UK Parliament Week and the Polish Saturday School in Welwyn Garden City

  • I did wonder whether I should bother
  • I did wonder, whether inspiring young people to learn and find out more about the role of the Parliament, makes sense
  • I did wonder whether I should simply “drop” my passion for the civic agenda and look for another “hobby”

The most recent events in the Houses of Parliament “wobbled” my desire to do my little part and absolute commitment to enhancing the democratic process. Another scandal, another U-turn, another opportunistic attempt from the government to change the rules. “One rule for us, one for them”, we heard a lot this week.

I spoke this week with a number of people, who said that they would not vote again. Some said strongly and openly that they lost trust in the political process and our politicians. I was possibly in the same “boat”. However, each one of us should realise that there are plenty of genuine Councillors or Members of Parliament. We must never lose belief that democracy, which is far from perfect, is a system, which actively enables us to participate in this hugely complex civic process.

But what about the UK Parliament and the session itself? The attitude of children lifted my “dented mood”. They were fantastic; keen to learn, keen to find out how the “small Parliament” in Welwyn Hatfield and the “big Parliament” in London affect their lives. We covered a lot: MP’s, Lords, ways in which we can influence change. We even managed to run a debate, during which all the rules were clearly set out:

  • We listen to understand, and not listen to respond
  • We don’t interrupt others
  • We involve all pupils, also less confident, to enable them to take an active part at in the session
  • We work as a team

More about the UK Parliament Week can be found here.

My faith in democracy returned. Why? Because democracy is fragile, however more importantly, DEMOCRACY MATTERS.

* Michal Siewniak is a Lib Dem activist and former councillor

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One Comment

  • Ruth Bright 9th Nov '21 - 11:12am

    Michal when I was a PPC I was invited to address a group of young Polish care assistants about the British constitution They were the brainiest and best informed group I have ever spoken with 😊 I was seriously out of my depth

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