David Cameron made a fleeting visit to south London this week to conduct a question and answer session with students and apprentices at Lewisham college.Speaking in firm pre-election tones, Mr Cameron said he wanted to emphasize to the youngsters the need for “change, energy, dynamism and leadership ” in the county. He was also quick to poke fun at his political adversary: “Gordon Brown says stick with me. Frankly, I think we are stuck with him. The whole country is stuck.” Students seemed largely taken aback by his ‘energetic nature and confidence.’
Mr Cameron spoke to the students on Monday about various issues, including education and their hopes for the future. During a short question and answer session, several students questioned his plans for the Education Maintenance Allowance, the grant which encourages school leavers to keep studying and from which many there had benefited. He responded positively, saying: “EMA, we’ve had a look at it, we think it’s worth keeping.”
Video: Conservative Central Office.
The Conservative party leader was keen to stress the issue that every vote counts and to demonstrate that young people do have a voice in society. One student asked: “If you do become PM, how will it benefit us?” He replied: “Once I’m elected I’m not going to waste peoples votes.”
Saying he is “fighting to win outright,” in the coming election, Mr Cameron challenged Mr Brown to debate issues in public. “Not a script. Not a lectern. Not surrounded by a bunch of hand-picked people, but proper, live, public meetings, where we can argue about the future of our country and then together decide it.”
Some reaction was favourable. Jack Parker, a sports apprentice, said: “He’s the first MP I’ve seen. He’s quite down-to-earth and not snobby. It made me consider voting.”