This week 14 year-old George Agar from Redcar joined our constituency office for a bit of work experience (despite having broken his collarbone just a couple of days prior to starting with us!). We asked him if he would like to share with us what got him interested in politics and how he found working with us for the past few days. Here's what he wrote for us below:
"Hello, my name is George, I am 14 years old and I have a strong interest in various political spheres including animal welfare, environmental wellbeing, human rights, trade and exporting, education and overall European and global politics. I have been raised in the North East of England in the industry based town of Redcar and I believe that this has had a crucial impact on my political influences.
I would have to say that the most poignant factor of my entrance to politics was the ‘Brexit’ referendum of June 23rd 2016. I am proud to say that I strongly believe in the European Union and uniting Europe and have been since this event.
If you know anything about the Redcar and Cleveland constituency then you probably know that it heavily voted for the British exit of the European Union. I can recall during many dinner breaks at my school Rye Hills Academy the debates that did and occasionally do still take place on the matter and many others. I know it seems ridiculous yet several of my classmates and I would frequent the debating corner, myself in particular. I have always stood my ground on political views even when outnumbered or alone in my beliefs and this had great influence on me. I will soon hopefully complete an A-Level qualification in politics once I reach my college education and perhaps persue it at University. Another thing worth noting is the fact that my family have been heavy Labour Party supports for over 70 years, meaning politics was something I grew up listening to and therefore felt at home and confident discussing in later years.
When I was a young child I was diagnosed with Pneumococcal Meningitis, something that came close to taking my life and therefore I believe strongly in a powerful and government-supported National Health Service. Other members of my family have battled other life threatening illnesses, particularly my grandfather. He is someone close to my heart who I have a strong emotional connection to. It saddens me to say but in 2017 I nearly lost my grandfather to a variety of infections and illnesses including several periods of sepsis and cancer. I am unable to fault the staff who constantly fought for 5 months to successfully save his life whilst understaffed and underfunded however I do believe our current Conservative government must do more than present to save our NHS.
As I write this I am completing my work-experience placement with the office of Judith Kirton-Darling MEP and Paul Brannen MEP in Newcastle and it is certainly an experience I will never forget. As I previously alluded to my hope is to take up a career in the political world so I am sure you can imagine how thrilled I am to be here working in a genuine European Parliamentary office to North East representatives and for the opportunities this may provide in the future.
Paul Brannen MEP holds many values close to my heart including agricultural and environmental concern. This has further given me confidence as it makes me aware that others care for our world just as much as I do.
Judith Kirton-Darling MEP has a focus on trade and industry, this is something vital to my region of origin and therefore I care deeply about the topic, most highly about the controversial issue of free ports as one is in discussion in the neighbouring town of Middlesbrough.
Additionally, in recent months I have taken part in several Labour and Co-Operative Party rallies and have canvased in areas of strong Conservative attitude to help the party I support and believe in.
I strongly believe that the field of general politics has helped me through many difficult times, for example during much of my education so far in life I have experienced forms of bullying. I can say that this is no longer the case however during this period I could lose myself in the world of politics, often diving into a new area I was yet to discover. It is not just something to run a country, it is something that has helped me in life.
‘Brexit’ as it is known was definitely what encouraged me to voice my opinions however I have held strong political beliefs for almost as long as I can recall and thanks to the wonderful team of the North East Labour EU team I have taken my first step to real political involvement as a form of work experience.
Thank you for reading my story of how I found politics and what I believe in.