Issue date: 03 June 2004

ISSUE DATE: 03/06/04

A student from the Faculty of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences at the University of the West of England is to stand for the newly formed Respect party at the European parliament elections on 10 June 2004.

Hannah Packham is currently working towards her final exams for a BA (Hons) in Politics and International Relations.

Respect is a new coalition formed out of the anti-war movement and said to be one of Britain’s fastest growing political parties. Hannah said, “I’m standing as Respect candidate because I feel a sense of betrayal by New Labour over issues like the War in Iraq, the imposition of tuition fees and the continued privatisation of public services.”

Hannah feels passionately that there is too much emphasis on youth apathy but believes this stems in part to a disillusionment with politics amongst young people who feel unrepresented by the mainstream parties. “Respect grew out of the anti war coalition when it became apparent to some of us involved in that movement that there were other issues that many of us felt strongly about.

“I have always thought that the war in Iraq was fought on an illegal basis and that the danger from weapons of mass destruction was used as an excuse for war. I am also worried that the imposition of tuition fees is having a disastrous impact on the way students choose to study with work aspirations getting in the way of studying for the love of subject.

“The other key issues that I am fighting to redress are the renationalisation of the railways and other key public services and a more transparent way of managing immigration.”

Hannah has also served as a councillor in the Forest of Dean. If she wins a seat in the European parliament next week she will work for her party. If not she hopes to work in a campaigning role for a non governmental organisation like OXFAM or Amnesty International. “If I am not elected I don’t want my campaigning experience to be wasted. I have learned a lot through my work for the local council, the Stop the War coalition and Respect and would like to put this to positive use for an organisation with values I believe in.”

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