'we could make historical past' – young voters spearhead marketing campaign to …


Hundreds of students and young people will march through Boris Johnson’s constituency as part of a growing campaign to unseat the prime minister. 

Activists will hold a parade, with live performances, a campaign bus and a light show, in Uxbridge and South Ruislip on Saturday to mobilise students to register to vote and “Kick Boris Out”.

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'We could make history': Young voters spearhead campaign to …

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The demonstration, organised by “fck govt fck boris” and supported by student-led groups, is taking place just days after the PM confirmed he will stand in the London seat despite only having a majority of 5,000.

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'We could make history': Young voters spearhead campaign to …

Activists from the left-wing grassroots group Momentum have already begun a campaign to get young people to vote against Mr Johnson and a campus tour of Brunel University on the horizon. 

Young people who want Mr Johnson to lose his seat believe Labour’s candidate Ali Milani, a former president of Brunel students’ union, will appeal to the 14,000 university students. 

“He has really got the students backing him because they know who he is,” Cayla Martin, a fourth-year politics student at Brunel, told The Independent. “There is this real idea that we could be making some history here by unseating a prime minister for the first time in more than a century.”

Ms Martin, who has always lived in Uxbridge and South Ruislip, will be among 500 demonstrators expected to turn out on Saturday. “A lot of people have strong feelings against him. His comments about the LGBT+ community and Muslim community has driven a passion in young people,” she said. 

The 22-year-old, who is a youth officer with Uxbridge Labour and an LGBT+ officer at Brunel students’ union, said: “Students could swing it. I think the students are more engaged than ever here.

“We have got a real difference of choice. We have got this 55-year-old white Etonian Oxford guy with lots of money. On the other side we have got a young 25-year-old BAME muslim guy who lives in the area.”

And it is not only university students that could sway the vote. A in April identified Uxbridge and South Ruislip as a vulnerable seat as the population has become younger. 

“We are working with locals and they are all young and engaged,” student Rosa Caradonna, an activist at youth-led organisation Fck Boris, said. “[They] are far from happy with the job Boris is doing.”

The media spotlight on Uxbridge and South Ruislip could increase the number of young people registering to vote and turning out to the polling stations, the students’ union president said. 

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Ranjeet Rathore, president of Brunel University students’ union, said: “The interest amongst the students has been quite high because two people are contesting who are quite popular. The prime minister himself and an ex-Brunel student.”

Ahead of the 25 November registration deadline, Brunel University staff have been sending reminders on social media. They have also been targeting commonwealth students so they know they can vote.

And this year for the first time, the university will provide a regular shuttle bus to and from the campus to the polling station on election day to encourage students and staff to turn out and vote in the cold. 

Lesley O’Keeffe, deputy director of academic and student services at Brunel, said: “Brunel is making a concerted effort to encourage students to vote.

“This includes a campus-wide leaflet drop, emails to every student, Instagram polls asking students if they’ve registered, plus reminders across social media, newsletters and on big screens around campus.”

And students have been engaging. She said:“People are interested in it as it is topical. They know the Labour candidate and they know the prime minister. Student societies have already begun campaigning.”

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But despite polls showing that Labour is still the most popular party among students across the UK, the chair of the Conservative Society at Brunel believes the prime minister is “popular” on campus. 

James Cantwell, chair of the student society, said: “I don’t think it is as clear cut as people think about how Brunel is going to vote. Talking to students I think quite a few are wary of Corbyn and his promises.”

The second-year student added that many vocal supporters of Mr Milani are not from Brunel. “He was president in 2015-2016 so in terms of student politics that is ages ago. He is not as influential as he was. I don’t think he has enormous influence in the student population,” Mr Cantwell added. 

On the march, Fope Olaleye, black students’ officer at the National Union of Students (NUS), said: “Young people are passionate about getting involved in this election. They are fed up of being ignored by politicians and want to make their voices heard. 

“We have seen this already this year with climate change protests and anti-Brexit marches, this march is just an extension of this.”