by Bridget Smith on 18 May, 2017
This is the short speech I gave today to 6th form students at Nene Park Academy. Also present were students from CMAT Academy and the Labour and UKIP candidates. The young people asked extremely challenging questions and it was a real pleasure and privilege to be able to speak with them.
“My name is Bridget Smith and I am the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for NW Cambridgeshire and currently Leader of the South Cambs Lib Dems. I have lived in Cambridgeshire for 35 years and I have 3 sons, the youngest of whom is currently doing his A levels, including politics.
So why am I a Liberal Democrat?
Lib Dems believe in fairness and equal opportunities for everyone. We believe in an open, tolerant and united Britain but a Britain which is stronger and safer as part of Europe.
We believe that everyone deserves to be treated fairly regardless of the colour of their skin, their religion, their sex, their age, their physical or mental abilities, their relationship choices or their place of birth.
We believe that everyone deserves a really high quality education, good health and social care, a good standard of home, a safe and clean environment and the opportunity to work and play.
Our manifesto, pledges are focused firmly on you – the young of this country.
We will give you help to buy your first home for the same cost as renting. We will reinstate housing benefit for young people so you can afford to rent in places where rents are high. We will introduce discounted bus passes for 16 to 21 year old. And we will lower the age at which you can vote to 16.
We will also invest £7bn in school and colleges. Double the number of apprenticeships Give all primary aged children free school meals Triple the money available for early years education. We will give £2600 to you for living expenses to help you to set up your own business.
I am not a career politician, I was a teacher a long time ago and before that I worked in the health service. I now work as a consultant in community and business support and I specialise in building Eco Community buildings.
I got involved in local politics because I wanted to make things better for the young people where I live but also because I was becoming gravely concerned for the future of the NHS, social care and education.
When my eldest son was 6 he became diabetic which at that age is extremely serious. He received outstanding care and against all odds has become a Hollywood actor. I am really not sure that if he were born today into Brexit Britain that his future would be so rosy.
Why should you as young people vote Lib Dem and not for other parties?
If Jeremy Corbyn has his way he will saddle you and this country with enormous debts as he attempts to move Britain back to the dark and dismal 1970s in which I grew up.
In continuing to refuse the vote to 16 and 17 year olds Theresa May is ignoring the fact that the majority of people under the age of 25 voted to Remain and yet your future is being decided, without you being involved, by people at the end of their careers who may not even live long enough to experience the full consequences of what they have done.
Only the Lib Dems are promising you a choice over your future.
Only the Lib Dems are promising you a brighter future.”Leave a comment