Twenty-year-old Matthew Holden will be representing the Liberal Democrats in Lincoln’s highly student-populated Abbey Ward, when he stands in this May’s local elections.
Despite being in his final year at the University of Lincoln and turning twenty-one just days before the election, the criminology and psychology student believes he has what it takes.
“I’m old enough to make difficult decisions but young enough to actually listen to people,” he says.
“I think that would make me a great candidate because I will actually listen to the people who are voting for me and take their input to the council.”
The Liberal Democrats are raising their profile among students, with their policy of phasing out tuition fees if they get into power. But Holden feels that it wasn’t simply a case of him choosing them: “I was thinking why I chose the Liberal Democrats and I came to a Harry Potter quote: ‘The wand chooses the wizard, Harry’, and in many ways I think that is apt for a political party.
“Why do the Liberal Democrats represent me? Well they are liberal, they want to create an equal, safer society for us all to live in, and they believe in democracy. Every single piece of their [policy] is voted on by their members – it’s led by the power of the people,” he says.
Holden explains that the experiences seen by our generation have given him the drive to make changes.
“I’m part of a generation that saw our nation go to war with Iraq and the public protests against it, the expenses crisis, and the rise of the BNP. With all these problems in politics, I think that it needs new people to go in and reduce these problems,” he says.
The Abbey Ward covers the area from Portland Street to Monks Road, and has a high percentage of students living in the area. It is these students that Holden plans to represent.
“Students are a large population in Lincoln. We contribute 10% to the city’s economy and I think we need some representation.”
His main issues are those he believes students are passionate about, including roads and parking, animal rights protests, and the campaign regarding the building of a dairy farm just outside Lincoln.
As for the university itself, Holden admits that although he won’t have any specific powers over its workings, he can offer influence via lobbying: “I will have direct contact with the local MP and those who do have the power, so I’d be a great platform to lobby from and bring about the students’ wishes in that way.”
Passionate about politics, he claims that his interest isn’t just something he chose to do “on a whim”, but a passion that he wishes to fulfil in the future: “I plan on being an MP by the age of 30 and I’d like to be in Government by the age of 35. These aren’t unachievable targets. Tony Blair is a shining example of that,” he says.
Although Holden will be balancing his campaigning with working towards his finals, he is confident that he will be able to cope better than some of his rivals:
“Campaigning will be a mammoth task as I will be preparing for my finals, however I know I can balance out the two better than perhaps other candidates. I don’t have a full-time job or children, so I have a wealth of time to give to campaigning.
“I thrive under pressure! The more pressure, the more I achieve.”
As he begins his political campaign, aiming to meet as many of his constituents as possible, Holden says that first and foremost he wants to be seen as a local: “First, think of me as just a local guy, trying to make a difference, then as a student, then as a politician.”Tweet