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'Politics is personal' says top author

EFFECTING CHANGE: Kenny Imafidon, a political force to be reckoned with

ALREADY AN award-winning author of two prominent youth and social policy reports, Kenny Imafidon – last year named Britain’s top black student – is scheduled to release his third report, and this time he’s making it personal.

With the help of 30 like-minded young people, the 21-year-old is scheduled to unveil his third offering, Personalised Politics on April 8.

“I feel like politics is something that people engage in and it has a personal element to it as it actually affects them,” he said when discussing his choice of title.

“Right now, people look at politics as something that is distant and reserved for a particular group of people, when politics should be for everybody and is something that people should see as personal to them.”

Covering eight key areas including crime and punishment, democracy, education, employment and enterprise, equality and gender, health, housing and immigration, the third Kenny Report is said to be the most innovative, thought-provoking and revolutionary from the series so far.

REPORT

Speaking to The Voice, the young man leading the project spoke highly of his peers who co-authored the report and all of whom are under the age of 24.

He explained: “The only requirement was to be passionate about the issues. I wasn’t looking for experts – there was no point. There was something about them and that was it.”

Referring to his second report which deals with young people and political engagement, the ambassador for Bite the Ballot – a nationwide campaign to get young people politically active – identified how changes to the way people register to vote in electoral registration had produced the results he had anticipated.

“I think it’s proven from the fact that one million people fell off the register since the change to IER [Individual Electoral Registration], so it’s just as I had predicted in the report so I’m not surprised.”

Predictions hint that the number of student voters “missing” from the electoral roll in 2015 is worryingly high, and unlikely to change significantly in the next few weeks.

“People don’t know that they need to get registered and whose going to tell them that? Who sits at home and waits for the advert to come on the telly?” asked Imafidon.

“Registration is much more than just voting. It gives you the opportunity to take part in jury service, which to me is important. You want diverse juries who are concluding whether people are guilty or not.”

A trustee for the British Youth Council, Imafidon expressed his main concern was the manner in which the new programme was rolled out.

“They haven’t done much at all. There’s a big change, but where is the massive campaign to inform everyone about this? The fact is, I never saw anything and neither did my friends.”

The final year law student, who was once vocal about his political aspirations seems to have had a change of heart. “For me, it’s not all about the standing [for political office]. When I was much younger, I though ‘oh yeah, be an MP’ but now I’m more about the cause.”

In July 2014, Imafidon was named Britain’s top black graduate by Rare Rising Stars, having won the votes of judges including Tottenham MP David Lammy and past recipient and Cambridge graduate, Tom Chigbo.

Aged 18, he became the first person in Britain to sit his A-levels while an inmate at Feltham Young Offenders Institution awaiting trial for a crime he did not commit.

The charges were dropped against him and he went on to pursue a law degree thanks to help from the Amos Bursary.

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