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QUESTION TIME IN HAGLEY

30-03-2010

Haybridge School in Hagley hosted a ‘Question Time’ style event last week with three prospective candidates for the Bromsgrove constituency including Sajid Javid (Conservative), Sam Burden (Labour), and Philip Ling (Liberal Democrat) as well as a non-politician, Prof Antonia Payne (Worcester University). The event was chaired by Stirrer blogger, Dr David Nicholl, who described what happened next.

The purpose of the event was to get young people thinking about politics and democracy in an engaging a way as possible- it had been organised by the school in conjunction with a charity as part of a series of events in schools in different parts of the country.

In spite of a media clampdown, on what was essentially a private event, 100 students and their parents turned up to grill the politicians.

Perhaps one question to the panel captured the mood more than any other, from a 16 year old – “how do you expect young people to get interested in politics when we don’t understand half of what you are saying and you don’t answer the questions?”

Time and again it was hard to see the specific policies that individual parties were proposing even though we are only days away from an election being called. It is hard to see people being enthused to vote, unless they know the detail.

If one looks across the Atlantic, there was a lot more detailed policy in the public domain in the US Presidential campaign. In the UK, to date, we are just getting platitudes so far. Yet this is the most important election in a generation.

As an electorate we are a bit like a patient with a gangrenous leg- we all know that we are going to face a ‘cut’, but we don’t know when the ‘operation’ is going to take place, whether it will be a above or below-knee amputation, and how much pain there will be.

However, in politics, as in medicine, the ‘patient’ will respect the surgeon who gives them a straight answer. Here’s waiting!

Other candidates standing in Bromsgrove include Fred Bishop (English Democrats), Steve Morson (UKIP), Elizabeth Wainwright (BNP), Adrian Kriss (Independent), Ken Wheatley (Independent), Mark France (Independent).

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