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Election '15

A Pair of Young British Politicians Look Back at the Coalition Government

In 2010, we followed the lives of two 19-year-olds—Tory Joe Clarke and Lib Dem Alan Belmore–in the run-up to the election. Five years on, we filmed them meeting for the first time to discuss the last five years of coalition rule.

by Rhys James
24 April 2015, 10:21pm

This post originally appeared on VICE UK.

Unlike most young men his age, when Alan Belmore was 19 he was running for the Liberal Democrats in the 2010 general election—aiming to be the youngest MP in the history of modern government.

At the same age, working-class Yorkshire-born Joe Cooke became president of the now notorious Oxford University Conservative Association, a Bullingdon-style group that regularly churns out future Tory leaders and has made headlines over the years for its Nazi dress-up parties.

Back in 2010, we followed the lives of these young, likable, politically engaged men in the build up to the election. But the experience wasn't particularly satisfying for either of them. Alan failed to win his seat, and Joe became disenfranchised with party politics. For the first time in British history, a coalition government was formed between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, with the Lib Dems accused of selling out the very young people Alan sought to represent.

Now, with the 2015 general election imminent, we decided to catch up with Joe and Alan as they met for the first time to reminisce on their respective fates, and that of the Coalition.

Find all of VICE's Election '15 coverage here.