I think it's important that people get involved with politics. I took Politics at A-Level and really enjoyed it despite not doing too well in the exam. I have a vivid memory about an essay I wrote on the three main political parties, when I got my comments back from the teacher she noted that where I had meant to put 'Conservatives' or 'Tories', I'd actually put 'Conservatories'! I look back and laugh and hope I'm a better proof reader these days! But actually when I think about conservatories (and I apologise now to anyone who has one and loves it) I'm actually not that keen on them, I believe they were quite popular in the 80s, and that these days people prefer more modern glass buildings. If I bought a house with one, I'd probably knock it down as I don't see that they serve a purpose, they can be very cold and only warm and comforting when the sun shines...ironic.
I like many others (I think about 20m) watched the live Election Debate on ITV last night with interest. What was more exciting and enthralling, however, was the live debate going on within social network sites, in particular Twitter. I think what happened last night was what the Greeks really meant when they referred to democracy as 'people power'. It was fantastic to read what ordinary people actually thought as it was happening, you can read many tweets at #leadersdebate
Social networking and indeed the rise of the Internet will no doubt make this election different from any other. I've already used several decision making websites including http://whogetsmyvote.com and @johnmclear's fabulous education policy sorter.
Watching the debate, whilst tweeting and joining in the live debate in my own living room last night really got me thinking about how politicians should be a bit more like teachers. What I mean is that in my lessons I try to present the facts, or better still help the children to find their own facts and then make up their own minds. An example would be in our 'Britain since 1948' history topic. I introduce the children to some key terms including 'immigration'. It's often clear to hear a parent voice during a debate on immigration (we are a 99% white school). I then present them with some facts; like the history of The Empire Windrush, they begin to see that immigration isn't as black and white as they first thought, if you excuse the pun. As a passing thought, I've also taught 'Invaders and Settlers' in history - when does an immigrant become a settler? An online dictionary defines them as...
Settler def: a person who settles in a new country or a colony.
Immigrant def: a person who leaves one country to settle permanently in another.
I hope that today some political aides are busy trawling the thousands of tweets in the #leadersdebate and are actually getting a feel for what the British people think, feel and want. I guess we'll only know if they have, if next week Harry Hill is presenting the live debate where there is opportunity for a few fisticuffs, Gordon Brown takes his eye out just because he can and the last important question is 'Marmite: Love it or Hate it? (real tweets I promise). I might send this blog entry to David Cameron, I could end up as one of his infamous anecdotes...
'I once knew this primary school teacher who said she wished politicians were more like teachers - presenting the facts in an interesting and stimulating way, using plain English so that listeners could make up their own minds...'