Election candidates cite climate change and urge students to vote

By Kira Taylor |

The “future is at stake” at the next general election, according to Jennifer Forbes, the Labour Party candidate for Truro and Falmouth, and other opposition candidates echo this sentiment.

With all of the furore in Parliament, it’s beginning to look likely that there will be a general election in the next year.

Tom Scott, speaking to the Anchor before the European Elections | FA

Tom Scott, the Truro and Falmouth Green Party candidate, said: “I think it’s important that students vote in all elections, but this coming general election … is going to be one of the most important of our lifetimes because so much now depends on it.”

Under the Fixed Term Parliament Act, two thirds of MPs must vote for an election. Parliament is then dissolved and a minimum of 25 working days later, we go to the polls.

That means an election is likely to be fought by people wearing Santa hats or in the spring – either way most students will be at university.

Asked about students losing faith in politics, Scott points to Extinction Rebellion, saying, “Whatever we do about climate change is going to depend crucially on government decisions made at Westminster and they need to be taking climate change far more seriously than they are.”

Extinction Rebellion protestors put pressure on Labour during the 2019 conference in Brighton | FA

The government originally wanted an election on October 14th, a plan privately admitted to the Times to prevent students:

“No 10 is said to have factored in term times in deciding to push for an early election as it would mean campaigns had less time to ensure that students registered to vote. Those on the electoral roll at their home address would be less likely to travel to vote.”

A survey found young people are more likely to support remain with 74% of those too young to vote in 2016 would back remain.

“… if you haven’t registered to vote, then you lose your chance to have your voice”

Lots of people look at the candidates most likely to win and vote tactically. Jennifer Forbes says people shouldn’t be worried about strategic voting:

“It would be better if everybody thought that – wherever they cast their vote – it will be a worthwhile vote and, to a certain extent, students are more privileged than the rest of us because they can choose whether to vote in their home constituency and their university constituency.”

Asked about voter registration, Forbes said: “Obviously if you haven’t registered to vote, then you lose your chance to have your voice.”

On the environment, Forbes said: “It’s the first time we’re able to vote for a party that has a really good chance of preventing climate catastrophe. I think that young people have to vote in their droves to make that happen.”

At this year’s conference, Labour Party constituency delegates voted to adopt a climate policy similar to that proposed by the Green Party. Both parties’ candidate in Truro and Falmouth have been critical of the carbon targets set by the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives.

Jennifer Forbes speaking to the Anchor in Brighton this September | FA

Students can register at their home or university address. In this election, your vote may have more influence in Cornwall, where the Conservative majority for the Truro and Falmouth, and Camborne and Redruth seats were greatly reduced by Labour in 2017.

Tom Scott added: “What I would say is that I think the two-party system is really breaking down in front of our eyes. The two main parties dominated politics and have really taken advantage of that first past the post electoral system to do that.”

Last week, the Conservatives were accused of attempting to suppress voters’ rights. A leak revealed plans which would see the government introduce compulsory photo ID at polling stations.

It was estimated that this could potentially disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters, but some social media users have pointed out that those without photo ID can still use a postal vote. It is unclear if the plans will go ahead.

You can apply to vote here: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

You can apply for a postal vote here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-for-a-postal-vote