The first concern raised by the student audience was housing prices, with the fact that this area needed 24-30,000 a year yet only has a capacity for 10,000. Copley partly blamed the constraints of land supply and informed the audience that Labour would work towards changing the regulations of getting money to build affordable housing. Moran stated that “housing is a macro-issue”, revealing Liberal Democrat plans to build 300,000 more houses across the country and aiming for a 42 per cent increase in housing in the next 15 years. Meanwhile Sanders argued that this was a “very simple supply-demand issue” with a ratio of 16:1 for the price of housing compared to outrunnings in Oxfordshire.When the discussion moved to social inequality, Copley stated that Labour was committed to enforcing the living wage and increasing the minimum wage and criticised tax dodging. Moran struck back, telling the crowd “a little bit of inequality is a good thing or we have nothing to aspire to. Just like a little bit of inflation is good.”The relationship with the SNP came up. Sanders told the audience that “the future with Scotland has to do with the decency of this government.” Copley addressed the issue less directly, criticising the “broken and alienating” character of politics. Moran told the audience that “we would be willing to work with anyone other than UKIP”.Immigration was a hot topic, though consensus reigned that immigration is a good thing. Moran said the Liberal Democrats wanted to re-introduce entrance checks while Copley said Labour pledged to employ 1,000 extra border staff. However, Sanders said the Green Party’s policy “is fairly relaxed. There is no policy to kick people out. We are not worried about immigration.”The NHS came up last. Moran told us that the Liberal Democrats want to endorse the ‘Five way forward view’ published by NHS England last year to unify healthcare provision. Copley was more radical; repeal of the Health and Social Care Act. Sanders chipped into this onslaught on the 2012 NHS, pledging to end ‘privatisation.’Hannah Lovell, co-chair of OULC, spoke to Cherwell about the importance of the event, commenting,“[They bring] politics more to life more often than not. The closest people get to politicians is watching Prime Minister’s questions.”In response to the Conservative candidate not turning up, Lovell said “it is pretty shocking especially as these are her local constituents. She did not even bother to send a replacement.” General election hustings took place at St. Anne’s college on Monday evening with the local constituency candidates running in the upcoming General Election.Three of the Oxford West and Abingdon candidates were present, including Sally Copley (Labour), Layla Moran (Liberal Democrat) and Larry Sanders (Green Party). The UKIP candidate Alan Harris declined to attend and the local Conservative MP Nicola Blackwood was unable to attend due to Parliamentary duties. The event was chaired by the Principal of St. Anne’s College, Tim Gardam, and approximately 50 students attended the town-hall style event.The seat was a closely fought Tory-Lib Dem marginal at the last election, with the Conservative candidate, Nicola Blackwood, winning by 176 votes. Polling by Lord Ashcroft last summer suggested that the Tories now lead in the seat, on 38%, with the Lib Dems not far off the pace on 30% and Labour some way behind, on 18%. UKIP polled at 9%, the Greens 4%.The Labour candidate, Copley, began her five minute speech by quoting John Lennon, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” She said that her two main aims were to tackle the NHS, inequality and living costs, emphasising that the cuts under the current government have led to a dramatic increase in poverty and inequality and claiming that all Labour proposals were financially achievable. She praised Ed Miliband for standing up for ordinary working people and concluded that this was “a fascinating seat”.The Liberal Democrat representative, Moran, then claimed that this was a centre-left seat, the sort of seat which will decide the outcome of the general election. She also stated that “whatever people think, this coalition government was stable”, asking for people not to judge them “on the one mistake but the 75 per cent of the rest of the manifesto we pushed through.” She said she was proud of the Liberal Democrats for introducing a new system of progressive tuition fees and pushing forward gay marriage.The final candidate to speak, Sanders, stated that the Green Party’s top priorities were inequality and the NHS. He criticised the fact that one percent now own nearly 50 per cent of the world’s wealth as well as the fragmentation and privatisation of the NHS. Sanders also said that “climate change will destroy the livelihood of 10s of millions of people”. He concluded by arguing that Labour and the Liberal Democrats have been a disappointment to most of their people.
Laura Osnes View Comments Star Files It’s clear now: August kind of stinks. The weather is brutal, everyone’s on vacation but you, and school looms. But cheer up! There’s tons of fun to be had all over the city, including the Newsies at 54 Below, a gripping new work at the Signature Theater by A.R. Gurney, and a Music Man concert featuring two Cinderella faves. It’s all part of this week’s events!Hop on the Wells Fargo WagonAugust 11 at the Pershing Square Signature CenterWe’ve got trouble right here in New York City! Wait, don’t leave—the good kind of trouble. This concert presentation features a collection of Broadway’s best and brightest–folks like Laura Osnes, Santino Fontana, Besty Wolfe, and Andrew Keenan-Bolger—singing the evergreen classics. But unlike the local production in your hometown, vocal all-stars, not Dingleberry High’s sophomore president, will tackle “Seventy-Six Trombones,” “Shipoopi,” and “Ya Got Trouble.” That’s a big difference, folks. Click for tickets!Check in to The Wayside Motor InnStarts August 12 at the Pershing Square Signature CenterVeteran playwright A.R. Gurney begins his residency at the Signature Theater with his 1978 play The Wayside Motor Inn, an ensemble character study about 10 people—some of whom know each other—staying at the titular lodging. With themes ranging from loneliness to the American dream, this should qualify as the most memorable time involving a motel since that sinful, decadent night…you had the indoor pool all to yourself. Click for tickets!See the New Sailors in Bryant ParkAugust 14 at Bryant ParkYou think Central Park is the only grassy expanse in New York that hosts free theater? Child, please! Broadway in Bryant Park wraps up another season of musical lunch breaks with offerings from the casts of Matilda, Mamma Mia!, Motown the Musical and a sneak peek of the forthcoming revival of On the Town. That’s way better than lunch with Lyle from HR.Get Some Good NewsiesAugust 14 at 54 BelowWe don’t know about you, but we’re just not ready to say goodbye to those lovable newsboys. Before they pirouette off into the sunset August 24, cast members of past and present—including Corey Cott and Liana Hunt—appear in Stop the Presses: Newsboys of New York Rally at 54 Below. We can expect “songs, stories, dances, comedy gold and possibly even some audience participation.” Audience participation? Let’s hope it doesn’t involve fighting Joseph Pulitzer’s goons or delivering the Sunday paper. That sucker’s heavy. Click for tickets!Help Stars Help the HomelessAugust 17 at Covenant HouseOn Broadway, charity is as prominent as good pitch and nimble feet. In the second annual Sleep Out: Broadway Edition, various members of theater community—including Stephanie J. Block, Denis O’Hare and Keala Settle—will spend one night on the street to benefit Covenant House, which helps homeless kids in 21 cities nationwide. Participation is limited to those who have worked on or off-Broadway in any capacity, but you can still donate, and of course, cheer the stars on as they try to get some shut-eye.