Over the weekend the E2E team went down to Youth Vote London and event put on by Bite the Ballot and UpRise at the famous London night club the Ministry of Sound. The day saw Bite the Ballot, Spirit Of London Awards and other youth related organisations team up to host a day of edutainment to encourage young people to vote for a new mayor come May 3rd.
Four out of the five the mayoral candidates turned up to tell the audience of young people what they stand for and what they will do if voted into power. This included Brian Paddick (Liberal Democrats), Jenny Jones (Green Party), Ken Livingstone (Labour) and independent candidate, Siobhan Benita. The current Mayor of London, Boris Johnson was ‘too busy’ to come down to the event!
The afternoon was filled with entertainment and useful information, as burning questions from some of London’s young people were answered by the candidates and there was a great line up of speakers and performers. Hosts of the afternoon included Kat B (MTV), Michelle de Swarte, poet Dean Atta and AJ Odudu. Reprezent FM brought down some of their DJs to play some great music and helped the live sets by Sway and Princess Nyah.
There was even a mock polling station for first time voters to have a practice and feel of what it will be like on the day of voting. The mayoral candidates in attendance proved that they were ‘down’ with young people, through engaging in activities such as street art – Ken and Simon Hughes (Lib Dem MP) got stuck in the Youth Vote London mural created by Graffiti Life. They also spoke to youth media organisations such as LinkUp and ourselves, not only creating an alternative platform for themselves but to reach out to us as the people of tomorrow.
Overall the event was successful there was a decent turnout, with a good balance of debate, questions and entertainment. Now it is up to us a young people to vote for the candidate that will put in the work they have promised, by doing right by Londoners and giving young people their human given right to have a voice.