Duke of York's Royal Military School

Politics is not a spectator sport

Published on isbi School News dated Thursday 6th of March 2014

Sixth Form students from St Benedict's School in Ealing were recently accorded the honour of meeting the Mayor of Ealing, Cllr. Dhindsa. Accompanied by teachers Mrs Greenhough and Mr Joyce the students were received in the Mayor's Parlour. The event was organised by Cllr. Andrew Steed (Southfield ward) who gave the Government and Politics, as well as the English Language students, a tour of Ealing Town Hall and told of its history as well as that of the Council. After the meeting the students stayed to listen to the final full meeting of Ealing Council in this civic year.
As well as meeting the Mayor, students also met Cllr. Bell, the Leader of the Council, the Deputy Mayor Cllr. Bagha and Cllr. Gallagher, ex-Mayor of Ealing and one of only a handful of Aldermen who holds the Freedom of the Borough.
Cllr. Steed expressed his view on the importance of young people being active in politics and engaging politically in their local communities. 'Voter registration and turnout for young people is traditionally low. It is therefore important that young people register, vote and get involved. Politics is not a spectator sport.'
The meeting of the Council opened with a prayer from the Hindu faith sung in Sanskrit. Students were interested to learn of the seating arrangement within the Council Chamber: semi-circular as opposed to the more 'confrontational' rows of the House of Commons. Additionally they found that the Mayor also works full-time, rising at 4.30am in order to fulfil all of his obligations that include attending and hosting events, as well as holding many fund-raising activities. He said that one of the positive aspects of his role was meeting young people and firing their enthusiasm for local politics. From CPZs to car parks, waste and recycling to council tax freezes, the students were able to gain a detailed understanding of local issues as well as the influence of national policy on the borough, such as Free Schools and Building Schools for the Future.
The ubiquitous cries of 'Hear, Hear' and 'Shame, Shame' mixed with the cheering and light hearted heckling across all parties made for a lively and informative occasion. The students all vowed to register and to get politically involved.
Politics is not a spectator sport - Photo 1
Grace Education
Hazelwood School