Many students will vote for the first time this year and many stand on the brink of doing so. With the current political climate, these elections give a definitive insight into the elusive public opinion of the British people. Such a time invites the interest of all, as the results could mend or end this government. Yet there are some that seem unaffected by such calamitous circumstances – students.

Ellie Pembroke couldn’t pinpoint the reason that local elections “do not stir much interest in her” though she was aware they were taking place. She suggests that when she is 18 she will “pay more interest in them” even though she accepts that they “make a difference to national government but not to a massive extent”. However, she recognises that there are “multiple important issues that are taking place at the moment”; she mentions Partygate and the invasion of Ukraine as examples, “and all need to be a top priority”. She reflects over Partygate further “things like Partygate would definitely affect my vote, I don’t think it’s right that our Prime Minister is breaking the rules that he put in place. I do think that the Conservatives are letting Boris Johnson get away with it.”

Politics student Lydia Kisen agrees with Ellie, saying “looking at social media it is clear people feel that the Prime Minister who is making the laws, [should not] be the one breaking them”. Furthermore, she believes that these elections “can make a difference considering the high number of councils in the UK”.

Grace Barber, a Politics and Economics student, believes that the ‘Cost of Living Crisis’ is the biggest issue during these local elections. Though this problem cannot be dealt with at the local level, she acknowledges that “people may increasingly vote with their wallets as this has become not a personal matter but a desperate matter to be able to afford basic necessities” as people use the local elections to send a message to the national level. Despite this, she still believes the impacts of these elections are “fairly local” which she thinks explains the low turnout along with a lack of media attention.

Whether it’s a lack of political literacy or just apathy, the reason students fail to engage with our political system remains a mystery. On the other hand, there is a consensus that these elections strike at a fascinating time, with a range of factors that may influence behaviour at the ballot box.