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A postgraduate student gives his thoughts on the upcoming general election, urging students to ‘vote with their consciences.’

I’m a PGR (postgraduate research student) – a little more about that later – researching in Musicology. Even in this, perhaps niche, area of our university I’m aware of strong feelings within and beyond the UoB. For there to be strong feelings about life in this country is good – and it is what politics, in essence, is for. Politics must serve the population, rather than the other way about.

Like many, my own political thought, if it can be so distinguished, is for a multi-cultural, educated and intellectually challenging, above all generous, welcoming, and warm-hearted collegiate society. One which is aware of its history, but which also welcomes variety and the stimulus of other cultures coming in to our community. One which values and assists generously the lesser-privileged. One which constantly sets its human horizons beyond mere borders (whether physical, intellectual, moral, or national). Our collective psyche, and certainly our collective culture benefits so hugely from our common humanity being recognized and celebrated

‘Many of us are appalled at the rise of narrow-minded xenophobic sentiments’

Many of us are appalled at the rise of narrow-minded xenophobic sentiments. These have had and are having a shameful effect in apparently increasing hate crime, or other such deplorable events.  For this manner of ‘thinking’ to be tacitly or otherwise encouraged by a government is outrageous, immoral, and plain wrong – and would be so whatever political party happens to form that governmental entity.  (And, by the way, what is a government fundamentally for? Surely it is to serve the population in its entirety – not to serve for the narrow constituency which voted for its party, and certainly not to overlord or rule.)

I’m appalled to contemplate the effect this atmosphere, and especially the awful vacillation over certainty of post-Brexit residency for EU citizens who have been working here (especially our colleagues in higher education across the country), must have on people caught up in this situation through the very opposite of any fault of their own.

‘It is one of the most important elections which has come about in my lifetime’

Some of the very hallmarks and beacons of our civilization – the NHS, the Welfare State, Education, amongst others – are being shamefully and stealthily eroded by the current regime. Though they bleat that his erosion is for the, if they are to be believed (!), sacred cow of efficiency, it is all too apparent that the real reason is to allow global corporations and the like to make profits out of it all by acquiring the ‘juicy bits’. This might even be understandable, though still unforgiveable, were the ethos of the institutions to remain intact – but the nature of being given over to profit-making changes that, and a lot more besides, not in a good, mutually beneficial way.

So, may I urge ALL members of the university who can do so, to vote with their consciences – and their intelligence and generosity – on the 8th June. It is one of the most important elections which has come about in my lifetime.

On that latter point, I mentioned that I’m a PGR.   Well, I’m a rather mature PGR, having become (to my intense surprise) 65 last birthday. My generation is often characterized as being likely to vote Tory. I am not of that persuasion, as might have become apparent earlier. For various reasons, being unable to take up for family reasons an offered place at the age of 18 to read medicine, I spent a lot of life working in IT, latterly for IBM, alongside being a professional musician. Eventually, after being made redundant in 2010, I signed up for an undergraduate course, and consequently here I am now. That varied experience has taught me that generosity and collegiality are worth much more than many other so-called rewards in life.

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Do you agree with David? Let us know.

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