Thursday, March 12, 2009

I write on faith schools for Comment is Free

I have a piece on the Guardian's Comment is Free site today. It is a reply of sorts to an article there a couple of days ago by James Graham.

I write:
One of the most important jobs on election day is getting the numbers from the tellers at the polling stations back to the committee room. And, having worked in many local byelections, I have come to the conclusion that the best people to do it are 10-year-olds on their bikes. They are quick and they insist on going back to the polling station every five minutes.

You could say these children are too young to understand politics and should be kept out of it until they are old enough to make up their own minds. How can a 10-year-old be a Liberal Democrat or a supporter of any other party?

But they have the rest of their lives to get cynical and bored by politics, to remain in the Liberal Democrats or rebel by joining the Trotskyites or the Young Conservatives. In the meantime let them enjoy being part of something larger than themselves.
This is probably the first and last time I shall appear under the website's Belief heading.


Jennie Rigg said...

As the parent of a child who is currently being indoctrinated by her local faith school, because THERE ARE NO LOCAL NON FAITH SCHOOLS TO CHOOSE, I really object to being lumped in with that one third as if I am perfectly happy with it. I bloody well am not, and I know of several other parents whose children go to my daughter's school who are not either.

dheigham said...

"How can a 10-year-old be a Liberal Democrat or a supporter of any other party?"

Easily, if they are truly interested. At about that age,I remeber my son insisting on standing up at a locsl party meeting and insisting that he did not want to be a Young Liberal, he wanted to be a full party member, and saying why. He won the argument.

Tom Barney said...

"People sitting inside the doors of polling stations asking for voters' numbers to send back to their headquarters. Small boys outside on the steps asking also, but for no other reason than that small boys collect numbers, whether belonging to railway engines, motor cars or citizens exercising their franchise."

Stan Barstow: "A raging calm".

But how much better for them if they can feel that it is important.

Jonathan Calder said...


Many thanks for the quotation, which I shall steal and use myself somewhere.

It makes writing that article worthwhile.