A group of Wrexham Scouts have marked the upcoming Scottish Referendum by inviting politicians from Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives to debate the issues.
Carrie Harper from Plaid and Andrew Atkinson from the Conservatives, both their parties candidates for the next General Election, joined K2 Explorer Scout Unit to discuss votes for 16 year olds, Scottish independence and Welsh devolution.
Laura Bentley, 17 from Marchwiel, said: “The evening allowed us to learn first hand about politics both in the UK and the EU from politicians themselves. It was also an opportunity for us to get our voices heard and openly discuss any issues which we felt affected us in our local area.”
At the end of the night the Scouts voted on three questions. Out of the 37 young people present, 54% didn’t think 16 year olds should have the vote at national polls, 60% thought Scotland should remain part of the UK, and 89% disagreed with Welsh independence.
Carrie Harper said: “There was decent support for Scottish Independence, granted less support for Welsh Independence but the media spotlight has not been on that issue as yet, so not a huge surprise. It was great to see quite a wide variety of views.”
Andrew Atkinson said: “I really enjoyed it. I don’t share Carrie’s politics but she made her points brilliantly and is very passionate about her cause. The Scouts were excellent, a great discussion.”
Laura continued: “Although the evening was very informative, it highlighted for many how unsure we are on many political issues, which I think led to the majority voting against 16 year olds getting the vote. However, one of the main things I learned from the evening was that this lack of political knowledge is not limited to the younger age groups and needs to be addressed across the population.”