by Lowri Pitcher
Last week, Gair Rhydd politics spoke to the Presidents of Cardiff Uni’s political party societies. James Wallice, President of the Conservative Society, shared his views on the current state of politics, Brexit, what his party does for students and much more…
Name: James Wallice
Role in the society: President
Favourite pub meal? Tough one. Probably a burger from Gassy’s.
What do you think of the state of politics at the moment?
We’re in a really tricky and complex situation. Labour, the Lib Dems and other opposition parties have continually denied to deliver on the largest mandate in British political history – it’s completely unacceptable and a betrayal of our democratic system. We’re seeing more and more division, and with that comes more uncertainty. Brexit is an issue that should have been dealt with and delivered on March 29, however, due to the inability of hard-Brexiteers, Labour, the Lib Dems, Plaid and others to be pragmatic on such a complex issue, we’re now in a situation whereby our Parliament is quickly losing the confidence of the public.
Do you think that there should be a second referendum on Brexit?
Not at all. Another in-out second referendum would rip the plaster off the wound, reopening the divisions that were created in 2016. If our democratic system is going to instill any faith, we have to deliver on the referendum result and unite the country. It’s difficult to see any situation where the current political climate can continue, with defections happening weekly, changes in Brexit policy – especially from the Labour Party – happening almost daily, it’s clear this kind of politics is not sustainable.
What are some of your party’s important domestic agendas/policies/ideas?
Since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister, we’ve seen commitments to increase education funding for every primary and secondary school student, ensuring every child has the same opportunity in life. We’ve seen a crackdown on domestic abuse with the promise to re-introduce the Domestic Violence Bill in the Queen’s Speech. The PM also announced that we’ve already started to recruit an extra 20,000 more police officers to tackle crime and make our streets, up and down the country, safer. Also, this week we’ve seen Johnson commit to ensuring that more victims are able to challenge unduly lenient prison sentences, ensuring that the sentence does indeed fit the crime.
It’s absolutely vital we get on with the job and deliver Brexit on October 31. We’ve made a commitment and we must stick to it. Then we can get on with uniting the country by propelling the UK forward with strong domestic policies that reflect a modern Britain.
What does your party do for students?
Over the last 11 years, we’ve seen successive Conservative governments strive to champion the rights and concerns of students. Whilst in Wales, the majority of issues that affect students are devolved to the Labour-run Welsh Government, in England we’ve seen the Conservatives scrap Stamp Duty for first time buyers, making it easier for young people to get on the housing ladder. Only last week Johnson announced that international students can now stay in the UK for up to 2 years after graduating from university, giving them time to find a secure, high quality job to apply for long term residence. And only this week we’ve seen youth unemployment fall even further, with 451,000 fewer young people out of work since 2010, almost halving the youth unemployment figures Labour left us with in 2010. The Conservative Party will continue to champion and protect the rights and interests of students, up and down the UK.
International students can now stay in the UK for up to 2 years after graduating from university, giving them time to find a secure, high quality job to apply for long term residence
Do you think there will be a general election soon? When? What do you think may happen?
I think it’s absolutely vital we have an election as soon as Brexit has been dealt with. We have a Parliament that’s struggling to agree on anything, MPs jumping ship and joining new parties without calling a by-election, it’s no wonder the general public are feeling disdain towards those that represent us. We need an election to start afresh, and to give the next prime minister a mandate to get on with their domestic policy.
What does your party need to do to win student or public support in a possible election?
Every party needs to be honest, and truthful. Since the 2016 referendum we’ve had promise after promise that’s been made and not kept, we need to regain the trust of everybody up and down the country. But the Tory party has to be radical, we need to give young people the same hope and opportunities our parents received when they were growing up. The Tories are often portrayed as Eton toffs who have grown up in a life of privilege, but for the most part that’s not the case. We share values of opportunity for all – if you work hard in life then you deserve to be rewarded, we’re tough on crime, and we build strong economies to support the most vulnerable in our society. These are the principles of the modern day Conservative Party and these should be at the heart of any Conservative government.
We share values of opportunity for all – if you work hard in life then you deserve to be rewarded