Interview by Carys Jones
I sat down with 15-year-old William Mee from Beeston, who was appointed Broxtowe youth mayor in November.
Me: You had your first official engagement recently, is that right?
William: Yeah the remembrance parade, it was good.
Me: What kind of stuff did you have to do for it?
William: I had to read out a poem and put down a wreath with the mayor and the deputy left tenant.
Me: What’s the role of the deputy left tenant?
William: They’re the Queen’s representative in Broxtowe I think.
Me: What else happened there?
William: Multiple people from multiple different departments like the police force and the fire service did readings and lots of veterans from different agencies laid wreaths to show their commemoration
Me: What made you want to apply to be the youth mayor?
William: I wanted to make change in people’s life and give everybody a voice.
Me: Do you want to continue in politics?
William: Yeah I would like to, I’d like to become an MP eventually.
Me: Do you think that your role as youth mayor will help you get there?
William: I feel like it will help me a bit because I’ll make some connections. For example, I get to see Anna Soubry, who is my local MP, quite often and we discuss different things.
Me: That must be giving you some valuable experience
William: Definitely, especially my debating skills I think, and sometimes she mentions things which I have no knowledge on, so I go home and research it. But I’m not doing it just to help me with my career, I want to expand the Broxtowe youth voice.
Me: Do you see the role leading anywhere else in the future?
William: Maybe onto the adult council, yeah.
Me: In a few years maybe. How long have you been part of the youth voice?
William: About a year and a half I think.
Me: How did you get into it?
William: There’s a teacher at my school who’s quite involved with the council, I think she might be a community officer and she told me about it. I had never heard of it before but I really liked the idea so I just joined. The youth voice was small enough at the time that I could join without having to really having to go through an application process.
Me: When did you start getting interested in politics?
William: In year eight, there was the EU referendum and I was following it on the news and everything, and I watched all the question times.
Me: Apart from following politics, what do you like doing in your spare time?
William: I play the flute, I like swimming going to the gym and gaming.
Me: Do you think you’re a minority, being a young person interested in politics?
William: I wouldn’t say I’m a minority, but I do think lots of young people don’t get involved or don’t say they’re interested, maybe they don’t know how to. It’s quite an intimidating thing to go into when you’re young I think. Also it’s not a very cool thing to be interested in which is sad.
Me: Do you think that’s changing?
William: I think yes, I don’t know when the voting age was lowered to 18 but I think that definitely would have affected it. Also I think lots of people really connected with the EU referendum because it’s our future.
Me: I agree with that, yeah. What other things have you been part of? Do you know what your next official duty is?
William: In February, there will be the holocaust memorial. I went to freemen and alderman ceremony in November and the light switch-on in Beeston in December. I go to a council meeting once a month, then youth council is once every two months.
Me: What do you think the important qualities are in a politician?
William: To be honest, to represent constituents by taking everyone’s opinion and experience into account, to attend events and be active.
Me: So, you’re going to try to bring some of that to the Broxtowe youth voice?
William: Yeah I hope so.
Me: Good luck with that. It was nice talking to you.