On Friday 19 May, Year 12 gathered during our lecture slot to hold a ‘Mock Election’ in preparation for the upcoming General Election in June. Although other years heard the parties’ pitches, we were lucky enough to hear (or, for some of us, present) a forty-minute debate and Q&A. Although we are not all yet eligible to vote, it was important for us to learn about the parties that will influence and have (perhaps) a profound effect on us in the next five years.
There were five main parties represented on stage. Adam Hawkswood boldly led UKIP, Edmund Wilson persuasively led the Liberal Democrats, Lauren Gray proudly represented the Conservatives, James Doyle passionately headed the Green Party and James Routledge cooly represented Labour. Each of the parties were made up of volunteers (some, perhaps, more voluntary than others) and each party had to present its policies to the rest of the year, trying to stay in character despite the fact that not all individuals agreed with the policies that their party represented.
The party leaders each gave a two-minute speech to explain their party’s policies and some leaders also used this time to criticise their opponents – much to the entertainment and, more often than not, amusement of the audience. After the speeches, questions were opened up to the floor. Questions varied from what the parties’ stances on immigration were, to whether each party believed that marijuana should be legalised.
The Mock Election allowed everyone to learn something on politics and each party’s stance on certain issues; it was also useful in providing information to help the pupils to make their vote.
I personally was very hesitant and nervous when asked to represent the Conservatives but I enjoyed the hustings for the Mock Election and the debate amongst the different Parties; it was a chance to practise public speaking and it got the year group engaged on issues not usually discussed. Although it is now becoming an almost annual tradition, it is one that I would highly recommend students get involved in when they join Year 12.
Original Image by Carl Tillett.