In the lead-up to the General Election 2017, Impact Magazine sat down with representatives from the four political societies at the University of Nottingham: The Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Greens. From the Nottingham University Conservatives, we spoke to Sam Hamilton.
The Conservatives were a part of the coalition that tripled tuition fees back in 2010. What was the rationale behind this, and what is the rationale behind continuation of this policy?
SH: “Raising tuition fees is part of creating a fairer society. Most people agree that people who are working hard in lower-paid jobs shouldn’t be subsidising our university fees with their taxes – especially when those at university are likely to earn more than them in the future.”
What specific policies have been, or are due to be, put into place to help those aged between 18 and 25?
SH: “3,000,000 new apprenticeship schemes for young people to obtain skilled jobs, a tax-free minimum wage which puts more money into young people’s pockets, and a Help To Buy Scheme that helps young people to get onto the housing ladder.”
For any young voters unsure of whether the Conservative Party has their best interests at heart, what do you say to them?
SH: “Unlike Labour, the Conservatives aren’t taking young people’s vote for granted. Many young people feel that the Conservatives can better create a society in which more jobs and opportunities exist. As a result, young people are increasingly Conservative – in 2015, only 4% more 18-29 year olds voted Labour than Conservative.”
In terms of economic stability for people of our age, are there any other policies that you believe are vital?
SH: “I’d like to see young people taxed less. As an incentive to get into work, I’d like to see the first two-years of employment tax-free for people aged between 18-25.
“I’d also like to see young people given the chance to go abroad and volunteer more. Redirecting a small portion of the foreign aid budget to fund youngsters going and volunteering in areas where help/aid is needed would be an excellent policy.”
How important is it for the government to have a strong majority when it comes to negotiating Brexit?
SH: “I think it is extremely important. Without a strong majority, we’d be unable to make concrete promises during the negotiations. We’d also be liable to Labour and the Liberal Democrats sabotaging the government’s plan to implement the will of the British people.”
Why do you think that typical voter turnout among 18-25 year olds is so low?
SH: “Education. I think the introduction of an increasingly ahistorical and apolitical curriculum by Labour is mostly to blame. I think that if more young people has a basic understanding of politics, more would turn out and vote.”
What can be done to combat this?
SH: “We ought to teach more about politics in school. I’d like to see a mandatory GCSE Politics course introduced. The reintroduction of traditional grammar schools in place of failing comprehensives would also improve political education for young people.”
What do you think the General Election result will be?
SH: “A resounding Conservative victory, resulting in a strong, stable and prosperous Britain in the years to come!”
Images: Conservative Party Facebook page and the Nottingham University Conservative Association.