Modern students are more conservative in their views than previous
generations, research suggests.
22 Feb 2010
Almost one in five would increase the age of consent for heterosexual
sex, more than eight out of 10 would not legalise Class C drugs and
fewer than half support free music downloads, according to The
National College of Legal Training.
Some 33% want to increase the legal age for driving a car from 17,
while 53% favour a ''zero tolerance'' approach to consuming any
alcoholic drink before getting behind the wheel.
In a poll of 1,142 students, nine out of 10 said they would not scrap
the smoking ban and almost a quarter backed an increase in the age of
consent for homosexual sex from 16.
The findings mark a radical shift from the traditional perception of
students as free-thinking liberals.
Undergraduates in the 1960s were reknowned for sharing a relaxed
attitude towards drugs and sex, while students in the 1970s asserted
their freedom by listening to illegal pirate radio.
Now, however, it seems many students have moved in line with the
establishment, taking a more cautious attitude towards hedonistic
behaviour and adopting a moral standpoint against illegal music downloads.
The conservative approach to life is also reflected in their politics.
Of those questioned, more would welcome the arrival of Tory leader
David Cameron (19%) at Number 10 than main rivals Gordon Brown (17%)
and Nick Clegg (14%) in the general election.
Some seven out of 10 students support the Monarchy and more than half
(54%) want to protect the Queen's right of Royal Assent which allows
her to reject any law passed by the Government that she disagrees with.
Almost a quarter of students want capital punishment reinstated as
well as reducing the age of criminal responsibility to younger than
10 years old.
Paul Whitehouse, from the National College of Legal Training, said:
''We were interested to find out what the next generation of the UK's
leaders, lawyers and key opinion-formers thought about society and
culture today but were incredibly surprised at the results - they are
a lot more conservative and less adventurous than we thought.''