Parliament Week at the Bodleian Libraries, Thursday 17th November
In 1646, as the chaos of the Civil War raged across the land, the Royalist Parliament gathered in a series of chambers in Oxford, owned by the University. It was in one of these rooms, Convocation House, that we gathered over 300 years later. However, our chaos, our monumental event, and, as we were told, the defining political moment of our generation, is not a war. It is, of course, Brexit.
It was part of "Parliament Week" and we, as students of the Government and Politics variety, had been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend a session on post-war Britain's relationship with continental Europe and, by extension, the EU. This began with a series of lectures by academics from the University's Department of Politics and International Relations. These spoke of the history of the relationship and the significance of the referendum result. We were also asked to consider Britain's future outside the EU.
However this was a prelude to the grand event wherein, after having been given a rather up-market buffet lunch, we were ferried away from the modern library complex to the stone pillars and wooden benches of Convocation House. Here we were to participate in a discussion about the referendum, with a panel that was a picture of the British Political Landscape: Labour's Will Straw who served as executive director of Britain Stronger in Europe, Ken Clarke MP who is regarded as a "Big Beast" within the Conservative Party and the House of Commons, Caroline Lees of Reuters, and BBC journalist Chris Bowlby.
They spoke of the failures of the remain side to gain momentum, the passing of the 1972 European Communities Act and how the Commons has changed since then, and the idea that we are living in a "Post-Truth" world. After this we were given the opportunity to bombard the panel with questions and, as the event began to end and the other schools filter out, we stayed behind and started many dialogues with the panellists.
- Jody, Year 12