Manchester students ‘disillusioned’ by Conservative party conference
- Additional reporting by Amber Brooks and Martha Norris
- Tory party is ‘not connecting with young people’, say students
- Crucial issues of housing and jobs not being addressed by government
Speaking to students, it was clear that they were aware the Tory Party Conference was happening, but unsure how and why it would affect them as young people within this government.
Olivia Robinson, a Manchester University student, said: “I am aware of there being ’protests and angry people’ congregating around the city. It was clear that Tory headlines weren’t reaching the younger people.”
Rail strikes impacted students; affecting them personally and their studies. It was shown in 2020, commuter students were now reaching over 25% of all students and rising each year now with a contribution of rising rental and cost of living.
Two girls from their first year at University already felt the strikes were impacting their education so early on. Mia Wragg said: “It makes me question whether or not I can get to uni that day, it can take me ages to get home – sometimes an extra 90 minutes longer than normal.”
Students had many frustrations with a city that used to be renowned for being “cheaper than the south”, to now feeling too expensive to live and harder to find part time work with a very saturated market.
In Greater Manchester 20% of 17–25-year-olds were struggling to find employment. When asked about the work opportunities in Manchester while studying, Jeanie Myers, 20, was frustrated with the lack of jobs saying, “there’s more students than there are jobs”.
She felt young people’s issues aren’t addressed by the current government.
Jeanie expressed disapproval regarding the Conservative Party Conference being held in her city, stating “it’s rich them doing it here when they don’t do anything for the North”.
That same discourse has been felt across the city, with Mikolaj Kaut of the EU Flags Team protesting the conference in St Peter’s Square. He said the Conservative party don’t have young people’s interests at heart and that the decisions they’re making today will have a huge impact on Generation Z, “taking away their freedoms”.
Jim was another one of the protesters on the St Peter’s Square picket line, just outside of the Conservative party conference Manchester Central. He was dressed as a Winston Churchill caricature and stated: “Young people should be rising up in revolt at the conservatives.”
As to a reason why, he added: “The Conservatives don’t like young people. The Conservatives brought in student loans. The Conservatives didn’t care if they were being taught online.”
A Salford resident and Oxford graduate, studying alongside former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Jim feels sorry for young people.
Gesturing to the statue of British political activist and suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst in the square he observed how young people have responded to British politics today.
“They feel too discouraged. They feel powerless,” he said