Does Labour have the student vote?

Ed Miliband

The Labour is a party that is well supported amongst students, possessing an official wing of the party in “Labour Students” which is a sophisticated entity that plays a direct role in the Labour party campaigns. The support of Labour is also evident at the University of Worcester where there are Labour groups who take part in Canvassing training and other political activities. However, whether Labour can appeal to students against the competition from the Green Party for the students vote remains to be seen.

Here, in our third piece of this political series, we interview Zack Pritchard who is a University of Worcester student in his second year studying sociology. He is also a supporter of the Labour Party.

When, and why, did you start supporting the Labour Party?Is there anything in particular that you participate in to support the Labour Party?

I was brought up in a Labour supportive family my family worked alongside Nye Bevan “Father of the NHS”. However although this had an influence, it was being a student nurse did that influenced my increasing support to the Labour party. This stage of my support started in 2009, when I saw patients under poor housing affecting their health. I have been able to raise this as key areas to look at within the party with my increase involvement.  Labour did a lot of work on poor housing but my view is that it is not enough. I firmly believe that no other party will solve this problematic issue.

Why do you believe the Labour Party is relevant to you as a University of Worcester student?

Labour Students are part of a wider organisation all Labour students are part of a national network. This means we have an increased political voice. Labour students also have an impact in National Union of Students, so we can have a better contact with national officers. Also, as Labour students, we can be part of training to improve our campaign skills. We will use these skills to campaign on issues related to Worcester students. For example we will be campaigning against the increase in Pay day loans. I have spoken to students that this is affecting. However, it is not just about relevant policies to Worcester students but Worcester Labour students implementing Labour values. We need to increase students voice to improve students standards one way how to do that is for every student to be involved in politics. Labour has a current focus of the cost of living crisis. If you are struggling with buying food, which party would help? Labour wants further support for people who are struggling with food costs.

Are there any policies to which you disagree with the Labour Party upon?

My main policy area that I do not agree with the party on was when it supported pay freezes in the public sector. This has led to an increase need on welfare, in my understanding. However, since this decision Labour has said that it will [after 2015] make the public sector a living wage employer.

What would you say to students wishing to gain their political voice?

To students wishing to gain a political voice I would say two things. First, get involved in our Students Union. As your Diversity Officer, I know all officers continually want to hear from students. Politics is not just in Westminster but in everyday life, all students can submit ideas for debate to student council. This can be down through reception, any contact details on the website or contacting any member of council.

Secondly, if you get involved in a political party you do have an increased political voice. I have been able to speak to MPs and many people in the party that affect policy. All parties want to listen to students and so in my understanding all are enthusiastic. Some feel what do I have to offer? To this I always say everyone has a voice but we must ensure it is heard. I strongly feel through an increased debate do we get the best policy. Also each of the two main Parties has a person that will help you know how the party system works.

So, Labour is an important party for students, however they like all parties will have to produce a key commitment in order to gain the student vote. If you’re a student at the University of Worcester and are a member of a political group or wish to express your political opinions, please leave a message in the comments below.

Article by Joe Hayes.

Photography courtesy of EdMiliband.org (Creative Commons).

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