In the run up to the 2010 election, and numerous times since, we have been lured by promises that have remained unmade. This is not a call to arms, but a reminder to remember the injustice and corruption that exists in the running of our country. Seen in the photo below, David Cameron famously pledged not to cut the NHS, yet 6 years later it seems the Conservative government is pushing more than ever to extend working hours, cut funding, and ultimately begin to privatise our hospitals. The current strikes led by junior doctors about these decisions are a reminder that though we may not be able to completely turn around policies like this, we CAN make our voices heard.
BBCs political satire show The Revolution Will Be Televised (watch now on iPlayer!) highlighted the extensive list of broken promises made by the Lib Dems. In a sketch where they pose as delivery men (to ‘deliver’ the promises in the form of giant signs), the list includes: Cap bank bonuses, scrap trident, and (importantly for us) abolish tuition fees. I’m not saying that students should be given everything on a plate, but to come so close to discussing the lowering of fees for them to be raised astronomically has led to many of us feeling let down and disinterested in current UK politics. Although Ed Miliband pledged to lower fees to £6000/year in 2015, it is yet to happen. And to make matters worse both Clegg and Cameron have refused to rule out the possibility that they could be raised even higher. So as our future debt is shot back and forth in this political ping-pong, what can we do? The fees (and maintenance loans) we’ll have to pay back in years to come are a daunting prospect, but, to put a positive spin on things, I think that now more than ever is the time for commitment. Commitment to our talent (whether it be art, humanities, technology or anything else we study), commitment to making the future better by supporting each other and sharing ideas and resources, and most importantly commitment to stand up for what’s right. Like I said, we can’t change the world, but by making our voices heard we can at least make a start. Here’s 3 things you can do:
VOTE! – There will be no change in undelivered promises until we inform ourselves, and learn who really does want the best for their voters. Not to set homework, but learn about candidate’s past decisions and about what they stand firm on. This applies not just to ‘big politics’ but on a smaller scale too – start with voting for your University president and experience the feeling of having a say.
PROTEST! – keep an eye out for petitions on sites like change.org and petition.parliament.uk. If a petition gets 10,000 signatures it gets discussed in parliament.
DISCUSS! – Keep yourselves informed. It doesn’t have to be difficult, so many pages exist on social media with bitesize nuggets of political info. I find it’s a much better way to fill my news feed compared to photos of people’s breakfasts or videos of cats. AJ+, Occupy Wall Street and Anonymous are good places to start. No one wants to be the loud opinionated one in a group of mates, but you don’t have to be! Try bringing up what you read next time you’re at the pub, you’d be surprised how interesting it can be to chat about.