Allen Haigh, Leeds Socialist Students
With the general election rapidly approaching, the Leeds University Socialist Students have been actively campaigning for a Corbyn led Labour government. Along with our regular Wednesday stalls, we decided to canvass at one of the larger student halls, Lupton residences, on Thursday, November 21st to assure that all students had registered to vote, and to have a conversation with them about the current political landscape. We also sought to help disambiguate any thoughts or perceptions students had about Corbyn’s campaign; and expressed our strong belief that an anti-austerity, anti-capitalist government with a socialist programme, one in line with the needs of workers and students alike, had the potential to radically change the workings of our society for the better.
We were pleased to find that generally students were already registered, and were personally invested in the outcome of this election. We spoke to some students who were already planning to vote for Labour based on the strength of their manifesto, as well as others who still felt ambivalent about their voting intentions but were intrigued or impressed by Corbyn’s pledges on free education, and investment in the NHS. We visited one block that was largely composed of student nurses, who were particularly sympathetic to Corbyn’s plans for the NHS due to their first-hand experience of inadequate funding and gross mismanagement. We exchanged thoughts on what we perceived to be the current shortcomings and what needed to be done in the future to protect the interests of staff and patients alike.
We also canvassed in the Hyde Park, an area with a large student population in Leeds, on Monday, 25th of November, and again were pleased to find that most students had registered and had educated themselves about some key policy differences. We stressed to Corbyn supporters that regardless of the outcome of the election, there would remain a continuous need to fight for socialist policies, whilst those who remained undecided pledged that they would remain vigilante of media bias, and do their research on what a Corbyn campaign would really stand for. Most of all it was good to see that almost every single individual saw Boris Johnson’s anti-establishment rhetoric for what it really is, a farce, and most seemed to recognise the need for real change in society; Leeds socialist students will certainly continue to fight for a fairer Britain.