Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Cameron's University Challenge

Here at the Tavern, we've been considering a political bombshell dropped this week by one of the Offspring currently at University.

Instead of returning to the parental spawning grounds to vote, this wise child has registered in his place of study. This means that a vote has effectively been transferred from a party stronghold to a teetering marginal, by virtue of a term-time election.

And when I say teetering, I mean just that - their present incumbent was elected with a majority of fewer than 500 votes, whereas our sitting MP can, on past showing, expect to secure nearly 50% of the votes cast.

It appears the registration process, facilitated - some might say orchestrated - by campus activists, has been aimed at persuading the 7,500 undergraduates to cast their vote where it will do 'most good' - some will travel home or vote by post while others vote at university.

If the old adage about being a socialist at twenty holds true, a term-time election means a large* unpredictable population of Lib Dem or Labour voters able to select which of two constituencies will have their vote. Combine this with the LibDem's pledge to scrap tuition fees and the student loans fiasco on Labour's watch and things get very interesting indeed.

So if you've tried all the BBC's other interactive toys, why not play 'Spot the University Town' among the target seats and dead certs - bearing in mind that, at the latest count, there are 109 universities in the UK.

*The total number of UK students at British universities is estimated at 2 million.

1 comment:

  1. Some of the younger members of the wider Rigby family are at University. One is 'true blue', another a staunch 'Lib Dem' and becoming a party activist, others are less certain of their affiliation and might not bother to vote.

    None, as far as we know, will be travelling home to vote - too far, too expensive. Interesting idea though, because they can vote only once but have the choice of home or university town.