Skegness’s youngest ever town and county councillor will be speaking about youth and politics on BBC Radio One’s Newsbeat next week.
Coun Robin Hunter Clarke was put forward for the show by his UKIP party leader Nigel Farage in a bid to engage youngsters with democracy, while reaching out to the next generation of voters.
“People of my generation felt, and to some extent still feel, like there is no choice, no difference between the political parties,” he told the Standard.
“A lot of young people were let down by the expenses scandal, they feel like politicians are a totally different world away and are not involved with their generation as much as they should be - they’re not engaging with them.
“I would like to see more young people get involved with politics, regardless of their political affiliation.
“I know I don’t represent all young people but I would like to think I am on the same wave length and I hope that I never lose that.”
Coun Hunter Clarke yesterday (Friday) took the BBC journalist on a tour of County Hall in Lincoln and around Skegness to talk about his home town and what attracted him to politics.
“I first got involved with the social aspects a particular party, which was great because it’s a real step into politics,” he said.
“But I also felt passionate about Skegness and its community because things didn’t seem as rosy as perhaps they once did and I wanted to make a difference.
“It’s very rewarding to put things forward for debate and to help resolve problems for residents at a local level.”
To encourage more young people into politics, Coun Hunter-Clarke believes much of the ‘nastiness’ and the personal attacks must be stamped out, having experienced first hand their discouraging effects.
“The biggest thing that puts people of is the nasty side of politics and it is particularly off-putting to young people because they are not used to being in a situation where they are being attacked and your have to develop a thick skin pretty quickly,” he said.
As the national coordinator for UKIP’s Young Independents group, to whom he defected from the Conservatives, Coun Hunter-Ckarke also believes his party offer something for his generations that they others don’t.
“People are contacting me on a daily basis from schools and universities asking how they can get involved so we are growing at a rapid rate and offering something completely different,” he said.
The show is expected to air sometime next week and may also appear on BBC Radio Four.