4th February 2015
Writing: Niall Jones (Year 12)
Editing: Thomas Bailey (Year 12)
With perhaps the most unpredictable election in 40 years being held in just three months’ time, Wycombe Abbey’s Politics Society invited Sixth Form students from a number of schools in the local area to a question time event featuring a number of politicians and journalists from the local area and further afield.
Panellists included: Lord Timothy Boswell, former Conservative MP for Daventry and now head of a House of Lords committee on the EU; Ian Bates, a Labour councillor for the Totteridge area of High Wycombe; Dave Hampton, the Green Party candidate for Beaconsfield; Alan Stevens, the UKIP candidate for Chesham and Amersham; Christopher Snowdon, a journalist and outspoken critic of government policy on smoking and alcohol; and Lady Victoria Borwick, the Deputy Mayor of London. With a panel as diverse as this, there was plenty of heated - but good-natured - debate on topics including the NHS, tuition fees and the EU. Each topic was introduced with a pre-submitted question, before being opened to the floor. Among the questions coming from the inquisitive and critical lips of Challoner’s students were ‘Isn’t outsourcing NHS services immoral?’ and ‘Surely it’s better to invest in long-term renewable energy sources than in short-term fossil fuels?’
With constant media reports that young people are disinterested in politics and disinclined to vote, the level of enthusiasm shown by students at this event was a reassuring reminder that politics remains as relevant to our lives as ever.