Ahead of the upcoming General Election on 12 December, our school was delighted to welcome the standing MP and electoral candidates for our constituency, Edinburgh South West to a hustings assembly.
Joanna Cherry MP (SNP) and standing candidates Ben Parker (Scottish Greens), Tom Inglis (Lib Dems), Callum Laidlaw (Conservative) and Sophie Cooke (Labour) each responded to the following questions asked by our S6 pupils:
Katie - Of the pupils in attendance today, around 500 are between the ages of 16 and 18 and as such can vote in Scottish Parliament elections but are being denied the right to vote in this important General Election. A great many of them study Modern Studies or Politics and are very politically aware and engaged. What is your view on reducing the voting age to 16?
Jamie - As a member of a political party, there are clearly numerous policies you'd be looking to get behind and enact in law if elected. If you could pass just one new law, what would it be?
Lucy - The young people in this room care very much about climate change and the threat it poses to people and the places we love. It’s causing poverty around the world and means more floods and erratic weather for us in the UK too. The UK has promised to cut greenhouse gas emissions faster, in line with the Paris Agreement – how will your party keep that promise?
Nathan - As you know, 62% of Scots voted to Remain in the European Union and yet we are likely to be dragged out with the rest of the UK. What are you going to do to ensure Scotland's voice is heard with regards to Brexit and is a second Independence referendum appropriate given current circumstances?
Angus - One of the themes linking our assemblies this year is books that have made a difference to the lives of people within our community. It's coming up to Christmas if you were to buy a book for one of your political opponents, what would it be and why?
Each candidate responded with their party view. They highlighted the differences in their approaches to Brexit, Scottish Independence, devolved powers, poverty, education and climate change. Interesting issues such as animal rights and lowering the voting age to 14 were discussed by the Conservative and Green candidate respectively.
The debate became very spirited between Joanna Cherry MP and Conservative candidate, Callum Laidlaw over Brexit and Scottish Independence which was a great display of politics in action for our pupils.
Joanna Cherry MP also named Darren ‘Loki’ McGarvey’s book, Poverty Safari, as an important piece of reading for her opponents.
Earlier in the year, Mr McGarvey visited GWC to discuss the links between poverty, wealth and inequality as part of filming by the BBC for his documentary series.