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The British General Election is less than a month away, and it seems like the only thing the media cares about is who is going to be in Number 10. But there are so many more important angles to this pivotal event, with the most crucial one being right in your hands: your vote.
We’ve all heard it too many times…”My vote doesn’t make a difference” or “I don’t care about the elections.” Now look at these numbers and tell me if you really feel like your vote doesn’t matter. Here are the results of the 2010 General Election:
- 10.7m voted Conservative- 8.6m voted Labour- 6.8m voted LibDems- 15.9m people didn’t vote
Can you imagine how different the past five years could have been if even half of the non-voters had voted? Maybe economic growth would be stronger, maybe the NHS wouldn’t be near crisis. And maybe the pressing issues facing students and young people would have properly made it on the agenda.
Herein lies the greatest barrier to the progress of our generation: we simply don’t vote. Less than half of us young people under 24 voted in the last election, and only 56% of us are registered to vote. On the flip side, 96% of people 65 and older are registered to vote.
Politicians listen to people who vote. When we don’t vote, we are permitting decision makers to ignore our voice and our needs. Why do you think it’s so easy for politicians to agree to catastrophic tuition fees hikes but not cuts in welfare spending for the older population? They vote and their voice will continue to be echoed in all aspects of policymaking.
2015 is our chance to make our voices heard. Let’s get politicians talking about zero hour contracts, post-graduate job opportunities, cost of living for students, and home ownership schemes. We can’t keep complaining or acting complacent - we are going to be ignored until we start speaking up.
On May 7th, go to polls and commit to exercising your right to vote. Even if you feel that your best option to is to spoil the ballot, then do that instead of abstaining from voting. This opportunity only comes around twice a decade and it will have enormous implications for your life in the near future. Let your vote be your tool to making your voice heard.
The General Election and the Student Vote
Register to vote
My list of London must-sees is infamously long. And in a city never lacking in things to do, it seems to grow longer by the day.
I headed out to see whether some of the grandest and most famous attractions were actually worth it.
The Original London Bus Tour (£26 adult ticket, online price)
Excitement: 2/5Interest: 5/5Navigability: 5/5Value for Money: 3/5Overall Score: 15/20
Former Prime Minister William Gladstone once remarked “the best way to see London is from the top of a bus.” Tour companies have taken his comments to heart and now offer visitors a wide range of open-top double deckers to cruise around the city.
My excitement for a ride around town in a bus was a bit reserved given it is how I commute to campus most days. However, the added layer of commentary featuring fun facts about the places we passed held my interest. For instance, did you know Marble Arch was originally meant to stand outside Buckingham Palace? Queen Victoria did not like the design and thus, as the story goes, had a coach built that was deliberately too wide to fit through. The views from the top deck weren’t bad either.The bus ticket includes a boat ride from Westminster Pier to Tower Pier and allows visitors to hop on and hop off the bus for a period of 24 hours. Still, the price is steep when you consider you can ride a regular double decker for less than £2.
Tower Bridge (£5.65 student ticket, online price)
Excitement: 5/5Interest: 5/5Navigability: 3/5Value for Money: 4/5Overall Score: 17/20
Tower Bridge features in a good number of my photos from my time in London, but I’d never gone inside. The chance to stand on a glass floor looking down at the Thames 42 metres below? Sign me up!The Tower Bridge Exhibition guides visitors through the bridge’s construction process, beginning with a public design competition in 1894. The information presented is interesting, but it’s the views that really take the cake here. The views out to Canary Wharf and of the City of London are some of the best I’ve seen. Coupled with the chance to watch boats pass under and cars drive over the bridge under your feet and you’ve got an excellent adventure.
Madame Tussauds (Adult tickets range from £22.50 to £27 depending on date and time, online price)
Excitement: 2/5Interest: 1/5Navigability: 1/5Value for Money: 2/5Overall Score: 6/20
I’m not quite sure where to begin with this one, but the chaos to even get into the museum is probably a good place to start. The queuing system results in long waiting periods. Unfortunately, once inside navigating doesn’t get any easier.
The museum is divided into various sections, ranging from celebrities to sport to historical figures. With only one route through, traffic bottlenecks abound. I spent much of my visit weaving in between fellow visitors, trying to reach the exit. Sure it was fun to take a photo with the royal family, but the stress it involved was less than ideal.
Bottom line, if the thought of taking a selfie with a wax figure of Prince Harry while attempting not to get hit by the selfie stick of the hundreds of other visitors doing the same doesn’t appeal to you, definitely give this one a miss.
Science Museum (Free entry)
Excitement: 2/5Interest: 4/5Navigability: 2/5Value for Money: 5/5Overall Score: 13/20
The museum’s nonexistent price tag means it is typically quite crowded, so if you visit during a peak time don’t expect to have the space and time to read every placard. But, the nonexistent price tag also means a return visit is not entirely out of the question.
As someone not particularly inclined to an interest in the hard sciences, I was pleased to find some exhibits rooted in history as well, including ‘Making the Modern World’ and ‘Information Age.’ I’d recommend planning short visits to the museum rather than attempting to see it all at once, as battling the crowds can lessen your enjoyment of the experience.
National Gallery (Free entry)
Excitement: 2/5Interest: 5/5Navigability: 3/5Value for Money: 5/5Overall Score: 15/20
It didn’t take long for the National Gallery and its next door neighbour the National Portrait Gallery to become two of my favourite spots in London. With changing exhibits and a vast collection, there is always something new to see.
I’d highly recommend the 60-minute taster tour of the collection, which run twice a day and three times on the weekends. Through the lens of a handful of paintings, the Gallery lecturers give visitors insight into the amazing works of art and the artists who created them. If it is still a bit overwhelming, check out the Gallery’s list of 30 highlight paintings. My personal pick? Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers.’
National History Museum (Free entry)
Unfortunately, this is one that still remains on the list. Although I was able to catch a great view of its exterior from the Science Museum, on my two attempts to visit, I was not able to enter thanks to enormous queues.
The free museum appears to be one of the city’s most popular, particularly with families. Both attempted visits were on weekdays, once in the morning and once closer to the museum’s 5:30 pm last entry time. So, I’d recommend you find a super off-peak time to check it out. And if you figure out when that is, please let me know!
#MaryTakesLondon: Playing Tourist in the City
Take a Break! Seven Ways to Escape and Explore… And Be Back in 2 Hours
Revision is underway but there is still work to be done on various different issues.
We are in communication with the Pro-Director of Planning and Resources about how to resolve what happened this year with exam timetables, and how to make sure it does not happen again. We are exploring the idea of financial penalties for service departments who fail to deliver on key students services such as this, and will update you on what they come back with.
Today I met with the Chairman’s Group, a group of Council members that meets to discuss urgent business. I have advocated that legal action should not be taken against the group and have supported the continued occupation of the space at this moment in time. I also advocated against disciplinary proceedings being taken for students on the basis that they are exercising their right to peacefully protest.
Internet At Butlers Wharf
Due to the fire over the Easter period, internet service was down at Butlers Wharf and some of you had to spend considerable expense on BT Openzone wifi access and coffees in order to access wifi! I have contacted Residences to ask how they will compensate for the costs and will update accordingly when I receive a response.
This Thursday I’ve called a special meeting with members of the Student Numbers and Fees group in the School to discuss our concerns about the arbitrary 4% increase in tuition fees for international students each year. We have found considerable evidence that demonstrates the financial barriers posed by fees and will argue that the 4% increase makes things worse, not better.
While overseas scholarship support in the LSE scheme has been amended so it increases by 4% each year, scholarships made by donors at the LSE do not increase by this amount, meaning that there is a real terms decrease in the amount of student support scholars receive each year. I will also be raising this in the meeting on Thursday.
That’s it for now! As ever if you have any questions or ideas please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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