So, first off, well done to those eager beavers out there that have voted already… be it at the crack of dawn or by postal vote. I’m here to remind you all that polling stations are open until 10pm tonight and how important it is to use your vote.
This morning at about 7.30am I took my #IVoted selfie above looking slightly squinty at the bright morning sky just after voting at my local Hammersmith polling station. Just round the corner from Charing Cross hospital and the Reynolds bar. I have now had my say in who will represent us for the next 5 years*. There are a huge number of issues to think about when you vote local, national, personal… our Fund Education Campaign has picked out 3 which we think will be relevant to most of you and tried to get responses from local candidates in the 5 constituencies where the highest number of Imperial Students live. If you’re still undecided, or even if you think you have decided and want to find out what your candidate thinks about Tuition Fees, Post graduate and International students or Student Living Costs there is still time to check it out on the campaign page.
Perhaps you might just be interested in whether the candidates are willing to engage with the student Union at all – we have 5 years* of potential lobbying to do and whether your local candidate will work with your student Union during that time is potentially quite important. And then there are a whole host of other things that might influence your choice to vote. Our #GE2015 pages outline as well what the candidates put in their manifestos so they’re a great resource too. The only other thing I can say is personally some of the things that I thought about when I chose who to vote for.
What are the issues that I worry about for the next five years? Be that Immegration, the Economy, Education, the EU Tuition Fees, the future of Charing Cross hospital or the NHS generally; I think we all need to look at what is important to us and who takes a stand on those issues. For me, I’ve had a lot of good friends who were international students around London forced to leave the country instead of getting a job here – not only does it mean I’ve lost friends I feel we lose talent and people that want to contribute and be part of our nation so Immegration, particularly the differences between EU and wider Immegration are of quite a lot of importance to me. And with a huge number of international students at Imperial who cant vote (except Commonwealth citizens) I feel also that I want my vote to represent them too. As a PG student too I worry about the price of PG tuition fees and research funding; though for me I think investment in Research is something that needs to be thought of in the context of the Economy generally… which as I look at the prospect of entering the job market soon is a pretty big deal for me too. A final example for me is zero hours contracts – the union employs a lot of casual student staff and I’ve already had a couple of people contact me worried that if legislation against these comes in we’ll be unable to offer as many students the opportunity of part time work during their studies (and neither will other employers) so I think again that issue is more complicated than is being played out in the press.
The fact is, there is a lot to choose at this election. It’s perhaps the most uncertain of our entire lifetimes – maybe even in our parents lifetimes or longer. So it really is important if we want a parliament that represents the nation and our views that we raise our voices and our stubby pencils on a string, get to our polling stations this evening and put an X next to the name that best represents your views.
I know this is probably the 100th or so time you’ve heard it. But we are the Researchers, the Bankers, the Workforce, the Educators, Doctors, Pensioners, Consultants, Businesspeople, Unemployed and Parents of tomorrow. Not to mention every other walk of life. So go and help choose what tomorrow looks like today.