#MyVoteCounts – Why you need to go out and vote tomorrow
Still not sure who to vote for? Still not sure why you should bother? We spoke to four students voting in tomorrow’s election to find out why they’re voting and why they feel like their vote will make a difference.
Luke Etheridge – Fourth year automotive engineering student
Another year, another generation-defining election. After Cameron’s shock win in 2015, and the surprising Brexit result in last year’s referendum, I’ll probably be one of the many (hopefully not the few) voting for Labour in Thursday’s election.
It’s hardly surprising that a boy from a heavily industrialised, ex-mining town leans towards the left, but a few months ago I’d have laughed at the idea of voting to put Corbyn in as the next Prime Minister. I didn’t think he was strong or stable enough to lead a conga line, never mind a country, but the more I hear of him, the more I realise his party’s ideas are better than Theresa May’s magical mystery manifesto, or Tim Farron’s ‘pretend Brexit and our coalition with the Tories never happened’ plan.
We’re all so lucky to live in a democratic country, where we can have a say in our own futures, for better or for worse. Politicians realise 18-25 year olds don’t usually vote much, which is why we tend to get shafted more when it comes to policy changes. In contrast, pensioners are always the most likely to vote, and therefore don’t usually get hit too hard (The Conservatives obviously forgot this on this occasion) when money gets tight. So whatever your views, make sure you vote on Thursday, and give young people the political voice we so desperately need.
Victoria Copeland – Second year French student
From my perspective as a student, I genuinely believe that a Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn will provide the best option and future for our generation. Obvious key manifesto pledges to highlight are the promises of abolishing tuition fees starting this academic year as well as reintroducing the maintenance grant. Beyond that, a ban on unpaid internships, the introduction of a £10 minimum wage by 2020 and the construction of over one million new homes are factors to consider. Studying French, I voted to remain in the EU last year. Whilst I was disheartened by Labour’s campaign to remain, I firmly believe that the rejection of Theresa May’s ‘no deal’ as a valid option in Brexit negotiations is the way to go. Labour is also promising to guarantee the rights of EU nationals living and working in the UK- something that should just be a given. A ban on fracking, re-nationalisation of the railways and fair taxation that doesn’t discriminate against the poorest in our society- more reasons.
For me, Jeremy Corbyn with his Pringle eating, people meeting and Yorkshire tea drinking charm, represents a genuine alternative to a leadership I am continually fearful of. I don’t believe that the direction Theresa May is taking us in post-Brexit is at all necessary. I don’t want to be further aligned with tiny hands for the sake of a ‘special’ relationship. I don’t want our country to be further distanced from Europe (where I plan to live and work in the future) through malicious ‘negotiations’ all for the sake of appearing strong and stable. I do not want this bloody difficult woman making our futures bloody difficult because she wants to save face and save herself. This is why I’ll be voting for Labour this Thursday.
James Felton – Second year History student
Living in the seat with the smallest majority in the 2015 General Election – Gower, where the Conservatives beat Labour by just 27 votes – I will definitely be voting Labour there, as opposed to Leeds. My local Labour candidate, Tonia Antoniazzi, is hard-working, caring and passionate about the local area. Byron Davies, the sitting Tory MP, meanwhile, has voted against bringing in Syrian child refugees and has also refused to guarantee the rights of the 3 million EU Citizens living in the UK, both of which make the prospect of his re-election deeply disturbing.
Of course, the vote on Thursday is not just a local issue but a national exercise of democracy. Jeremy Corbyn has spent his life campaigning for fairness, justice and equality for all. He will prioritise the important issues, such as our hospitals, education services and social care. He will not, unlike Theresa May, be scared to voice concerns about Donald Trump, will do his bit towards child refugees and will guarantee the rights of the 3 million EU citizens who contribute enormously to this great country. He will make Britain a fairer place and will undoubtedly make it a better place.
It is vital young people vote. The EU referendum showed that there were, are, and always have been stark divides between young and old. Thursday could well be the same. Even if the result is not the one the majority of young people desire, it is nonetheless vital that young people put the X in the box and make their voices heard. If not, we could be heading for yet another government which will ignore the wishes of the young.
Jessica Murray – English Literature Graduate
I was a big fan of Jeremy Corbyn from day one of his leadership, although often afraid to admit so. “He’s a rubbish leader”, everyone scoffed, “He’s unelectable.” To me this seemed like a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you say the man is unelectable, then of course no one will vote for him and he will, inevitably, become unelectable. So when Theresa May called the snap general election, I was relieved that Corbyn would finally have a chance to prove his worth and the question of whether he is electable or not will finally be answered.
Whatever the outcome after tomorrow’s vote though, Corbyn has provided some hope that the country desperately needs right now. If you were one of the hundreds that attended his talk down at Brudenell Social Club a couple of weeks ago, I’m sure you will have felt more enthusiasm and genuine interest in national politics from the crowd there than ever before. Because what a lot of young people are finally starting to feel, with the help of Jeremy Corbyn, is that they’ve got the power here. After being completely sidelined in the EU referendum and 2015 general election, a whopping one million young people registered to vote since this election was called. And if all these young voters actually turnout and make their voices heard, for once we could actually make a real difference.
Regardless of who you’re voting for, the most important thing is making your voice heard. As students we’re about to embark on our lives in the ‘real world’ and we need to stop and think about what we want that world to look like. Do we want a strong and well funded NHS? Do we want more police officers on the street? Do we want to be straddled with university debt for the rest of our lives? Tomorrow is your chance to decide.