Monday 27-04-2015 - 12:57
We asked Jules Fitzgerald, President at New College Lanarkshire to chat all things General Election with us ahead of voting day on 7 May 2015.
1) What has your SA been up to ahead of the General Election?
We were lucky enough to receive some of the Cabinet Office funding to promote the Generation Vote campaign –Like many other unions we used a photo booth as our tool of engagement, as we knew that this had been majorly successful in the past. Everyone loves donning novelty, oversized sunglasses and rocking out with an inflatable guitar, right? So this gave us the opportunity to speak with students as they queued, ask if they were registered to vote, offered to help them to register there and then and gave away #GenerationVote freebies. We also visited smaller campuses and our colleagues over in South Lanarkshire with handheld tablets and went round encouraging students to register.
2) Thoughts on the TV debates and media coverage so far?
I think the campaigning from major political parties in the media has been really negative and I don’t think that engages people - especially because it constantly refers to the past. I do think though, that women politicians have a louder voice than ever before, which is really cool because we have to make politics relevant for a wider audience and I think that women more than men generally feel like this stuff doesn’t apply to them, when actually it really does.
3) One message for any student thinking of doing a Russell Brand on the day?
I understand the sentiment around not voting. I get it. But the sentiment with no action is actually just silence and I think often there is a fine line between that and apathy. Turn up to the polls, you deserve a vote. A vote for a smaller party may not wield much power in this election but it does reflect a changing tide away from mainstream “they’re all the same” politics and shows that we’re ready for something different. That’s the voice that will make politicians sit up and listen.
4) What would be your dream way of getting to the polls – growing Red Bull wings and flying? Batmobile? On horseback?
When I was about 5 I tried to go downstairs on my space hopper. Didn’t really work out for me and it stopped being my favourite plaything. I’d love to arrive in style on a giant smiley faced, orange space hopper and show the world that I’m back in the saddle and ready to be counted. Politics should be fun.
5) How will you be celebrating/commiserating the result on May 8th?
I know I’m supposed to say something really cool at this point but whatever the results it will be back to business as usual for me, and there is work to be done! (That’s not to say I won’t have a sneaky tipple or two over the weekend which may or may not result in me teaching the younger generation a thing or two about strutting their funky stuff.)