Comment: Julian Brazier is ‘out of touch with students’

Comment: Julian Brazier is ‘out of touch with students’

Earlier this month on Thursday 2nd October Julian Brazier, the MP for Canterbury and Whitstable, came to the University of Kent for a talk organised by the Kent University Conservative Association (KUCA).

As a student with a keen interest in the political landscape, a member of the Green Party, and a permanent resident of Canterbury, I was very interested in finally hearing Mr Brazier address young people’s campaign issues in the run up to the General Election in May 2015 but came doubtful that he would, in all honesty, listen to his younger audience.

Julian Brazier has been the elected representative for Canterbury for 27 years and you would expect a man of his stature, political career and ambition to be re-elected again would have commanded a large audience but there were barely a dozen members of KUCA in attendance.

Julian Brazier MP. Photo: KUCA (Facebook)

Julian Brazier MP. Photo: KUCA (Facebook)

Mr Brazier began his speech focusing on three key topics which were the Conservative Party, the Economy, and current World Affairs. However much of his speech was spent criticising other political parties, particularly the Labour party. What a surprise, a politician discussing the failings of his competition instead of deciding to focus on the issues at heart! Mr Brazier stated that historically whenever the Labour Party is in power they lead the country into ruin, which the Conservatives then have to pick up pieces of. However as this time they were “shackled to the Liberal Democrats” they have not had the opportunity to do as much as they would have liked to.

Mr Brazier spent some time answering a number of questions from the small audience, highlights including his stance on raising the benefits age to 23, the Scottish Referendum, and the successes of the ‘Warden Scheme trial’ that he states means that the relationship between students and local residents is now “better than ever”.

Mr Brazier insisted he works closely with young people being one of the few MP’s to visit school children of all ages, as well as the universities in the city. However, it felt like he did not truly answer the main points of the questions asked. He almost seemed to be going through the motions rather than taking in what mattered to those he was addressing.

In my opinion Julian Brazier MP is not a man that is in touch with the world of student politics, nor is he clued up on the issues that affect students. And to be fair, why would he need to be? In the last General Election, postal votes aside, just 8 people physically registered their votes in the Senate on campus (one of the polling stations set up for those living on campus). He is most likely under the assumption that the student vote does not matter, and this is where we need to prove him wrong.

Your vote DOES matter. Photo: Wikipedia

Your vote DOES matter. Photo: Wikipedia

In a few short months, Kent Union will be putting together their “student manifesto” and sending it to all candidates to analyse their responses on how effectively they will deal with issues that are at the heart of students. How do I think Mr Brazier will reflect in his responses? Badly, of course. His talk at Kent just last week continually referred to his own student days and did not come close to addressing concerns of current students. In my own opinion, he is a man completely out of touch with the students of Canterbury.

We have the unique chance of changing the political landscape at the next General Election. With a huge student population in Canterbury, and Mr Brazier winning with a majority of just 6,000 votes back in 2010, will we be ushering in a candidate perhaps more in-touch with student life? I certainly hope so.

— Words by Natalie Sparkes

Natalie Sparkes is a UKC student and member of the Green Party and the Canterbury and UKC Young Greens.

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One Response to “Comment: Julian Brazier is ‘out of touch with students’”

  1. KUCA member

    Nov 19. 2014

    “you would expect a man of his stature, political career and ambition to be re-elected again would have commanded a large audience but there were barely a dozen members of KUCA in attendance”

    That might have something to do with the fact that Julian visits KUCA multiple times every year without fail. Julian’s speech is an annual event, and many of the second, third and fourth year members don’t attend this event- which is meant for freshers.

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