Here’s how Lancaster Students reacted to the election on May 6th
‘It feels irresponsible to vote for a party that doesn’t care about the vast majority’
Over a week has passed since the 2021 local elections, with the Conservative Party making the most substantial gains across the country, including retaining control of Lancashire County Council.
Closer to home, Labour Councillor Erica Lewis was re-elected as the representative for Lancaster Southeast by a clear majority (with Hamish Mills of the Green Party finishing second on 974 votes).
Voter turnout among Lancaster students was not particularly high, as a Lancaster Tab Instagram poll indicated that only 47 per cent of students voted. Some of those who did exercise their democratic right however, have told us how they feel about the outcome of the election; here are some of their responses.
‘I was really excited to see the gains the Green Party made in the local elections’
Meg, a first year County college student studying PPE was pleased that the Green Party, of which she is a member, made significant strides in last week’s election up and down the country.
She said: “It shows that more voters are facing up to the climate crisis and are willing to vote to make the changes we need in order to prevent detrimental climate change”. It is indeed true that the Green Party’s candidate comfortably finished as runner-up in this ward, suggesting that Lancaster students and residents are growing more conscious of issues surrounding sustainability and climate change.
‘People who vote for the Conservatives only care about protecting their privilege’
Frustrated with the Tory-heavy outcome of the election, Holly, a first year History student from Furness believes those that voted Conservative “don’t take into account the effect the Tories have on minority groups”.
She concedes that: “Labour’s leadership isn’t strong at the moment” but is also adamant that it’s still preferable to vote for a party whose “heart and views are in the right place”.
‘In my opinion, the uni is an echo chamber’
This is the view of a first year physics student, whom wished to remain anonymous. They expressed disappointment in the results for the local area but were far more concerned about a perceived inability to express their “moderate political views on campus due to the risk of alienating friends and flatmates”.
Characterizing the university as an “echo chamber”, they lament the fact that in their opinion you are likely to be “ostracized” if you do not hold sufficiently “progressive or liberal” views.
‘It feels irresponsible to vote for a party who don’t care about the vast majority’
Sophie, a first year Politics and International Relations student from Bowland, expressed dissatisfaction with the large swathes of voters who selected the Conservative Party at the polls. She voiced a belief that this demonstrated a lack of responsibility or empathy as the conservative party “don’t care about the vast majority”.
Sophie acknowledged that a lot of people don’t like Keir Starmer due to him being “less left-leaning”, but maintained that “choosing a party who seems to care more about economics than the population will leave us in the same political situation we’re stuck in now”.
‘I dislike everything about the direction the party is heading in’
Elliott, a third year Politics and International Relations student from Bowland, has grown weary of the state that the Labour Party has put itself in, further exacerbated in his view by the sacking of Angela Rayner.
He was set against voting against Labour on the day but came to the conclusion that “local politics are quite different to national politics”. Elliott expressed a liking for Cllr Lewis and as such chose to vote for her on election but said he “resented the idea that his vote could be construed as support for Labour”.
‘CYMRU AM BYTH’
As you might have gathered, this next student (studying law in their first year) was very pleased that their Welsh home constituency voted in Plaid Cymru for the 20th year running, with a large majority. They conceded that in England, “Labour is still the best best” but communicated a strong dislike of Welsh Labour, who are in their opinion “‘diet Tory”. This is in accordance with the student’s view that the Welsh Labour party are “anti-welsh language”.
‘I don’t feel as if I can be optimistic about the future of politics for the UK’
Thomas, a Lonsdale student studying History in his first year was overall pleased with the outcome of this election as Labour achieved victories in his “home, uni and in the mayoral election” of his city. From a local perspective, Thomas viewed the outcome as a success thanks to the aforementioned victories but from a national perspective, he was less than mollified.
Thomas has been a member of the Green Party “since 2019” and was therefore glad that his party had made some headway in this election but is unsure about whether this will “translate to a national level” when the next general election occurs.
‘They did a postcode lottery for grades’
Somebody who is deeply angered by the considerable Conservative success in this election is AK – a first year Computer Science student and member of Lonsdale college. He finds it difficult to believe that so many people would willingly vote Tory after their recent activities which according to him include “not providing Grenfell victims any refuge, stealing millions from taxpayers via fraud and money laundering, did a postcode lottery for grades, decided against feeding hungry children and enabled the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people”.