Date: Thu 27th January 2011
Last Friday I visited North West Kent College. The college is presided over by David Gleed, their excellent principal and is in the process of a huge transformation with new buildings due to be completed shortly. I had the pleasure of addressing around 130 students who are all studying the work of public services. I gave them a short talk about why I went in to public service and then they had the chance to grill me on my work and issues that concern them.
I was impressed with the level of questions and debate. These young people felt very strongly about a number of issues such as immigration, the Dartford Tolls, the implications of fixed term Parliaments, the Education Maintenance Allowance, tuition fees, policing, bankers’ bonuses, overseas aid and Afghanistan.
One lad said that he would prefer to have Scotland totally devolved and we discussed the implications of this and why I feel the Union is stronger together. They were concerned that policing had become too politically correct and were glad that every time an officer stopped to talk to someone in the street that the process of noting down that conversation and the subsequent recording of this centrally has been scrapped. It was interesting that some of them wanted ‘old style policing’ brought back.
A number of them thought that workers were overtaxed and there was little incentive to create growth when there is a 50% band and many ordinary workers were paying 40%. We discussed who should be paying for higher education when we already have high levels of taxation and balancing that against paying off our huge deficit.
If you would like me to visit your sixth form or local organisation then please get in touch.