In a crowded lecture room at Brasenose, students engaged in their own take on the Leaders’ Debates, with undergraduates taking on the roles of the party leaders.
‘Cameron’ (staunch Labourite Scott Ralston by day) promised to create “a cabinet of schoolmates and Bullingdon chums”, while ‘Brown’, played
by OCA’s Treasurer Chris Adams, defended his prized economic policies, but was clearly still haunted by the ‘bigotgate’ gaffe.
Gavin Fourie’s ‘Clegg’ was suitably vague in his promise to “stop the old ways”, suggesting we “say yes…after all, over 30 women have”. The bigoted ‘Griffin’, wittily portrayed by Arv Singal, appeared limited to continually reiterating his paranoiac prejudice against “the non-indigenous peoples of this country”.
Questions ranged from the irreverent “What would you fill a black hole with?” to more serious-minded queries about proposed spending cuts. The answers provided by the ‘politicians’ were often uninformed, or frankly ridiculous. Their mockery of the leaders highlighted student exasperation with an electoral system that has become more about the public face of the parties rather than their policies.
Alex Eagle, President of the Addington Society which organised the debate, said that the light-hearted event struck a more serious note by reflecting an increasing disenchantment with national politics. He said that students increasingly felt there was “no real difference” between the parties. ‘Salmond’, the leader of the SNP, closed his argument with “whoever wins, you’re the ultimate losers”, suggesting that there is no ideal candidate to lead a government with such wide-spread problems to tackle in the coming years.