GENERAL ELECTION 2019: Thomas Gainsborough School students raise issues most important to them at televised hustings in Great Cornard
With the general election fast approaching, students at Thomas Gainsborough School in Great Cornard have been discussing the major issues that matter to them.
During a lively debate televised on ITV on Monday, sixth form students quizzed four parliamentary candidates, who are standing in the upcoming election, on their political party’s manifestos.
Reflecting on the topics raised during the event, student Gemma Deacon expressed her strong opposition over Brexit – Britain’s departure from the European Union, which has prompted the 18-year-old to call into question the impact of the move, should the 2016 referendum vote be fulfilled under the new government.
“What kind of place is Britain going to be?” she said, highlighting her stance on creating unity across the world.
“I’m supportive of globalisation and coming together,” added Gemma, who is studying history, drama and French at A-level.
Sixth former Charlie Heeks said he was sceptical over the decision to pursue a referendum in the first place.
“I don’t think we should have given British people the vote,” he said. “I think MPs should have decided.”
Concerns over the implications of climate change, which have inspired campaigners on a global scale, including school students from across the country, to participate in mass protests, were raised.
Voicing her own thoughts on the benefits of renewable resources, Gemma said she would like to see more improvements introduced – and quickly.
“It would either be a question of putting more money into public transport or, in this region, making sure that electric cars are fundamental in the car manufacturing industry,” she said, adding that, having explored the wider topic of climate change, the debate had proved a real eye-opener.
“I haven’t been very involved with it, and I feel quite guilty about that,” she said. “But discussing it has made the issue more clear.”
Highlighting the importance of openness in politics, Charlie Heeks accused some of the parliamentary candidates of prevarication during the debate.
“They didn’t get to the point,” said the 18-year-old. “Instead of answering the question, they just spoke about what the party stands for.”
Echoing his sentiments, student Thomas Gage said it was crucial that the parliamentary candidates showed some degree of being able to relate to the electorate.
“I want to know about them as a person,” he said.
Praising the significance of the event, headteacher Wayne Lloyd said: “We were delighted to welcome candidates from all main political parties and students from neighbouring schools for this hustings.
“It was a highly engaging hour of discussion, which highlighted an increased focus on trust in politics.”
Mr Lloyd added: “It is the responsibility of politicians – but also schools, families and the media – to ensure our young people are suitably engaged with politics.”
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