Join The Debate – Student Question Time, Thursday 14th November

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Words by George Odysseos

As most of us are painfully aware, tuition fees have risen after promises to the contrary. The current Government is now considering privatizing the student loan book. Russell Brand has encouraged us not to vote, and Robert Webb has replied by rejoining Labour. While the latter two observations above may just be, according to taste, harmless fun played out in the celestial world of celebrity for our pleasure, the former two are very real issues which affect us all as students. That being said, the stereotype of today’s lethargic and ‘lad-ish’ student may be said to be very different from those political radicals like the 68ers who became the poster-children of student political mobility. Certain groups in Sussex don’t seem to live up to these generalizations and Manchester certainly has a history of political activism and agitation.

But is the youth of today apathetic? I shall be trying to find out this Thursday (14th November 2013) at 5pm when I venture behind enemy lines to attend Student Question Time, an event hosted by the Manchester Debating Union, at The University of Manchester. Some of Manchester’s various student political societies will be represented in the panel discussion and the audience will be given the opportunity to submit questions directed to the speakers. Questions must be submitted beforehand via email but come along to watch even if you don’t raise a question. Participation must begin somewhere and if you, like me, wish to ‘test the waters’ before fully engaging in political student life this event is ideal for you. Even a general picture of student thought on contemporary matters is better than none, and you may go away asking yourself some questions which you can then act on, whether by activism or by bringing issues to MMU’s Student Union.

The three biggest mainstream political parties will be represented by Labour Students, Conservative Future, and Liberal Youth. For those disenchanted by contemporary politics, the radical Anti-Capitalist Students or Young Greens may offer an alternative; for those who hold individual liberty and a free society of the utmost importance, the non-partisan Liberty League are for you. 

There’s a decent mix suited to most people’s taste and interests from Left to Right, and I would recommend this event even as just an interested spectator. Students have traditionally been an active political force. Not wishing to lapse, as I so often do, into a wistful, romanticized vision of the past, I’d like to leave one final thought. University is fun, but do we perhaps, as two speakers from the above mentioned Sussex Occupation pointed out, need reminding that our Student Union is a political body which represents us as well as a place you can get a cheap drink?

This event is hosted by the Manchester Debating Union and will be taking place at the University of Manchester’s Roscoe Building in Lecture Theatre B, for more information please visit the Student Question Time Facebook page.

Born and raised in Cyprus but with a British upbringing (a fun mix of halloumi and tea), George studies History at MMU but thinks the present can be just as fascinating – only just though. Believing it can be a strange and wicked world, George tries to make sure he’s armed with a sense of humour. Follow him at @OdysseosGeorge

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aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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