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Students Spark Political Debate

Monday, 09 February 2015

Bolton School was delighted to welcome four local politicians for an afternoon of discussion and debate, prompted by questions from boys in Years 7 to 13. Labour Councillor Chris Peacock was joined at the School by prospective parliamentary candidates Chris Green (Conservative), Bob Horsefield (UKIP) and Andrew Martin (Liberal Democrats).

The boys listened attentively as each of the visitors gave a short talk about how they became involved in politics, and briefly outlined some of their party’s policies. Some of the topics referred to were the economy and recent financial crisis, the European Union and immigration, and votes at sixteen – a particularly relevant subject for the pupils in the audience.

Cllr Peacock, who is also an Old Boy, talked about a particular line in the Labour party’s manifesto: ‘By the strength of our common endeavours, we can achieve more than we can alone.’ This is a sentiment which is echoed in different words across many political parties, but it was this concept that inspired him to become involved in politics in the first place. He also talked about joining Labour because it is the party most closely aligned with his way of thinking.

Finally, he reminded the boys that politics affects everyone – even though they might not think that it does.

Cllr Peacock also commented on how unusual it is to have so many of the country’s major parties represented in School, and encouraged the boys to pull no punches in the question and answer session!

They certainly took this advice to heart and each question instigated a very lively debate between the four politicians on a wide range of subjects. The boys really enjoyed hearing the various answers and weighing up in their minds whose opinions and policies they agreed with the most.

The event was arranged as part of the Politics Triad. ‘Triads’ are a new addition to the Boys’ Division SPACE Programme. SPACE sessions takes place every other Monday afternoon throughout the year and offer boys a diverse range of development opportunities outside of the usual timetable. The introduction of Triads allowed boys to choose their activity for the first three SPACE sessions of the 2015 Spring Term from a huge list of exciting options.

The Politics Triad was designed to get boys thinking more about politics and how it affects them, and hopefully will encourage them to become more interested and involved. During the first session, the boys travelled to Bolton’s council chambers where the Mayor of Bolton, Councillor Martin Donaghy, gave an enlightening talk about local politics.

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Andrew Martin, Old Boy Chris Peacock, Chris Green and Bob Horsefield with some of the boys who attended the event

Andrew Martin, Old Boy Chris Peacock, Chris Green and Bob Horsefield with some of the boys who attended the event

There was a lively debate during the question and answer session

There was a lively debate during the question and answer session