Alistair Darling MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer in the last Labour Government, took time out of his busy schedule to visit Watson’s and speak to our pupils on Friday.
The session arranged by the PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) Society, drew a large crowd. He also got the opportunity to be questioned by pupils studying Higher and Advanced Higher Economics.
An Edinburgh MP since 1987, he had 13 years of front line cabinet experience and this was evident in his frank and honest discussion. It was fascinating to hear his personal view of the economic crisis caused by the potential collapse of major banks, that beset Britain and beyond, during his tenure at Number 11 Downing Street.
He answered questions concerning Labour’s performance in the last General Election; his views on points raised on BBC’s Question Time the previous evening; the need to break long term fiscal rules set to contain Government borrowing; bankers’ bonuses; the potential impact of the failure of major banks; proposed reforms to the welfare state; the likelihood of deflation or a ‘double dip’ recession; tuition fees; and the Olympic Games, amongst others. The questions were intelligent and searching, coming thick and fast; he responded openly, sometimes surprisingly and often with humour.
He provided our pupils with a great opportunity for an insight into the world of front line politics and global economics, and it was one that they seemed to relish.