Day 1

Madeline Johns, Lauren Varo, Stephanie Kolaczkos, Josh Scultz and Will Gloster

Twenty-five University of Adelaide Politics and Law students are currently in central London for the UK Election Study Tour, and will be sending us through some guest blog posts about their experience. Here is the first …

As we sit here, trying to write this blog post, one thing above others sits in our minds – how best to start this blog properly. Perhaps a vaguely appropriate quote from Shakespeare or Churchill, or something equally intellectually weighty would be fitting. One might say this is the worst way to start a blog, except for all the others.

Regardless of how much of a cliché this might seem, we really are grateful for this opportunity to examine UK politics and law at close quarters. Although the nuances between UK and Australian politics seemed rather minute at first, today’s engaging discussion illuminated many interesting contrasts between the Australian and UK political systems.

Jetlagged after a long flight the night before, the 27 of us, herded by Erika our CIS representative, clambered onto the tube and made our way to the University of Westminster to seek light on the political and constitutional issues surrounding the upcoming UK General Election.

Although we felt very familiar, studying in another Anglophone country so culturally similar to our own, the differences, and how these will play out during the campaign, rapidly became apparent. The differences were aptly demonstrated in a useful exercise where we examined the spread of British newspapers for their contents and political biases.

We passionately discussed John Stuart Mill’s idea of plural voting, framed through the ideology of the Westminster system of government. We further discussed themes around the UK constitutional framework, democracy and youth engagement in politics.

However, to reduce all of this this to a more individual level, the following anecdote might be useful. After our formal learning time at University of Westminster, we went on a ‘hop-on-hop-off’ bus tour of London. It is perhaps an interesting snapshot of the current state of British political engagement that our tour guide had decided that he was not voting in the election as no party seemed worthy of his vote. He justified this by saying that it was not worth taking time out of his working day to engage in, what seemed to him, a futile exercise. It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except all those others that have been tried, Winston Churchill.

 Stayed tuned for more!!!

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