London's debating society New Turn www.newturn.org.uk whom I recommend you check out their programme, hosted a debate between the youth wings something Benali has been leading on for some time and seized the day with this one. Also check out New Turn's facebook page with photos here.
I was disappointed not to see more of you London Young Greens at the debate but there was nevertheless a strong turnout of young up-and-coming people I can no longer keep tabs on. Sadly it clashed with the final of the Great British Bake-off which is on iPlayer fyi.
The debate was live and un-amplified a 100-seater lecture theatre with New Turn live-tweeting but unfortunately Wifi was only for those with a KCL login. It was an all-male panel due to the fact that the female co-chair Ash is busy in Norwich and the female chair of Liberal Youth (joint press release on fee hike) on the billing is down with tonsillitis. :-(
The Chair of the debate the president of KCL Politics society started off by pointing out it was a joint event with New Turn, Politics Society, Labour society, and Conservative society.
The first thing that struck me about the proposition's comments on what Labour would do is the focus on care for the elderly. Spending thousands of pounds a day on bed-blocking makes no sense when the NHS budget and thousands of nurses are being cut. Instead Gordon Brown would have merged social care and spend hundreds a day on residential care.
Our Green Friend spoke emotively about the equality impact of the cuts and how they are economically illiterate. His fourth point is that worse than when Thatcher sent a lost generation to the JobCentre, this Government is sweeping the benefits away for this lost generation, forcing us to accept precarious jobs.
As you see from the twitter, Sam Coates, current 2013 co-chair of the Young Greens and Oxfordshire Councillor said, "We haven't heard much about global climate change for a while."
"We now have less than 5 years to reduce global gas emissions"
(The opposition from Conservative Future claimed that they have reduced the rich-poor gap in 6th-forms.)
"The coalition has succeeded in making the rich richer #NTCoalition"
"Thatcher recognised that when you put people out of work you need to compensate with macroeconomic policy. This hasn't happened #NTCoalition"
"We're making the country meaner as a result of this coalition #NTCoalition"
"We blame the unemployed, immigrants, etc when really its the policies of the government that have made us this way #NTCoalition"
Sam also mentioned the #bedroomtax.
Throughout Oliver made faces and muttered, and was forced to apologise "for distracting from the proposition's factually incorrect speech."
He faced LOLz from the left of the panel when he said "I am a conservative, I wish we had more opportunity to project our ... <ahem> values and power overseas but can't do that with deficit"
After the guest speakers (see The hashtag for tonight's event #NTCoalition ) there were contributions from the audience. The first came from the chair of Kings College London Labour society. There was also a question about something Sam Coates @samcoatescymru raised earlier. It was quite clever and climaxed in "That's why I joined the Green Party". It was evident that she was struggling with these issues as a KCL student so I'm glad I didn't add my 2-cents with my great big Vote Green t-shirt. She spoke about the difference between exchange value and use value in a way I understood. The question was what would the Green Party do in government? As a member of the proposition, Richard had a chance to reply as well.
There was a vote at the end, which did not include some Conservatives who walked out after the questions to attend Parliament.
The parties then stood in different corners of the room for a catchup while Sam snuk out. I had a chat with @RichardAngell (who now heads up LGBT Labour) about Brighton which he'd raised earlier. I really think that there should be localism and unfortunately we're seeing cuts from Westminster. I am proud that Brighton & Hove Greens will be holding a referendum on raising council tax from the rich, and if he really believes in freezing council tax he should join in coalition with the Tories. (Represented rather well in this debate by the cold-hearted @OliverCooper CF and @JoshDixonTweets from the Liberal Democrats)
I quite enjoyed the night...
(especially watching an all-male panel discuss the impact of the coalition's policies on women's lives)
The debate got me thinking about the Living Wage. I will write something about this and "taking the poorest out of tax" next week.