Just 16 years old but already a diplomat

Reece Harding, left, with a member of the Bhutan party.
Reece Harding, left, with a member of the Bhutan party.

As Clydesdale’s member of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Carluke’s Reece Harding, 16, has come into contact with the next generation of politicians from all over Scotland.

However, he recently also met other young democrats from a bit further afield – in Bhutan on the other side of the world.

They made the 4,800-mile journey from their homeland to attend the 62nd national sitting of the Scottish Youth Parliament in Edinburgh.

They were all members of the Bhutan children’s parliament, and Reece and his fellow MSYPs enjoyed meeting and chatting to the visitors about how their respective assemblies worked.

After the encounter, Reece commented: “It was great to learn of the differences and similarities between both parliaments.

“The Bhutan children’s parliament is more formal compared to the Scottish Youth Parliament, which I think would be really interesting to see.

“It just goes to show that young people are mature enough to be involved in the decision making-making process.”

Responding for the Bhutan party, of which he was part, the country’s electoral commissioner, Deki Pema, said of the Scottish parliamentarians: “It is so inspiring to see young people so engaged with politics and talking passionately about issues which are important to them.”

The Bhutan party were able to fly to Scotland to meet Reece and his colleagues thanks to financial aid from the charity Save the Children.

Among the facts about their far-off fellow young politicians Reece learned was that the Bhutan parliament members have the same two-year term as their Scots peers.

The Bhutan children’s parliament is the main body responsible for that nation’s 153 democracy clubs, which enable children in schools and those in educational institutions up to the age of 24 to learn the principles and practice of electoral democracy as early as possible.

The Scottish Youth Parliament meets to debate issues three times a year.