BU students broadcast live EU Election coverage


Students from across BU’s Media School streamed live analysis and debate during the European Parliamentary Elections to try and encourage student engagement in politics.

Going live Weymouth House on Talbot campus after the polling stations closed, dozens of students were involved in the BUEU2014 project.

The students were a cross-course team from The Media School including students from politics, journalism, media and communications, and TV production courses. Led by a core group, they brought their unique skills together to collaborate on the project.

The broadcast was the most recent in a series of events around the European Parliamentary Elections including televised hustings and a five day trip to Brussels for a group of Media School students.

The trip was financially supported in part by BU’s Fusion fund and part directly from MEPs. The fact-finding mission gave thirty students the opportunity to learn more about the European Parliament, interview MEPs and produce video for the BUEU2014 event.

Doug Tham, a second year BA (Hons) Politics and Media student and president of the Student Politics Society, was one of the organisers of the Brussels trip.

He began fundraising and contacting MEPs over a year ago and hopes to continue to keep the student body engaged in politics in the run up to next year’s general elections.

He said: “I wanted to show students that with politics you need to start from the small ‘p’ and then go to the big ‘P’. And politics, it involves everyone every day in their daily lives but people just need to see that.”

BA (Hons) Television Production student, Ed Lawrence was another of the key instigators for the project. Describing the idea behind BUEU2014, he said:

“There are young voters that are wanting to get interested in politics but finding it difficult to be engaged by the parties so this is a kind of experiment – we’re trying to get a lot of young people involved in this event to get them into the European elections and see what content we can produce.”

Jason Collins, a BA (Hons) Communication and Media student was the studio anchor for the broadcast, reading out the breaking election news live as it happened.

As a previous non-voter Jason said of the project: “I’m not from a political background and prior to applying for the Brussels trip I had no knowledge in the area.

“It wasn’t until I got to Belgium, conversed with other students by debating and got to meet the MEPs that I realised the importance of politics and Europe in our day to day lives.”

“I found myself becoming increasingly passionate and after the trip I formed more of a voice in the area and felt compelled to help with the coverage of the European Parliament Elections.”

Although BUEU2014 is a student-led endeavour it has been supported and encouraged by BU teaching staff and academics throughout.

Dr David McQueen lectures in Politics and Media at BU and has actively encouraged the students to be proactive in politics.

He said he hopes that this type of collaborative working will continue in the School, adding: “The professional manner in which the students have worked together and the degree of engagement in EU political matters has been outstanding.”

Photo courtesy of Neil Goridge

Why Politics matters


MPs and representatives from the main political parties were at BU to debate whether young people today are engaging with politics.

The Why Politics Matters event was organised by students from the BA (Hons) Politics and Media degree.

It took place at BU’s Executive Business Centre in front of an audience of staff, students, members of the public and pupils from Corfe Hills School.

Opening the event, BA Politics and Media Programme Leader David McQueen, said that, while young people appeared to be turning away from the traditional party politics, there was an increasing amount of political activity on social media channels like Twitter and Facebook.

“Does party politics matter?” he said.

“Does it make any difference who we vote for? Lots of people don’t think it does. People think they are all the same.

“One of the problems with politics is young people are just turning their back on it. Why are people losing faith in politics?”

All of the main political parties were represented at the event, with speakers including Leader of the Green Party Natalie Bennett, UKIP Candidate for Christchurch in the 2015 elections Robin Grey, and Conservative Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns.

Each speaker had the chance to talk about their party, whether they thought young people were disengaged with politics and why politics should matter to them.

Labour MP and BU Visiting Fellow Bob Ainsworth disagreed that young people were less engaged with politics than previous generations.

“I don’t believe young people in this country are ignorant of politics to anything like the generations of young people have been in the past,” he said.

“I voted Labour because my family voted Labour.

“A generation ago, politics was class-based. This generation is a lot more knowledgeable than the generation to which I belong and many generations back in history.”

Annette Brooke, Liberal Democrat MP for North Dorset and Mid Poole, said that politicians needed to do more to encourage more young people need to vote in elections.

“It’s quite shocking to think that in the last election, less than 40 per cent of 18-25 year olds voted,” she said.

“I think it shows a failure on the part of the politicians.

She added: “There are very important issues that are going to affect your lives, not mine.

“It is not right that the older generation should be dominating what your future is going to be like.”

The event also featured a question and answer session with all of the speakers, and the chance to network and visit local political party recruitment stalls.

Recent BU Public Relations graduate Felicity Pentland also presented her research into why young people are not voting; through surveys and interviews with 18-25 year olds, she found that barriers included a lack of understanding and a negative view of politicians.

Douglas Tham, a second year Politics and Media student and President of the BU Politics Society, said he felt the event had gone well.

“We wanted to encourage young people to get involved with politics and see what it is like to be in the presence of an MP,” he said.

“It’s been really good – it’s a great chance for the young people here to get to speak to MPs on a personal level and will hopefully encourage them to look at the work that their MPs are doing.”

Dr David McQueen on the current conflicts in Cairo

Bournemouth University’s lecturer in Politics and Media, and expert in global conflict, Dr David McQueen featured on Steve Harris’ Drivetime show on BBC Radio Solent giving his opinion on the current conflict and civil unrest in Egypt.

“I think that this is a tragic short lived experiment of democracy, I don’t think it had to turn out this way and there were many missed opportunities for resolution within the brotherhood and the government” Dr McQueen explained.

The discussion continued with Barrack Obama condemning on the violence; “I think the US government could’ve played a part by saying if there was any army coo they could help the Egyptian army out”.

“The US Army fund the Egyptian army One Billion Dollars a year”

Dr McQueen relates the public reaction of what is happening now in Egypt to the 1972 Bloody Sunday reactions.

“When we look at thousands of deaths of armed protestors, I just see very dark days ahead for Egypt”.

Dean Eastmond

Dean is a student at Budmouth College in Weymouth, who is working at Bournemouth University in the Press and PR Department. He joined BU on a Sir Samuel Mico Scholarship, which provides 10 students from his college with essential work experience for four weeks over the summer.

Dr David McQueen talks about class on BBC Radio Solent

BU Politics and Media course leader Dr David McQueen was on BBC Radio Solent talking about class, and how people define what class they are in.

He spoke about the issue on Alex Dyke’s mid-morning show, following a survey which showed that people without an above average salary identified themselves as middle-class.

“The fact is that survey has generated a lot of interest, I think because the British are obsessed with class, basically,” he said.

“I think there’s a mirror image of America, which denies there’s a class system, I think we obsess on the tiny details of class.”

He added: “I think people used to be more comfortable in their class – I think if you go back to 1966, what’s interesting is that only a third of people identified themselves as middle-class. That’s now leapt up to 50 per cent according to this survey, and other surveys have shown it to be up to 70 per cent.

“So I think there’s a real anxiety about representing yourself as working class.”

But he said that the results may be skewed as people have to tick a box identifying themselves as one or the other.

“I think that most people feel uncomfortable with either of those definitions – there’s parts of their identities which don’t fit in with either.

“But what’s also interesting is that the family background continues to be important; if you are born into a family which has money, that you are likely to inherit the wealth and values of that family, and I think that’s come across in this survey – that they value education, that they think the type of home they live in is important, and their income as being important.”

He added that, increasingly, social mobility was being stifled and it was becoming more difficult for people to change the class that they are in.

“I think the real issues here is that people’s salaries are falling, and that people want to identify themselves as not being poor, and as not working class, when actually, by objective standards, they are.”

You can listen to the full interview here