David Amess, Catholic MP, outlines the Conservative Party's contribution to International Youth Year and its aims.
REPRESENTING, as I do, the constituency of Basildon in Essex, I am particularity pleased that this has been declared International Youth Year.
The town has developed and matured into a place of which we can be truly proud. As a new town, naturally there is a very high proportion of young people. In parliamentary terms I could also be described as a young person.
Indeed, the intake of the 1983 election dramatically lowered the average age of MPs and I believe that this can only be good for the country. Their attitude towards youth generally is an improvement and is already beginning to have an impact, regardless of party loyalty.
' So, what are the aims of a youth year? The idea is to draw the attention of the world to the fundamental role played by youth over the entire range of social and economic life through international visits, communication and functions.
The heightening of awareness of the contribution of youth will serve to promote the ideals of youth, such as freedom, dynamism and the brotherhood of man.
There are many problems facing youth; the most heartbreaking being that of unemployment. No matter what the government of the day, we cannot allow our young people 10 grow up embittered and disillusioned.
As the party in power, it is up to us to ensure that practical training is provided, both to remedy the deficiencies in the education system and to foster the transferable skills that employers so desperately need. We are also tackling the problems of education.
In this respect the nationwide Youth Training Scheme will provide those preconditions for economic growth which is the only place from which jobs appear. Yes, there are difficulties, as the scheme is a mere two years old.
However, Lord Young has a continuous brief to strive to improve the service. I hope that some of the groups involved in International Youth Year will study the YTS and provide constructive criticism of its workings. We must provide a job for every young person when they enter working life.
We are also tackling youth drug abuse, supplying over 100 new officers to the anti-drug squads and instituting a reorganisation of those services to ensure that they are more
I hope' that during International Youth Year many ideas will flow into this country from abroad on how to tackle this subject. A bill to make the sale of glue-sniffing equipment definitively illegal is working its way through the House.
In an increasingly technological society, youth must begin to face the moral issues inherent in the growth of knowledge and technical ability.
Foetuses are not the classical • "blob of jelly" that has been claimed. As a Catholic I have always believed that from the moment of conception the embryo is a living human being with soul. The good work being done by scientists who are Christians is demonstrating the validity of our beliefs. The "sexually liberated" youth must come to terms with the light being spread by science.
Similarity, the ability to use embryo's in experiments, to create, multiply, cut them up and bombard them with electrons is the torture and murder of living humans, unprotected by law. That is why 1 voted for Enoch Powell's Unborn Children (Protection) Bill.
I have had many of my young constituents visit the House and am delighted to say we have little to worry about. In survey after survey we find that the youth of Britain, by and large has a fine sense of moral values.
There are no easy solutions to the problems young people face but I am convinced that youth will work together to build a better world for itself and for the children who follow.
David Amess is Conservative MP for Basildon.