British students are generally believed to be more left than right wing. This comes from the facts that a) the lefties are the ones that march on the streets and shout the loudest, and b) its a throwback to bygone decades where being left wing was perceived to be the anti-establishment, ‘radical’ position. Students like to be cool. I remember. I was one once. A student that is. Not cool.
But judging by the last 24 hours, that all may be about to change. Britain’s newspapers have carried a YouGov poll that shows on issues like taxation, euthanasia, gender discrimination, and even the minimum wage; students tend to lean to the right of the general public.
I found this out over two years ago, when I took part in the BBC’s Free Speech programme (below) – billed to me as “Question Time… for students”. I groaned, but agreed. The media whore was strong in me. And I was up against people like David Lammy MP, now a Labour candidate for London Mayor, and Charlotte Leslie, who was trying really hard to be the cuddly, detoxified, Conservative Party of David Cameron representative.
I on the other hand, was a tub thumping right winger. And it went down better than I had expected.
I talked about how the minimum wage was the same as the government telling you that they’d rather you stay unemployed unless someone paid you what politicians dictate. It went down a treat.
And it seems that my experiences at Goldsmiths University in South East London were not an isolated incident.
I found myself scrolling through The Student Room website today, which held a poll of its over 43,000 of its users on the run up to the General Election. The results revealed that 22 per cent of users planned to vote Conservative, 35 per cent for Labour, 5 per cent for the Liberal Democrats, 10 per cent for UKIP, and 16 per cent for the Green Party. The SNP polled 3 per cent, while 9 per cent said they’d spoil their ballot, vote ‘other’ or wouldn’t vote at all.
So in the round, left-wing parties took 59 per cent of the vote, with notionally (the Conservative Party is scarcely right wing) right leaning parties taking 32 per cent. So you can see why The Student Room may not be the most friendly place to right wing politicians.
But a conservation labelled “If your choice was [Jeremy] Corbyn or [Nigel] Farage in 2020 who would you vote for?” revealed some interesting arguments by The Student Room users.
“Almost definitely Farage. I quite like some of the stuff he says anyway.” said Fas.
I<3Milkshake said, “1) Corbyn I trust more to deal with the housing problem. 2) Farage will provide more jobs (well he will create an enviroment better for business and keep them in the UK running under lower taxes/attract them to the UK). 3) Farage will deal with immigration and extremism in a way Corbyn never will. 4) Farage will reform welfare. 5) Farage will ensure defence is in good shape unlike Corbyn who will reduce it to a joke and invite the terrorists into the House of Commons. 6) Farage will get the deficit under control. 7) Long term Corbyn will just create an anti-business, anti aspiration attitude. Farage wins. Flawless victory. (Apart from point 1).”
SMC2010 said, “100% Farage. Too many reasons to list.” While TheTechN1304 remarked, “Farage. Economically he’s better than Corbyn. It’s a no-brainer in my opinion tbh”.
The_Mighty_Bush said: “Farage.” And flamboy said, “farage – I don’t consider JC a terrible politician or anything, I just don’t agree with him economically and on many other issues (e.g. EU or immigration)”. The list goes on.
Now I’m not claiming that this is scientific, and there were a few Corbyn fans too. But I was also struck by the fact that the Farage detractors were the sort of, “ROFL” types who didn’t have much to say, whereas those who dug into Corbyn were very clear about why they wouldn’t vote for him, and why they would vote for Nigel.
Maybe this is because people haven’t yet had the chance to know the mind of Jeremy Corbyn, and to see how he performs as Labour leader. But I have a feeling that the old, “pinko student” assumption may just about be ready for bed. Probably because students are sick of gender-neutral toilets, fake Israeli checkpoints, and the utterly bankrupt nature of the Labour Party.
TimonaPortella – the Student Room user, not the character from Mario Puzo’s book Omertà – said, “Farage without a moment’s hesitation, because ideology.”