Political Society Round-Up

At the end of the Michaelmas Half, the Political Society was delighted to welcome former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf to Eton. Mr Musharraf spoke for over an hour, and was very open in answering questions. It was a very stimulating and highly memorable evening.

This Half has been an extremely busy one for the PolSoc, with a hectic and eclectic line up that spanned the political spectrum, from a former leader of UKIP to a former Labour Home Secretary.

However, it was with a current member of government that the Half kicked off. Andrew Lansley, Secretary of State for Health under the coalition, joined us for an Upper School meeting in conjunction with the Medical Society, as he set out a steadfast defence of the government’s health policy.

Defence was a theme perpetuated, though in a quite different way, with the much-anticipated Liam Fox, until very recently in power as Defence Secretary. As such, he was able to give a thoroughly fascinating talk on ‘Defence in an uncertain world’, unencumbered by adherence to government lines and given extra salience by the relevance of his recent experience. However, it was not limited to the subject of defence, as his past as possibly the last powerful Thatcherite in the Cabinet quickly came to the fore, with the declaration that she is “the greatest living Conservative, without a doubt”, and economics were frequently visited throughout the talk.

The political pendulum swung back the other way for David Blunkett, holder of a number of Cabinet posts during his time in the New Labour government, the most prominent of which was Home Secretary. Speaking on the future of the Labour Party, he identified the middle ground of politics and the importance of a comprehensive political narrative as key to his party’s future.

Our next rendezvous was one of particular current relevance, as Lord Pearson came to discuss ‘The EU: Better off out?’ during a critical time for the supranational institution. Unsurprisingly, considering his UKIP past, he attempted to convince the audience of an answer strictly in the affirmative, and the result was an especially involved question and answer session at the end.

Alex Lloyd George (JMG)