MP Candidate Question Time: An interview with Joel Mason

Exeposé Features online (23 March 2015)

The final panellist to speak to Exeposé’s Hannah Butler, News Editor, and Emily Marsay, after DebSoc and PolSoc’s MP Candidate Question Time was Joel Mason, Liberal Democrat candidate and current PPE student at Exeter University.

Asked what he most passionately disagreed with in the debate, Mason recalled remarks made by Keith Crawford [UKIP] about the EU. “It’s essentially scaremongering,” he added, “and trying to tell people that the EU is responsible for all our problems.”

Describing these remarks as a “cheap response,” he continued: “it’s not true, and I think it’s a shame that we didn’t have time to further debate that issue, because I would have loved the chance to try and defend the EU further.” Mason explained that he and the Liberal Democrats are “passionately pro-EU,” arguing: “a huge amount of our trade depends on it, and more importantly, we face a lot of trans-national problems which we need trans-national solutions for, so it makes sense to co-operate across borders.”

Asked how the debate had gone, Mason said: “it’s really great to see so many students there, and engaged in what’s going on,” adding: “I’m glad that we all had a platform to put forward our cases.”

Despite the event being “short,” meaning the candidates “couldn’t quite say as much as we wanted to,” he noted: “it was great that so many people were there, and engaging in politics,” stressing: “I really hope the new people will go away and look into it further, and will actually vote come 7 May.”

In terms of making sure students don’t feel forgotten by the Liberal Democrats, Mason said: “one of the most important things we can do is to change our voting system, so that fewer votes are actually wasted and fewer people’s opinions are just brushed to the side.”

Explaining: “the vast majority of seats are either safe Tory seats or safe Labour seats,” he labelled this “a real shame,” adding: “that actually diminishes our political system, because so many people feel disenfranchised if they go along to vote and their vote won’t matter.”

And what are Mason’s views on Exeter’s growing student numbers? “I think they are actually going to pose a real problem,” he admitted, adding: “there are a lot of issues surrounding housing supply and rising rents in Exeter, and I think part of this is to do with the increasing numbers of students.”

However, he also noted: “it’s important that there are a range of options open to people, and people don’t feel that in order to get on in life, they have to go to university. That’s why I’m really proud that, under the coalition government, we’ve helped to create two million new apprenticeships to actually give people a viable alternative to university.”

>>View original Exeposé Features interview>>

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