The iStudent debate: Will young people ever vote Tory or Lib Dem?

 

Young people will not be put off from voting Conservative or Liberal Democrat in 2015 because of the failures of the current government, students at the first ever iStudents debate in Cardiff agreed yesterday.

That majority view was held following a debate, chaired by the editor of i, Oliver Duff, attended by around 170 students who discussed the big political questions of the day at the National Museum Cardiff, with the final vote revealing only 26 students would not vote Tory or Lib Dem again.

Mr Duff was joined on the panel by Amol Rajan, editor of The Independent, Lisa Markwell, editor of The Independent on Sunday, i’s economics editor Ben Chu, and Toni Pearce, president of the National Union of Students.

The debate started with the rise in tuition fees. Referring to Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg’s 2010 promise not to raise the fees, Ms Pearce said young people were fed up of being lied to by politicians.

“When politicians expose themselves as liars it massively undermines people’s faith in politics,” she said. “You can’t get away from the fact that the Lib Dems won a lot of votes from young people by promising to vote against a rise in tuition fees and then they lied about it. There’s a reason for the Lib Dems to be scared and they are.”

Mr Rajan encouraged students to exercise their right to vote, describing it as a “moral obligation”.

He said: “You should be ashamed of yourself if you’re not going to vote. Generations of men, women and children have died for the vote. Not voting is extremely offensive.”

However, Grace Barr, 20, who is studying law and French, and said she wouldn’t be voting in the next election. She called for politicians to engage with young people by speaking in a language they can understand. She spoke of her friends who come from a deprived area in south Birmingham, saying they are more concerned about policies that directly affect them than about what is going on in Westminster.

“My friends are intelligent but these things are going on way above their heads in a language they don’t understand, so they can’t make decisions,” she said. “Their interests aren’t ‘Should we be in Europe?” They want to know about policies that affect them. Politics needs to be brought back to the people.”

The question of reducing the voting age to 16 also provoked a strong reaction, with a 21-year-old politics student Chris de Rauville claiming 16-year-olds were not well-informed enough to make decisions on economic or foreign policy.

He said: “How can you ask these people who don’t even get political education to decide on these complex issues? Will they actually be able to make a competent decision?”

Mr Chu disagreed, however, arguing that giving 16-year-olds the vote would help engage them in politics in the first place.

The i’s tour of the UK continues with the team heading north to Manchester on 11 March to meet more of the paper’s student readers.

 

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Assistant - IT Channel - Graduate

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a Value-Added I...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Guru Careers: Junior Web Developer

£18 - 22k (DOE) + Benefits & Stock Options: Guru Careers: A Junior Developer /...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss