Sheffield’s swing-vote students will elect almost anybody except Nick Clegg

Before the common election in 2010, many students in Sheffield have been caught up in the whirlwind of “Cleggmania”. Seduced by the Liberal Democrat leader’s promise that he would scrap tuition fees, they swarmed to the polling stations keen to enact adjust with the casting of their vote. I was one particular of them – just an additional undergraduate drawn in by the pledges of the Lib Dems.

Today I’m a PhD student in a city in which the mood has shifted drastically. It’s been predicted that the student vote may hold the “keys to power” in at least 10 constituencies, and 1 thing is clear: we certainly will not be voting for Clegg.

Looking back to the 2010 election, the pupil perspective was undeniably positive in Sheffield, especially in the direction of the Lib Dems who had been focusing on local university campuses. Numerous of us had been only too content to listen to their pandering promises. Conserve undergraduates more than £10,000 of debt? Instantly scrap fees for last-12 months college students? Achieve all of this with a financially responsible plan? Why, count me in Mr Clegg! Many of us had been keen for a slice of that political pie.

Quick-forward six months, however, and the predicament for students under the Con-Dem coalition was dire. Clegg’s monumental U-turn on his pre-election NUS pledge had led to riots in London, and college students in Sheffield were protesting at the Lib Dem conference at city hall. We have been furious our believe in had been betrayed.

Now, nearly 5 years on and with one more standard election looming, there stays valuable tiny left of our pre-2010 optimism. As the normal graduate leaves university with debt of around £44,000, Nick Clegg and his celebration have a lot to reply for, and we college students will not forgive effortlessly. This is an unwelcome actuality for Clegg who will encounter the wrath of the student vote in his own constituency.

Students protest outside the Houses of Parliament during a march against university fees in London on November 19, 2014
‘As the normal graduate leaves university with debt of close to £44,000, Nick Clegg and his party have a good deal to solution for’.

Sheffield has a good voting background amongst its students, and curiosity in the standard election is undoubtedly developing. Following the tuition charge protests in London final month, Sheffield students occupied a restaurant in the Students’ Union building this week as a element of a series of actions calling for free of charge training in the city. However for Clegg, however, students are hoping to use their vote to oust him from his Hallam constituency. Aidan Phillips, a Sheffield student, not too long ago urged his fellow undergraduates to register to vote, claiming that a cross in the correct box could see Clegg on his way to the regional jobcentre.

In our search for a viable voting substitute, a lot of Sheffield college students seem to be turning away from mainstream parties. Ukip’s chain-smoking, pint-swigging maverick Nigel Farage may possibly be dominating the “alternative-vote” debate, but it is unlikely that Sheffield’s proudly worldwide student neighborhood will ever warm to his anti-immigration rhetoric. A much far more attractive candidate for the student vote has arrived in the type of the Green get together. Though a Green get together MP in Sheffield Hallam would obviously remedy the Clegg conundrum, it might not aid keep away from a largely undesired Conservative majority at nationwide degree. The Lib Dems had been only one particular component of the sorry coalition that received us into this mess, following all.

This is potentially why numerous students are considering a “tactical” vote for Labour. Left with no obvious alternative, but fearing Tory strategies to boost the tuition fee cap to £16,000, several college students I have spoken to are considering about casting an unenthusiastic vote for Labour, who they think to be the “best of a poor bunch”.

With five months to go prior to the basic election, there does not seem to be a clear-reduce candidate for the pupil vote in Sheffield just yet. 1 thing is specific, nevertheless: though college students may be disenchanted with mainstream politics they surely are not disinterested. The whirlwind may have settled but the remnants of Clegg’s broken promises continue to be – his “mania” has a good deal to solution for.

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