The following contains excerpts from an interview with the Chairman of the Bromley Youth Council (Oscar Seal, represented by a C), all opinions expressed by the Chairman are not reflected in his capacity as Chairman nor do they reflect the opinions of the Council as a whole. 

L: You’re there to scrutinise right? 

C: Yeah, at all times I’m representing young people. 

L: Would you say your role is limited to scrutiny? In terms of policy etc. 

C: No, definitely no. 

L: What is the extent of your ‘powers’ then? 

C: Offer ideas that could improve services or systems, a lot of our work involves spreading awareness. 

L: Would you then say it’s fair to argue that you’re thus less of a council and more of a campaign group? 

C: To some extent, as 12–18-year-olds we obviously have less political rights. 

L: Following on as an opinion question, votes at 16? 

C: I think there’s a lot of young people that are very clued up, and I think could be very capable of making an informed decision on their own. And so yes, I would support votes at 16 despite those who might muck around with their votes, you have that in every age group. 

L: What do you think about this sense of disillusionment a lot of young people have, this entropy that comes with the idea that the big questions have already been decided by generations past? 

C: Our generation have grown up in a position where for a lot of us in this country are growing up in the wake of the 2008 financial crash, that has a massive impact, I think. 

L: I think there’s a point there that a lot of these events feel massively distant to us outside of collective memory, despite being so near. 

L: Do you have any answer to this lack of political faith in government? This idea that all the major issues of our time, climate change especially, are already set in motion and that our generation effectively won’t have a chance to truly impact it. In my experience this drives people to either apathy, irony or radicalism. 

C: To my knowledge, we’re currently experiencing the most involved generation in things like activism in a very long time. 

L: That’s sort of the point, activism is extra-parliamentary, it is outside ‘regular’ politics. 

C: This - all of these young people getting involved in what ways they can at a younger age, there will be more of them who will want to go into ‘regular’ politics and then hope to make change. This can be seen in a lot of the younger, reform-oriented MPs. 

L: If those reforms come to nothing, do you see any sort of violent outburst and as a representative of youth are you aware of these radical trends, further do you think your role is to represent this anger or to calm it? 

C: My job as a representative is to listen to what young people are saying and try to make the changes that they wish to see in the best way possible with their interests in mind, but not at the expense of others. 

L: That brings in another question, obviously the nature of a youth council is that it will be left wing. How do you think this plays with the more Conservative central council in terms of compromise? 

C: Most of the time we are able to have very easy discussions with the council where we both take each other's points, working around our divisions. We can usually create something that ends up around the centre ground, I think this shows compromise is possible. 

L: Do you not think this sort of compromise is the catalyst for activism, in that activism allows for an outpouring of radical demands with no need for compromise?  

C: Yes definitely. Because in protests you have no need for compromise it means that pressure is placed upon institutions to compromise with groups like us, as our ideas then become more swallowable. 

L: Do you think compromise can prevent real transformation as it takes wind out of ‘full demand’ movements? Especially when you’re beholden to the council for your funding. 

C: I would say that it is very hard to bring in mass successful change overnight, so by making changes every now and again, whilst it is delayed, you have a much better chance of actually changing things. There have been certain moments where we’ve had to rethink certain things due to fears about funding yes, to some extent they do have this vice over us, although whether they’d actually do it, I don’t know. There is a sense of treading a fine line, even the social workers who work with us are employed by Bromley council and we obviously don’t want to mess with that. 

L: So, you can’t rock the boat? 

C: No, we can, we just have to be careful not to waterlog it. 

Thank you for reading, and please do consider reading my colleague's, Lucy Tyrrell, companion interview for another perspective: