Recent Goings-On: University Debate & more!

Referendum on AV provokes lively debate

Recently, on 8th December, the Birmingham University Guild of Students hosted an important and topical debate ahead of the national referendum on Voting Reform. With less than 5 months until the referendum on the choice of electoral system on 5th May next year, the ‘Question Time-style’ debate featured representatives from all main political parties, as well as Professor Colin Thain, Head of Polsis at the University of Birmingham. The event was ably chaired by Cory Hazlehurst, a committee member of the University Take Back Parliament society.

The future for British Politics debated at University of Birmingham

The debate seems to have been a great success both in itself & also in terms of generating more interest & support for the Yes to Fairer Votes Campaign. As Charlotte Galpin, Chair of the University of Birmingham Yes to Fairer Votes society said, “I was delighted that so many students came in such numbers and contributed to a lively discussion on voting reform”. She added “..it’s absolutely crucial that people understand exactly what is involved next May as it will affect everyone. The changes are really as simple as 1,2,3 and they will mean that voters have a much greater choice when it comes to choosing their MP in future”.

Janet King, who also attended the debate said she was pleased that all bar one of the speakers were saying Yes to reforming our electoral system. She continued- “There was a good turnout, mainly students, and the message was that this is winnable but we`ll need to work hard to get the Yes campaign to the general public, who are not political animals and have not thought about it..”

The debate has also been reported on by Redbrick, the newspaper for The University of Birmingham, & here’s a small taster of the full report

“..the panel was first asked of their opin­ion for the change from first past the post to the alter­na­tive vote. Jonathan Pyke (Electoral Reform Society) spoke in favour of the AV sys­tem, which gets vot­ers to rank can­di­dates in order of pref­er­ence, as he believed this would make politi­cians ‘go beyond their usual core support’.

James McKay (Labour) agreed that ‘any­thing that makes MPs work harder to con­nect with vot­ers is a good thing’, with voter dis­en­gage­ment also being con­sid­ered dur­ing the debate. Daniel Cow­drill (Conservative) on the other hand described the ref­er­en­dum as ‘an expen­sive waste of time’, argu­ing that the pub­lic did not want a new vot­ing system.”

Panelists get their electoral reform points across in debate

As well as the recent debate, local Fairer Votes members & supporters have been getting ready for the official start of the phonebank canvassing campaign both from our West Midlands offices in central Birmingham & remotely from home, as well as preparing for various stalls & leafleting days in Birmingham & a bigger debate evening in early February (more on that soon)! We also had a rather festive planning meeting back on the 1st December, followed by dinner at our usual meeting venue, Bennett’s Bar. A good time was had by allsome maybe had more of the “Christmas spirit” than others, judging by this photo!

Festive Fairer Votes at Bennett's Bar

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2 Responses to Recent Goings-On: University Debate & more!

  1. Eamon Walsh says:

    Thanks for that photo, Ben. I’ll make sure that I take all pictures from now on.

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