‘The only 20-year-old in the whole of the UK who the Chancellor is prepared to help with housing’.
Mhairi Black delivered her first speech in the Commons earlier today, and what a speech it was.
I, myself am a 17-year-old British citizen who cannot wait for the chance to place my proverbial ‘X’ on the ballot paper and to be finally involved in the process of making electoral changes in government. Gutted at the missed opportunity to have my vote be counted this year in May, by only a few hundred days, I now have to wait five years to have my view considered.
On the 8th of May 2015, Mhairi Black won her seat in the Commons with over 23,000 votes, beating Douglas Alexander, Paisley and South representative of 17 years. To be completely honest with you, I hadn’t really known much about Mhairi Black before today (I know, it’s embarrassing), but in my defence I didn’t think I needed to since Mhairi Black is MP representative of the Paisley & Renfrewshire South constituency in Glasgow, and I am a constituent in London. So … to write a blog about streak defeater Mhairi Black seems just, well, absurd. However, I thank my dad for shoving his Facebook news feed displayed on his iPhone in my face, while hunched over me and giving me ‘the look’ and waiting. For those of you who don’t know, the look is a ‘Do not say anything, wait. You are about to be inspired’ moment. I can tell you, he didn’t wait long.
How can a young lady, only three years older than me, manage to stand up in a hall dominated by 30-plus-year-old MPs, and articulate the grievances of her constituents with such admirable clarity, such conviction, and such passion?
She made strong statements like the ‘welfare state is failing’, and backed them up with research into concerns raised by her constituents, revealing that there is extensive usage of food banks in the Renfrewshire constituency.
She engaged the elder MPs within Parliament, which was evident by the enthusiastic ‘hear! hear!’, laughter and clapping, in response to her statements. She has also managed to win fans internationally, in places like the USA where people are praising her work in the comments section on You Tube.
The House of Commons today was livened up by Mhairi Black’s aura, and I am sure that I am not the only youth in the UK left inspired by her heroic maiden speech. To represent a vulnerable part of the population is extraordinary and to entice people around the world is remarkable, and potentially revolutionary. Could this be the first step to decreasing the levels of youth apathy in politics?
I don’t know about you, but I’ll be tuning into the Commons more frequently now.