Bournemouth University Student Assembly Against Austerity
My name’s Paul and I’m about to go into my final year studying English at Bournemouth University.
I have been engaged with the political system ever since I was very young and I have always held political beliefs that are on the left of the spectrum. I believe in justice, equality and fairness and it is the strength of my beliefs that have inspired me to go into activism.
I grew up in a heavily Tory part of England and it is also one of the poorest parts of England. I have grown up seeing the poorest in our society be denied very basic needs like adequate housing and adequate means of feeding themselves due to the unequal distribution of wealth among the population. People vote Tory in my area without realising how damaging neoliberalism is. Incidentally, Bournemouth is a heavily Tory town. The unequal distribution of wealth that I grew up around is apparent here and the amount of drives for food banks I’ve seen in local supermarkets fuels my dissatisfaction with austerity. I live in a constituency where parts of it have an unemployment rate of 8% and almost a third of children grow up in poverty and in these same wards. My constituency is represented by a Tory who pleaded poverty on £90,000 a year and that disgusts me.
I’m also very much against us millennials having to pay for the economic and environmental destruction caused by previous generations. We’re becoming a generation lost to technology, apathy and the sense of impending doom that comes with the destruction caused by previous generations. It is time we wake up and we fight against the biggest attack on youth this country has ever seen and show that we are not going to stand for the cutting of student maintenance grants, housing benefit being denied to under 21s and a corrupt political system that ignores what we believe in. I believe that the students of both Bournemouth University and Arts University Bournemouth can be an effective part of this voice due to the political geography of the town we live and study in.
Politically, I am inspired by Vaclav Havel, Nicola Sturgeon, Tony Benn, Jeremy Corbyn, Caroline Lucas and the musicians of the 1960s who stood up against the Vietnam War. We can only cause change by demanding it and that is what I hope to do with my work with the Student Assembly.