In the run up to the 2015 General Election, Wessex Scene are interviewing the candidates running in all three Southampton Constituencies. Here, I interview the Independent candidate for Southampton Test, Chris Davis.
What will be your number one priority if elected?
Tackling hunger and poverty.
What do you think of the fact that there’s been a massive increase in food banks in recent years?
The figures from the Trussell Trust suggest that there are around 400,000 food banks in the United Kingdom, however in reality the figure could be almost double that amount, given that there are also many independent food banks. It’s a massive problem that’s been growing over the past couple of decades, and requires a strategy to fix it before it gets out of control.
What can you offer to students?
There are two things that I feel should be removed from political football: health and education. If I’m elected, I would be interested in working with other MPs on a cross-party basis to improve the lives of young people. I believe that education should be free from nursery to university, and that graduate-level apprenticeship schemes should be offered to young people.
What inspired you to run as a candidate in this election?
I am a committed Christian and my work on aiming to reduce food poverty was the main motivation behind my decision to run. The number of food banks has soared in recent years and this cannot be allowed to continue.
You’re standing as an independent candidate. Why did you decide to run as an independent? Why do you feel that voters are starting to turn away from the main political parties?
I decided to run as an independent because I don’t want to be influenced by any party whip. The main political parties are not addressing issues that ordinary people can relate to in their everyday lives. I want to offer an alternative, based on my own values and principles. Given the closeness of this election, I believe that minor parties and independents could be in a particularly strong position after May 7th.
Earlier we discussed some of the issues facing young people. Do you believe that sufficient careers guidance is given in schools?
I think it’s important for children and young people to be given something to aspire to early on. There are some people who do not know what they want to do for a career and I think that this could be changed through better careers guidance in schools.
The Labour Party have pledged to reduce the voting age to 16 if they win the General Election next month? Do you believe that the age of voting should be lowered?
Not really – I think that it’s important for young people to turn out and vote, given that the student vote could decide a variety of seats around the country, especially in the Southampton area. I like the work that has gone into encouraging young people to vote, but no, I don’t think the age of voting should be lowered.
But what if political education was to be delivered effectively in schools, perhaps as part of a broader citizenship programme? Should the age of voting be lowered then?
Perhaps it’s something that could be looked into.
Is there anything else that you would like to say about your election campaign?
I’m actually really enjoying it! Obviously there’s not long to go and a lot of work to be done before May 7th, but I’m enjoying it. It’s great to get out and talk to people, including students and young people, and I look forward to the hustings.