention to - and was surrounded by so much controversy. The lack of honesty within that election is what really made me stand up and start paying attention to what was going on in world politics.
2. You were elected as a Member of the Reading Youth Parliament in January. What does your work as an MYP involve?
I work with others MYPs to ensure that schools are teaching their students about the voting system, democracy, and what the different political parties stand for. I meet other MYPS twice a month to debate the issues we care about and then work out campaigns to tackle those issues.
3. What single issue would you most like to see addressed through your work as an MYP?
I would like to see schools teaching their students useful life skills such as public speaking and how to pay your taxes; how the British political system works and how it compares to other countries. These things are just as important as the traditional academic subjects - some people might even argue they're more important.
Barack Obama has inspired Humayan with political ambitions of his own.
4. There’s often a cultural assumption, especially among older generations, that young people don’t care about politics. Do you think that’s true?
I don't think that is true at all. I know many young people who are interested in politics and who spend a lot of time discussing their views – I am one of them. There are lots of ways of engaging with politics, and sometimes the younger generations choose to do this differently.
That said, I was frustrated that I couldn’t vote in the recent general election. I believe that the voting age should be lowered to 16, because this would spur young people to engage even more. It would make young people much more likely to educate themselves about the big issues
6. What is it about More United that caught your interest?
More United is keen to have more young people engaging and participating in politics - which, as I’ve said, is an issue close to my heart. I like that it backs MPs across all political parties who agree with these values for a positive, tolerant society.
7. Are there any politicians, past or present, who really inspire you?
My favourite UK prime minister is Clement Attlee because of his efforts to create the National Health Service. One contemporary politician who has really inspired me is Barack Obama. He was elected as the first African American president of the United States of America, and that inspires me to feel that I could be elected as the first Muslim prime minister of the United Kingdom - it’s not an impossible dream.
Watch out Number 10 - Humayan's coming for you.