Students have their say at Seevic College election hustings
Wednesday, 22 April 2015
Students at Seevic College grilled local parliamentary candidates at a specially organised hustings event.
An audience of 150 young people who attend the college took the opportunity to quiz three candidates standing for Castle Point on Thursday 16 April.
Find out what our students thought about the hustings
The candidates – Conservative Rebecca Harris, Labour’s Joe Cooke and Dominic Ellis for the Green Party – each had their say on cuts to youth services in Essex, university tuition fees and whether utilising technology could increase voter turnout during a lively afternoon debate.
In addition, local traffic congestion plus national affairs including reducing the UK’s budget deficit, voter apathy and whether the coalition government has been a success were hot on the agenda.
The hustings was chaired by Seevic College Principal Nick Spenceley.
Nick Spenceley said: “I’m delighted that our students contributed so effectively towards creating a really lively debate on some of the key issues locally and nationally.
"Seevic College is a central part of the community and it was important for us to provide our students with a platform to have their say on issues that will impact upon them now and in the future."
Conservative candidate Rebecca Harris said: “Very good and very tough questioning from Seevic students, actually, as I would have expected from such a bright and well educated lot. Congratulations on a really well run event – it’s very good of Seevic College to put it on."
Labour candidate Joe Cooke said: “It was nice to hear such intelligent questions. The question about voter apathy – how to reach people – was probably the one that most sparked my interest, because it’s so important. I’m very pleased with the opportunity."
Green Party candidate Dominic Ellis said: “I’m basically standing because as a young person I didn’t feel like I was being represented, so it was nice to come and talk to a whole load of young people and find out our thoughts are the same. I was just like them five months ago: sitting here wondering why the system doesn’t work for us.”
An invite to be in the hustings audience was extended to all students at Seevic College, with spaces issued on a first come, first served basis. All audience members had the opportunity to submit questions to ask the candidates.
Seevic College has been visited by a number of high profile visitors in the build up to the 2015 General Election including Skills Minister Nick Boles and Shadow Skills Minister Liam Byrne.
UKIP candidate Jamie Huntman and Liberal Democrat candidate Sereena Davey were invited to attend the hustings but unable to attend due to prior commitments.
What our students said:
“I think this was a great event and an ideal opportunity for the candidates to meet young people in the community and hear our views. Although the hustings hasn’t changed my opinion on anything, it has maintained my faith that the system we have works."
Molly Milton, 17
“I think it was good debate. I asked the candidates whether using technology as part of the voting system would increase turnout – they were all in favour. However, to be honest, I think the current system is fine and if voting was made easier people might not think as carefully about who they are voting for.”
Ben Coombes, 17
“All the candidates had a fair right of reply. Dominic Ellis came across well as he can relate to people our age, but I wonder how he would be able to justify some of his policies.”