Matthew Percy, MYP for Suffolk was recently asked to be on BBC Radio Suffolk. He tells us about how he found the interview and how he dealt with some tough questions!
Matthew, how did the interview come about?
My interview with Rob Dunger on BBC Radio Suffolk was initiated by Rob himself who was extremely impressed by my relatively large online presence, and my active engagement with young people through social networking sites. He wanted to find out more about what the UK Youth Parliament is, and what I have been doing as an MYP.
We hear it was an early start and hope it wasn’t too much of a struggle?
The radio interview was quite early in the morning (7.10am), so it was quite an early start as I had to catch the first bus of the day to get to their Ipswich studio for 6:40am to have a look through the day’s papers, and choose four or five stories that I was happy to discuss in the interview. The interview started, and went out live, at 7:10am until 7:30am. It was split into two halves with the travel news in the middle.
So what was the interview like?
In the first half Rob asked me about how the UK Youth Parliament came about, what it does, and how it works. He then quizzed me over some of my campaigns, engaging me in a debate on votes at 16 (which I support) and asking me about my views on Suffolk County Council’s decision to remove the Explore Card, a card for young people to help them with transport across the County (a decision of which I was, and am, opposed, this is) and was even quizzed by a listener via text message who asked me how such a scheme could be funded when there’s so little money – I responded by arguing that a small fee could be charged annually and that the lower age bracket who were previously eligible to use the card (5-10 year olds) should be removed as many don’t need this, but young people of secondary school age need to gain independence, and expensive fares won’t help with this, and can lead to a low take-up of further education, particularly with the removal of EMA).
The 2nd half was all about the days news where I commented on the Daily Mail headline ‘Christianity under attack’, wind turbines, and police intelligence regarding the riots last summer.
Were there any questions that popped up out of the blue?
I was also asked who my political idol was. I responded with Clement Attlee as he was a great innovator who did a lot to help the poorest in society. He has also been branded as the greatest Prime Minister, and that is a great title to have to live up to.
Would you do it again?
I would definitely do it again. It was a fantastic experience, and one which I feel very honoured to have had, making my presence in a media world which often reports young people in a negative manner. Towards the end of the interview Rob said that he would like to get me on later in the year to quiz me on even tougher issues, so who knows maybe I’ll be on again in the not so distant future!
Any tips for MYPs about to go on air?
My main tip for an MYP (or anyone, really) about to do a radio interview is to make sure you are aware of the latest news, and be prepared to have a view on some tough topics, and be prepared to think on your feet – don’t let yourself get caught out.
We hear you are standing for re-election, what would you do if you got re-elected?
If re-elected I would like to work more heavily with the District and Borough Councils in Suffolk to create active youth forums where young people can actively have their say on local issues. Further to this I want to work with Councillors and MPs to create a set of minimum standards for every local authority to adhere to and ensure that every young person knows how they can get involved in decision-making processes.
And after UKYP, what next for Matthew Percy?
Beyond UKYP I would like to become a local Cllr, and would like to eventually become an MP where I would remain an active advocate of young people, whilst working hard to also engage with other sectors of the population.
1. How long have you been an MYP
2. What have you done so far in your term of office?
3. How did the interview with Radio Suffolk come about?
4. What happened e.g. what was the journey like? What kind of questions did he ask?
5. Would you do it again? Did you enjoy it?
6. If you could say one thing to an MYP about to do a radio interview, what would you say?
7. What do you want to do next as MYP and beyond UKYP?