The election is beginning to loom. The politicians are spending more time in their constituencies. Our Lib Dem MP Vince Cable came to the College this afternoon. He was given a tour, met SU president Ben, exchanged pleasantries with several of us but seemed to rather flow past the student body.
We're a pretty untapped market of about 3,000 first time voters and although there was a lot of flesh pressing it strikes me as odd that in the build up there isn't a hustings here. Vince is fairly safe in the seat, a high profile and uncorrupted politician with a 9,000 majority and an outside chance of becoming Chancellor in a hung parliament. The Tories seem to think so and are diverting their resources into Zac Goldsmith's battle against Susan Kramer across the river in Richmond. Zac was outside Richmond Station on Thursday, happily chatting to the commuters whilst big wig Oliver Letwin, resplendent in a pea green coat and highly polished black shoes, handed out election literature. I think they'll parachute all the grandees in between now and May 6th.
Back on campus Ben has done a lot in his tenure to bring back a political dimension to the role and I hope his endeavours will result in a larger turnout when the students elect next year's representatives. There's still a long way to go to before students reclaim the levels of active engagement that were prevalent in the eighties, when each major party were represented with a society on campus, but perhaps slowly the tide is changing and perhaps party politics at this level is over.
... And there are rewards, to getting organised. If they could get their act together, a lobby group of three thousand would absolutely have power to elect a local independent councillor to represent Strawberry Hill and have a genuine mandate to effect change. It would certainly be a more challenging and potentially useful role than negotiating with breweries and nightclubs for cheap deals.