Cast Your Vote: General Election 2010
Don’t be apathetic: BAYAN PARVIZI with a brief note on the upcoming election.
It’s official: we’re going to the polls in what could be the most important election for both first-time and seasoned student voters. Gordon Brown visited the Palace yesterday, where he asked the Queen to dissolve Parliament, ending speculation and officially plunging the nation into a month’s canvassing for 6th May election day.
For many of you this will be your first election you can vote in, and you should be receiving your polling cards soon. But who deserves your vote? Will you focus on national or local politics? Who are our prospective MPs in Cambridge? Should you take a chance with an independent candidate? Will you go for one of the big dogs? Who’s a big fat puff of hot air, and who’s got the policies that will actually rejuvenate Britain?
Separating the wheat from the chaff is a slightly daunting process, but don’t fret. Over the coming weeks we’re conducting interviews with all the major candidates to aid your choice; in the meantime here are some facts about the Cambridge seat over the past several elections to get you up to date.
Daniel Zeichner (Labour)
Julian Huppert (Liberal Democrats)
Nick Hillman (Conservative)
Tony Juniper (Green)
Peter Burkinshaw (UKIP)
Old Holborn (Jury Team)
There will be no incumbent standing as current Cambridge MP David Howarth is standing down. Unlike his duck-pond, moat-building colleagues, Howarth was one of the two MPs who called for his colleague’s expenses to be revealed – a massive boon for the Liberal Democrats.
But Cambridge has not always been Lib Dem. In the 1960s it was a staunch Labour seat, turning Tory blue in the 1970s and 80s, swinging back to Labour in the 90s until Howarth turned the city yellow in 2005. Now it’s our turn to determine the city’s future.
These are tough times. New students are having to bear the burden of top-up fees and recent graduates face an employment desert. But do any of our candidates and their parties have the answers to the future of education? The economic recovery? The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? The environment? And, more importantly, a remark about already implemented ‘solutions’ that have seen a 10% rise in Cambridge’s unemployed, with one in ten shops in central Cambridge laying empty?
At the last election Cambridge recorded a voter turnout of 62%, roughly equivalent to the turnout at this year’s Iraqi elections. Whilst Iraqis dodged bullets, bombs and extreme intimidation tactics, we need only take a leisurely stroll into town after a lecture.
Critics have accused students of being apathetic, and some in Cambridge have even called for our vote in the city to be rescinded – but surely they’re seriously underestimating the caliber of the average Cambridge student. We may not have an Obama, CUSU may be in a bit of a rut, and college politics is clearly not high on the list of priorities… But when it comes to national politics, we have a huge opportunity to implement actual change.
So keep checking our coverage here at The Tab over the next few weeks, get to know our candidates in Cambridge, and vote for something you believe in.