The Lib Dems are back and they’ve got sexy policies too: meet the President of UCL’s LibDem Society
When a Baroness tells you to found a society, you’ve really got no choice
In this critical time of political uncertainty, it can be easy to forget some of the more enjoyable occasions in life; for the 37 UCL students who joined LibDem Soc this year, one such occasion is their beloved society’s first birthday.
The society was founded by the current President, second year Chemistry student Aria Dinakara Babu, who also holds the position of Communications Officer for the party’s youth and student wing, Young Liberals.
The Lib Dems were all but wiped out in the 2015 election, winning a measly 7.9 per cent of the vote, but they are once again on the rise.
We had a chat with Aria about the things that matter most to her in this election.
Which policy in your party’s manifesto is your favourite and why?
I’d like to say that it was one of our sexier, front page policies, like legalising marijuana or the second referendum, but actually it’s all the stuff on early years education. I believe passionately in a free market, but there will always be injustices and a lack of social mobility if we don’t give poorer kids a proper start in life. So I’m a fan of the free childcare for two year olds, paid paternity leave and increasing the early years’ pupil premium.
On the other hand, are there any parts of the manifesto that you disagree with?
Not during an election.
Getting serious now… How do you predict the outcome of the election?
Massive Conservative landslide. Instead of Theresa May asking the Queen to form a government, the queen literally hands over her crown and moves to Canada.
What led you to found the UCL Liberal Democrats society?
Literal peer pressure.
A couple of weeks into my first year, I was at the London Liberal Democrats conference and I was talking about how at the Fresher’s Fair, there was no LibDem Soc. At this time, there were the Greens, Labour and the Conservatives, so I was, understandably, chagrined.
Baroness Shas Sheehan then pointed out that I should just set one up myself. So yes, ‘peer’ pressure (get the pun, guys??).
Why should I, as a young person, support the Liberal Democrats?
I think there are a number of reasons. People like to paint young people as far left radicals but actually I think on an ideological level the Lib Dems’ ideas are closer to those of our generation. Not to over-generalise, but for the most part, young people are instinctively liberal and tolerant.
On a policy level, I think for this election it should be The Single Market. We’re in an incredibly privileged position in Britain, where there are such a wealth of industries based here which we can choose to work in. The only issue is, be it anything from academia to finance to pretty much anything that imports or exports, our industries are vulnerable to Brexit. I don’t want to graduate into a tightening job market, with fiercer competition and more unemployment. And I don’t think many of my peers do either.
How has your society been encouraging young people to get involved with this election?
We’ve helped to organise debates which should be taking place next week, and on a broader level, the Young Liberals (the federal organisation) have been putting out Facebook ads encouraging people to register to vote.
UCLU Liberal Democrat Society can be found on Facebook.