Young Critics 2018/19 | Speeches

BY Young Critics   October 22, 2018

Tampon Tax by Daniella Harrison

It is 10pm. You’re sitting at your desk in you room, minding your own business, when you feel that familiar twinge, that horrible stirring pain in the pit of your stomach. Oh no. Oh dear.
You look at your watch. Yes. It’s that time. It’s that time again.

You run to the bathroom – you forgot this morning, you weren’t prepared. You get to the door. It’s locked. You shout, bang on the door – is your brother gelling his hair again? Alas, there’s no one in there.

Suddenly, as if you’re now in some fantastical metaphor, a face appears on the door. There are lights flashing around it. Alarms sound – are you somehow trespassing your own bathroom? The face speaks. It asks you for £1.50.
“Why?” You say, bemused. “I live in this house - surely I can enter my own bathroom?”
It asks again for £1.50.

You hesitate; you feel the twinge in your stomach. You need to get into the bathroom, soon.
You reluctantly pay the £1.50 – you don’t really fancy bleeding straight into your underwear this month. You know you like unconventional art, but that just doesn’t appeal to you.

The door-face smiles slyly, and slowly opens. It melts away into the door. You step into your bathroom: it’s completely normal, the same as it was before. Maybe you dreamt the whole ordeal? But no, you definitely can feel that your piggy bank is lighter. £1.50 definitely got taken from it.

You take your tampon, unwrap it, use it, and carry on your day. With £1.50 less than you had to begin with. Bleeding dry.

It’s an odd thought to think that something over 50% of the UK need to buy actually costs us a tiny bit more because it’s considered a ‘luxury’.  It is a luxury to bleed every month. It is a luxury to worry that the red liquid has run astray and stained our favourite pair of pants. It is a luxury to be curled tight into a ball for hours at a time, praying that this time the Ibuprofen might take the pain away. It is a luxury to feel the lining of our uterus tear away. There is a lot of luxury.

And it really is a small price to pay, this ‘pink tax’, considering that so many other ‘pink’ items are exempt from tax, ready to help us through the darkest days of the month: marshmallow tea cakes, edible cake decorations, and, though they’re more of an orange hue, good old Jaffa Cakes will see us through!

As a woman who has, quite consistently, bled out of her vagina for almost half of her life, and as a student who does need to survive the big bad city on a minimum amount of money, this tax is rather inconvenient. Why should I have to pay a secret extra amount for products I need to hide my ‘shameful’ period away. A necessity is a necessity. Periods are not a choice. They are a natural everyday occurrence. People can’t help incontinency – and their pads aren’t taxed. Why are our pads?

End the tampon tax. It is a financial attack against the female body. It is not a luxury to bleed. It is a necessity. 


A speech about the state of our planet by Helen Baldwin

How many people have a dog? Or a cat? A fish? Perhaps you’re one of those people into more exotic creatures like snakes and lizards maybe even a baby crocodile… who knows?

There are an estimated 8.7 million species that we know of, sharing this planet we all call home and we are just one of these species.

And on this planet we call home, our species are ever evolving…our current evolution is one of ever increasing materialistic desires… leading us to now. The desire to own more and more and more. We have this need for possession, possession and control. Yet, we don’t own this land, we are not the only ones who call it home. So why we feel so inherently entitled to exploit it and cause its destruction?

Why are we the only ones causing its destruction? Is it a lack of awareness? A lack of care? A lack of education and understanding? I don’t know… every individual is just that and thus their reasoning just that. So, I’d like you to take a minute to ponder these questions I’ll put to you now. Am I someone who cares about the environment around me and in the world? If so, what do I actively do to help? Or if I don’t, why don’t I? And hopefully that will have led you to well what can I do?

Simple - Learn. Think. Act. We can be the change we want to see in the world.

There is 100–1000 species per million per year lost due to extinction due to human activity. Sea levels have risen by 20 centimetres over the last 20 years alone. Countries are disappearing under water. Rubbish is in overflow, forming new islands. Countries are getting hotter. Countries are getting colder. The Ozone layer is disappearing. And climate change is STILL being denied.

So, how can we stop from any further destruction on this path we are on?

There are some brilliant people out there paving the way for an eco-friendly life. You might have heard the term zero waste lifestyle? This means creating a life where what you buy, eat, use has no by-products. Now I am aware in today’s climate of convenience for the ever so fast-moving lifestyle it can be hard to come across these products. So, with this the goal, I challenge you with some steps to get you started, and together we can help both the consumer and the producer create a more eco – friendly world.

Reduce, reuse, recycle.

  1. Reduce - all possible waste we can. This comes in much further ways than we can possibly imagine. Mainly reducing our personal plastic consumption. Switching to products that come in containers such as glass. Or asking our favourite coffee shop to fill our order into a reusable flask which brings us onto
  2. Reuse – reusing what we already have. If a product comes in a glass container how can we reuse that again? Buying food in a bulk buy store filling it into that glass container
  3. Recycle – if you have no use for that glass container again then purchasing materials such as glass and aluminium are much better than plastic as they are so widely recyclable.

I’m sure many people many of you have heard the saying take only photographs and leave only memories. This is our aim.

And so I leave you with one last thought. There are hundreds of things each and every one of us can do to rejuvenate the earth every single day, I strongly encourage taking things one step at a time, because if we can reduce our impact on the earth, we can allow its beauty to speak for itself.

Watch speeches by our Young Leaders as part of Figures of Speech at