Gair Rhydd - General Election Special 2017

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gair rhydd

gair rhydd | freeword Cardiff ’s student weekly General Election Special Monday 5th June 2017

General Election 2017:

Your Cardiff Manifestos


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GAIR RHYDD Gair Rhydd Editors Maria Mellor Liam Ketcher Politics Editors Gareth Axenderrie Tanya Harrighton Conor Holohan Hannah Woodward

GENERAL ELECTION 2017 Election week is upon us... Which way will it go?

Cartoonist Louis Mertens Contributors Emilia Jansson Adam George Hannah Erch Alison Molly Ambler Jack Stanfield Bethan Williams George Cook Liam Davies George Watkins Lizzie Harrett Osian Wyn Morgan Daniel Bryant Copy Editors Carwyn Williams Caragh Medlicott Parties Conservatives.....................Pages 4&5 Labour..................................Pages 6&7 Plaid Cymru.........................Pages 8&9 UKIP.................................Pages 10&11 Green..............................Pages 12&13 Liberal Democrats........Pages 14&15

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At Gair Rhydd we take seriously our responsibility to maintain the highest possible standards. Sometimes, because of deadline pressures, we may make some mistakes. If you believe we have fallen below the standards we seek to uphold, please email editor@gairrhydd. com. You can view our Ethical Policy Statement and Complaints Procedure at cardiffstudentmedia.co.uk/complaints Opinions expressed in editorials are not reflective of Cardiff Student Media, who act as the publisher of Gair Rhydd in legal terms, and should not be considered official communications or the organisation’s stance. Gair Rhydd is a Post Office registered newspaper.

Gareth Axenderrie

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hen Theresa May called a snap General Election on the 17th of April, most commentators agreed that it was likely an opportunistic decision, despite May’s protestations that it was an opportunity to strengthen her mandate for Brexit negotiations. At the time, Labour were trailing the Conservatives by over 20 points in most opinion polls, and a direct extrapolation of those polls to seats predicted that the Conservatives would extend their current slender majority of 17 to well over 100. Theresa May’s decision is still banking on that prediction. Opinion polls have narrowed in recent weeks, and with many now giving the Conservatives only the narrowest of leads over Labour, predictions are becoming increasingly unpredictable. Brexit, populism and the rise of Trump have proved that the electorate are becoming increasingly unpredictable, especially during election campaigns. The British political map is now a very complex one, different to the days where it simply

turned red or blue. Scotland, once a Labour party stronghold is now locked down by the Scottish National Party. The Conservatives are battling hard to win back unionist votes, but not much is expected to change north of Hadrian’s Wall. England is a hugely fractured and divided battleground: politically, culturally, ideologically and on single issues. There is the divide between urban and rural, with major cities like London, Manchester and Liverpool traditionally swaying toward Labour, and the rural home counties overwhelmingly backing the Conservatives. Then there are the Brexit divides, with parties aiming to appease liberal middle-class Europhiles and the Brexit-voting working classes alike. The Liberal Democrats cannot be ignored in this equation either. They will bounce back from their 2015 annihilation, but by how much? And who will they take seats from? Then, there’s Wales, often marginalised in the greater nationwide discussion, but throwing up major questions and quandaries this year. The Welsh, on the whole, are traditional Labour Party voters,

Pictured:

Polling station (Source: STML)

“ and we have had a Labour government here since the Welsh Assembly was established in 1999. That said, we voted overwhelmingly in favour of Brexit last year, with Blaenau Gwent, a constituency that gave us the NHS, voting almost two to one in favour of leaving. UKIP had six Assembly Members elected to the Welsh Assembly last year, but polling suggests their voters have deserted them. Who will pick these votes up? Will it be Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party with a manifesto built on nationalisation and health spending? Or, will the Conservatives’ ‘strong and stable’ rhetoric on Brexit capitalise? Could Plaid Cymru finally punch into the valleys’ constituencies and win

traditional Labour Westminster seats like Leanne Wood managed to in the Assembly seat of Rhondda last year? Will Byron Davies hold on to his Conservative seat in Gower that he won by just 27 votes in 2015? Will the narrow Cardiff North and Central seats swing in a way indicative of national trends? All of these questions can be predicted, theorised and debated, but we won’t know the answer to any of them until June 8th. Until then, this special edition of Gair Rhydd provides you with coverage of manifestos, candidates and the ins and outs of the General Election here in Cardiff Central, helping you make an informed decision come June 8.

Opinion polls have narrowed in recent weeks, and with many now giving the Conservatives only the narrowest of leads over Labour, predictions are becoming increasingly unpredictable.


GENERAL ELECTION 2017

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A breakdown of devolution

Wales The Welsh Assembly, Cardiff Bay

Scotland Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh

Agriculture, fisheries, forestry and rural development Economic development Education and training Enviroment Fire and rescue services and promotion of fire saftey Health and health services Highways and transport Housing Local government Social welfare Tourism Town and country planning Water and flood defence Welsh language

Agriculture, fisheries, forestry and rural development Economic development Education and training Enviroment Fire and rescue services and promotion of fire saftey Health and health services Highways and transport Housing Local government Social welfare Tourism Town and country planning Water and flood defence Justice and policing Taxation and borrowing

The Welsh Assembly has limited powers over:

The Scottish Parliment has full power over:

Who’s in charge at the Senedd? Government (30) Labour: 29 seats Lib Dems: 1 seat This is a minority working government.

Tanya Harrington & Hannah Woodward

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Who’s in charge at the Scottish Parliament? Government (63) SNP: 63 seats This is a minority working government.

The internet, social media and the General Election

ith party broadcasts livestreamed directly through Facebook, manifesto pledges broken up into manageable tweet-sized chunks, and the rise of “tactical voting” spreadsheets or online quizzes to help identify which party you agree with most, it can be safely said that social media is becoming a valuable tool for public political discourse. (As well as sharing photos of Theresa May trying to eat chips). However, it seems that many of us are still striving to better understand the often invisible impact the internet has on our political choices. With Facebook in particular deemed as “a key electoral battleground” this year (The Guardian 2017), and with evidence that Labour is forgoing “traditional” media to focus more on online campaigning, this question is becoming more important than ever. Some data now suggests that social media has become a larger source of information to the public than campaign literature (such as leaflets or posters), or even local newspapers. 14% of voters in one survey claim to get the majority of their information online (GE2017 Telephone VI Poll III). In one sense, this can be very positive, allowing engagement and debate on the topic that might not have otherwise taken place. However, this online culture can also lead to misinformation, bullying, or an “echo chamber” effect, in which social media users are surrounded only by information which appeals to them. The latter is often referred to as a “filter bubble,” by researchers, wherein confidential algorithms decide what online content to show you based on what it estimates you

will most likely enjoy. As many as 60% of users may not realise that this affects them (Eslami et al 2015), which may lead to a dangerous inability to consider opposing stances in an election. Parties have been criticised this year for using online advertisements, or “sponsored” posts, designed to reach a larger audience. Labour has been criticised for sponsoring posts in the past, and the Conservatives have faced scandal over advertisements twice in this election, including one regarding “targeted” advertisements, which only those targeted could see, and which avoided some regulatory bodies for this reason (The Independent 2017). As well as this, the use of “bots,” or automated accounts to spread campaign material is not easily regulated, meaning that some parties could be paying to spread their message further under the guise of popular opinion, thus misinforming the public. However, some research does show that online misinformation is not actually that widely accessed (Crawford 2017), and there is limited evidence to show that it has a significant impact on election results. Perhaps the best thing we can do as University students during this time is to be wary of information sources, and continue to civilly educate ourselves and others on our opinions, in the hopes of reaching the most democratic outcome. Whilst the two main political parties have been scrutinised for the use of social media throughout this general election campaign, the smaller parties have used the power of social media to reach out to their opponents and promote their ideas and policies. Leanne Wood, the Party Leader for Plaid Cymru

has used social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to personally attack opposition, and promote Plaid Cymru. She personally quoted a tweet on the 1st June of Theresa May speaking about the election debates, noting that “ Are these really the reasons the Prime Minister gave for not showing up tonight? It’s not a joke? Strong & stable leadership, my arse!” The direct social media use of Plaid Cymru shows that whilst the Conservatives and Labour have invested into the social media campaign which leaves room for fake news, perhaps the smaller parties like Plaid Cymru are taking a more direct approach in dealing with the opposition, and leaving less room for the notion of “fake news”. For the smaller parties as there is less emphasis placed upon their election campaign, their credibility is almost greater as the likelihood of fake news is smaller. It seems that for the Liberal Democrats that despite their political party broadcasts and election bus campaigns, like Plaid Cymru Twitter is at the forefront of their more aggressive campaign

tone, with Tim Farron also tweeting Theresa May “ @Theresa_may called this election, and now won’t even turn up to debate the issues. Come and defend your record. #Whereistheresa. Twitter seems to have politics at a more intimate level compared to Facebook, which perhaps is why Twitter is used to personally attack opponents through the election campaign. Smaller parties like UKIP and the Green Party have support but arguably less media coverage than other parties; particularly here in Wales. To the extent that the Green Party accused the BBC of breaching impartiality guidelines by giving “disproportionate coverage” to UKIP, throughout election campaigns. With UKIP being at the forefront of the reasoning behind Brexit it is no wonder, their media coverage is greater than Greens. Whilst political coverage differs from party to party, social media plays a vital role within the election campaign. In order to find out what policies each party are enforcing, it is best to research their manifestos in order to get the truth about each manifesto.

Pictured:

Social Media (Photographer: Jason Howie)

Some data now suggests that social media has become a larger source of information to the public than campaign literature (such as leaflets or posters), or even local newspapers.


4 CONSERVATIVES

conservatives Minifesto

Economy

Tanya Harrington

-The Conservatives pledge to play an “active role,” in leading a modern industrial strategy, investing in infrastructure and bringing wellpaid jobs into the country. -They aim to keep taxes low and have “better” regulations, while also increasing trade. -They pledge to further increase the National Living Wage by 2020, and protect the rights of those who work on a “gig” or freelance basis. -They will legislate to make corporate executive pay packets dependent on a vote by their shareholders, and listed companies must publish their ratio of executive pay to broader UK workforce pay.

Brexit

Environmental, agricultural and fisheries policies are all to be transferred back to the United Kingdom, but whether they return to Westminister or are further devolved to the Senedd remains up in the air for now.

-The party aims to get ‘the right deal’, in Brexit negotiations, and strike up trade deals around the globe to replace leaving the single market. -They hope to “convert” EU law into UK law, and develop a stronger national defence system. -They seek to block a second Scottish independence referendum at this time. -The conservatives pledge to create a United Kingdom Shared Prosperity Fund to help replace aid lost through exiting the EU.

Education

(devolved to Welsh Assembly) -End the ban on “selective” schools, increase technical education, “confront” pay gaps and disability discrimination in the workplace, create fairer markets for consumers and have “net migration down to the tens of thousands.

An ageing society

-They aim to guarantee annual increases on state pensions, create the “right long-term solution,” for elderly social care and deliver

Pictured:

Theresa May (Source: Number 10)

“exceptional healthcare.” -As well as this, they want to increase the amount of homes available and provide childcare for working families, often in the form of nursery school places.

Fast changing technology

-Conservatives want to give digital businesses more access to investment, and invest more in cyber security. -They aim to increase privacy online, including introducing new data protection laws and requiring social media platforms to delete information about young people as they turn eighteen.

Welsh Assembly

-No decision-making that has been devolved to the Welsh Assembly will be taken back to Westminster. -Policies on the extraction of shale gas and fracking are devolved to the Welsh Government. -The Wales Act 2017 aims to ensure that people who live and work in Wales know who is responsible for what legislation, and should allow the Welsh Government to act on the will of the Welsh people, including on varying tax levels. -The Conservatives “envisage that the powers of the Welsh Government will increase as we leave the EU.” -They hope to work with devolved public services to decrease gender and disabilty-related pay concerns. Welsh Conservatives appear to support the “dementia tax.”

Transport and Environment

(devolved to Welsh Assembly) -Investing £40bn across the rest of this decade on transport improvements -Expand Heathrow Airpiort

Where they stand on... Wales

The Conservatives were polling well in Wales up until a Welsh Barometer Poll for Cardiff University’s Welsh Governance Centre put them ten points adrift. They have promised not to take back any laws that have already been devolved to the Welsh Assembly. The Wales Act 2017 is intended to ensure Welsh people know who is responsible for their legislation. They envisage an increase of powers as we leave the EU. Environmental, agricultural and fisheries policies are all to be transferred back to the United Kingdom, but whether they return to Westminister or are further devolved to the Senedd remains up in the air for now.

Brexit

Brexit is the issue that the Conservatives want this entire campaign to be fought on. When May called the election in April, her reasons were based entirely around Brexit negotiations. The line strong and stable’ may be an overused slogan, but it’s what Tory HQ think the British electorate hold as their main concern. On policy, they pledge to leave the single market but remain signatories of the European Convention of Human Rights. There’s an emphasis on strengthening trade deals outside of the EU and creating a Shared Prosperity Fund to replace lost EU aid. Many areas of Wales were in benefit of this aid.

Students

There aren’t too many student focused points in the Conservative manifesto. For all of the promises of scrapping fees and increasing grants in the other parties’ manifestos, the Tories remain consistent on maintaining the current level of tuition fees, an issue that only applies to England. On the whole, students aren’t one of the party’s target demographics. Cities with a high students populations generally favour parties on the left of the political spectrum, and the Conservatives have focussed their attention elsewhere.

Why I’m voting for the Conservatives - Molly Ambler

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he Conservative Party have traditionally been seen as the party for the privileged, however, in recent times it has become the party that has appealed to the masses. With regards to the economy, the Conservatives aim to deliver an economy based on sound public finance, low taxes and of course a new trade deal with the EU. Speaking of the EU, there will be a need to have an effective leader, a leader who will stand up for the UK and look for a deal in the best interest of the country. The Conservative Party have a clear plan for Brexit with 12 clear directives being laid out in the

Lancaster House Speech made by Theresa May. These principles present to the public a clear directive for the country regarding a new trade deal, something that the Labour Party have not made clear. Domestically, the Conservative Party want to increase the amount of good school places as well as the quality of technical education to increase levels of innovation in Britain, which will inevitably be needed in light of Brexit. Coupled with this, economic responsibility falls to the Conservative Party with Labour wanting to raise taxes. The Conservative Party have committed them-

selves to “sound public finances, built on fiscal credibility and a balanced budget by the middle of the next decade” as stated in their manifesto. With this comes increasing affordable housing, for the Conservative Party want to honour their 2015 pledge of building a million new homes giving families the opportunity to afford housing. Childcare has also been an issue for many families but the Conservative family will introduce 30 hours of free childcare for three and four year olds. The Conservative Party have the best economic, domestic and international plan. This is why I will be voting for the Conservative Party on June 8.


GENERAL ELECTION 2017

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An interview with Gregory Stafford Conor Holohan

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Conservative, Cardiff Central candidate

regory Stafford, the Conservative candidate for Cardiff Central, has been a councillor for Hanger Hill in London. Unfortunately, we asked Gregory a few questions, andAndrew RT Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Welsh Assembly, also offered us some reasons to vote Conservative in this election.

Gregory Stafford What would a Conservative government do for students, like those in Cardiff University?

We will ensure that Britain maintains its global presence providing opportunities for all in science, engineering and law to name a few.

Gareth Axenderrie

In Wales, the Conservatives would be content with holding the seats they won from Labour and the Liberal Democrats in 2015.

With ever increasing numbers of young adults attending University and moving into the workforce we need primarily to ensure that we have a strong global economy. With Theresa Mays team leading negotiations to Leave the EU we have to focus on the Global opportunities we have been presented with. We can now freely organise our own trade deals and ensure that current students and future students all have the opportunities to reach their pinnacle rather that the glass ceiling of the restricted European Union. The Conservatives will continue to ensure that Britain maintains its global presence providing opportunities for all in Science, Engineering, Law, the Arts and Finance to name a few. A Britain that will work with our neighbours but ensure that our priorities are focused on here at home. Do you think Jo Stephens is right to try and stop Brexit? Most of us acknowledge that the majority of the British public voted in

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ollowing five years in coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, the Conservative Party finally received the majority government they had longed for in the 2015 General Election. Much had been made of Messrs Cameron and Osbourne being allowed to ‘finish the job’ they had started, with stability, the economy and a Brexit referendum central to their manifesto and campaign. Fast forward just two years, and Cameron and Osborne are nowhere to be seen, the United Kingdom is in the process of leaving the European Union, and what had originally looked like a safe election, has become increasingly shaky. Brexit was the big gamble from Cameron and Osbourne. Both strong remain campaigners, and pinning the EU flag to their respective masts, a leave vote was always going to spell the beginning of the end for both, but who would replace the former as party leader? Boris Johnson and Michael Gove were many people’s favourites, but Theresa May eventually triumphed without a sin-

the largest ever democratic exercise in a generation for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. There were a small number of individuals including Jo Stevens who aligned herself with other Party’s such as the Lib Dems that opted not to recognise the democratic freedoms that generations before us have fought and died for. There are repeated suggestions that Cardiff Central voted heavily for the Remain campaign but a large proportion of the constituency voted to leave with the rest of the country. Remain supporters demand that they have their views represented, at the moment it is wrong that the Leave voters in Cardiff Central have been ignored by their former MP.

Pictured: Gregory Stafford with Boris Johnson (Source: twitter)

What do you think a Labour government would do for/to students? Corbyn has freely and openly informed us all of his unromantic vision of Tax and Spend. Some of the electorate will believe Labours idea of a ‘Magic Money Tree’, others will realise that if you place more burden on wealth creators, those wealth creators will not be around for long and they’ll generate wealth and more importantly jobs in other parts of the world. Labours Tax and spend will drive down aspiration and in a generation rather than going to University potential students of the future would question ‘Why am I spending my time becoming a fully qualified nurse, doctor or engineer if those in unskilled positions are receiving similar salaries or welfare payments?’ A vote Jo Stevens and Corbyns Labour will devastate the Welsh and British economy.

Party Profile

gle vote being cast as the other candidates dropped like flies. Was foresight warning them of a bumpy road of disunity and tough Brexit negotiations ahead? It seemed not to matter to Theresa May, who was enjoying high personal and party ratings in the opinion polls. It was no real shock to anybody when May called this snap General Election on April 17th. With a small majority, a huge poll lead and a Labour Party suffering infighting and an identity crisis, she was hoping to cash in and increase her majority. Some predicted an increase by over a hundred seats at the beginning of the campaign, but turbulent times have meant less confidence in recent weeks. YouGov have Labour just a few points behind, most have the Conservative lead shortening by the day. In Wales, the Conservatives would be content with holding the seats they won from Labour in 2015, with Cardiff North and Gower’s tiny majority of just 27 votes likely to be indicative of where they stand nationally.

Your Conservative candidates in Cardiff Cardiff Central: Cardiff North: Cardiff South and Penarth: Cardiff West:

Gregory Stafford Craig Williams Bill Rees Matt Smith


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LABOUR

labour Minifesto Renationalisation

Gareth Axenderrie

-Allow government to take control of private companies such as the railways, water companies and the postal service. -Every region of the United Kingdom would have a publicly-owned energy providing company.

Economy

-A raise to 50% on income tax for people earning over £80,000 a year, whilst increasing corporation tax to 26% in order to raise £19.4 billion. -Raise the minimum wage and end ‘exploitative’ zero hour contracts and create a British Investment Bank.

Education

Many economists agree that the Labour manifesto makes a solid attempt at costing. Policies on the NHS, renationalisation and housing are popular with the electorate, and this has shown in their recent surge in the polls.

(devolved to Welsh Assembly) -Limit school class sizes to less than 30 pupils whilst introduce free school meals for all primary school children. -Scrap university tuition fees with immediate effect and reintroduce maintenance grants. -End the public sector pay cap for teachers.

Health and Social Care

(devolved to Welsh Assembly) -Increase funding for the NHS to £30 billion over the next five years, whilst reversing privatisation. -Guarantee access to NHS treatment within 18 weeks and A&E within four hours. -Introduce a National Care Service and provide an extra £8 billion for social care over the next five years.

Workers’ Rights

-Give all workers equal rights. -Ban ‘exploitative’ unpaid internships, whilst ensuring public sector bosses can’t earn more than 20 times that of their lowest paid employee.

Pictured: Jeremy Corbyn (Source: Flickr)

Immigration

-End freedom of movement when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. -Take students out of immigration statistics whilst reinstating the -Migrant Impact Fund to areas where immigration has placed a strain on public services.

Brexit

-Scrap the Brexit white paper and replace it with new negotiating priorities with ‘emphasis on single market and customs union.’ -Immediately guarantee rights of EU citizens living in the United Kingdom, and reject a ‘no deal’ with the European Union as an option.

Housing

(devolved to Welsh Assembly) -Introduce controls on rent rises and suspend the ‘Right-to-Buy’ policy. -Build at least 100,000 council houses a year and make 4,000 additional homes available for rough sleeping.

Welfare and Pensions

-Keep the triple pension lock and benefits for pensioners, such as the winter fuel allowance and bus passes. -Review benefit cap, increase employment and support allowance by £30 per week.

Transport

(devolved to Welsh Assembly) -Renationalise Britain’s railways as franchises expire and let councils take over bus services. -Abolish the Severn Bridge tolls.

Environment

(devolved to Welsh Assembly) -Deliver tidal lagoons, eletrification of railways and Wylfa Nuclear Power Plant. -Ban Fracking and introduce a new Clean Air Act to legislate against deisel fumes.

Where they stand on... Wales

Wales has always been a stronghold for the Labour Party, and it was Tony Blair’s party that introduced devolution to Wales in 1999. Powers on issues such as education, health and housing have since been transfered to the Sennedd, but this manifesto is designed to reach out across the United Kingdom. If a Labour government sat in both Westminster and Cardiff Bay, you’d expect to see collaboration on health and education spending. Scrapping the Severn Bridge toll would be popular with commuters and Welsh businesses alike, whilst their recognition of the Brexit decision will reach out to voters who voted leave last year.

Brexit

The majority of Labour MPs were staunchly pro-remain, however many Labour voters voted remain last year, especially in deindustrialised areas such as the South Wales Valleys. The fact that Jeremy Corbyn’s party has opted to roll with Brexit is certainly influenced by these traditional Labour voters. Many of them voted for UKIP in last year’s Welsh Assembly elections, and Labour will be desperate to win them back. They differ to the Tories on the policies of guarenteeing rights of EU nationals and placing an emphasis on remaining in the single market and customs union. It’s a manifesto that aims to appease both sides of the divided Brexit debate.

Students

Labour have recieved a cool reception from students ever since Tony Blair’s administration took the decision to introduce tuition fees in 1998. Successive governments in Wales have refused to increase Welsh students’ fees in line with their English counterparts. Although the policy of scrapping fees is undoubtedly a popular one with students, the fact Welsh Labour have never scrapped them like the Scottish Parliament has made for uneasy response from Assembly members.

Why I’m voting for the Labour Party - Adam George

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have followed politics from a very young age and no manifesto has ever excited me as much as this Labour one. It contains policies that will make the UK a fairer and more inclusive society that benefits the many, not just the few. With ideas such as renationalising the railways, proper funding for the NHS, and scrapping tuition fees, Labour no longer offer a Tory-lite programme as they have done in recent years. Instead, the Labour party is offering a real social democratic alternative that could finally break the devastating neoliberal political hegemony that has ruled since she-who-shall-not-be-named took control in 1979. Jeremy Corbyn isn’t perfect, for a start he’s an Arsenal fan. However, he is not the left-wing, commu-

nist loon that the mainstream media would have you believe. His policies would be considered centrist in Scandinavia, home to some of the most stable and fair economies in the world. Corbyn represents a global movement that is fighting for a gentler, more caring politics. Something that is desperately needed in an increasingly hostile and unstable world. The last seven years of Tory rule has left this country on its knees. It has seen £20 billion slashed from the NHS budget, the lowest level of house-building since the 1920s, mass cuts to police funding and an unprecedented amount of people using food banks. The Tories have told us time and time again that all of this was necessary to eliminate the deficit. In 2010 they promised the deficit would be eliminated by

2015, its now 2017 and they are nowhere near achieving this. Austerity is a con and has only succeeded in transferring wealth from the majority to the super-rich minority. The nature of British politics leaves us with two choices: Labour or the Tories. We can vote for a party that, through “strong and stable leadership”, allows over a million British people to rely upon food banks whilst hedge fund bosses stash their money in the Caribbean to avoid paying their taxes. On the other hand, we can vote for a party that hopes, however untidily, to make a kinder, more equal, and more inclusive nation. This is why I am proud to say that I will be voting for Labour on 8 June, and I would urge you to do the same.


GENERAL ELECTION 2017

Interview with Jo Stevens

Hannah Woodward

I’ve stood up for voters here, listened to what they are concerned about and acted accordingly.

Gareth Axenderrie

In Wales, they have reversed a poll deficit and now lead the Tories by ten points. A majority victory still seems unlikely, but increasing their seat share in Wales would be an essential first step.

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Labour, Cardiff Central candidate

hy do you think you best represent Cardiff Central? I’m appealing to voters in Cardiff Central. I’ve been very proud to represent a University constituency, we’ve got three Universities in Cardiff Central, and I’ve made putting students first my top priority. Speaking out on student’s behalf in relation to tuition fees, maintenance grants, student loans, I’ve amerced myself in student causes. I’m Vice Chair of the ‘ All Party Parliamentary Group’ on students, where I spend a lot of my time making sure students are effectively represented and have a strong voice in parliament. For me it will be a real privilege to be re-elected to be able to continue that work for the student population in Cardiff Central.

Why do you think non-students should vote for you? When I stood in 2015 I promised to be a strong voice for the constituency. I promised to be independently minded and to work hard on behalf of my constituency by making myself accessible and effective. Over the past two years I have helped nearly 6,000 constituents with issues and concerns and by holding 250 surgeries I have made it my mission to make sure if people need help and a solution. I’ve stood up for voters here, listened to what they are concerned about and acted accordingly. The vote for air strikes in Syria, where I consulted the residents here on what they thought. I didn’t want to back air strikes, and neither did they over-

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f you made a film about the turbulent times of the Labour Party since the 2015 General Election, you’d have a job condensing it into a single sitting. Election losses, leadership battles, mutiny, scrutiny and membership swells would all feature however. With the Tories dining as a majority government for the first time since their 1992 government, Labour did some serious soul searching. Cue Corbyn, Momentum, Corbynistas, three pound voters and bulging membership. The first leadership contest took place during the following summer. Favourites Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall were all set for a three-way campaign, before a fourth contestant entered the frame at the final hour. Jeremy Corbyn, a left-wing backbencher for three decades was, in many eyes, the token socialist, with bookies giving him odds of 200/1. The following months saw a surge of membership to the Labour Party however, and with members appetising a radical change, Corbyn swept to victory in the September.

whelmingly and that’s how I voted. On the Brexit matter, I resigned from the Shadow Cabinet, in order to be able to speak out against the triggering of Article 50 and I voted against the triggering of Article 50 because I felt that the case hadn’t properly been made by the Prime Minister, about being ready to trigger Article 50, as Cardiff Central is a constituency that voted by 70% to remain in the EU.

With Jeremy Corbyn being extremely popular with students, and with your resignation from Corbyn’s shadow cabinet. How do you best represent those who are voting for Corbyn? I didn’t resign from the Shadow Cabinet as an anti Jeremy Corbyn thing, I resigned on principle. This was about a collective decision that was made by the Shadow Cabinet that they would whip Labour MP’s to vote to trigger Article 50. My own view was that we should have a free vote on that, but as part of a collective body once we had the discussion and, as I was unsuccessful in my argument to try and persuade all my colleagues that we should have a free vote, then I couldn’t in all honesty stay in a Shadow Cabinet if I was not going to do what that Shadow Cabinet had collectively decided. It served as Jeremy’s Shadow Justice Minister and Shadow Solicitor General all through the period where there were resignations from the front bench because I feel I’ve got a duty to both my constituents and to the Labour party, whoever is leading it.

Pictured: Jo Stevens (Source: Twitter)

How do you envisage Wales outside the EU? I worry about it. Out of all the home nations we have the most to lose. Nearly 70% of our exports in Wales go to the EU, if we end up with a bad deal on Brexit or no deal at all which would be even worse then we will suffer. Students will suffer, industry will suffer, jobs will go, there are large sectors of our economy like agriculture and the manufacturing base that we have left, if we don’t have tariff free access to the single market, then those jobs are at risk. The Liberal Democrats are offering up a second referendum to ensure that the public vote on the best Brexit deal, how can the Labour party best serve the public in terms of Brexit? Our position in the Labour party is that we have six tests that have to be

satisfied before Labour will consider supporting any leaving deal. Included amongst those are things that should have already been done by the Government, so things like giving EU nationals immediate legal right to stay, tariff free access. Ensuring that the ERASMUS scheme continues, and in my work as a Vice Chair of the Student All Party Group in parliament, I listened to students about how it will affect them. I spoke to a young girl from Holland studying Medicine at Cardiff University, she doesn’t know if at the end of her degree if she will be able to stay in the UK, and all our workforce planning for the NHS is predicated on existing medical student numbers – so we have already taken them into account in terms of how we are going to staff the NHS in the future. Yet we have no idea under the current government whether or not those students will be allowed to stay.

Party Profile Off to a shaky start, dropping in the polls, and being treated with contempt by much of the UK press and his own MPs, Corbyn was subject to a second leadership challenge a year later. The challenge of Pontypridd MP Owen Smith had very little impact, and Corbyn won again, this time with a greater majority. This unrest and lack of unity in the Labour Party led to them trailing the Conservatives by over twenty points in the polls when Theresa May called a snap election in April. That deficit has now been slashed to between five and ten point in most opinion polls, with Labour’s radical manifesto based on investment, nationalisation and public spending becoming increasingly popular. In Wales, they have reversed a poll deficit and now lead the Tories by ten points. A majority victory still seems unlikely, but increasing their seat share in Wales would be an essential first step. They will target Gower and Cardiff North, whilst holding Cardiff Central will essential if they harbour any hopes of challenging the Conservatives nationally.

Your Labour candidates in Cardiff Cardiff Central: Cardiff North:

Jo Stevens Anna McMorrin

Cardiff South and Penarth: Stephen Doughty Cardiff West:

Kevin Brennan

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8 PLAID CYMRU

plaid cymru Minifesto

Liam Ketcher

Devolution

-Bring forward a new law to protect Welsh rights and democracy -Give the National Assembly for Wales the powers it needs to properly work for the people who elect it

Healthcare

(devolved to Welsh Assembly) -Train another 1000 doctors and 5000 nurses for the Welsh NHS. -Make sure that we get the money for our NHS that was promised by the people who wanted us to leave the EU.

It’s no secret that Leanne Wood’s and her parties’ goal is inevitably independence for the nation but they are also standing to help devolve further powers from Wesminster to Wales.

Education

(University level, devolved to Welsh Assembly) -Help students who have studied in Wales to stay and get a job here -Give every young person under the age of 25 a job, or education or training.

Transport

(devolved to Welsh Assembly) -Work for an all Wales transport system. -Improve the valleys train line services.

Society

-Ensure a Living Pension for all - Commit to scrapping the bedroom tax

Agriculture

-Insis that our farms continue to get the money that was used to get from the EU. -Make the UK government check with Wales before any trade deal is signed.

Immigration

-Help people from other countries who want to come and work in Wales

Education

(School level, devolved to Welsh Assembly) -Pay teachers more and provied them with mmore training. -Let more people learn in the Welsh language from nursery through to college.

Media

-Give Wales the power to decide about how the television and papers are run in Wales -Make sure that S4C gets the proper funding that it needs.

Pictured: Leanne Wood, the leader of Plaid Cymru. (Pictured by: Plaid Cymru via Flickr)

Tourism

-Work for Wales to hold big events like the Commonwealth Games. -Double the funding for Visit Wales and cut tourism VAT.

Energy and Enviroment

-Increase the amount of electricity we get from the wind, sun and tides. -Set up a Welsh energy company that keeps the electicity we make for local people.

Where they stand on...

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Wales

ales is Plaid Cymru’s only priority, fighting for Wales and Wales only. They are the only political party in Westminster that will stand their ground to protect Wales as a nation. It’s no secret that Leanne Wood’s and her parties’ goal is inevitably independence for the nation but they are also standing to help devolve further powers from Wesminster to Wales and to sure a good Brexit deal for Wales. It’s easy to see that Wales’s needs do not match those of the rest of the UK, which is why Plaid Cymru’s argument is that they are the only party with Wales in mind at all times.

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A

Brexit

s stated Plaid Cymru’s goal is to secure the best deal for Wales when the next PM goes to negotiate for the UK during Brexit. Plaid Cymru aims to protect those from EU countries who work and benefit our NHS and other public services. They aim to also keep the same funding that Wales currently recieves from the EU. They plan to get this now from Westminster since the UK will no longer be paying into Brussles. Protecting the Welsh economy is Plaid Cymru’s aim, and post Brexit key ares of the Welsh economy could see damage, for example agriculture.

Students

laid Cymru wish to attract as many students as possible to study here in Wales. In their manifesto they promise to scrap the tuition fees of any student who studies here in Wales and then remains here to work after they have completed all of their studies. This will help boost the Welsh economy filling sectors where there are spaces available to fill. With Welsh students only having to pay £3,000 for their university studies this would further help Welsh students progress to degree level of studies and attract more people to stay here and work in Wales.

Why I’m voting for Plaid Cymru - Bethan Williams

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ou only have to look at Scotland to see the incredible influence a national party can have atuniting and representing a country. We look in awe at the SNP but this could happen in Wales, this could happen with Plaid Cymru. Growing up in rural North Wales, everything was political - the farmers, Wylfa, education and my language. It took a two-hour car journey across the border for a shopping trip. Until you see prosperity you never fully understand how poor your area really is. I grew up in a part of Wales that was abandoned and forgotten by politicians. Our language was our sense of community but I became old enough to realise that it wasn’t taken seriously by high-paidmen in fancy suits in a city so prosper-

ous that I knew for sure it couldn’t be in my country. When what’s important to me, my family and my community is so different to what’s important to those in Westminster, you can’t help but feel a disconnect. To travel home from university, it takes me a five-hour train journey that weaves between the border…yet high speed trains are promised between cities in England. Wales has one of the lowest numbers of doctors per patients of all European countries. The European Structural Fund helped communities across Wales but funding will be stopped following Brexit. Under Labour and Conservative governments, Wales has been forgotten and has grown poorer despite being part of one of the most affluent unions in the world. Plaid Cymru are fighting for Wales,

for the people and what we value. Plaid Cymru are securing the Welsh language, our education and communities. Plaid Cymru fights for a better education across Wales, this is highlighted in their campaigning for a medical school in North Wales. Plaid Cymru want a better infrastructure to ensure that North Wales is connected not only to the rest of Wales, but to the rest of the UK. Protecting our culture, history and language hasn’t been a concern for Westminster politicians until Plaid Cymru won its first seat in 1966. With a third of the population supporting an independent Wales, we need to support a party where Wales is not an afterthought. I’m voting Plaid Cymru as it’s the party of Wales fighting to support the people of Wales.

Pictured: Plaid Cymru Candidates 2017. (Pictured by: Plaid Cymru via Flickr)


GENERAL ELECTION 2017

Interview with Mark Hooper: Plaid Cymru, Cardiff Central Candidate

Liam Ketcher

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laid Cymru’s Cardiff Central candidate Mark Hooper, from Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan has lived in the area all of his life. As well as running in the General Election he also currently runs his business ‘Indycube’ in the centre of Cardiff. Gair Rhydd spoke to Mark to discuss all the important issues in the General Election, from devolution, to the effects of Brexit on Wales and of course Welsh independence. Mark also had the chance to emphasise why students and the people of Cardiff Central should vote for him and Plaid Cymru on June 8. One thing that remains as Plaid Cymru’s main goal is devolution, under a Tory government we would see current powers stripped from the Welsh Assembly and taken back to Westminster. We asked Mark how important devolution was here in Wales, he said that it’s “vital and under threat at the moment”. He em-

phasised that Plaid Cymru’s plans are to devolve all powers to Wales, prioritising public services. With the current events of Manchester and the Tory Government making cuts to the police for example, it’s not hard to see why Mark and Plaid want this power devolved. Another area that Mark thought that should be devolved was the media and the press, it was stated in their manifesto that Plaid Cymru will give Wales the power to decide how newspapers and television are run here in Wales. The Daily Mail and the Sun are the most read newspapers here in Wales, which are all controlled from the British capital, London, and the BBC, and they have very little Welsh content. Mark supports activities such as Nation Cymru which covers Welsh news for Welsh readers. We also asked Mark how he would secure the correct budget for S4C,

Pictured: Mark Hooper Cardiff Central Candidate for Plaid Cymru. (Source: @markjhooper Via Twitter)

Gareth Axenderrie

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laid Cymru’s 2015 General Election result was consistent with the party’s performances so far this century, maintaining the three seats they held in Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Dwyfor Meirionnydd and Arfon. In comparison to the other major parties in Wales, ‘The Party of Wales’ have had a steady couple of years since the 2015 General Election. Their major result came in 2016’s Welsh Assembly Elections as leader Leanne Wood was elected Assembly Member for Rhondda, beating Labour stalwart Leighton Andrews in a traditional Labour heartland. Plaid’s seat share in the Welsh Assembly only increased by one, in an election that maintained the status quo in Welsh politics. The European Referendum a month later dented any confidence gained. Plaid were exceptionally pro-remain, and campaigned on a platform that attempted to highlight the funding and infrastructure sup-

which has seen cuts since the Tories have been in power. He described it as “we have enough money to keep us a float, but not enough for us to float off.” It’s clear to all that this election is very based on Brexit, and what kind of deal will the UK strike with Europe. Mark completely disagrees with May’s ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’, he said that “Wales’ need won’t match the need of the UK” and that it is him and Plaid Cymru which will be there at Westminster fighting the corner for Wales. By electing Plaid Cymru MPs, you’ll be able to secure a good deal for Wales in the Brexit negotiations. So much of the Welsh economy relies on funding and support from the EU, one of those things being immigration and how it supports our NHS for example. “Immigration is good” described Hooper. He added “there should be a differential strategy of freedom of movement.” However when asked which area of the Welsh economy will suffer most from Brexit he answered agriculture. Welsh farmers will miss out on trading to EU nations if the UK are not members of the single market. He does believe that small scale manufacturing “could work with the US” for example. But for those areas of our economy that rely much on trade with Europe, such as agriculture, that is where Wales will struggle most post-Brexit. Tourism can bring a lot of business to local areas, brilliant examples are that of the Rugby World Cup in 2015, the 2012 Olympics and even the biggest sporting event in Europe the Champions League final which only took place last weekend. Although Mark thought that tourism is “important” it isn’t his main concern. He does describe tourism as “being

a first class version of ourselves”, and that Wales should be selling it’s historical attraction and protecting Welsh place names. He doesn’t believe that Welsh place names should be “sanitised or anglicized”. Of course we were very excited to ask Mark about his views on Welsh independence. Obviously being a Plaid Cymru member he is pro Welsh independence. He thinks that “We can do it quickly; it’s like having kids. You’re never ready until you get to doing it.” Mark is also apart of ‘Yes Caerdydd’ a branch of ‘Yes Cymru’ who campaign for Welsh independence, he described his involvement with the group as “radical views on Welsh independence.” Mark believes that economy has stayed where it is and because Wales is the poorest part of the UK, that there is a change needed. A ‘Yes Cymru’ poll revealed that a quarter of Welsh people support Welsh independence and that this sets to increase to a third if the Conservatives increase their majority in Westminster. He continued to say that “We’ve accepted the status quo” of our situation here in Wales. We also asked him what affects Scottish independence would have on Welsh independence, and if a partnership between England and Wales would work. But he said that “We shouldn’t allow Scotland to trigger our independence.” Before finishing our conversation, we asked Mark to tell Gair Rhydd readers why students and the people of Cardiff Central should vote for him and Plaid Cymru. In regards to students he said he would ensure that students who study in Wales and then continue to work in Wales would stop a “legacy of debt” following them after their studies.

Party Profile

port Wales were reliant on from the European Union. That campaigning appeared to fall on deaf ears however, as Wales overwhelmingly voted in favour of leaving. Plaid have not been shy in voicing their opinions on a result that sent shockwaves through the Welsh political classes. Wood routinely blames senior Westminster politicians and the media for the Welsh public’s decision, and the words ‘hard and soft Brexit’ consistently appear in the vocabulary. Senior Plaid politician Dafydd Ellis-Thomas left the party in October 2016, now representing his Senedd constituency as an independent. The blows of Brexit and Ellis-Thomas’ desertion have certainly been sucker punches to any hopes Plaid have of copying the SNP’s Scottish success here in Wales. Party insiders have admitted that the only real hope of gaining a seat may be Rhondda, where Wood was successful last year.

Cardiff North:

Mark Hooper Steffan Webb

Cardiff South and Penarth: Ian Titherington Cardiff West:

Mark believes that economy has stayed where it is and because Wales is the poorest part of the UK, that there is a change needed.

Your Plaid Cymru candidates in Cardiff Cardiff Central:

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Michael Deem

Plaid were exceptionally pro-remain... That campaigning appeared to fall on deaf ears however, as Wales overwhelmingly voted in favour of leaving.


10 UKIP

ukip Minifesto Defence

Conor Holohan

-Spend 2% of GDP on defence as wel as an additional £1billion a year to the defence budget. -Employ 20,000 more policy officers, 7,000 more prison guards and 4,000 more border force staff.

Economy

-Raising the threshold for income tax to £13,500 -Removal of VAT on domestic energy bills. -Cutting business rates by 20% for businesses operating on a premises worth less than £50,000 -Supporting the devolution of corporation tax. -A £10 billion a year cut in the foreign aid budget.

Brexit

-Leave the EU single market. -Protect workers rights once we have left the European Union.

Employment

-Demand that companies advertise job openings to British citizens before advertising overseas -Temporary prohibition of unskilled and low-skilled migration for five years.

Immigration

-Establishment of a Migrant Control Comission. -Aim to cut net migration to zero by the end of the Parliament.

Housing

(devolved to Welsh Assembly)

Nuttall’s party -Build 100,000 homes every year. -Roll out low cost factory built have suffered Education modular homes, affordable on an from the (devolved to Welsh Assembly) average salary of £26,000 tuition fees for science, techn- -Make use of the regional devlopment success of the -Scrap ology,engineering, mathematics, and budget of £1 billion a year, currently off limits under EU law. referendum and medicine. -The opening of a grammar school the departure in every town, adapting the 11+ of selection to include later Welfare and Pensions of Nigel Farage method transitional exams until the age of -Maintain the pension triple-lock. from leadership. 16. -Protect carer and disability benefits. -Invest up to £2 billion a year in Now, they social care. the amount dedicated to fight to retain Health and Social Care -Trebling demensia research and treatment, their place on (devolved to Welsh Assembly) taking the cost to £400 million each -Put an extra £11 million every year year by the end of the Parliament. the political into the NHS by the end of the next landscape, as parliament. -Train more emergency medicine Constitution May’s ‘hard’ consultants and improve their -Abolition of the House of Lords. -The introduction of proportional Brexit threatens working conditions. -Increase the number of nursing representation. to push them training places. -The establishment of an English hospital car parking charges. Parliament, which would sit in the into obscurity. -Scrap -Mandatory annual medical checks chamber vacated by the Lords with

for girls “at risk” of Female Genital Mutilation

Pictured: Paul Nuttall’s party expect losses as Brexit voters flock to May. (Source: European Parliament via Flickr)

375 members under the additional members system.

Where they stand on... Wales

UKIP’s regional pledges include supporing the devolution of corporation tax and a promise to oppose any increase in the number of Aseembly Members. They also plan on devolving business rates to Cardiff Bay, which they claim will be benefitial to the deindustrialised areas of the Welsh valleys. Regionally, they have also made a promise to ensure that class sized will be capped, especially in primary schools.

Students

Nuttall’s party have pledged to scrap tuition fees for certain core subjects such as mathematics and medicine. They have also promised to scrap student loans for EU nationals, and plan to move away from the drive to send young people to university in such large numbers as we currently do.

Brexit

UKIP have produced a ‘Brexit Test’; a list of six criteria points which, if met, would mean that the public get ‘the deal they voted for.’ The first test concerns soverignty; they demand that the British Parliament should retain its total soverigty over laws that effect the UK. The party expect that migration levels should be controlled and that Freedom of Movement should cease to apply to Britain. They also demand more soverignty over our fishing waters and the ability to sign free trade agreements on WTO rules. Also crucial to the delivery of a true Brexit in their view is a departure from the EU single market. wThe fifth point, the ‘money test’ asserts that the UK should not pay a penny of any suggested ‘divorce payment’ to exit. The final Brexit test is ‘the time test’, which says that Brexit must be ‘done and dusted’ before 2019 is out.

Why I’m voting for UKIP - Mark Wyatt

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o say that UKIP is a single issue party, I have always thought, is a massive over-simplification, asserted for political reasons above all. It is asserted by sections of the media who wish to banish UKIP to irrelavence. They cannot make their minds up as to whether UKIP are a single issue party whose only purpose has been met, or whether it is so diverse in opinion that infighting thwarts their chances of being percieved as a serious, sober party of government. UKIP, like the Tories and Labour, are a broach church, and therefore internal spats are almost unavoidable, but the larger parties have mechanisms for dealing with these spats, while UKIP, a much

younger party, does not. What the media rarely will mention is that 52% of those who voted in the biggest political exercise in British history agree with UKIP’s unifying principle. What the party proved in 2015 is that, even in our two-party system, voting for a third party can have a significant impact on the political landscape. So long as there are voters who are dissatisfied with the two main parties, UKIP will exist as a vehicle for radical change, by being able to put pressure on the two major parties and threaten their majorities, therefore forcing those parties to shift alignments if they wish to secure a majority.

This election, Labour and the Tories tell you that there is no point in voting for anyone other than them, because, in their view, it will either be Corbyn or May who walk into 10 Downing Street on June the 8th. Don’t play their game, don’t endorse Theresa May’s choice to take Brexit voters for granted. Change is possible. UKIP are the voice of the voiceless. Remember, for years UKIP have been sceptical of mass immigration, amid cries of ‘racist’ from the main parties and the media. Today, our rejection of uncontrolled mass migration has been adopted by both Labour and the Conservatives.


GENERAL ELECTION 2017

11

Interview with Mohammed Sarul-Islam: UKIP, Cardiff Central Candidate

Maria Mellor

Gareth Miles Axenderrie

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ohammed Sarul-Islam picked up the phone to Gair Rhydd with a jovial hello whilst out on the campaign trail. Having worked in local politics for over a decade, he has decided to make the move to speaking for his constituency on a national scale. Mohammed believes he is prepared for the challenge: “I was a leading Brexit campaigner from the BAME community in Wales.” He told Gair Rhydd how he has also been an active campaigner for a number of issues in the Cardiff area including free school meals for Cardiff Muslim children. Mohammed used to be a councillor for Plaid Cymru, however he defected to UKIP in 2014, at the time citing his disagreement with Plaid’s coalition with Labour in the Welsh Assembly as the main reason. When asked why he chose to run as a candidate for UKIP, Mohammed said “To make a difference. “I am a strong eurosceptic and I believe that every nation has the right to defend their border.” He believes that Brexit will give both Wales and the UK a greater voice in the world without EU interference.” He said: “At the moment every pound we send to the EU, we only get 50p back. Wales will have more opportunities to be a successful nation in the coming world.” Mohammed talked about UKIP’s part to proceed the UK’s departure from the European Union. He said: “There is no visa requirement for EU nations. This is their destination and I strongly believe we should have a border, we should de-

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n the June 23 last year, UKIP’s wildest dreams were realised, the people of the United Kingdom had voted to leave the European Union. Built on this desire, the United Kingdom Independence Party had campaigned almost solely on this issue since its inception in 1993. This election is the first parliamentary one since Brexit, and will provide the ultimate test of whether UKIP are now irrelevant, or still an influential force in British politics. The 2015 General Election saw UKIP take just under four million votes and 12.6% of the national vote share, the best performance in their history. Despite this success, and to the dismay of voters, they only managed to elect a single MP through the Single Member Plurality system. Despite the disappointment, UKIP continued to influence the lead up to the referendum. Leader Nigel Farage stood down last summer, with many crediting him as one of Britain’s most influential politicians of the

fend our border and we should work closely with commonwealth communities in the wider world. Much business is done with outside the EU.” He added: “Without UKIP we wouldn’t have any Brexit therefore UKIP need to work even harder to implement the Brexit.” A big part of Mohammed Sarul-Islam’s campaign is his idea or a deradicalisation program for Muslim children in Cardiff. He said: “I want to bring forward the deradicalisation program for Cardiff children. I want to do more for my local community. The current preventative system is completely and totally wrong and is using public money.” There has been a huge increase in referrals to the current UK deradicalisation scheme in recent years. The 2017 UKIP manifesto has called for a ban on full face veils, stating that people can be better identified on CCTV as a part of counter-terrorist measures. It is additionally stated that it will prevent vitamin D deficiency. As Cardiff Central is a student-heavy constituency, Gair Rhydd asked Mohammed Sarul-Islam why he believes students should vote for him. He responded: “We are very supportive of student issues and we always want support for local students to get into local universities.” He believes that his views will match those of students, stating that “as a political party we don’t support any war, we don’t support the invasion of foreign nations.” Mohammed was eager to share how campaigning is going so far for

him. He told us there are “ups and downs” but they are “optimistic”. He added: “We are hopeful we will have a good result.” He is sharing his beliefs with the community, saying “I’m mainly focusing on that I want to bring forward a hard brexit, a clean brexit.”

He is hoping that those in favour of Brexit will be in favour of voting for him. “I’m trying to make a difference as the only pro-Brexit candidate for Cardiff Central. “I ask everyone to vote for the brexit campaign candidate.”

Party Profile last decade. The road since last June has been a bumpy one. First Diane James won a leadership election, only to stand down after just fourteen days at the reigns. Then, a messy and at times calamitous second leadership election followed, with Paul Nuttall winning out. Fractures and turbulence followed soon after, most notably with sole MP Carswell declaring himself an independent, leaving the party without Westminster representation. In a similar move, Welsh Assembly Member Mark Reckless also decided to abandon the party. This election sees UKIP digging into the political trenches, desperate to hold the vote share in the areas of the country that voted overwhelmingly to leave the European Union. Other than that, not many give them a chance of picking up any seats. In Wales, they remind critics that they won six Senedd seats last year, but with polls tail spinning South, UKIP appear to have had their day.

Your UKIP candidates in Cardiff Cardiff Central:

Mohammed Sarul-Islam

Cardiff North:

Gary Oldfield

Cardiff South and Penarth:

Andrew Bevan

Cardiff West:

Richard Lewis

Pictured: ‘The Brexit Campaign Candidate’ (Source: SarulIslam via Flickr)


12 GREEN

green Minifesto

Economy

Gareth Axenderrie

-Phase in a four-day working week and increase the minimum wage to £10 by 2020. -Reform taxation and include a wealth tax on top 1% of earners. -Introduce a ‘Robin Hood Tax’ on high value transactions in the financial sector and use Royal Bank of Scotland to create network of ‘local people’s banks’.

Environment

-An Environmental Protection Act to safeguard and restore environment, protect biodiversity and ensure animal protection. -Replace fracking, coal, fossil fuels and nuclear with green energy of the future. -Public works program of insulation to make every home warm.

Membership of EU

Some attempt has been made to address the specific needs of Wales in this manifesto, however Greens would argue that their national manifesto is the interest of the whole country.

-A referendum on the details of the final negotiated deal of Britain’s departure from the EU whilst protecting freedom of movement, access to the single market and guaranteeing rights of EU citizens.

Health

(devolved to Welsh Assembly) -Roll back use of private providers in NHS and provide an immediate cash injection. -Bring mental health care into line with physical health care, ensuring people are supported close to their home and support networks.

Education

(devolved to Welsh Assembly) -Scrap tuition fees for all students and fund full student grants whilst restoring the Education -Maintenance Allowance and enable apprenticeships to all qualified young people aged 16-25. -Free universal early education and childcare for all children, with formal education starting at age 7. -Address the crisis of teacher

Pictured: Green Party Leaders: Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley (Source: Twitter)

workload, with measures such as abolishing Ofsted, and reforming the curriculum so that it is pupilcentred, freeing up teachers to teach.

Young people

-Enable every young person to take an active role in democracy, introducing non-biased political education and promoting active citizenship. -Lower the voting age to 16. -Create a fairer working world for young people by scrapping agerelated wage bands and raising the national minimum wage to living wage levels for all.

Welfare

-Move towards a system of ‘universal basic income’ and reinstate housing benefit for people aged under 21. -Abolish the ‘bedroom tax’.

Housing

(devolved to Welsh Assembly) -Introduce rent controls and ban letting fees. Build 100,000 social rented homes a year by 2022 and end the Right to Buy discounts.

Democracy

-Introduce proportional representation (PR) for parliamentary and local elections. -Increase diversity in representative politics, with job-shares, a 50/50 Parliament, and replacing the House of Lords with an elected second chamber. -Protect the BBC and tighten the rules on media ownership so no individual or company owns more than 20% of a media market, protecting against anyone having too much influence or undermining democracy.

Transport

(devolved to Welsh Assembly) Renationalise the railways and cancel HS2 and all airport expansions.

Where they stand on... Wales

Unlike Scotland and England, the Greens have so far failed to majorly break through in Wales. The Party isn’t independent in Wales, but its Welsh Manifesto goes some way to laying out a vision for Wales. They are commiting to meeting all energy demand in Wales from renewable energy sources by 2030 and completely banning fracking. They also propose to reintroduce a North-South rail link in Wales, whilst cancelling the proposed expansion of the M4. Some attempt has been made to address the specific needs of Wales in this manifesto, however Greens would argue that their national manifesto is the interest of the whole country.

Brexit

Maintaining their pro-democracy stance, the Greens favour another referendum on the final deal of Brexit negotiations. They place great emphasis on the United Kingdom remaining in the single market and customs union, whilst the rights of EU citizens would be protected and European environmental regulations enshrined in British law. For a pro-European party, it is no surprise that the second referendum is a key policy, and in the constituencies that the Greens are targetting (Bristol West and Isle of Wight), it’s a fairly popular stance. It perhaps doesn’t appease those who voted leave last June, but then the Greens aren’t really challenging those constituencies anyway

Students

The Greens have always maintained a fairly strong relationship with students. Policies like scrapping tuition fees, reinstating the Education Maintenance Allowance and lowering the voting age to 16 appear again, and they are always going to be student vote winners. What remains to be seen is just how much of an impact Labours student centric policies have on student voters. The student community may not be big enough for the both of them.

Why I’m voting for the Green Party - Jack Stanfield

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n a time when it is important to have our voices heard, as young people we need ears that are willing to listen. To me the Green Party are those ears and they are more than happy to discuss the issues that communities are facing head on. The Green Party stands for diversity, it stands for community and it stands up for all. Looking at the core of the Green Party and you can see that it’s a party by the people for the people. The Green Party have 10 core values which cover all walks of life here are just 2 simple points that have lead me to voting Green: The Green promise to young people: as stu-

dents, we want to be able to leave university without the worries of major lifelong debt and can work towards a healthier economy with more jobs and opportunities for those who may otherwise struggle finding work, especially with the job market being as difficult as it is. The Promise to Protect our environment and create sustainable living for current and future generations; so that they too can see the wonders of planet earth that are right on our door-step. Finally, I feel that Greens show solidarity together. I had to opportunity to canvas alongside our Local Candidate Benjamin Smith, Deputy

Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales Amelia Womack and Leader of the Welsh Greens Grenville Ham. The ideal of two of the top leaders of the Green parties of England and Wales and their willing to assist canvassing in a constituency that wasn’t their own, and willing to take the time to hear the views of a community that wasn’t their own showed how much they really do care about their fellow candidates and the needs of communities everywhere. I vote Green because Green is a vote for communities, a vote for being heard and vote for a better and brighter future for all.


GENERAL ELECTION 2017

13

Interview with Benjamin Smith: Gareth Axenderrie

I understand the issues with student landlords, rent and debt. I offer a real alternative for students. A vote for me in Cardiff Central is a vote for what you believe in.

Gareth Axenderrie

Unlike in England, Scotland and much of Western Europe, Wales has not yet embraced Green politics into its political system.

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Green Party, Cardiff Central Candidate

andering toward the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, The Green Party’s Benjamin Smith, a second-year student at RWCMD, joked with me over the phone: “I’m the one with the long hair and green t-shirt. Stereotypes are alive and well!”. When I walked into the foyer, there was Ben, the stereotypical Green Party member. Studying Stage Management and Technical Theatre, Ben began by explaining how he is juggling his studies with his campaign. “Thankfully, the course I’m involved in means when I’m busy I’m very busy, but I do have downtime that I am free to use. It’s been a challenge, but I’m enjoying it. My friends tend to think it’s a bit odd, but on the whole, they are supportive, as are my lecturers.” Ben goes on to explain that despite being just nineteen, he’s always wanted to stand for election. He stood in the council elections in May, inspired by the frustration he felt when he couldn’t vote whilst in school. He credits his family environment with his political awakening, his father is a vicar who always encourages debate, whilst he and his two brothers are each affiliated to different political parties. When asked how he feels the election campaign has gone so far, Ben sounds positive and realistic. “It’s been a quick turnaround since the local elections,” he starts. “We don’t accept donations from corporations or trade unions, so my campaign has been crowdfunded. Nationally we are targeting a couple of seats … Bristol West and Isle of Wight. If we can take one of those and hold Brighton Pavilion we would be very happy.” Ben is also positive about how con-

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he Greens had high hopes of increasing their number of seats in the 2015 General Election. Using Caroline Lucas as the template for what Green MPs can achieve, seats in London and Bristol were targeted, there was even talk of Greens contributing to a progressive alliance coalition. That optimism crashed as polling stations closed however, and by the following morning, holding Brighton Pavilion was merely consolation and a progressive alliance a distant dream. Natalie Bennett stepped down as leader shortly after, and the Greens did what they were good at, they broke the mould of British politics by electing two party leaders in Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley. Green elections lack the drama and flashpoints of their larger counterparts, but they would argue that is not a bad thing. The EU referendum was an interesting one for the party. Pro-democracy, their 2015 campaign backed a referendum to give the British people a vote on EU membership, the

stituents in Cardiff have responded to his campaign. “People have been positive generally. When people, especially students, hear Green policies, they tend to agree.” Keen to explain the party’s manifesto, Ben explains that the Greens have a series of guarantees. “We want to live within the finite resources of the planet, and share them out equally. There’s a diagram called the Doughnut Theory that we have been using, it’s the idea that everything in the inner circle is what we need to survive, and the outer circle is sustainability within that. We want a healthy planet, healthy communities and decent lives for everybody.” Ben is particularly excited about the Green Party’s pledge to introduce a Basic Citizen’s Income, a monthly state income for all citizens that provides people with the basic resources they need to live. “It would revamp our benefits system, making better use of what we have with greater efficiency, rather than continuing to lock people into the cycle of poverty and benefits.” The Basic Citizen’s Income, or Universal Basic Income, is a policy tried and tested in differing forms by both left and right wing governments. Richard Nixon once favoured it in the United States, Finland are currently planning to trial it and Switzerland held a referendum on it last year. The Green Party’s co-leader Caroline Lucas is regarded as one of Westminster’s best MPs, and yet the Greens have never managed to gain more than a single seat in the Houses of Parliament. Ben feels this is partly due to a flawed electoral system, where First Past The Post (or Single Member Plurality) favours the larger parties in elections. “If we had had Proportional Representation in 2015,

Pictured: Benjamin Smith (Source: Twitter)

we would have won 25 seats as opposed to one, based on vote share. Caroline (Lucas) is a brilliant MP, just imagine what two, three or four more MPs could achieve.” “What’s certain is that when you vote Green, you get Green,” Ben explained, pointing at several policies that stand them apart from the other parties. The party want to scrap the Trident nuclear program and put the environment at the forefront of policy. With many of the Green Party’s 2015 manifesto points now replicated in the Labour Party’s manifesto, I was keen to quiz Ben on how Labour’s shift toward the left has impacted his party. “Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party

and the Welsh Labour Party are very different. Scrapping tuition fees may now be on their agenda, but Labour could have scrapped tuition fees here in Wales, and they haven’t. That’s where we differ, we have been proposing these things for years.” As a student, Ben believes he knows what young people need. “I am a student, here in Cardiff. I live in Cathays, so I understand the constituency’s area. We need more young voices in politics. We make up 1/10 of the population but only 2% of MPs. I understand the issues with student landlords, rent and debt. I offer a real alternative for students. A vote for me in Cardiff Central is a vote for what you believe in.”

Party Profile

leave vote went against the beliefs of most party members however. Jenny Jones, the Green’s soul representative in the House of Lords, was pro-Leave, but on the whole, Green members overwhelmingly wish to remain in the European Union. This year they stand on a platform of a second referendum on the final deal to leave the EU. Unlike in England, Scotland and much of Western Europe, Wales has not yet embraced Green politics into its political system. As well as their single Westminster MP, the Greens also have six MSPs in the Scottish Parliament, 63 seats in the German Bundestag and form the largest party in Lithuania’s coalition government. The Senedd is void of Green representatives however, and their soul hope in the Assembly election last year, Amelia Womack, fell well short. Co-Chair of Wales Young Greens Andrew Creak told Gair Rhydd that the party want to build on the success of electing a councillor in Wales in the recent local elections, but realistic hopes of a Welsh MP appear a distant dream for now.

Your Green candidates in Cardiff Cardiff Central: Cardiff North:

Benjamin Smith *Not Standing

Cardiff South and Penarth: Anthony Slaughter Cardiff West:

*Not Standing


14 LIBERAL DEMOCRATS

liberal democrats Minifesto

Economy

Tanya Harrington

-Raise corporation tax to 20% from the current 19%. -Reverse the raising of the Inheritance Tax threshold. -Scrap the public-sector pay cap.

Environment

-Increase funding aimed at bringing more private investment in renewable energy into the country. -Ensure that 60% of energy used is renewable by 2030. -Implement a “diesel scrappage scheme,” and ban the sale of new diesel cars by 2025. -Oppose fracking.

Membership of EU

The Liberal Decocrats’ puts a second referendum on the deal of leaving the EU at the centre of their manifesto. There are policies on increasing income tax by 1% and spending on the NHS, but Brexit is the centre point.

-Have a second referendum on the Brexit deal, with the option of remaining a member of the EU. -Protect the rights of EU citizens residing in the UK and support the free movement of EU citizens. -Aim to remain a member of the single market.

Health

(devolved to Welsh Assembly) -The extra penny on income tax will allow Wales to spend £300m more on the NHS. -Include more nurses on hospital wards and in the local community. -Reduce waiting times for mental healthcare. -Create a ‘whistle-blowing hotline’ for the Welsh NHS.

Education

(devolved to Welsh Assembly) -Create a new curriculum for Wales. and further invest in schools to support the improvement of facilities. -Retain the existing policy on tuition fees and maintenance loans. -Provide increased funded school places for 3-4 year old children for at least 15 hours per week.

Young People

-Improve the quality of vocational education, allowing young people more choices for future employment. -Challenge early sexualisation of young people and work with schools to help young people maintain healthy self-esteem and body image. -Maintain Erasmus+ and other European education opportunities for young people in the event of a hard Brexit. -Allow 16+ year olds to vote. -Introduce a Young Person’s Bus Discount Card which allows 16-21 year olds discounted travel.

Welfare

-Allow 18-21 year olds to seek housing benefits once again. -Reverse cuts to Universal Credit.

Housing

(devolved to the Welsh Assembly) -Build 300,000 homes per year by 2022. -Create ‘garden cities’ containing tens of thousands of new zero carbon homes. -Extend the borrowing cap on Housing Associations so that they can build more social housing, as well as lifting the borrowing cap on local authorities.

Democracy

-Raise the status of the Welsh Assembly, increasing its ability to hold the Welsh Government accountable. -Welcome the new Wales Act and deliver proper Home Rule for Wales.

Transport

(devolved to the Welsh Assembly) -Abolish the toll on the Severn Bridge in 2018 -Devolve funding of Network Rail to Wales.

Where they stand on... Wales

The Liberal democrats’ Welsh manifesto is quite heavy on furthering the piower of the Welsh Assembly with a pledge to welcome the new Wales Act and raise the status of the Welsh Assembly. Their policies on absolishing the Severn Bridge toll, and devolving Network Rail funding to the Senedd are further evidence of a party aiming to turn the tide on their recent fall from grace this side of Offa’s dyke. Despite Health and Education being devolved, Tim Farron’s party claim that a 1% increase on income tax will provide a further £300 million for the Welsh’ NHS and a new national curriculum for Wales’ schools.

Brexit

Being as pro-European as they are, there is no surprise that the manifesto doesn’t embrace Brexit. Whilst the Liberal Democrats are careful not to dismiss last year’s referendum vote, the policy of a second vote on the final Brexit deal is central to their campaign. They also stand strong on the issues of EU citizens living in Britain, freedom of movement and the single market. They aren’t targetting Brexiters in this election, and their manifesto shows it, as they attempt to win the votes of people who passionately suport staying in the EU. With a 48% remain contingent, Farron may be worried he’s only polling around 7% in many polls.

Students

There’s hardly a university hustings that passes without the Liberal Democrats being reminded of their U-turn on scrapping tuition fees in the 2010 coalition. Since then, their student vote has plummeted. They wish to retain the current policy on turition fees and student grants, but do focus on improving the quality of vocational options for students. Cardiff Central will be indicative of where the party stands with the student community.

Why I’m voting for the Liberal Democrats - Hannah Erch Alison

T

he Brexit process started with democracy when the United Kingdom were sent to the polls on whether the United Kingdom stayed, or remained within the European Union, however a hard of soft Brexit was not specified with the terms and conditions of the Leave result. The British public as a result should speak out about whether they agree or disagree with the terms of the Brexit deal, as it seems only fair to end the process with democracy as it began with democracy. As a result the second referendum within their

manifesto is at the heart of democracy, and serves the best interests of the British people, which the rest of the manifesto also does. Farron has humanity at the forefront of the manifesto from reversing welfare cuts and injecting an extra £9.7bn into welfare payments as well as allowing an extra 50,000 refugees by the end of this parliament, the liberal democrats have the most vulnerable in society in their care, compared to other parties who are more concerned with the murder of foxes and taxing the most vulnerable in society. The Liberal Democrats are offer the most for

young people, by giving votes at 16 as well as a pledge to built more housing. The Liberal Democrats are pledging to build an extra 300,000 eco friendly homes by 2022. Their pledge for their rent to buy scheme helps combat the perils of home ownership that encompasses much of the UK. A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for hope and a secure future for young people. By voting for a manifesto that has the most vulernable in society, democracy and compassion at its forefront, we can progress the United Kingdom rather than implement the Victorian manifesto that has been given by the Conservative party.


GENERAL ELECTION 2017

15

Interview with Eluned Parrot

Hannah Woodward

ormer Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Eluned Parrott, who lost her seat in the Senedd last year, is now standing as Cardiff Central’s Westminster candidate. Hannah Woodward caught up with her.

Last year you came within 1000 votes of victory for the Welsh Assembly elections, how have you changed this years campaign to win votes and fight for Cardiff Central? I don’t think its so much as we’ve changed our campaign, so much as the circumstances have changed a lot. I lost my seat to UKIP in the Welsh Assembly elections and that’s difficult personally for a politician. Brexit happened, and that just changed everything. Brexit has dragged our politics to the right and created an atmosphere in our politics, which is filled with division. I decided because of that drift to the right that I would stand up to those who are trying to drive wedges in our communities.

People are very anxious about the prospect of a hard Brexit, and want the opportunity to say if the deal is not good enough remain. Eluned Parrot

” “

F

Liberal Democrats, Cardiff Central candidate

Gareth Axenderrie

They have made no secret of their desire for the United Kingdom to remain part of the European Union in this campaign, promising a second referendum on the eventual severance deal.

Brexit is obviously at the heart of every party manifesto, how do you feel about your party’s promise of a second referendum? People should have an opportunity to see what the destination is. People voted to leave – yes we accept that, but what people were told was varied. When you look at Theresa May’s most chaotic option - the most disastrous option for Wales. People are very anxious about the prospect of a hard Brexit, and want the opportunity to say if the deal is not good enough - remain. If the deal is not good enough, the idea that you can just fall out of Europe with no consequences at all is ultimately a fairy tale, it cant possibly be true. Cathays is heavily populated student area of Cardiff, and with the

T

he Liberal Democrats suffered nothing short of a drubbing in the 2015 General Election. From their coalition forming 57 seat result in 2010, to just eight seats in 2015 was the result of five years of partnership with the Conservatives, a coalition that saw voters desert the party and prominent MPs such as Vince Cable and Danny Alexander lose their seats. As was the case with most parties, a leadership election was called, as former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg stood down. The problem the Liberal Democrats now faced was that they only had seven MPs to choose from. In an election that was void of the publicity of their Labour counterparts, Tim Farron beat Norman Lamb by a margin of 13%. Farron, with a tiny fraction of the House of Commons, faced stern tests during 2016, with the Welsh Assembly elections and the EU referendum posing back to back challenges. In the Welsh elections, a result even more catastrophic than the Westminster one ensued. Losing four seats, the Lib Dems, a party

Liberal Democrats making a U turn on their tuition fees promise, how can students trust you to represent them in Westminster? We need to be offering our young people a new deal for the future because right now a lot of young people say to me they’re really anxious about their future. We would like to introduce a rent to buy scheme; so that people can get on the housing ladder so your rent goes to paying off the amount of money your house is worth, over a period of time renting allows you to earn your home. That gives people stability and one of the worst things about the rental market is actually is not just the price, and the fact that the high price means that you cant save for the future is actually instability as landlords chop and change as you are having to move every single year. We need to make sure we are protecting jobs in Britain, as the Welsh economy high values its workforce. We would like to do help entrepreneurs who want to start up their own business we would like to give them a cost of living grant, starting up your own business and waiting for those first customers you have nothing to live off and this often deters people from setting up their own business, so that’s why we want to introduce this entrepreneurial grant. The Labour manifesto also outlined a scrap on tuition fees, how do you think the Lib Dem policies are better suited for students? There is a situation where the Labour party have conjured a manifesto, which is incredibly expensive, and it is not clear how they will pay for the promises that they have made. Young people who are in University the most important

Pictured:

Eluned Parrot (Source: National Assembly of Wales)

thing is day to day living costs, and our policy is to introduce a maintenance grant for students to give a level playing field. For people who have tuition fees to pay back, obviously the repayment regime is relatively progressive. The payment regime has changed since Labour first introduced it to mean that if you earn less you pay far less back. The Lib Dems are aspiring to be the leading opposition party, and with Labour striving to be the party in Government why should the United Kingdom vote for an opposition, as opposed to a party that would get in Government? Good opposition plays and absolute

crucial function in a good government. Good opposition holds Government to account and keeps a Government honest, the last two years what we have seen is a labour opposition that is too busy fighting within themselves. They allowed the Conservatives to cut housing benefits to 18-21 year olds – which played a role in the rise in homelessness. Labour did not even bother to properly oppose that - to let that pass without a whimper is unforgivable. To follow the Tories into the lobby behind Theresa May and the very right wing Conservative Government on Brexit is unforgivable. Currently we see two Labour parties and no opposition, and that’s what the Liberal Democrats can offer is a strong opposition.

Party Profile

that has maintained strong support in rural and mid-Wales since the beginning of devolution, were left with a single AM, leader Kirsty Williams. In the EU referendum, they fought on a strong remain footing. The party has always been incredibly pro-European, as their pro Euro stance illustrated. The decision to leave the European Union was another huge kick to what the party stands for, but in the weeks that followed, membership numbers increased, with over 15,000 registrations in the month that followed. They have made no secret of their desire for the United Kingdom to remain part of the European Union in this campaign, promising a second referendum on the eventual severance deal. Hopes of a surge in seats are being dampened by polling however, with them currently standing at between six and 12 percent. In an interview with Gair Rhydd, Cardiff University’s Liberal Democrats Society President Usman Mahmood Bukhari told us that winning 18 seats would be a positive result for his party.

Your Liberal Democrat candidates in Cardiff Cardiff Central: Cardiff North:

Eluned Parrot Matthew Hemsley

Cardiff South and Penarth:

Emma Sands

Cardiff West:

Alex Meredith


#GE2017

Polls open 8th June, 7am-10pm For more information visit gairrhydd.com

A view from abroad:

Emilia Jansson

Brains, brawn and absolute bonkers

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ithin less of a year since moving to the UK I have found myself amidst a general election. After Theresa May’s decision to call a snap general election I am now able to experience everything that goes on during campaigning right up until the results. During the past few weeks I have noticed several differences in politics here and back home in Finland. Firstly, what is the obsession with politicians eating food? British people have a reputation for being polite but I was not aware that table manners also showcased how well that person could deal with economic sanctions and funding for the NHS. The amount of scrutiny that Ed Miliband received when eating an innocent sandwich was slightly absurd, and let’s be honest – who can actually say they generally look attractive when eating? On a more serious note the per-

sonal attacks on individuals in British politics is not a common campaigning trick at home. If you have walked toward Cathays over the past few days you may have seen a giant billboard declaring Theresa May as a threat. The billboard is impactful, interesting and controversial but not anything I would ever see back home within politics with a direct attack on someone specifically. Sadly, I feel like the viciousness involved in the elections create a negative atmosphere and takes people’s attention away from the politics that matter. Canvassing would never happen at home as it would be seen as invading someone’s privacy. However, Finnish people are known for being shy so that might not be surprising. On a whole British politics is more entertaining and definitely a lot wilder than what I am used to. It is impossible to predict what will pop

up in the newspapers, as parties get creative to receive as much coverage as possible.

However, whether it makes politics in the UK more efficient is certainly debateable…

Pictured: Binoculars Picture by: Chase Elliott Clark Source: Flickr

Gair Rhydd student poll Plaid Cymru

4.8%

UKIP

1.8%

Lib Dems

15.9%

Greens

1.3%

Conservatives

12.3%

Labour

61.2%

Spoil my ballot

*Of 227 respondents

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