Don’t get me wrong, I like children. I was one for a while. But, whatever you do, don’t try and get them to ‘engage’ in making local government policy.
The reason? Because round here there are but two kinds of child who are really serious about politics. There are the nutjobs, who engage with the political process every Friday night, through age old activities that have recently been rebranded as ‘anti social behaviour'; and there are the prematurely grown up: the twelve year olds who think they’re already chartered accountants, and who take everything too damn seriously.
Now, the nutjobs are easily dismissed. Arrest them, ignore them, etc. Everyone realises that it’s not in the best interests of society to let a teenager with a half brick have a seat at the council table.
But the premature adults seem, on the face of it, to be people worthy of inclusion. But have you listened to what they actually say? 90% of it is “Something should be done…” or “The State needs to do something…”.
In other words, they’re out to get the State to do something more. When, as any reader could tell you, I know that the best thing is for the State to do less. Much less.
Also, if I’m not keen on kids in parliament, why would I be keen on them in councils?