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Deputy Prime Minister visits Tapton

Felicity Liu was lucky enough to meet the Deputy Prime Minister when he visited Tapton in January.

Here she reports on the experience...

“You will partake in a citizenship activity with a local celebrity...” read the note that was given to Y12 and Y13 students. The ambiguity created an aura of excitement with students questioning who was the star we were about to meet.

Walking into the library, being greeted by 3 bodyguards, I realised that the ‘local celebrity’ was to our left: Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

 Intrigued to find out why one of the most powerful men in the world was standing in our school library, all the students invited were introduced to Michael Sani and Mevan Babakar from ‘Bite the Ballot’.  Our hour session with the Deputy Prime Minister consisted of 2 games and a Q&A session to broaden our knowledge of politics and why it is essential young people should vote when they are of age.

The first game was “Pick yes, no or not sure”. Questions such as, “Was the £9 billion spent on the Olympic games worth it?” and “Should the death penalty come back?” were fired at us and we were asked to explain our reason for why we had chosen our answer; it almost felt like we were in parliament.

The next game was to allocate a £100 budget to 8 sectors of state. After allocating each sector with money, out budget was cut to £70. This activity was a simulation of the challenges politicians face on a daily basis. Though, we were all told that the budget politicians are faced with is £900 billion.

To finish off the session, students were invited to a Q&A session with Nick Clegg. Questions were asked left, right and centre. “Why have there been cuts to mental health departments?” “How are unpaid internships fair?” “What will happen when we come out of university with no jobs and not being able to seek benefits until we are 24 years old?”

  

The hour we spent with Nick Clegg was insightful and thought-provoking, eradicating any notion that politicians have an easy job.