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Politics, Prisons and Prayers with Jonathan Aitkin

Published by Oakham School on Thursday 12th of December 2013

Former Conservative MP Jonathan Aitken visited Oakham School to discuss the themes of Politics, Prison and Faith.

Aitken met with Politics students before giving a fascinating lecture to over 140 pupils, parents and staff from the School. As well as discussing his life in the political arena, he also talked about his experience of being convicted and imprisoned for perjury. During his lecture, he described the challenges his situation brought, particularly to his faith. At the end, there was a lively Q & A session, where he answered questions including: how did he allow himself to be put in a position leading to perjury? What evidence is there that prison reforms an individual? Whom do you side with regarding the current energy crisis the Archbishop or the Prime Minister?

As well as his long parliamentary career, Aitken had also spent time as a journalist and news presenter. He has written numerous books during his life including biographies of Thatcher and Nixon. Recently, he has become a popular Christian writer and is the honorary president of Christian Solidarity Worldwide. He has become a champion of rights for prisoners, specifically those imprisoned for their faith.

Aitken was invited to Oakham to be the Chaplaincy Key Note Speaker, following on from Terry Waite who visited the School last year. As well as giving his lecture, he also held the Chapel Address the following morning.

'He was an insightful speaker,' says Rev Alex Aldous, Chaplain at Oakham School. 'He challenged pupils to think outside the box by using stories from his own life to question how we evaluate another human being in very different social contexts. He, personally, was stripped of everything his marriage, his assets and his freedom, and from the depths of prison he could recognise the redeeming power of Christ to change. In short, his two talks characterised his humanity, good humour and new-found humility, and you cannot argue against that.''

Aitkin's visit also preceded Oakham's Truth and Beauty week, which aimed to stimulate discussion of the concepts of Truth and Beauty, through a range of interesting debates, seminars and events. The highly successful week saw speakers from a range of backgrounds and disciplines visit Oakham to talk with pupils including the founders of the Vagenda blog, the critically acclaimed author Prof. Nicholas Roe, an international expert on the IB Theory of Knowledge, a leading skincare expert and a specialist in Truth Detection.

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