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“Who represents us?”: Interview with 16 year old socialist blogger from Easterhouse

Categories: Features Interviews

Liam Mclaughlan is a 16 year old socialist blogger from Easterhouse, Glasgow. Ben Wray spoke to him about young working class people, politics and the Left in Scotland.

1. What’s life like for a 16 year old living in Easterhouse during ‘the age of austerity’?

Easterhouse has a hugely damaging reputation, mainly from people who have never and will never enter the place in their lifetime. I am not denying that we in Easterhouse have problems, but there are huge positives which are too often ignored. On the “age of austerity” however, it is hard. I live in a rented flat with my mum, who works extremely hard on the national minimum wage. However, the fact she has a job, is more than can be said for many people in Easterhouse.

The trouble now is who represents us? What political party responds to our needs and wishes? Many people feel none, hence why voting turnouts are within the lowest in Britain.

2. What’s the aspirations of young people you know? What do they think about their future?

All of the young people whom I know, through school or in the local area, want to do better than is expected of them. When I say better than expected, I don’t mean from parents, I mean from society. My year group has one of the highest return rates for 5th year with more and more young people aiming to go to university, some of whom would be the first in the family to do so. The view of young people from politicians as being “not willing to work” is a dangerous and wrong one to have. Although with austerity and youth unemployment rising, there is a huge fear around leaving school to go into the world of work, that comes from me included.

3. Are they interested in politics?

As a general rule, I would say no. Politics needs to be reformed, or at least “re-branded” to ditch the image that it retains with young people now as “irrelevant”. Many people simply view politicans as all the same, and many scarily couldn’t tell you who runs the country (party or person). However, there are several who are interested like myself, and many who see it is as essential. However to answer the question directly, are the majority of young people interested in politics? No. This issue needs to be addressed in depth by governments, and fast.

4. What made you turn to socialist politics?

I would say the most contributing factor towards my politics, is my background. Coming from a working class background and area. I see people and not profit as being the most important factors in society. Communicating with people on a daily basis who struggle to “balance the books”, seeing people who have no sense of direction in their lives on a daily basis, seeing a breakdown of what used to be a close community. I want to change things and support these people for the better. I am proud of where I am from, and am never ashamed to admit it.

5. You write a blog to express your ideas, what do your friends think about that and do you think it’s something that could become more common as people have little other opportunities to express themselves?

Yes, I do see it as being something which will spread and become more popular, it gives ordinary people like me, a platform to project my views and my feelings to anyone across the world through the click of a button. As for my friends opinion, they are supportive, and one of my friends has actually started a blog of his own, although not about politics. For anyone with strong opinions or invisages a career in journalism or writing, it is a great start.

6. You blog about Palestine. Why do you think that’s an important issue for people in Scotland?

I blog about Palestine, not on the basis of it solely being important for people in Scotland, but for it being an important issue for the people of the world. Any human rights denial, any persecution or oppression, must be hightlighted and acted upon. The media continually ignore the situation in Palestine, so it is down to social media and bloggers to raise the issues of what is going on. No longer shall the people of Palestine, or the people of anywhere in the world, have to suffer in silence.

7. What do you think about the radical left in Scotland today? It’s obvious that it is too small, how do you think it can get young working class people involved in fighting and organising against the system?

The simple answer to this question, is to unite. A considerably bigger, and united left that stands up for the working class people of Scotland is what is needed. It would be successful, the prime example is Syriza in Greece. If people see that there is someone who will support them, will be their voice, in a time where their needs are continually dismissed, they will vote for them. The Socialist movement in Scotland has stalled. The SSP are a shadow of the party they used to be, due to political and non political things that have transpired  recently. The Socialist movement needs a strong leader, but most importantly, a strong and united party to rally behind.

8. The movement against fees that swept across Britain in late 2010 brought hundreds of thousands of young working class people on the streets in revolt against the system. Across the world we’ve seen young people leading the struggle, from the Occupy movement to the Arab revolutions. Do you foresee an outbreak of major revolt by young people in Scotland in the near future?

Not in the size, or of the methods of the Arab Revolutions, a non-violent, political revolt. Against the union of the United Kingdom. Support for Independence is growing, especially in young people. A simple YES vote in the referendum in 2014, yes to a new scotland, and yes to a prosperous future. A future out of the union that has brought our country to its knees economically, a union that has sent our people to fight and die in illegal wars, a union which cares not for working class people and a union that has presented us with a government we did not vote for. 2014 is our time to revolt and vote in something that until 2010, seemed only a distant dream.

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