Jo is encouraging schools in East Dunbartonshire to enter an essay competition run by journalists in Parliament.
The aim of the Parliamentary Press Gallery Writing Competition is to promote awareness and discussion of the values of Parliamentary democracy and the political process. It gives pupils all over the UK the opportunity to put forward their views and offer advice on how best to govern the country by drafting an election manifesto for a political party.
The winners are invited to stay overnight with a parent or guardian in a top London hotel and then spend the day at Westminster. The day starts with meeting top political journalists, a tour of Parliament and an award ceremony presented by Mr Speaker in Speaker’s House.
Commenting, Jo said:
“This essay competition is a great opportunity for young people to get involved in politics and to have their voices heard. Coming up with a manifesto is a good way to get young people thinking about some of the big political issues of our time and arriving at their own conclusions, which is an important part of being a citizen in a democracy.
“I hope that schools in East Dunbartonshire will encourage pupils to enter the competition, and I look forward to hearing what bright ideas the young people of East Dunbartonshire have to contribute.”
Details of the competition:
Years 10 to 11 (S3-4 in Scotland):
Imagine you are a policy adviser for the political party of your choice and have been asked by the party leader to help draft the manifesto. Outline no more than three policy priorities for the party and explain why they should play a prominent role in that party’s programme for government. Your brief should make clear which party leader you are addressing and should not be substantially less than 800 words or substantially more than 1,000 words.
Years 12-13 (S5-6 in Scotland):
Imagine you are an adviser to the political party of your choice. You have been asked by your party leader not only to consider key policies for inclusion in the manifesto but also to assess whether, and to what extent, the recent global economic downturn might affect your party’s ability to deliver those manifesto promises in government. Your recommendations should cover no more than three policies and should take into consideration how your incoming government might have to balance its priorities against tax increases or cuts in public spending. Your brief should make clear which party leader you are addressing and should not be substantially less than 1,500 words or substantially more than 1,700 words.
Entries will be accepted between 1st October and 12th November 2009. Entries should be sent to: The Parliamentary Press Gallery Writing Competition c/o DODS Westminster Tower, 3 Albert Embankment, London SE 1 7SP or emailed firstname.lastname@example.org