Peterborough Regional College buzzes with the enthusiasm of students starting a new term, many of them beginning their lives beyond school and setting out on their chosen career journeys.
I asked if they were interested in politics.
Most said: No. Obv.
Why not? Politics is boring.
So I flicked through the flyers in my LibDem pack: you interested in sex? Result!
Everyone should have the chance to learn about sex and relationships in a safe, non-judgemental space: include consent and harassment; porn and sexting; LGBT+ relationships and gender identity; body image and pleasure. Like.
Then the student who’d asked a question about Mental Health education and support for young people recognised me from the General Election Debate at PRC, back in May. How was my answer, I asked her?
Pretty good. D’you agree with LibDem work in government to treat mental health with the same respect as physical health and our on-going fight for Equal Funding and Equal Rights? Yeah. Join the campaign at www.youngliberals.uk/mentalhealth ? Sure.
Are you bothered about housing? Nope.
Good news – the students I met were in secure accommodation and hadn’t started worrying about their future homes.
Different story at our Residents Association community café on Sunday: with the low paid charity worker resorting to living with his parents; and the young family of the talented musician squashed into one room of a rented house.
Peterborough City Council’s record can only improve, but beyond that we need to shift power: from central government to local, so the PCC can build more Council housing; from private landlords to tenants, building on the good impacts Selective Licencing is making in our city, and adding fairer notice periods, creating “Rent to own”, increasing support to prevent homelessness…
Brexit anyone? Sad faces. They’re upset for themselves: lost chances to study, work and holiday easily abroad; issues for their college friends (wherever they or they parents were born). They know that if they and all 16-17 year olds had voted in the Referendum, we’d be Remaining. Votes for all aged 16 and above is LibDem policy. Like.
They can already see the Brexit impact of rising prices, disappearing jobs; they fear lower environmental standards.
Politics is about the air we breathe. My formal question to Full Council in January: Nottingham’s introducing electric buses; with our rising nitrogen dioxide levels, why isn’t Peterborough? Like.
Politics should be about the real stuff that affects our lives.
Tell me firstname.lastname@example.org your issues so we can build up our manifesto for Peterborough around them.
LibDems are different – we’re not trying to buy your vote, we’re asking you to vote for us and our values.
We stick to what we believe in, and we’re always open to new evidence about what works – from experts and from every- one, including other politicians.
Our fundamental values are about liberty, equality and community; empowering each of us so no one feels trapped by poverty, lack of education or knowledge - or pressured to follow the crowd.
We’re not good at sound bites and we admit the world is complicated, but LibDem membership has risen to record levels this month.
If you follow me @LibDemBeki on twitter you’d know that LibDems overtook the Tories to become the second largest UK party – and we’re growing in Peterborough too.
Always room for more!