‘Politics is not merely about abstract policies. It is about actively shaping the society we wish to inhabit’


‘Politics is not merely about abstract policies. It is about actively shaping the society we wish to inhabit’

On 19 July, we were proud and privileged to host 80 students from Canterbury schools at a pre-Hustings Schools Workshop. In this blog, Atiq from The Canterbury Academy 6th form, reflects on what they learnt at the workshop and the General Election Hustings.  Atiq emphasises the importance of respectful dialogue and thoughtful political engagement to address the challenges that young people face, today and in the future. 

The recent Political Hustings and Workshop proved to be an informative and thought-provoking experience. The opportunity to engage with local politicians in person and discuss pressing issues affecting both our community and country provided valuable insight into the political process.

A particularly noteworthy aspect of the event was Rosie Duffield’s remote participation via Teams. This situation exemplified the challenges facing contemporary political discourse, particularly concerning civility and personal safety. It prompted serious reflection on the importance of maintaining respectful dialogue, even in the face of strong disagreements.

During the workshop, we identified several key concerns for students and young citizens. The potential impact of artificial intelligence on future employment and job security resonated strongly. As students preparing to enter the workforce, we find ourselves both intrigued by the possibilities AI presents and concerned about its potential effects on job prospects across various fields.

The discussion on tuition fees was particularly relevant to our cohort. Many of us are grappling with the financial implications of higher education and questioning the sustainability and equity of the current system. Hearing diverse perspectives from politicians on this issue was enlightening and sparked consideration of potential reforms.

Environmental concerns featured prominently in our discussions, reflecting the urgency many young people feel regarding climate change. As individuals who will be living with the consequences of current environmental policies for decades to come, we were particularly engaged in this topic.

The cost-of-living crisis and growing inequality were also significant points of discussion. These issues have immediate and long-term implications for students, particularly in areas such as housing affordability and future financial stability.

Reflecting on the event, participants gained a deeper appreciation for the complexities of political decision-making. Engaging directly with politicians and grappling with these issues ourselves provided a new perspective on the challenges they face.

Simultaneously, the experience was empowering, reinforcing the importance of civic engagement and the role we all play in shaping political discourse. The workshop underscored the significance of active citizenship, whether through voting, activism, or simply staying informed and participating in political discussions. It became clear that politics is not merely about abstract policies, but about actively shaping the society we wish to inhabit.

In conclusion, this event was a valuable learning experience that will inform participants’ political engagement for years to come. It emphasized the importance of fostering respectful dialogue, particularly when addressing contentious issues, and reinforced the notion that political engagement is crucial for addressing the challenges facing our society.

Our Politics and International Relations courses allow you to explore all these issues and more, experiencing politics both as a subject to study and as something that we ‘do’, affecting every aspect of our lives.  Follow these links to find out more about our undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. 

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