Meet the Bristol University students standing as Councillors in next week’s local elections

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Epigram News Team

There are a number of University of Bristol students standing in next week's local elections for the Conservative, Labour and Green Parties.

With local elections taking place across the country next week, Epigram spoke to University of Bristol students who are standing as Councillors in the Bristol City Council election on 6 May.

After reaching out to all UoB students running in next week’s election, the students featured in this article are those who responded and provided answers to our questions.

Alexander Gibson and Jude D'Alesio - Conservative candidates for Clifton Down

Alexander Gibson and Jude D'Alesio | Clifton Down Conservatives
‘We promise to deliver on Clifton Down’s priorities and provide value for money, not play political games, as we build back better!’

Why are you standing for election?

We are standing in this election for a simple reason: Bristol can do better. Both of us have strong links with Clifton Down, the ward we wish to serve, and will do everything we can to ensure it moves from strength to strength.

Jude: I am a student at Bristol University living in Clifton. Already a councillor on Long Ashton Parish Council, I am committed to making sure that everyone has the tools to succeed.
In my spare time, I love nothing more than getting stuck in with the community. Whether it’s being a school governor, litter-picking or cycling through Clifton Down, I always look for new ways to improve the area for residents.

Alexander: I am student at Bristol University and I volunteer in the ward by providing food to the homeless as well as working with schools across the nation to address mental health issues. It would, therefore, be an honour to represent Clifton Down on Bristol City Council.

To stay updated on our campaign, like our Facebook page: Clifton Down Conservatives.

Why should people vote for you in the Clifton Down ward?

We have a 3-point plan to ensure that Clifton Down can be a safe, clean and green place for residents to live and exercise.

Action on Air Pollution: Clifton Down is becoming more and more concerned with this issue. Don’t just take our word for it: a 2020 survey by Bristol City Council found that 68% of people in the ward think air quality and traffic pollution are a problem. We will not accomplish this by forcing residents to buy electric cars or pay a congestion charge, but by making public transport more attractive to ease dreadful congestion along Whiteladies Road. VOI scooters are also very popular among students, so we will do everything we can to make sure its users are safe.

Action on Antisocial Behaviour: The recent riots show the importance of clamping down on antisocial behaviour. Our message is clear: the actions of a minority of rioters do not represent the views of the law-abiding majority of great citizens in Bristol. Tough, visible, community policing leaves no police for antisocial acts and Conservatives are already making great progress to deliver this by recruiting recently an extra 128 police officers in Avon and Somerset.

Action on Street Litter: 68% of Clifton Down residents still think that street litter is a problem, but we think that the ward should be a cleaner place to live and exercise. We will achieve this by ensuring regular street cleaning, more police on the beat to punish litterers and working with other councillors and the new Mayor of the West of England.

As Councillor you would be in a position to propose, support or oppose policies and actions; what particular issues will you want the Council to prioritise and what is your approach on these issues?

Councils have played a critical role leading their communities during the pandemic, continuing to deliver the vital services we all rely on every day and Conservative councils up and down the country have a proven record of managing people’s money wisely and providing good local services.

If we are lucky enough to be elected to Bristol City Council on 6 May, we will not only focus on delivering our 3-point plan but also ensuring value for money from public services.

Residents are not receiving this from the Labour Mayor of Bristol. The council wasted millions of pounds on Bristol Energy, a failed energy company which was sold for £15m after racking up losses of over £40m in the space of five years. This is money that could have spent on schools, police, street cleaning and finding sensible solutions to air pollution.

Therefore, all Bristol Conservatives, not just us, support having a referendum on the position of the City Mayor where we would campaign passionately to scrap this unaccountable position and give more power to your elected councillors.

Now more than ever, communities need local leaders who share their priorities and who they can trust to deliver vital services during the pandemic – not waste taxpayers’ money on misguided schemes and vanity projects that offer no benefit to residents.

We promise to deliver on Clifton Down’s priorities and provide value for money, not play political games, as we build back better!

Elliott Callender - Labour candidate for Clifton Down

Elliott Callender
‘Action needs to be taken, already in the past couple of years rents have rocketed in Clifton Down, especially for students, and are completely unjustifiable.’

Why are you standing for election?

I’m standing because young people are greatly underrepresented in local government. Whilst people aged 18-24 years old represent 10.8% of the population, we are only represented by 0.6% of councillors which means our local councils can often ignore the views of young people who are often most reliant on the services and support of the council. For example, in Bristol Carla Denyer, a Green Party councillor in Clifton Down, voted to close Lakota after nearly 30 years of it being a staple in our diverse and unique club scene in Bristol.

It’s a problem when councillors would rather convert iconic venues into unaffordable flats than seek to maintain one of the many reasons Bristol is such a great city to live in.

Last year, I co-wrote an article for the Epigram urging the importance of organising and participating in democratic movements whether it was the COVID-19 mutual aid groups or political parties. I’ve been inspired by the Bristol Rent Strikers, the #KillTheBill protesters and the local All Black Lives branch in Bristol. Recently I co-wrote a letter with two of my fellow council candidates calling on private landlords to meet similar demands that the Bristol Rent Strikers are demanding. It’s time to work with groups like these and empower them to improve local government and as a councillor I’d love to be given the opportunity to do that.

Why should people vote for you in the Clifton Down ward?

In Clifton Down it’s a contest between the Greens and the Labour Party. In Clifton Down myself and my co-candidate Teresa Stratford, who is an occupational therapist, are fighting this election on five pledges.

Tough Action on Housing - We'll ensure there is tighter regulation and community input to prevent the explosion of HMOs in Bristol and we'll take action to lower rents and improve the quality of housing.

A Green New Deal for Bristol - We'll continue to push for a Green New Deal for Bristol, aggressively reducing pollution and inequalities in order to make Bristol a net zero emissions city by 2030.

Bring our public transport under public control - We'll campaign for a publicly owned bus network to reduce fares, increase accessibility and promote sustainable transport alternatives for Clifton Down.

Support Local, Independent Businesses - We'll work with independent businesses so they can thrive like supporting the pedestrianisation of Cotham Hill and we'll prevent the takeover of our area by big chain stores and protect our unique nightlife.

Empower our Communities - We'll advocate in partnership with local initiatives such as the desire for a play area more locally on the Downs or improvements to the Clifton Down's station lighting, signage and facilities.

If you like the sound of these pledges, we’d love to earn your vote for Labour on May the 6th.

As Councillor you would be in a position to propose, support or oppose policies and actions; what particular issues will you want the Council to prioritise and what is your approach on these issues?

Almost every door I’ve knocked on over the past year and half has brought up the issue of housing. In an era of Conservative austerity, Bristol’s Labour-run council has been able to deliver 9,000 affordable homes and have used the powers available to them to take tough action on dodgy landlords.

I’d like to see the extension of the additional licensing scheme to Clifton Down, raising the minimum standards for rented accommodation and would mean the accommodation many students live in will be better quality. Action needs to be taken, already in the past couple of years rents have rocketed in Clifton Down, especially for students, and are completely unjustifiable.

Secondly, Bristol needs a Green New Deal. Everything we do as a council must have a goal of reducing emissions and ensuring we are a net zero city by 2030. Fundamentally this requires reducing private car use and improving local public transport as an affordable, accessible alternative. But how can we encourage Bristolians to use public transport if the prices continue to skyrocket? That’s why I’d work with our Metro Mayor to bring Bristol’s buses under public control, ending rising ticket prices and improving our cities connectivity. If our council ran local bus services, local residents would have control over bus routes, prices and can turbocharge a green transition in the bus fleet.

On May 6th, please vote for Labour in Clifton Down and across Bristol. You can find out more about our campaign on our facebook page.

Patrick McAllister - Green candidate for Knowle

Patrick McAllister
‘We cannot claim to live in a city built for all while so many of our citizens are shut out from these fundamental aspects of it.’

Patrick is one of several students who are running as councillor candidates for the Green Party in Bristol. Other Bristol University students standing for election include Georgia Nelson, who is standing as candidate in the St George Central ward, Jasmine Fryer-Jones, standing as candidate for Stockwood ward, and Poppy Silk, who is standing as candidate for the ward of Stoke Bishop.

Why are you standing for election?

I am standing to offer the people of Knowle ward a chance at effective Green representation on Bristol City Council. In this time of climate crisis and social and economic upheaval, everyone deserves to benefit from the ideas that only the Green Party is putting forward.

I have long been inspired by the effectiveness of local Green representatives, and want to be a part of that by fighting for action on climate change, housing shortages and the state of our infrastructure. As a councillor, I will be proud to continue that work alongside my fellow Green councillors and our new Green mayor.

Why should people vote for you in the Knowle ward?

I will be a strong advocate for the necessary changes we as a city need to make to boost our recovery from the pandemic and address the fundamental problems facing Bristol today.

As a young person I have a particular perspective on many of these issues and will bring a fresh voice to the Council when making decisions that impact everyone in our city. The current state of local government is that it is filled with older, wealthier people, and I believe electing young people is the best way to move to a more representative style of politics. In particular, climate change is an issue felt most urgently by younger people, and electing young Greens such as myself and my peers to the Council will ensure due scrutiny and accountability on climate matters will never be in question.

As a student I am very aware of issues such as unattainable, insecure and low-quality housing, the lack of youth services, and shortcomings in our public transport network – addressing these concerns will be among my top priorities. We cannot claim to live in a city built for all while so many of our citizens are shut out from these fundamental aspects of it.

As a councillor I will always defend the right to protest – none of the rights we enjoy today would have been won without it. I am committed to upholding racial justice, especially when it comes to law enforcement, and support Green PCC candidate Cleo Lake’s calls for reparatory justice.

As Councillor you would be in a position to propose, support or oppose policies and actions; what particular issues will you want the Council to prioritise and what is your approach on these issues?

Recovery from the pandemic is obviously the most immediate concern. I will fully back large-scale investments in Bristol’s high streets to boost our economic recovery, such as the ones outlined in our mayoral candidate Sandy Hore-Ruthven’s Green Economic Recovery plan.

I am in favour of pedestrianising busy shopping streets where appropriate – it’s an excellent way to boost footfall and is proven to work wonders elsewhere in the city and across the country. The side effects include reducing air pollution and road hazards, increasing the accessibility of the city for all.

Bristol’s bus network integration is a mess and requires addressing so that all areas of the city are served properly. I would also like to see the development of a light rail network; a realistic and useful proposal instead of the current mayor’s unworkable plans for an underground system in the far future. Revamping Bristol’s public transport requires the vision and commitment that only Greens can provide.

Of course, combatting the climate emergency is the most important challenge of our lifetimes. It was Green councillors who declared Bristol’s climate emergency in 2018, and I will continue this legacy – every decision I make on the council will be informed by the need to reach carbon neutrality as soon as possible.

While I of course look forward to working with my fellow Green representatives, I will also aim to work collaboratively with councillors of all parties on issues we agree on, to help create stronger and more durable outcomes.

Featured Image: Epigram


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