Monday, October 13, 2008

Facing up to Kieren

Back to my old school today. And to the Geography room in Caereinion High, where, many years ago, Mr Arthur Jones taught me about our continents and capital cities. I think I was one of his favourites. This time I was facing the Lower Sixth, who are studying the Welsh Baccalaureate which involves an introduction to politics. Sian Hughes, the teacher in charge, and Deputy Head I think, decided they should see a real life specimen who participated in this strange practise of politics. This is where I came in.

Amongst other things, I tried to explain the Legislative Competence Order system to the 40 students seated before me. Not sure whether they thought this system impossible to comprehend, understood it but thought it a crazy way to make law, or thought I was making the whole thing up. If only the latter were true.

Had all sorts of questions. One about the doubting of street lights in Llanfair Town, which is to take place this very evening. As we speak, Watergate Street is in darkness for the first time for many decades. I joined local councillor, Viola Evans for tea afterwards. She told me that Llanfair was the first town in Montgomeryshire to have street lights. When I was a pupil at Llanfair School (which is what we called it then) we had a ditty for uncleaned shoes.
"His shoes, they shine like Llanfair, and Llanfair shines like s***".
Don't know the history of this. But from now on she's not going to shine at all. Collette Hume of the BBC was in town, preparing a clip to go out tomorrow night. Powys County Council had tried to keep this quiet, but Viola and her followers gatecrashed the party. Bet Collette pretends that they weren't there.

Another question was whether I thought any politician knew how to resolve the current crisis in the financial world. I didn't lie. I don't think any of us can be sure where its going. I never thought I'd see the day when most the world's banking system was nationalised. I told them to expect rapidly rising employment, rising taxes and cuts in public services. And then Kieren asked me if I liked Lembit Opik. I said I did, but that we had a very different approach to politics. Kieren seemed to get into his stride then, and was up for a political argument. Not sure that the Welsh Bac is about that, so I didn't bite. He's clearly one to keep an eye on though.

It was the last 5 minutes that worked for me. That's when we started to bridge the disconnect. It was Kieren again. He could not believe that I'm a local farmer. He imagined that because I'm a politician, I'm not as he is. But I am. That's the point. If young people are going to be tempted to vote, those who want their votes must satisfy the test that they are one of them. It was an hour and a half that I really enjoyed.

UPDATE - Its BBC across the UK! At last Powys is on the map.


Anonymous said...


I've been tasked with a similar job. I am due to go to the local high school here in Llandrindod at the beginning of next month to talk to the various year groups about democracy and local government, how you get involved, my roles and responsibilities, why I stood for local government etc. I’m looking forward to it.

For afterward I’ve invited the school council to County Hall for a look around, chamber, meeting rooms etc and then we are going to have a Question Time and we are going to have a event I could only describe as political speed dating with myself, Margaret Morris (Shire Chairwoman), Michael Jones, Mark Kerr and hopefully Cllr Price & Cllr Hodges (oops I haven’t had the opportunity to ask Cllr Price and Cllr Hodges yet – I’m sure it’ll be fine though).

I wonder how many Kieran’s I’ll have?

Anonymous said...

Cheers for the mention, I'll have to join you in the old railway cafe in welshpool now im famous. Put my word in with Gordon next time your out ploughing with him and who knows, watch this space and you'll wish you never mentioned me when i get more votes than you! Might even pick myself up a cheeky girl, If you dont get there first!!!

Glyn Davies said...

Sarah - Great. Its our job to connect. Best of luck.

Kieren - Why not meet up for coffee one day. Llanfair is convenient for me. Ring Pam on 01938 442315. Nothing wrong with you finding yourself a cheeky girl. I'm sure there's plenty of choice in the school.

Anonymous said...

seems like one of your boys is back in town

Glyn Davies said...

anon - and very welcome too.