Portsmouth: 30 students debate to vote or not to vote?

Sam Barnes Portsmouth Socialist Students

More than 30 people attended the 12 November Socialist Students discussion at the University of Portsmouth over the impact of Russell Brand expressing socialist views in his interview with Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman and his articles in the New Statesman.

The discussion focused on whether people agreed with what Brand had to say and if his statements would help promote socialist ideas.

Of course, the attendance of over 30 people at the debate indicates the impact Brand has had.

We had advertised the debate, the first public event organised by the Socialist Students society this year, by displaying posters in most important buildings on campus.

The meeting was also promoted on the Portsmouth Socialist Students and Political Union (debating) societies’ Facebook pages.

Towards the start of the debate, many supported Brand but others said that he was only trying to promote his own work.

There was also, at first, much agreement with the idea that there’s no one worth voting for. But many speakers who supported Brand because he promoted socialism also thought Brand was short-sighted in saying he didn’t vote.

After the anti-austerity alternative of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition was put forward, more people thought voting could be worthwhile. There was a lot of discussion and interest in TUSC after the meeting.

Students in attendance made clear their feelings about apathy by young people towards politics. By the end of the meeting, there was almost unanimous agreement that Brand had played a positive role in the prompting of interest and further research not only into socialist ideas but politics in general.

Socialist Students is a democratic campaigning organisation with groups in universities and colleges throughout Britain.
Find out more at socialiststudents.org.uk