Did anyone tell you there’s an election coming up? Quite soon, in fact. This Thursday! Tell yer pals!
qmunicate spoke to eight student voters from across the political spectrum. Each voter was sent the same set of questions – introducing themselves, explaining what matters to them, and why they think you should vote the same way – in the week running up to the General Election.
Ever wondered what an undecided voter thinks when making their decision? Did you assume that all Yes voters automatically became SNP voters? Think you’ve never met a Scottish Tory?
Disclaimer: the views expressed in these interviews represent the personal views of each individual voter, and do not necessarily represent the views held by [qmunicate magazine] or the Queen Margaret Union. These interviews seek to understand the breadth of political affiliation, rather than endorse any one party or set of ideas.
The first interview is with Jamie, who’s planning on voting Conservative:
qmunicate: Tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m Jamie from Cumbernauld in North Lanarkshire, however I now live in Maryhill. I don’t particularly align myself with any specific demographics, although should other people want to do that then I’m a young, straight, white male. My first vote was in the 2014 Independence Referendum where I voted No, since then I’ve voted in every national poll: Remain in the EU Referendum and always Conservative in elections. I briefly flirted with the idea of voting Labour to try and tactically kick out an SNP MP, but the thought of voting Labour in this election was unpalatable.
qmunicate: What are the issues that matter the most to you this General Election? And what issues do you think matter to most to your demographic as a whole?
I think this election has three broad themes: Brexit, leadership, and economics. But with regards to importance, I think the Brexit issue probably supersedes everything else due to its long-term impacts.
qmunicate: Would you describe yourself as ‘politically active’? Was there a catalyst for your political involvement?
I would prefer the term ‘politically informed’ to politically active. My first real involvement in politics was as a foot-soldier for Better Together in 2014, something that was so mentally and physically tiring that by the time the 2015 General Election came around, my involvement could at best be described as minimal. And the litany of political action since then has been so brutally exhausting that my appetite for activity has yet to return.
qmunicate: Has your vote changed over previous elections? If so, what prompted you to change?
No, I’m a staunch Conservative and Unionist – despite, like I said earlier, briefly flirting with tactical voting. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if I’m 100% happy with what the Tory party does, but anyone who tells you that a political party is a perfect manifest of what they want from politics then they are lying to you – or worse, stupid. The Tories just most accurately reflect my political philosophy, although that philosophy does borrow from both the Left and Right.
qmunicate: Regardless of party forming the next Government, what do you want to see delivered over these next five years?
A robust defence of free-market capitalism and economic liberalism is vital – especially in an age where increased awareness of social inequality and the rise of populist anti-establishment politics means it is under threat constantly. That defence should also include radical reforms where necessary: the great challenge of conservatism in the 21st century is how best to conserve capitalism. But that’s a broad issue, I think more specifically and certainly more immediate is how Britain comes through the Brexit negotiations. The EU has a personal stake in punishing the British nation, because if any nation leaves and succeeds, it undermines their entire political project. It’s going to be no less than diplomatic warfare, and experience and belief is vital when you’re on the other side of the table.
qmunicate: Finally: you have thirty seconds to pitch to someone to vote for your party. What do you say to convince them?
In 1984, the IRA attempted to blow up and kill the democratically elected British government. Anyone who could sympathise – or at the very least fail to condemn the people doing that – should automatically be disqualified from High Office. Theresa May isn’t perfect, and you’ll find that the Conservative Party base has a lot of issues with her. Despite this, she’s the only candidate who believes in Britain’s ability to succeed, and has a record of accomplishment in negotiating with the EU and of diplomatic success – those are vital right now.
[Editor’s note: Jeremy Corbyn has condemned IRA attacks. Interview (written and video) can be found on the Metro, 21 May 2017: http://metro.co.uk/2017/05/22/jeremy-corbyn-has-finally-called-the-ira-terrorists-6653633/]