GENERAL ELECTION 2019: Sheffield students share their views on the issues that matter to them

Nearly a million young people applied to vote in Thursday’s general election - nearly 40 per cent higher than in 2017. We spoke to politics students at the University of Sheffield to find out their views.

Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 3:49 pm
Top left: Julia Coulson Bottom left: Archie Mullaney Right: Becca Binks

Niamh Godfrey, politics and sociology student

“This will be my first election voting, and I’m really excited to be involved, and be able to have my say during this extremely important time for politics.

“It has been really positive to see so many young people getting involved with politics, registering to vote and understanding how using their voice can change their futures

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“Brexit is obviously a huge issue within Britain today and a key driver for the coming election, so with that in mind, I think people will certainly be voting based on Brexit.

“In some ways this election can be considered a ‘Brexit election’ and party support could be split based on a want to leave or remain.

“Furthermore, the importance of tactical voting can’t be underestimated - nothing is a sure thing and I think we can expect some surprising results.”

Julia Coulson, politics student

Julia Coulson

“I think that Brexit has definitely made people more aware of politics and ensured that many have an opinion on it.

“My social media is filled with political takes on issues, politicians and policies everyday.

“The issues concerning me are funding for the NHS especially given winter is approaching and a severe lack of funding and pressure on NHS staff.

“Climate change is also a pressing issue, what the flooding of the River Don suggests is that the problem is both huge and at our doorstep.

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“This will be my second general election, having voted for the first time in the first snap election held by Theresa May, but I was too young to vote in the EU referendum.

“I think people definitely are increasingly looking at party leaders, look at the recent Question Time. I think these will definitely play a huge role in what party choose to vote for.

“Having said that, policies are still important, but definitely who the policies are from and how they are going to be marketed.”

Ben Saunders, history and politics student

Archie Mullaney

“Brexit is clearly a key issue of this election, dominating the majority of party manifestos. Boris Johnson seems adamant for it to be the main issue presented by the Conservatives, rarely straying too far from the topic in recent leadership debates.

“The Liberal Democrats, presenting themselves as the party of Remain, are ambitious about their success.

“I don’t think their vote share will be as high as they anticipate. Still, given Brexit dominates the majority of political debates and news coverage it is likely to be the most significant issues in the election.

“Another issue that has gained some coverage but is still lacking a sizeable platform is the issue of climate change.

“Other than the Green Party, general party political approaches to climate change have come across as point scoring rather than actual attempts to deal with an immediate and highly significant global issue.

“Trust in party leaders seems to have significantly declined since 2017. Especially concerning Johnson and Corbyn which may suggest that party policy is more significant than leader appeal when it comes to voting this year.

Becca Binks

“On a whole, the general election and party campaigns this year, seem to holds less energy and enthusiasm than in 2017, despite commentators labelling this as the most important election of our lifetime. Perhaps people have become yet more cynical of politics, with further questions of trust relating to party leaders. Or, considering this is a winter election, general political apathy may be more inducing.”

Archie Mullaney, politics student

“This is my second time voting in an election, and probably will be the most important one I will vote in.

“Most people will be voting based on Brexit, not only because that’s the biggest issue facing us at the moment, but because many parties are leading their policies with Brexit.

“That being said, a lot of people will sadly not be focused on policies and instead vote based on the party leaders, which shouldn’t be what any election is about.

“For me, the most important thing in our country is protecting the NHS. Having had a lot of personal experience in and out of hospital, the NHS is so important to me and I am incredibly grateful for it, and I think it is what we should be most proud about because it is the best healthcare system in the world.”

Ashley Booth, politics student

“In my opinion Brexit is primary policy when deciding which party to vote for as it has been such a prominent and the most important topic in UK politics.

“In my opinion, someone that believes in remain they will look to Labour, Green or Lib Dems and if someone wishes to Leave they will vote for the Conservatives or the Brexit Party. “However there is the added of FPTP meaning that tactical voting is likely to be at the forefront of people's minds when casting a vote.

“Do I think people vote for personalities as well as party policies? This is of vitality to elections.

“The key to a leaders personality is how 'capable' or 'strong' a leader is perceived by the public. It was the downfall of Miliband in 2015 and is arguably why Swinson is now polling so low.”

Becca Binks, politics and French student

“This is the first general election I’m able to vote in, and I’ve been waiting to be able to do so for a very long time!

“The attitudes towards this election frustrate me, due to the reasons behind people’s votes. This is an election marred by Brexit, and people will undoubtedly vote one way or another based on their views on European membership.

“But it is also an election that will, I think, be heavily swung by politicians personalities and the biased representation of these in the media.

“This does not feel like an election that will be won by policies and promises; it will be won by personalities and manipulation, and I feel disappointed that my first opportunity to have a say in the politics of our country is tarnished in such a way.

“However, I do feel one thing very strongly when it comes to this election, and that is the vital importance of casting a vote.

“Though I think many people feel disaffected with politics and perhaps struggle to see a party that they truly identify with, the opportunity to make your voice heard is not one that can be missed.

“I think that if the vast amounts of people who say that they don’t like any politicians and are fed up with politics went to the polling station and spoiled their ballot paper, the people who lead our country would see this sentiment and could do something about it. Every vote counts!”