Northern Pride #001: An interview with Olivia Lever
Originally from Bolton, Olivia Lever is a marketing student at the University of Liverpool where she founded and was the President of the University of Liverpool Young Tories. She is the Student Liaison Lead at Blue Beyond.
1. Why did you choose the Conservatives over Labour?
"Growing up, my dad was a Conservative councillor so I have been exposed to Conservative Party values all my life. I was taught that if you want anything in life, you have to work for it. I was also taught that no one else is entitled to anything that you work for. My views are not the totally the same as my parents, we have different views on a wide range of policy areas but however my preference for the Conservative Party definitely stems from them.
The Conservative Party is always seem to be the party of opportunity, telling young people that if they want something then they are able to achieve it. Whereas Labour on the other hand always seemed to portray the message that young people were victims, and with tory policies would never get anywhere".
2. How are the Conservatives perceived in the north?
"I would say how people perceive Conservatives in the north is very varied. Some people only vote Labour in the north, because everyone else does. It is almost like this obligation that because you come from a Labour strong hold, you have to vote Labour. I know people at university like this, no real interest in politics but however just believe that they should vote for a political party because of where they come from.
Some of these people do not mind people that vote Conservative, they have no real opinion on how voting Conservative can dictate someone’s personality. However there are others out there, which think because you vote Conservative you are homophobic, hate the poor, sexist, racist and the list goes on. When in reality that is 100% not the case. People also assume that because you vote Conservative, you must have lots of money, which is also not the case. Most Conservatives I know, including my own family came from low income backgrounds. These false perceptions are the result of small minded opinions, and lack of education".
3. How has Labour councils and MPs handled the administrative and care of the north?
"From my experiences personally, the Bolton Council under Labour was dreadful. Our bins were on fortnightly collections, this was then made worse when a ‘slim bin’ was introduced. The ‘slim bin’ could only hold two bags of rubbish before it was full. As you can imagine, for a family of four and with pets it is an absolute nightmare. If the bins are too full they do not get collected, bin men have been found to root through peoples bins and refuse to collect them if they have stuff in that is not able to be recycled. I know this may sound like a stupid example, but when council tax and business rates are stupidly high, you have to ask yourself where the money is going. Public services are failing, schools are failing, waiting time for a doctor’s appointment has never been less than three weeks, and the list of failings within Bolton goes on and on".
4. Could the Northern Powerhouse proposal help the north?
"In theory, yes I do believes that the Northern Powerhouse could help. However, this was first introduced in 2016 and was mentioned again in 2018. However the results of this proposal are seriously lacking, so in practice I do not believe that the proposal is helping. Northerners still feel so forgotten, I pray that our new PM and government will focus their attention onto the Northern Powerhouse once Brexit is over and done with".
5. What can inspire young northerners to come to the Conservative Party?
"What I have mentioned above pretty much covers how young northerners can be encouraged to come to the party. By showing constructive opportunities, such as apprenticeships, jobs, and more ‘bang for your buck’ in terms of council tax. Incentives to work and to becoming your own person, the Conservative Party need to show young northerners the opportunities that they can provide. One thing would be focusing opportunities in the north, rather the south and London. Moving down south is expensive, and means moving quite a distance from family. Some people are not in the financial position, or may have family circumstances where they need to be close to the family home. By creating opportunities that are similar to those down south, this will show young northerners that being a conservative party supporter isn’t just for southerners".
Interview conducted by Lewis Frisby.
Northern Pride is a short series engaging with young northern Blue Beyond members, analysts and exec members.