As Mrs May took to the press podium outside Downing Street a few weeks back, an opportunity arose for Student Unions and national bodies around the country. An opportunity to ensure that the voices of our HE, FE, full time, part time, postgrad, and every single other student and young adult are heard by the rest of the country.
With the never ending cycle of Brexit discussions it is all too easy for us to become disinterested and disenfranchised with politics in the UK today. However, it is essential now more than even to keep informed and involved. Research by Universities UK and YouGov suggest that. in 2015-2016, there were roughly 2.28 million students studying in higher education institutions around the UK – this is a staggering figure when you look at the impact that this could have on polling numbers in university constituencies; a number that will only get bigger as more young people enrol on campuses around the country every year.
So with so many millions able to cast the student vote, what is the problem? – well, the problem is that so many of us simply do not exercise this right to vote.
In the run up to this election announcement, higher education policies and campaigns have taken up a substantial amount of Parliamentary floor time. With the recent passing of the High Education and Research (HE) Bill, critical amendments were made to remove the link between Teach Excellence Frame (TeF) results and tuition fees; a campaign fought valiantly by NUS’ Sorana Vieru, VP Higher Education. A vital stopping force to a bill that was arguably more damaging to students that beneficial.
At present, a Housing White Paper is making its way through the legislative process containing a recommendation to ban letting agent fees – i.e. those ridiculous sums of money we’ve all had to pay in order to sign for a grotty house in Stanmore.
I could bore you with countless more examples of government policies that can affect your life as a student, but when it comes down to it, every single decision made in Westminster will have an effect on your university experience. Right down to the price of a purple or the hire costs for the council-run pitches at Bar End, so getting your voice heard in this general election is essential for your life as a student and your future as a graduate.
The new government decided by the nation on 8th June will be the government that you graduate into, so don’t leave the decision up to the rest of the country. Get registered and get voting!
To help get as many of you registered to vote as possible, Winchester Student Union will be running a campus-wide initiative, opening in the Vault on Tuesday 9th May. Registering to vote (either in person or via a postal vote) takes minutes and you can grab any of the exec team with an iPad who will help you get signed up. You’ll need your address and National Insurance number to hand.
Deadline to vote in 8th June General Election – 22nd May 2017
Register at – www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
Vice President, Activities 2016-18