My First General Election: We speak to first and second time voters and see what they know ahead of the 2019 general election – Harry Rutter
- Credit: Harry Rutter/ARCHANT
In a bid to discover how young people in North East Cambridgeshire are feeling ahead of the general election, I sat down with a group to find out what they know.
A handful of first and second time voters met me at March Town Hall on Thursday (November 21) where I put their knowledge to the test.
I provided the group - made up of Eden, Anya, Jess and Ben - with pictures of the NE Cambs candidates for the upcoming election.
They were tasked to tell me what political party they belonged to. It was a success as the group scored 100 per cent.
Steve Barclay for Conservatives, Dianne Boyd for Labour, Rupert Moss-Eccardt for the Lib Dems and Ruth Johnson for the Green Party.
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Naming the candidates seemed to be an issue as all four could only identify Steve Barclay.
After that, I asked the group to put the candidates and parties in order, the top being who they would be likely to vote with their current knowledge.
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To my surprise, the group decided they would all vote for The Green Party. I provided them with each party's key promises and it was then opinions began to change.
Speaking about the candidates, 18-year-old Eden said: "I'd seen Steve Barclay because he has been our MP for a few years.
"He has come to my school before when I was younger so he's always been around and I think he's quite a recognisable figure in our community.
"I think that says the other candidates are not out there enough and they're not marketing themselves enough and they need to do that if they want the votes."
I asked each of the young people to tell me who their ideal party would be after learning more about their promises and leaders.
Anya, 18, said: "I think my ideal candidate would hold a lot of the views of the Green Party and Labour mainly because I think they're the ones I know most about.
"I don't really know anything about what's going on with politics but I live with my mum and she is for The Green Party so I've probably heard more about them."
Anya was home educated and says, after looking through the Green Party's manifesto, that there is more from them supporting education at home.
Second time voter, 20-year-old Ben, said: "Politics confuses me as a whole to be honest. One of the big problems I have is politicians' promises.
"They say 'I'm going to do this' or 'I'm going to do that' and when you elect them, there doesn't seem to be a lot of follow up on those promises.
"A lot of the candidates have lost my interest and I really don't know who I am voting for.
"I don't think I would vote Conservative; I think The Green Party probably means the best out of all of them.
"A green future is something that is really important.
"In a small area like Fenland the vast majority of people who live here are older people and they all want to vote Conservative.
"So it makes no difference who we vote for in Fenland because Conservatives will win every time and I will gladly bet my entire bank account they will win again this time."
First time voter, 19-year-old Jess, said: "I wish there was just this one amazing leader that rises up and says 'lets focus on schools, education, hospitals and police force'.
"The £10 per hour minimum wage for all workers promise [from Labour] is not going to happen no matter how hard we try.
"I think the candidates need to get themselves more out there in a way that more people hear about them.
"If they want to appeal to young people, which are their future, they need to be applying themselves more on social media and going out there and working with people."
Do you agree with our young people or have anything you would like to say on the December 12 election? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org