Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Friday, 18 September 2009


In the past week I have had much meaningful dialogue with local young people. I have spent time with Laura Baker, of Hele School, Plympton, one of only 30 young people to have been chosen to take part in the Prime Minister’s Global Fellowship scheme to spend 6 weeks in China to learn more about business in that country and relationships between our two nations. I have sat around the table with engaging sixth-formers from Ridgeway School, Plympton to discuss a new blog we are planning to launch that will tackle issues relevant to young people; to kick off cyber-discussions on thorny issues that they will choose. And I have spoken to, listened to and answered penetrating questions on a whole range of issues from a group of 261 highly focussed sixth-formers at Ivybridge Community College

These interactions were at best inspirational for me and never less than stimulating and encouraging.

We sometimes get gloomy about the behaviour of the coming generation. It is true that some of the language, dress sense and attitudes are different from those of yesteryear. However, I can well remember my own parents being baffled about clothes that I wore (I remember one particularly striking pair of purple trousers) my Rod Stewart hair cut and my desire to “hang around town.” Every generation will seek to distance itself from the one immediately preceding it – it is part of growing up.

Being a teenager today is different from any other generation. They are bombarded from all sides by so much information, opportunity and temptation from the pulsating 24/7 wall to wall media and communications revolution that has overtaken us. The ready presence of drugs, alcohol and online perils stalk them in a way that previous generations have not known. I take my hat off to any parent steering teenagers through today’s maelstrom.

My experiences of this past week have been a timely reminder that that despite all of the hazards of modern life, those who are coming through our education system today still share timeless values and aspirations that will, for the most part, steer them into lives of individual reward and help our society to remain strong. Most young people want to make the most of themselves, seize opportunities to travel and learn, meet the right person one day and have their own family.

There is much wrong with 21st century Britain, but spending time with local youngsters gives me hope.

posted by Gary @ 09:03