From the desk of the Head Master 6 December 2019
On Monday we were delighted to invite five of Warwick and Leamington Spa’s parliamentary candidates to the Warwick School hustings, chaired by one of our own pupils, Lawrie Gartshore.
Readers of The Economist may have seen an article focusing on this constituency as a knife-edge marginal: Mr Jefferies tells me it is a bellwether for the national result.
Pupils from Warwick and a number of other schools attended the hustings, and it was interesting to hear their views as we had supper beforehand with the candidates. There is a lot of anger among young people, with climate change and Brexit, the two issues causing the most angst. I would like to throw in a third that should be towards the top of their list: education.
One of the candidates admitted to me that the major political parties focus on chasing the votes of older people and skew their policies to favour them. Hence we have a triple lock on pensions but no equivalent protection for the education budget. Young people have to make their voices heard if politicians are to be expected to listen to them, but only around 30 of our boys will be able to vote on Thursday. I have urged them all to use their vote – they have to make up their own minds how, but I sincerely hope that those who are eligible will all go to the polls. If the turnout for younger voters mirrors that of older voters across the country, perhaps then policy makers will start to redress the balance.
Another way for young people to influence this election is for them to speak with those of us who can vote and help us to understand their cares and concerns. Politics has the capacity to cause arguments within families but nonetheless I urge you to talk through with your children what matters to you and what matters to them, and which party or candidate might be closest to what you each want to see. And let them know you have used your vote!