I was invited to attend ‘Your Questions’ event at Haybridge High School, based upon the BBC ‘Question Time’ programme. It was the culmination of a two month political literacy project, organised by students with the support of staff, the Parliamentary Education Service and CCE. The aim is to get the students to understand politics and prepare them for voting in the future.
The event had an audience of students, parents, teachers and guests from the wider community. The panel consisted of myself, Sajid Javid (Tory PPC), Sam Burden (Labour PPC), Prof. Antonia Payne and Chair Dr David Nichol. Some of the debates got quite heated, and the students asked some very good questions.
A few things stood out, and good pointers for everyone:
- Always talk in simple terminology, for example “quango” was not understood, so if necessary explain what you’re talking about.
- Young people want to be talked to, not talked at
- They can cut through waffle better than adults, so just be straight with them.
Highlight of the night for me apart from seeing so many young people there, was one student who said he came from a Labour background, was a party member but is going to support the Lib Dems from now on!
The Liberal Democrats actually have a policy paper specific for young people called “Free to be Young“. Let me know your thoughts on the policies, many are designed by young people for young people.
Note: Jacqui Smith taught Business Studies at Haybridge High School before becoming an MP, joke is she may go back there after the next election…