Monday, 4 May 2015

Compulsory Democracy: Because We Said So

With the General Election in the air like a stink-bomb in the Ingrish corridor, the school have taken it upon themselves to get students involved in politics. How so? Are they getting local candidates in to talk to them about what they would do if they were elected vis a vis education and children, or to Sixth Formers about voting for the first time? Are they inviting journalists to run sessions on how to understand what is really being said in the media? Are they timing School Council elections with the General Election?

All seem very good ideas, but no; instead they have bothered five students into standing as candidates (all of which are male which, whilst not being an accurate representation of Hampstead, is probably a very accurate portrayal of national politics), and are hosting an election which will surmount to nothing. On May 7th, Hampstead votes for the candidate that it thinks they should vote for because it's the taking part that counts.

What's more, they are even doing this hair-brained scheme half-arsed, as the height of coverage it is getting is a single assembly. It's not like there's some sort of faux student magazine that could be reporting on the candidates and what they pledge to the school. The majority of students don't even know what the various parties stand for. Let's face it, this isn't about the school getting kids immersed in politics, this is about looking like they care.

What obviously didn't cross their mind, as it would have been an actually half-decent idea, and would have involved more than two seconds of thought, is to convert the School Council into a seats-based system, like the Board of Governers. That way, candidates can represent specific parties within the school (but not the anarchist party; no, they're not allowed) and be elected into seats. The party that holds the majority has overall control of the School Council (the Abdi Front), and can appoint a leader (perhaps even making the Head Boy/Head Girl thing vaguely democratic, as opposed to an annual publicity stunt for the school). That way, and we know this sounds barmy, but our votes actually mean something, and we can have a two-chamber system that has a political agenda, making policy change more likely.

But no, we play democracy on the school's terms; a distraction from the overriding notion that there is no room for a substantial student voice in an autocratic administration.


  1. Vote UKIP for a free one way ticket back home.

    1. What, for yourself?