Uni campaign promotes General Election debate
Stoke-on-Trent, England, 04 December, 2014 - “Not even the most sophisticated pundits will be able to predict how the national opinion polls will pan out ahead of the next election,” according to Mick Temple, Professor of Journalism and Politics at Staffordshire University.
Professor Temple is heading up a panel of Staffordshire University experts poised to give comment and opinion on all things political in the run up to the General Election.
In a blog post written to launch the University’s General Election campaign and microsite, Professor Temple makes the point that Nigel Farage and UKIP have changed British politics forever.
He refers to Farage as “king-maker” and suggests that it will be UKIP voters “from disenchanted working class Labourites to Europhobic old guard Tories” who will decide who the next Prime Minister will be.
Professor Temple added: “Politically speaking, these are unprecedented times and UKIP have all the major political parties running scared.”
Also playing a central role in the campaign is Staffordshire University economist Dr Ian Jackson who feels the Autumn statement, announced yesterday, will have done little to appeal to voters – despite evidence that the economy is growing.
He said: “I do think they’re in a bit of a dilemma. This is because the Public Sector deficit remains persistently high which will impact on welfare and other services. There are specific investment projects but more funds could have been committed in order to continue the economic recovery by boosting the manufacturing sectors and the nation’s regions.”
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Allan Howells said: “This campaign helps us to shine a light on the wide range of expertise that exists at the University and how our academics can contribute to debate on real world issues.”
The University is also joining forces with the Students’ Union to promote student engagement in the General Election. A survey has been launched to gauge student interest on the political agenda and a group selected to provide ongoing opinion.
As part of national efforts to increase voter turnout among young people, Staffordshire University Students’ Union has successfully bid for an on-campus polling booth, specifically for the use of students.
They will also be opening an on-campus information hub to help students make an informed decision about their vote in May 2015 after making a successful bid, with Keele Students’ Union, to the NUS Community Organisation Innovation Fund.
Students’ Union President, Mel Ramsay said: "As President this year, one of my key focuses is the General Election. I am happy to see this is also something the NUS is pushing nationally, as we need to address the apathy that many students have towards democracy and voting. Students can make a difference, and they should.”
"Much of the student body are still reeling from the broken promises regarding tuition fees, so we need to encourage them to do something about it. I’m excited to see what the future brings, especially now we are working closely with the University, the council and other Students’ Unions."