In this fifth episode of the Candidate’s Diary, 400 students get the better of her.

Nottingham and Trent Universities have organised a Manifesto Evening where all parliamentary candidates will have the opportunity to meet and discuss the various problems students have to deal with.

`Sounds good’ says CM. `It will be a chance to catch up on the campus gossip.’

My youngest daughter having graduated in Civil Engineering just last year and her four years in Nottingham Uni means we probably know quite a few socially.

The event is to be held in the Trent Students Union. It’s located at a safe distance several dark streets away from the main building, which we circle several times before finally locating it. We’re already late, but it doesn’t matter too much as things aren’t quite ready.  There’s a good crowd and lots of enthusiastic young officials still rushing around making last minute preparations.

CM Checks Out The Bar

It looks like taking a bit of time so CM checks out the bar to return with two cokes and a dejected expression.

`It’s dry for tonight’ are the only words he can get out.

The Manifesto is a well-designed document listing the main areas of student concern with each section further detailing them. There will be an opportunity at the end to sign it we are now informed.

`Have you read this?’ asks CM. `they aren’t exactly holding back.’

Gigantic display boards are being erected on the stage in front of us.

I work through the manifesto which has many reasonable points. There are some which seem unrealistic in the short term but still are worthy objectives to work towards.

The Display Boards Are Erected

Things get under way eventually. One team from each university takes turns to speak their bits. The alternating choreography is a brave effort giving it more interest. Much enthusiastic clapping ensues after each speaker finishes their piece.  It’s time to Meet the Candidates and we all stand and obediently wave our manifestos above our heads trying to look as near as possible to MPs at PM’s Question Time.

One or two students approach and start talking about their problems, most of which I am already quite familiar with from the experiences of my daughter’s time there.

Not to spoil the party, but with certain trepidation I sign the display boards promising to write to the Minister on the issues if elected.

I Reflect on the Night

As the event draws to a close and we head back home I reflect on the lessons learned. I ponder about the complexities of the political process itself.

As politicians we must press to improve the lot of our constituents and address their concerns. But at the same time take a very careful look at the ramifications of what we push as the solution. The interests of other sections of the community may be affected adversely by the outcome. It is a question of a reasonable balance always being sought for all. But then that is the challenge.

And the students, as they go through an exacting period of their lives have a right to it being made easier if at all possible. I am going to see what I can do.


Coming Next : A Touch of Fall-Out On The Domestic Front