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Ben Mayor (middle) taking part in the hustings at Leeds University - photo Maddy Steeds

Ben Mayor (middle) taking part in the hustings at Leeds University – photo Maddy Steeds

On Wednesday 20th April, Leeds University union held a Q&A session for Hyde Park and Woodhouse candidates in the local council elections. The idea was to get more students interested on local politics. While the event was not hugely attended, TUSC candidate Ben Mayor made a strong case of why students should vote for anti cuts councillors.

Maddy Steeds, Leeds Socialist Party

On a panel with the Green Party, Liberal Democrats,  Ukip and the Conservatives, TUSC was the only anti cuts party. While the Green Party often tries to put themselves forward as being anti austerity this candidate stated that councillors’ “hands were tied” and that students were best off making sure they brought their bins off the streets every week.

Ben made it clear the TUSC fight for ordinary working class people and stand shoulder to shoulder with them during local struggles. He was the only candidate to say he would oppose cuts and that he would facilitate the strengthening of community links. He also made it clear that we need to support sexual assault survivors and improve safety around the ward, something TUSC supporters have been fighting for within the community for sometime. This was a stark contrast to the Lib Dem candidates view that we should improve personal safety instead of taking preventative measures. The view that it was the victim being irresponsible shows how out of touch current politicians are with consent campaigns that are an important part of today’s student politics.

TUSC’s platform of capping rents and setting up an ethical letting agency was mentioned, showing that TUSC is a party that not only talks the talk but walks the walk. This was in stark contrast to the Tory candidate’s suggestion that we need to work with landlords, again making it clear that even at a local level we are not all in it together.

While TUSC is still a relatively unknown party within student circles, the people in attendance of the Q&A could be seen nodding to the points put forward by Ben. The positive reception to the anti cuts platform shows that students are ready for a political change and are very open to socialist ideas.