According to analysis from the Electoral Reform Society, pre-2007 in Scotland
"average age of a councillor was 55 and there was only one councillor under the age of 30"
Just one! The 2007 elections had a significant impact on this:
"the number of councillors aged below 30 has risen to 28, of whom three were 18–21-year-olds taking advantage of the reduction in the age of candidature for these elections (in Aberdeen, Inverclyde and Moray)"
A substantial majority of these young people are SNP. There's a reason of course why the SNP did better out of this - the establishment Labour party Councillors weren't going to give up their cushy seats for some upstart young people. It's simply harder to get your foot in the door in these circumstances. A lot of the Labour MPs who are retiring or being deselected are older, so it makes it a wee bit easier for younger people to get selected; despite this, the party remains pretty old, male and white.
The SNP put their faith in younger candidates - David McDonald, Jennifer Dunn and me in Glasgow, David Beckett in Edinburgh, John and Kirsty West and Mark McDonald in Aberdeen, Gary Coull in Moray, and others right across the country (I'm sure I had a list at some point!) .We've repaid that trust and learned fast, but by and large most people are still surprised to find out that you're a Councillor and not an older, white man!
The SNP's younger representatives in the Scottish Parliament, Aileen Campbell and Jamie Hepburn have also proved great examples of youth, enthusiasm, and hard work.
The SNP have always done well in mock elections, so it's no surprise that we won so many in Aberdeenshire. I believe young people 'get' independence: you don't want to be able to earn your own money, make your way in the world, and be taken seriously. Responsibility and experience come with taking control of your life and making decisions, rightly or wrongly. That applies readily to national self-determination. The SNP's progressive policies and support for the anti-nuclear movement are also attractive to people starting out in the world.
Labour offer a vision (if indeed you can call it that) of dependence, doing things the way they have always been done. They are partly to blame for the cynicsm and disenfranchisement of young people today, through policies which demonise and segregate.
The SNP, and the independence cause, is gathering bright, enthusiastic, talented young Scots. There are more and more young people about in the party, and I'm always glad to see so many new faces at every conference. Young people in the SNP are listened to and respected for their hard work and what they can bring to the party. I'm incredibly proud of the work the YSI does in going out campaigning and encouraging more young people to think about Scotland's future.
Young Scots for Independence mocked Jim Murphy’s attempts to get hip and down with it:-
“Since when did the Facebook generation support the illegal war in Iraq? or ID cards? or Trident? Labour are out of touch with Scotland and in particular, Scotland’s youth. If anything, Labour are running scared of the Facebook generation, scared that they may have enough belief in Scotland to support independence.
“Labour’s attempts to court young people in Scotland have been an epic fail. It is under the SNP that we are seeing record apprenticeships, more college places and more investment in youth-services. It is the SNP who care about young people, and it is only with SNP MPs that we can block cuts to the services young people cherish.
“While Jim Murphy feuters away time faffing about on Facebook and Twitter, the SNP Government is working hard for young Scots. While Jim Murphy is busy tweeting, the Scottish Government has increased collage places by 4,000. While Jim Murphy updates his Facebook status, the SNP has created tens of thousands of apprenticeships, investing in the future of our Facebook generation. All the Scotland Office is done is talk Scotland down and acted as a Labour campaign office - I'm sure the taxpayer would rather the best part of £10 million a year be spent on supporting Scotland’s economy.
“Young people don’t need pandering, they need action, and Jim Murphy is taking none of that. It’s time to seriously look at the usefulness of his office, and ask if the money spent on Murphy’s tweeting and facebooking can be better invested in frontline services.”