Yay or Nay? Interview 2

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Azeezat Johnson wrote a letter. A powerful debate ensued. Johnson raised concerns about the Union’s Women’s Day poster and there was a flurry of response from other students and even from the American state of Nevada. In the second of the yay or nay interviews, Johnson shares her opinions on the elections.

Are you going to vote? Yes

Do you know where to vote? Yes

Will who wins affect you? Yes, in the sense that I am interested to see whether people are irate enough to call for a complete change of government and style of governance but the unfortunate reality of the situation is that unless it is a hung parliament or a lib-dem majority, I doubt there will be any major difference between the Conservatives or Labour.

The idea of a prime ministerial debate? I think it is incompatible with the British electoral system. You don’t vote for the leader, you vote for the party. It was interesting to see the party leaders taking on a lead role in the media, rather than emphasising (in each local area) the candidates for Parliament there. It was also interesting how it shows an obvious and maybe unwelcome shift towards the American-style of politics, which could have really benefitted Nick Clegg as he was being heralded as the new Obama, but made for a new mix of the British language of politics with the American use of the media.

The reality of the prime ministerial debate? Initially I was actually enjoying it as I felt that all candidates were much more polite and saying more (but still very little) substance than we saw in the American debates. There were fewer snide remarks, and the ones that were tossed around were somewhat clever or funny. The only problem with three debates is that (especially after watching the following Question Time shows) you see a discontent public who feel that they are not being offered any real change, and who generally have a (justified) distrust of all politicians. The three debates (particularly the third one) showed all three leading parties as politicians that were still trying to smile their way into power. None of them appeared to ready to take that step forward and look prime ministerial, for their party as a whole to look ready to lead the country. And the leader’s debate exposed this problem for us.

Were you distracted by the candidates’ ties/make up/newly bought suits? Not really, they all looked expensive.

David Cameron, Prime Minister? I’ve never been a fan of Cameron. I feel that he has been having such a massive build-up for quite a while that it backfired a bit during the leaders debates. The entire “I met this fellow and he said this about immigration” was completely dropped by the second debate, which I was extremely grateful for. I feel that he is trying to dress up the same conservative party that was seen through the Thatcher years in new clothing but failing. His entire “vote for change” campaign is where he (to me) looks like a failed Obama. If you’re going to use such rhetoric it needs to be done in a way where people can’t see that you’re actually saying nothing. He fails at this. To be fair(ish), I did notice that he continued to improve at the age old trade of saying nothing about something as the debates went on, and I feel that towards the end he might even have beaten Clegg.

A question that I’m adding in is Clegg for prime minister. WELL. I feel that where Cameron tried too hard to steal Obama’s thunder, Clegg didn’t try hard enough. People were angry and were looking for real change and Clegg unfortunately didn’t step up to the role and look like a prime minister ready to lead the people. In the third debate (what I feel was his worst performance actually) he continued to play this game of “oh, look at these two old parties doing the same old bickering” instead of just completely ignoring them and telling us how HE and his party are going to affect change for us.

Gordon Brown, still Prime Minister? I would like a labour-liberal democrat coalition government with Gordon Brown as prime minister. I don’t agree with all of Labour’s policies, both past mistakes and future promises, but I do feel that he (as the representative of the party) knows the different problems that need to be addressed in order for society to move forward. I also feel that out of the Conservatives and New Labour, Labour is more likely to listen and consider the liberal views which I hold. This could be naiveté on my part (as some of my friends have rightly told me).

A hung parliament? I think a hung parliament would be a good idea, but that’s also because I prefer coalition governments in general. I feel that it allows for a larger number of people to get their voices heard which can only ever be a good thing in democracy. What is interesting is the current discussion on changing the electoral system completely, and I am very interested in seeing where it would go. I personally am in favour of a proportional representation system, for the reason listed above.

The conservatives wanting to create 10,000 new University places in 2010? Don’t particularly care except in general with regards to university positions, I already feel that universities tend to be highlighted as the only or ‘best’ form of higher education, when in reality, it is only one route to go down. However, from what I gathered, the conservatives were interested in improving other forms of education as well, so I might be wrong.

Labour wanting to keep tuition fees? Again, this is a small problem in a much larger picture. There is a wave of unemployed young people that need to be taken care of, and a closer look at the educational system must be done by whoever gets into power.

The LibDems wanting to scrap University tuition fees over six years? If it’s workable, great. If not, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Students not voting on Thursday? It’s the same thing as always really. Politicians don’t engage us because they feel that we are apathetic and unreliable when it comes down to actual voting. As they don’t speak directly to us, we become apathetic and decide not to vote. The blame is probably on both of our shoulders, but I am more irritated with their attitudes. Too often politicians speak down to us instead of engaging us. They continuously talk about having an open and honest discussion with young people and yet we never force them to do so. Young people are one of the groups that have hit critical unemployment due to the recession. How does this not translate into being amongst the first groups to be addressed in their policies? If we don’t vote, we’ll never be taken seriously for the power that the student population actually hold during an election.

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