Brierfield pupils quiz Alastair Campbell
A BRIERFIELD secondary school hosted a special speaker when a former senior political strategist spoke to students.
Alastair Campbell visited Marsden Heights Community College to talk about his life and career as well as take part in a quiz alongside pupils, with the opposite team captained by headteacher Mr Mike Tull.
Pupils asked Mr Campbell questions on a range of issues, including his time as Tony Blair’s Director for Communications and Strategy, Mr Blair’s legacy, his views on gay marriage, the Iraq war and what it was like inside 10 Downing Street.
Mr Campbell was at the school as part of the “Speakers for Schools” scheme run by Robert Peston, the BBC’s business editor. This has signed up hundreds of high-profile people to speak in state schools in an effort to inspire the next generation.
During the visit, Mr Campbell said he thought there was not enough political education in schools. He stressed that such lessons should not be party political, just with the aim to get young people talking about politics.
Mr Campbell said: “I think if you had sessions of lively political debate, one of the things I think you would see is more people interested in politics.
“If you don’t teach kids about politics, you get people leaving school saying ‘I don’t know what I’m voting for’. Without politics, you don’t make change.”
In his speech to pupils, Mr Campbell said the defining moment that changed his life was the death of then Labour Party leader John Smith in 1994.
When he became Tony Blair’s right-hand man as he took over the leadership, Mr Campbell did it despite family and friends concerns about the pressure of the job after his struggles with alcoholism and depression.
He also touched on views such as lowering the voting age, making voting compulsory and concerns with the number of Oxbridge educated people at the top of all three main political parties.
Mr Campbell said he felt history would see Tony Blair as one of the great prime ministers of the last generation, alongside Margaret Thatcher, and described Downing Street as like “being in a museum”.
To end, he turned around the phrase “school days are the best days of your life” to school should be “the best preparation for the best days of your life”, finishing with the quote “believe you can, and you’re halfway there”.
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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