Herald Opinion: Young people are not stupid

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IT will no doubt have come as a surprise to many of our readers when we revealed in last week’s Herald that Eastbourne has more young people than any other borough in East Sussex.

The town may well have a reputation as being full of older people, but the reality could not be further from the truth. Eastbourne is fast becoming a vibrant and youthful place to live.

Conservative Councillor Tom Liddiard would perhaps do well to remember that in future. At a council meeting this week he mooted the idea of a youth council being reintroduced. Not a bad idea on the face of it. But the Tory did not bet on young people with long memories.

A band of teenagers descended on the town hall, waving signs slamming Cllr Liddiard as little more than a hypocrite. The reason? They remembered the propaganda sent out to residents by Cllr Liddiard and his colleagues when the issue of the new skatepark in Manor Gardens was being discussed.

The Herald still has a copy. It shows skateboard ramps covered in graffiti and raised concerns over drugs, under-age drinking, noise pollution and anti-social behaviour. The culprits? The young people likely to use the facility. The very same young people who took such an interest in Cllr Liddiard’s motion this week.

Young people are not stupid. They know when someone is trying to score opportunistic political points. Cllr Liddiard was naive to think he could demonise the town’s teens one minute and talk them up the next.

Eastbourne as a town should be proud of its young people and their many achievements. And councillors should remember that today’s teenagers are tomorrow voters. I don’t imagine many of those at the town hall will be ticking the box marked Conservative at their first visit to the ballots.

ON the subject of young people, the Herald would like to congratulate Ollie Rowe. The 20-year-old local lad captained Eastbourne Borough for the first time last week. Sports’s boss Tommy Widdrington has made an encouraging start at ‘Boro and although he has yet to confirm his permanent skipper, Rowe would be an excellent choice. An Eastbourne lad holding the armband would surely convince a few more locals to find their way down to Priory Lane to cheer on the ‘Boro. They definitely deserve our support.