Bede’s Mock General Election
The poll at Bede Academy, in Blyth, followed two weeks of campaigning by student candidates representing the main parties.
The young politicians had been coached by the ‘real’ Parliamentary candidates for the Blyth Valley constituency, including sitting MP Ronnie Campbell, who was returned to power by voters in the General Election with 46.3 per cent of the vote.
The students also completed their own research into the party manifestos and developed convincing campaigns from constituency offices in the academy, including giving final rallying speeches to a whole school assembly on the morning of the election.
The result was Labour with 517 votes, with UKIP in second place, again mirroring the real ballot. The Conservatives attracted 71 votes in third place, while 62 students voted for the Green Party and just 27 supported the Liberal Democrats.
Delighted Labour candidate Matthew Butcher, 17, of Blyth, said:
“I was quite surprised about how seriously students took the election. A lot of people came up to me in the corridor during the campaign to quiz me on why they should vote Labour. I’m pleased they were convinced by the arguments.”
Matthew, who wants to study political science or geopolitics at university before a career in the RAF, added:
“I focused on the issues that affect young people the most like university tuition fees, that Labour has pledged to reduce, increasing the minimum wage and support for first time buyers.”
Liberal Democrat candidate Aiesha Grear, 15, of Blyth, said:
“I found during the campaign that a lot of people had already formed an opinion about who to vote for. We tried to persuade them to support the Lib Dems, but it was tough.”
UKIP candidate Chris Soulsby, 17, of Blyth, said:
“I was shocked at how vocal people were against UKIP, but I also spoke to a lot who are sick to death of Labour.”
His running mate Daniel Collins, 15, of Blyth, added:
“I never used to talk about politics before but I’m really interested now. We’ve had a lot of discussions at home but I don’t think I convinced my parents to vote for my party.”