On the 7th May many pupils at Seaford College will be voting for the very first time. In preparation for the General Election, the Sixth Form held a mock election with an interesting twist: they would be voting on the basis of policies, not parties.
The voters did not know what parties they would be voting for, and the candidates, Hugo Dean, Christian Disley-May, Lucas Streeter and Michael Laird, also did not know what parties they were representing. All four candidates volunteered because they are keenly interested in politics, Lucas Streeter commenting: ‘Politics is so important because it affects everything.’
Mr Phillips, who teaches History, Law and Politics and organised the Mock Election, urged the Sixth Form to vote on the basis on which set of policies they preferred. He introduced the election with a rousing celebration of democracy, explaining: ‘The election matters to anyone who believes in freedom and who believes in democracy. May 8th 1945 was when World War 2 ended, but on May 7th 1945 the guns fell silent. Seventy years on, this General Election is a celebration of democracy and freedom. 50 million people gave their lives so that we could vote. It is important, it is relevant; the result of the election decides how much tax we pay, the quality of education for a generation, it decides everything.’
Inspired by Mr Phillips’ words, the four candidates presented policies from four political parties on the key issues of Education, Economy, Law and Order and the NHS. The Sixth Form were then invited to vote on the policies they preferred, the votes were counted using the first past the post system and Mr Phillips, acting as Chief Returning Officer, read out the results and revealed which candidate had won the ‘Assembly Hall Constituency.’
Overall winner was Hugo Dean with 30% of the vote. Mr Phillips then revealed that Hugo was representing the Liberal Democrats. Christian Disley-May (Conservative) and Michael Laird (UKIP) were tied on 24%, and Lucas Streeter (Labour) gained 22% of the vote.
After the results were announced, Sixth Former Ben North said: ‘I was surprised that the Liberal Democrats won, but I think it shows how you can be swayed by a party name. It’s made me want to look more closely at the parties’ policies. I think that the Coalition have been doing a good job and five years isn’t long enough, parties should be in power for ten years.’
Headmaster John Green said: ‘The Mock Election shows that Seaford College Sixth Form students are challenging the notion that today’s youth are uninterested in politics. They really understand the importance of exercising their right to vote, when in some countries it is much more difficult.’
To watch the Mock Elections and decide which policies you would vote for CLICK HERE.