Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
6 views
6 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
33 views
33 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
30 views
30 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
59 views
59 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
111 Views

The Badger interviews Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Chris Bowers

Given that your party did not deliver its promises regarding tuition fees, do you think you can win back student trust?

I hope so. I think it’s important people, students, understand the process in which the tuition fees decision was made.

Labour and Conservative both committed themselves to implementing the Browne report before the election, which had not been published at that stage. It was only published after the election and it was grotesque, stating that if universities could charge whatever they want, if that’s £30,000 a year, they should charge £30, 000 a year.

We were faced with a dilemma. We could say no, we promised the abolition of tuition fees and been steamrollered, in which case there would have been no talk of broken promises, just that Liberal Democrats are impotent. But instead we used the support we had through all the people who voted for us for our stance on tuition fees to go into bat for a much better deal. We got a cap on fees, which never would have been put in place otherwise. Originally of £6,000 a year cap that we compromised up to £9000 on the condition that there were mechanisms in place to help poorer families, like scholarships and grants.

The idea of using £9,000 as a short hand for bashing the Liberal Democrats is desperately simplistic and unfair. We also also made sure the pay back threshold went up from earning £15,000 to £21,000. I think we acted with common sense.

Research carried out recently states that children from poorer backgrounds are 70% more likely to go to university now than they were before under the old system.

You can probably sense I’m quite angry about this issue, the reason I’m angry is because I think we’ve done bloody well both by the students and students of the future. It’s not perfect but we were in a ghastly situation in the first place. It has taken me four minutes to explain all this to you and we are normally only given 12 second sound bites. We have still done a lot that is good for society and have made the higher education system fairer.

Students, as the academic elite of this country should really understand the background, when I hear a student saying  ‘those bloody Lib Dems they sold us down the river, they’ve betrayed us they’ve broken their promise’ I find that so fatuities, it makes me wonder what that person is doing as a student, which is aggressive on my part. In this election I am going to be bullish about the tuition fee issue. If students are worthy of their place in the academic elite they ought to know their facts and understand that governing is not easy. If you disagree with what we did that’s fine, but don’t take cheap shots at us based on a couple of headlines and prejudiced newspapers.

Are students still your priority?

We sit on the progressive wing of English politics. We care about the welfare of society not just ourselves and students therefore tend to gravitate toward us and the Green Party, making them a priority.

Do you think the coalition has had an overall positive or negative effect on the Liberal Democrat party?

Although it has had a negative effect on how we are viewed forming coaltion, I think, was still the right thing to do. We have provided a stable government in a difficult context, after an election that immediately saw Greece go bankrupt.

What makes the Liberal Democrats distinct from the other parties, like Labour and Conservative?

We are radical but not extremists, we are for deep-rooted change for things that are not working. We understand that a strong economy is necessary for a fairer society, but you can’t trust Conservatives with promotion of a ‘fair society’ and you equally can’t trust Labour with the economy. We offer a radical anchor in the middle ground. For example, mental health will be a central plank of our manifesto unlike other parties. Patients with mental health issues need just as much care as people with medical illnesses, but because they are “mentally ill” they slip through the net.

The Liberal Democrats have performed poorly in the last 2 by-elections, losing their deposit both times. Do you think this is just a protest vote or does it represent a permanent shift away from liberal democrat support?

People are angry, and using their vote as a weapon. Once you are in government you get your hands dirty, especially in a difficult economic situation and we have been tainted with Conservative policy. Politics is cyclical, if we were an opposition or protest party again we might pick up votes. In retrospect I think people will realize the Lib Dems have not been bad in government.

Brighton having an MP from a party that only has one MP makes it more important to listen to constituents rather than towing the party line, do you feel that you can make a similar commitment to listen to your constituents?

Yes absolutely. You can’t deliver everything because people want conflicting things but you should always listen. Me and Carloline Lucas have little to disagree about, but how you should vote in relation to the environment is tricky. Voting Green is a more open statement but leaves you with a one woman lobby in government where as Lib Dems have actually got things done, we have been running the department of energy and climate change.

Looking at their popularity in recent national polls, do you consider UKIP to be a serious threat?

Nigel Farage is very clever. He has tapped into the feeling of the country and has a way of making what are actually facile arguments sound reasonable, and I’m not just talking about to closet racists (although I’m sure there are some). UKIP also has Conservative running scared. The Conservative party has been split as a result, many people in the party are uncomfortable with the idea of leaving Europe as they recognize its benefits. There comes a moment when you need to stand up for what you believe, in spite of pubic opinion,

UKIP and Conservative are allowing public dislike for Europe drive the country into a very dangerous position. In reality (as the more uncomfortable, what might be called ‘soft’ Conservatives realize), they rely on non-British national work.

Just because you don’t like aspects of the EU doesn’t mean you get rid of it altogether. There are things I dislike about England, but I don’t move! We can make changes to both from within. We gain benefits from the EU like an influence in world affairs we would not otherwise have.

However unfashionable it may be, there comes a point where you need to say, this is just wrong.

I do not think UKIP will be a threat to Brighton Pavillion because their support tends to come from aging men. Brighton has a mixed population, of gender and age meaning UKIP do not have very fertile hunting  ground here.

Do you think the Liberal Democrats are in need of new leadership?

No.

Clegg has given people what they wanted on the run up to the last election, the question is do people see that. What people say they want isn’t necessarily what they respond to when they see it in action. People love voting for change but then hate change when it comes into being. Nick Clegg just got on with it, and thought I’m going to just carry on. Clegg has taken incredible amounts of flack and is still there smiling, a thoroughly decent human being.

We have hopes that despite five years of frustration, people will ultimately think, ‘he’s not such a bad guy, he’s had so much thrown at him and good on y’ mate’- even if this is a grudging kind of respect from people.

It’s time not for a change of leadership, but to put Clegg’s leadership style to the test and see if people are willing to say, ‘I’ve been frustrated with him for five years but actually, he may be the best of the bunch.’

Will the Lib Dems drug policy be a red line issue if there are negotiations to form a coalition at the next general election as a lot of young people that support the decriminalization of drugs might be skeptical about the Lib Dems after the tuition fee pledge?

At the moment it is not clear what are red line policies will be. If we do end up in negotiations again we will push as much of what we stand for as we can.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
6 views
6 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
33 views
33 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
30 views
30 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
59 views
59 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
6 views
Arts
6 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018

Starting university comes with both exciting but potentially daunting changes, with both moving away from home and studying at degree level posing to be two new challenges.…

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist
Film & Theatre
20 views
Film & Theatre
20 views

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist

Anonymous - September 18, 2018

One key film in the development of anyone who grew up in the early 2000s was The Incredibles (2004). It’s comedy, vibrancy, and general sense of fun…

France in Fine Fettle
Sports
33 views
Sports
33 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Prior to the start of the quadrennial tournament this summer, football fans across the world grew sceptical over Russia’s credentials and ability to host the most prestigious…

Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
30 views
Arts
30 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Boredom is impossible when you throw yourself into everything this weird and wonderful city has to offer. The specific and unique cultural wonders of Brighton are indeed…

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
59 views
Arts
59 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

During this year’s Pride Festival, Brighton had the honour of welcoming international pop star and voice of the early 2000s, Britney Spears, to the main stage. Undoubtedly,…

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
1130 views1
Campus News
1130 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Sussex Lecturer Accused of Making Transphobic Comments Ahead of Brighton Trans Pride 2018
News
60 views1
News
60 views1

Sussex Lecturer Accused of Making Transphobic Comments Ahead of Brighton Trans Pride 2018

Jessica Hubbard - September 15, 2018

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy Lecturer at Sussex, was accused of making transphobic comments in July 2018. This followed various interviews and blog posts by Stock. Stock told…

Welcome 2018 Freshers!
Campus News
65 views
Campus News
65 views

Welcome 2018 Freshers!

Billie-Jean Johnson - September 15, 2018

Ah, Freshers. You’ve no idea the amazing year you have ahead of you! As you read this now, you’ve probably met your flatmates and maybe even met…

A conversation with Kathleen Stock on Transgender Identity
Opinion
57 views
Opinion
57 views

A conversation with Kathleen Stock on Transgender Identity

Jessica Hubbard - September 15, 2018

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy lecturer at Sussex University, met with controversy after criticising the government’s reform of the Gender Recognition Act (2004). The amendment would ‘de-medicalise’ the…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
384 views
Arts
384 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
388 views
Arts
388 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
362 views
Arts
362 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
427 views
Arts
427 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
444 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
383 views
Arts
383 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
360 views
Arts
360 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
545 views
Campus News
545 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
312 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
909 views
Arts
909 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
369 views
Arts
369 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu
Artist Focus
452 views
Artist Focus
452 views

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - May 16, 2018

Last week artist Fedilou made her debut exhibition in the downstairs space of Morelli Zorelli, a quaint vegan Italian restaurant in Hove, featuring a collection of intimate…