Moderated by BBC Free Speech presenter Rick Edwards, the debate was the first of five scheduled by political engagement charity Bite The Ballot and featured YouTubers questioning Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett on the subjects of jobs, education, health and the environment.
On 26 November, Bite The Ballot aired the first of five Leaders Live debates scheduled to occur in the run-up to May’s general election. Featuring Green Party leader Natalie Bennett and produced by ITV News, the debate was live streamed on the Bite News YouTube channel.
YouTubers present in the audience presenting questions to the Green leader included Hannah Witton, Jamal Edwards, TenEighty’s own Jazza John, Myles Dyer, Tom Harwood and Leena Normington. Each asked Natalie questions sent in by their online followers who were watching the event live on YouTube.
The debate started on the topic of education, with Jamal asking Natalie about the party’s policy on free university education. In response, she said that higher education should be paid through the taxes of multinational companies and not the implementation of new policies or fees, later adding: “Education is a public good. We all benefit from more education in society, whether it’s a NVQ or anything up to a PhD. It’s for public good, it should be paid for from public funds.”
Furthering the topic of education, Leena asked Natalie about diversifying the government so politicians understand what it’s like to depend on a comprehensive education. In response, Natalie outlined the Green Party’s plan to focus on local government and their goal to give Britain the proper written constitution it needs in order to make everyone “citizens, not subjects”.
When asked how the Green Party would deal with job discrimination against minority groups, Natalie shared her belief about the use of anonymous CVs in order to help “level the playing field” and to ensure all racial groups and social classes are treated equally when looking for employment.
While discussing the Green Party’s stance on healthcare, Hannah asked Natalie for her views regarding the treatment of mental health, to which she stated that the Green Party plan to focus funding on mental health issues and wish to see both physical and mental health problems treated equally.
— Isaac (@Leftek_) November 26, 2014
Toward the end of the debate, Twitter user @Sackkk_ asked for the Green Party’s opinion on the decriminalizing of marijuana in the UK. Natalie explained that drug use should be treated as a health issue, not a criminal one, and when moderator Rick Edwards asked the audience their opinions the majority agreed with Natalie’s sentiments. Myles went a step further, also saying the use of marijuana should be legalized. “When you look at the problems that come with prosecuting people for non-violent crime, a lot of that would be eradicated by decriminalizing it,” he said. “You take it off the black market [and can] control the quality.”
Stay tuned for TenEighty’s continued coverage of the Leaders Live debates, which will be taking place throughout December:
Ed Miliband (Labour) Mon 8th Dec 5-7pm
Topics: awaiting confirmation
Nick Clegg (Lib Dem) Tue 16th Dec 6-8pm
Topics: Health, Education and Jobs/Economy
David Cameron (Conservative) To be announced