An election ‘speed-dating’ event has taken place at Bournemouth University, matching prospective MPs and Bournemouth University students for a quick-speed political Q&A.
BBC Radio Solent and Students’ Union Bournemouth University (SUBU) organised the political speed-dating, with students given two minutes to speak to a parliamentary candidate before moving places to speak with all five candidates in a ten minute window.
Parliamentary candidates involved in the event were Conservative Conor Burns, Liberal Democrat Vikki Slade, Green Party candidate Alasdair Kelly, UKIP’s Steve Unwin and Labour candidate Rachel Rogers.
Hosted by Breakfast in Dorset presenter Steve Harris and taking place in Bournemouth University’s new Student Centre, the audio will be played over a five day period on BBC Radio Solent in the run up to the general election on 7 May 2015.
Dan Vaughan, a final year Public Relations student at Bournemouth University, took part in the speed-dating and said, “It was great to speak to the candidates. I would have loved to have a little longer with them all, because two minutes isn't enough. They all did a good job of answering the questions in the time, but they did come across as being very different to me.
“While I agree that a lot of students can be a bit apathetic about politics, I think that is because they lack a great deal of knowledge on it. Add to that the infighting and the way that the people standing are nothing like us, events like this are really important in making young people believe that they can understand it and engage in the political process.”
Vikki Slade, Liberal Democrat candidate for Mid Dorset and North Poole, applauded the unique format and said, “It was really good fun, to be able to do something so intense. You had to get your message across really quickly.
“I left it for the students to take the lead and some of them wanted to use the two minutes to tell me how they felt about something rather than ask a question, and that was really interesting because it gave me the chance to hear different perspectives.”
Dan Vaughan also gave an insight into the views of students in this election, concluding, “For me, politics is too strategic and competitive. Parties should work together for the good of the people that they serve rather than try to secure that they are in power for some more time. I thought that the Lib Dem candidate did really well because she gave an honest answer in that they were unprepared for government last time out.”