by Lowri Pitcher
Last week, Gair Rhydd politics spoke to the Presidents of Cardiff Uni’s political party societies. Leo Holmes, President of the Labour Society, shared his views on the current state of politics, Brexit, what his party does for students and much more…
Name: Leo Holmes
Role in the Society: President
Favourite pub meal: Sweet Chilli Halloumi Wrap and Chips
What do you think of the state of politics at the moment?
The current state of politics is incredibly divisive. Its fractured nature has created a situation where less and less people seemingly have respect for politicians and the political process. The current situation has torn apart friendships, families and had a huge effect on the future of the UK as a whole.
Do you think that there should be a second referendum on Brexit, why?
Yes. We need a second referendum on Brexit for a multiplicity of reasons. We must bring the UK together, reunite the cracks that currently underline relationships in this current society. A second referendum gives people the chance to have a vote on Brexit which is now much more informed than it was in 2016. On top of this, the young people, like myself, who could not vote in 2016 were denied a vote on our future. The current state of the Brexit process is disastrous for the many, as we have to stand up to the upcoming social and economic uncertainty that beckons. Brexit is only prosperous for the few, those like Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg, whom wish to see the UK turned into a tax haven in a post-Brexit mess, only worsening the wealth discrepancy between the many and the few. We must have a say on our future as it gives us a chance to say no to Boris, no to his divisive politics, but yes to an inclusive, tolerant and economically prosperous United Kingdom.
What are some of your party’s important domestic agendas, policies and ideas?
The Labour Party has lots of key domestic agendas and policies that wish to forward the notion of equality of opportunity and social justice for all in society. One of these policies being the Wages Not Ages campaign, stopping age discrimination in pay meaning that your age does not dictate how you are paid for partaking in the same profession as somebody a little older than you. Especially given the current Brexit situation, wages may take a big hit in the face of economic instability. This is why we are also fundamentally a remain political party, and back a second referendum with the option to remain here in Wales.
Another key domestic policy of the Labour party is clamping down on corporate tax evasion and increasing corporation tax on multinational companies. Britain has one of the lowest percentages of corporation tax in Europe, costing the economy billions of pounds a year. Coupled with corporate tax avoidance, vitally important services such as the NHS are being underfunded because of this avoidance. By clamping down on tax avoidance and increasing corporation tax, we help to spread out wealth equality to all in Britain. The money can be used to revitalise the NHS, the welfare benefits system and vital mental health services, three areas of which have received crippling austerity by previous Tory and coalition governments.
Reducing the emissions of the UK is another important domestic policy. The Welsh Assembly was the first base of power in the UK to declare a climate emergency. This declaration was spearheaded by Welsh Labour. The Labour party believes that in reducing fossil fuels, people have a greater chance of not only living longer, but also having a greater quality of life. Where you live should not dictate your quality of life.
Where you live should not dictate your quality of life
What does your party do for students?
The main policy of the party towards students is the abolition of tuition fees for university students. The idea of tuition fees, and scale of student debt is a concept which every year deters students from poorer backgrounds from coming to university. By abolishing tuition fees, we hope to make university spaces more inclusive for students from these backgrounds. One should not have to pay for education, as education is a basic human right thus anything blocking the path to further education should be removed. Linked in with reducing emissions, Labour wants to secure a better future for young people.
One should not have to pay for education, as education is a basic human right thus anything blocking the path to further education should be removed
Do you think there will be a general election soon? When may this be and what do you think will happen?
Yes, I do think there will be a general election soon. I think one will occur around the mid to end of November. I think the Conservative Party will lose much of its support due to Boris’ erratic behaviour, with gains for Labour where voters have become disenfranchised with Tory rule.
What does your party need to do to win student or public support in a possible election?
In order to win student and public support in the general election, we need to make sure that as many people are registered to vote as possible. This means that we must remind students that when returning to university in their second and third years, they must either register to vote at their new address, or sign up for a postal vote at their home address. Otherwise, we will not be able to have a say on our future in what promises to be one of the biggest elections the UK has seen in decades.