Three students are standing for the Green Party, three for the Lib Dems, and one for the ConservativesJude Crawley

Judging by the last time Varsity sat down to record the students standing in the local elections back in 2018, I wasn’t assuming my interviewees would be the most formidable of candidates this time round. I was expecting to sit down with some lovely, but pretty poorly informed students, standing in some random ward they had never really heard of because their student political society needed to get a name on the ballot. After all, in 2018 many had struggled to answer how many wards there were in Cambridge City Council or faltered at the fatal ‘how much is a pint of milk’ hurdle.

My frustration with the 2018 cohort was not so much with the lack of basic knowledge, but their lack of seriousness. As someone who was born and raised in Cambridge, nothing screams “town-gown divide” quite like students treating local elections like mocks, something to bolster their party credentials, a trial run for their inevitable campaign to become an MP in 15 years time. Many seemed to have little intention of winning, very little knowledge of the job and could only identify wards by which Colleges they housed. 

Jude Crawley

So, when I went to interview this years candidates, I had a slight suspicion: “This is all just game to you, and I’m going to show how unsuitable you really are for this role”

I was proved totally and utterly wrong. 

Sitting down with the candidates, they were all well-informed, passionate, and lovely. They had valid reasons for standing, and were able to discuss (often in more depth than eventually made it into the video) the issues facing Cambridge. I’ve had conversations with many other students in the lead up to these elections. Most don’t know they are happening, and those that do don’t care enough to vote. The students standing in this election put the apathetic student population to shame. They are giving up their sparse spare time to go door-knocking and listen to the concerns of students and non-students alike. The more I spoke to them, both on and off camera, the more my cynical outlook started to shift.

Regardless of party affiliation, my impression was they would all make hard-working, dedicated councillors responsive to both the student and resident populations.