Greens sweep board at Uckfield college election

Alexandra Phillips
Alexandra Phillips

The Greens have it! Hove councillor Alexandra Phillips recorded a resounding win for the Green Party after students voted in Uckfield Community Technology College’s mock elections held last Friday, (May 9.)

With an increased share and polling 54 per cent of the votes, EU Election candidate Alexandra romped home in both first past the post and transferable vote systems. Using AV - an electoral system chosen by students in a referendum in 2011 - she obtained 61.6 per cent of the votes.

Event organiser Dan Buschle from UCTC, said: “This was a landslide result that has not been obtained before.”

A packed hall of sixth formers posed questions to the five candidates in a debate chaired by philosophy student Isabella Wilson.

Three weeks before the real elections students were also asked to vote whether the UK should remain in the EU - a view held by Wealden’s Conservative MP Charles Hendry, who came third in the poll, winning 11.9 per cent of the vote and LibDem Chris Bowers, second with 27 per cent.

Topics for the candidates (including Anthony Fielding, Labour, fourth with 6.6 per cent, and Peter Griffiths, UKIP, fifth with 3.1 per cent) included inequality, education, fracking, bankers’ bonues and - a question posed by Matt Savage - whether we should worry about civil liberties in the face of Edward Snowden’s revelations.

Of the 232 referendum ballots returned, only 23 students agreed the UK should leave the EU. This upheld Chris Bower’s view that the under 40s are in favour of membership, according to national polls. At UCTC 89 per cent agreed. Anthony Fielding contrasted the Europe of borders with the open Europe ‘we can now enjoy.’

All the candidates, apart from Peter, thought in a more complex and globalising world it was advantageous to remain inside the EU, with Charles Hendry saying it can ‘best be reformed from the inside.’

Results were counted by politics students Matt Savage, Owen Mudford, Tyla Hooper and Thomas Michael.

Kaya Harrington, 17, said: “This broadened my knowledge of politics and made me aware of issues we face, some of which I was oblivious to. The contrast in reactions has developed my interest in having my own opinion and prompted me to take advantage of my right to vote.”

Dan Buschle said: “Students made excellent, lively questions and contributions to the debate.”