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Young people need to unite and stop being easy targets for politicians

Jamal Edwards Photo: Tobias Hase/DPA/Press Association Images

Jamal Edwards is an entrepreneur and ambassador for the campaign group Bite The Ballot. His views do not necessarily represent those of ITV News.

Another first – but this time it’s for democracy.

Two years ago I met Mike (from Bite The Ballot) and wondered why someone was coming to talk to me about politics. Until that time I had never thought of politics as anything I could be a part of or influence. To be honest, I had no idea it affected me. I was 22 years old - that’s madness.

Now, I understand the value of my power and influence. I am excited to engage my generation to show them that they have power too. If we come together, we can bring about change and stop being easy targets for politicians.

I don’t know who I am going to vote for in the next General Election and if no one shows me that they can run the country with all of us in mind then I will spoil my ballot. I know that some people see that as pointless but for me it’s powerful. Imagine if more people vote for no-one than the next prime minister. What message would that send to the current crop of politicians? To me it sends the message that we are informed, engaged and that we want to see sustainable changes and direct responses to the issues we care about.

(L-R) Leaders Live host Rick Edwards, Bite The Ballot's Michael Sani and Jamal Edwards Credit: Bite The Ballot

For me, Leaders Live is a sounding board for my generation, to see if any of our party leaders are worth our votes. It is our time to challenge and it is our time to encourage our networks to get involved. Then we will see the true power of participation.

Change will face push back from those who are happy with the way things are but it’s down to our generation to be resilient, united and develop an understanding of the current system. We will then be able to pursue the things we want to see changed, remembering that if the current individuals and parties on offer are unable to do that – we form our own.

Leaders Live kicks off on Wednesday 26th November

To take part, subscribe to BITE News, leave your comments and add the Leaders Live events to your calendar. There are 5.9 million potential young voters on May 7th 2015 and this is the start of our road to bring about change. We need to do it together, appreciating our differences and uniting as a generation.

Jamal Edwards is an entrepreneur and ambassador for the campaign group Bite The Ballot. His views do not necessarily represent those of ITV News.