Welcome to Canvas

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What do students believe in? Even more pressing, do they believe in anything at all? Their principles seem to be based on maximising cheese on pizza, maintaining cheap alcohol prices and competing for the longest possible lie-ins. The common stereotype of lazy students and unwilling undergraduates has left us with a drab image of the future intelligentsia. Dig a little deeper though, and you will find colourful debates across Sheffield regarding all sorts of issues, from the development of nuclear energy to the extent of bigotry in British politics. Our lives are not just centred around booze and chips at 3am. We may like to play hard – but that doesn’t mean we don’t like to work hard.

And so, watching the general election unfold has revealed a spectacle of events that have truly changed the nature of politics in Britain. Students, like it or not, have made their opinions on this election clear. Indeed, this is where Canvas comes in. We aim to facilitate debate and freedom of thought among students. We want to create greater social, cultural and political awareness for a fresh, progressive politics in our society. We promote collaborative work between students of all backgrounds and stimulate all students interested in politics and political culture.

The central focus of this election campaign has been the volatile nature of the British electorate. Perhaps, the electorate has no idea who to vote for, which makes a hung parliament increasingly likely – yet to what extent could this be a benefit to the development of British politics? The nature of this election has been characterised by inevitable presidentialisation – the growth of “Political WAGs” and the introduction of “Prime Ministerial Debates” as just two examples. Where will our vote go – according to the shoes of Sarah Brown, the policies of the Liberal Democrats or the performance of David Cameron on ITV? If we decide on policy, who has the strongest? Could it be that on education the Tories will fall and on green issues they will come to our safety? An issue that has not been central to this election are international issues. They have been unnecessarily pushed into the background. Silently, however, the international community awaits 7 May with abated breath – one of the biggest economies on the planet is about to choose their leader. Will it remain Gordon Brown? Is it to be David Cameron? Or could the new face of British politics emerge in the form of Nick Clegg?! Maybe it is none of them – as a hung parliament seems likely, it would appear that minority parties, such as UKIP, could make great strides. No matter who wins, the consequences are indeed crucial to British politics. Politicians and the media alike have told us the importance of the General Election 2010 could not be more serious – we are in the most precarious position for a generation. How different was it in 1979 or 1997? Were conditions ever quite so serious, was reform really an issue?

You may be surprised, but we’re all students and we’ve all got opinions on such matters. At Canvas, all we hope to do is spread the word and aim high to broaden our horizons and engage in discourses beyond our wildest imaginations. Welcome to Canvas, the new platform of debate run by students.

All the best from the Canvas Team.