We pick some of the political heroes and villains of 2014, from a youth perspective...
Backbench (MP) Youth Champion
Awarded to the MP who has best promoted young people’s interests during 2014.
Frank Field MP
Some 3.5 million children (27% of all children) in the United Kingdom live in poverty. Whilst many politicians of all stripes pay due lip-service to that distressing fact, Frank Field has decided to use the powers of his office to set about resolving it. Chairing the APPG on Hunger and Food Poverty, Mr. Field has opened up a national discussion regarding living standards and deprivation, with the ultimate aim of “abolishing hunger” in Britain. He has also launched the "Feeding Birkenhead" initiative, designed to eliminate hunger and child poverty in the constituency he has served for nearly 36 years.
Young Journalist of the Year
It's true; everything is a BuzzFeed article nowadays. Cats and Kardashians may be the inevitable result of BuzzFeed’s cultural clickbait. However, their desire for punchy, engaging journalism has fed positively into the political realm. Indeed, BuzzFeed UK Deputy Editor Jim Waterson's political reporting remains in sync with BuzzFeed's values. His work is sharp, enticing, never repetitive and does much to engage young people in politics. If only to promote pertinent contemporary issues, cats do have their benefits.
Social Media Gaffe of the Year
Emily Thornberry - 'White Van Dan'
A man named Dan and his proudly placed van. This seemingly mundane scenario turned out to be a recipe for disaster for (former) Shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry. Conservatives and Kippers wailed with delight at how “out of touch” the Labour Party had shown itself to be following Thornberry’s belittling blunder, and the Islington MP was forced to resign from the ShadCab. Following the immediate drama that ensued, the mysterious ‘Dan’ claimed that he was unfazed by Thornberry’s remarks, until his occupation, values and material possessions gained sponsorship from The Sun – at which time he deemed it necessary to make himself a media menace to the Labour Party. Funny, that…
Twitter Trend of the Year
It can be observed with little strenuous reflection that most hashtags are frivolous distractions, designed to collectively occupy an otherwise solemnly bored online populous. #IndyRef may have harboured elements of this. It was at times petty, ignorantly adversarial and destructive. Yet it was also momentous. The future of a nation was fought through social media, with each dramatic turn tracked through 140 character chronicles. Approximately 80% of the eligible under-18 vote turned out to vote on 18th September. This was not solely due to the pervasive influence of social media on the debate, but trends such as #IndyRef certainly played their part.