Legendary rock guitarist Brian May visits St Brendan’s in Brislington to inspire young voters

Brian May with Kerry McCarthy at St Brendan's this afternoon

Brian May with Kerry McCarthy at St Brendan’s this afternoon

Queen guitarist and political campaigner Dr Brian May rocked up at St Brendan’s Sixth Form College this afternoon to tell students about his Common Decency campaign.

Joined by Kerry McCarthy, who is hoping to be returned as Labour MP for East Bristol on 7th May, he spoke to sixth-formers as part of the college’s religion, politics and ethics programme about the importance of exercising their right to vote – and his “colour blindness” with regards to political parties.

St Brendan’s is the region’s largest sixth form college and over 1,000 of its students will be eligible to vote on May 7th – most for the first time.

Dr May’s Common Decency campaign urges people, especially those traditional non-voters, to vote “colour blind” at the General Election so that there will be a multi-party system instead – a House of Commons filled with individuals who, regardless of their political affiliation will serve their constituents and their moral conscience first.

He wants to see an end to the two-party system of politics, wants election funding to be capped, an end to the Whip system in Parliament and for the introduction of proportional representation.

He said this election would be massively influenced by social media and wants to use that online community to encourage people disillusioned with politics to use their vote to improve democracy so that no Parliamentary seat is considered “safe”.

A long-time activist for animal rights, he spoke about his high-profile opposition to the badger cull, saying scientific evidence, morality and financial considerations were all on the side of those who opposed it – saying it cost £5,000 to kill a badger and £30 to vaccinate it.

Dr May, who has campaigned with Kerry McCarthy against the badger cull, urged people in East Bristol to vote for her, calling her a “magnificent, caring woman”.

Common Decency is backing candidates on a  seat by seat basis;  for example, Mr May has urged people in Crawley to vote to re-elect the Conservative Henry Smith at the General Election as he is a strong advocate of animal rights.

Dr May also took questions from an enthusiastic audience, including about Labour’s plans to lower the voting age to 16, which he backed, as did many of the young people in the room.

The Week In asked Dr May whether he believed the Hunting Act had been effective. He felt it had, although said it needed to be reinforced and enforced. Raising the issue of Vote-OK – the organisation which wants to see fox hunting made legal again, which is supporting some Conservative Party candidates in this area, he said: “We are the antithesis (of them) – we are transparent and above board.”

Ms McCarthy said her party, which introduced the hunting ban 10 years ago, would strengthen the legislation if they won the next election.

Find out more about Common Decency.