The scheme is designed to inspire the next generation of BME politicians
Two participants from East Dunbartonshire were among the 11 young people who visited Westminster today to hold a question and answer session with Jo Swinson MP, under the Glasgow Anti Racist Alliance (GARA) Political Shadowing Scheme.
Yousuf Hamid, 18, from Bearsden and Christelle Egboyo, 19, from Bishopbriggs, are taking part in the shadowing scheme, which provides training in a number of key areas. These include public speaking and media skills, trips to political institutions and ‘shadowing’ of an MP, MSP or councillor in their day-to-day work.
Yousuf, Christelle and the other participants also enjoyed a tour of the Parliament and watched a lively session of Prime Minister’s Questions.
“I’m delighted to support the Glasgow Anti-Racist Alliance’s Political Shadowing Scheme and welcome Yousuf and Christelle to Westminster.
“It is vital that our BME communities are represented in our political system, to ensure that the views of all members of our society are listened to.
“Westminster has some way to go before it is truly representative of our society. We need a substantial improvement in the representation of BME communities, as well as women and young people.
“The GARA shadowing scheme is a great way of sparking a political interest in young BME people and tackling today’s representation problems for the future.”
GARA Policy Officer and Milngavie resident Ashay Ghai, said:
“At GARA, we are grateful for Jo Swinson’s support for the objectives of the Political Shadowing Scheme.
“Black and minority ethnic people are seriously under-represented in both the Scottish and UK political arenas. GARA’s scheme is designed to counteract this by empowering and inspiring young people about politics. I am confident that our current crop of participants contains some of Scotland’s future BME politicians.”
Yousuf Hamid added:
“This is an ideal opportunity for young people like me to get a taste of Westminster politics. Because of the training and support provided by GARA, those of us lucky enough to be on the scheme can now think of a career in politics as a viable option in the future.”
With the under-representation of black/minority ethnic (BME) people in politics increasingly recognised, GARA is encouraging Glasgow BME young people to take a more active interest in politics.
The visit to Westminster follows earlier visits to the Scottish Parliament and Glasgow City Chambers. Designed to be compatible with work or study, the fully funded 2 day a month programme will run until the summer and incorporate training and visits in addition to ‘Shadowing’ a top politician.
However, the scheme is intended not only to benefit the participants but also politicians taking part, in educating them on the concerns of BME young people.