More than a panel game

PUBLISHED: 12:08 18 January 2007 | UPDATED: 14:57 12 May 2010

Oliver Heald & Les Baker

Oliver Heald & Les Baker

IT wasn t quite Question Time or Any Answers? But the questions coming from students at The Meridian School were just as interesting and deserved serious consideration. The victims for grilling - or should that be the panel - were ex-student Vicky Foulger

Vicky Foulger & Mike Firth

IT wasn't quite Question Time or Any Answers?

But the questions coming from students at The Meridian School were just as interesting and deserved serious consideration.

The victims for grilling - or should that be the panel - were ex-student Vicky Foulger, head teacher Dr Mike Firth, Royston's MP Oliver Heald, and one editor of The Crow.

We were not quite sure what to expect, although the issues raised were not too surprising.

There were a number of questions about a lack of activities for youngsters in the area.

It's a question that has concerned people through the ages. It is that awkward age between 15 years and 18 years - the years, in other words, between orange juice and a pint of beer.

The return of a cinema or the building of a 10-pin bowling alley may hold the answer.

We moved on - and to a more serious matter.

What were our views on the war in Iraq and the execution of Saddam Hussain?

Well, the answers ranged from making sure we had a strategy for the country and the ability to depart as soon as possible, to the belief that we should not have become involved at the behest of the United States on dodgy dossier evidence.

And as for the execution of Saddam...

Yes, here was a man who had massacred his own, but did his hanging simply make him a martyr in the eyes of his supporters and, therefore, make the situation in Iraq worse?

The questions throughout the session were, obviously, important to us as a panel, and to those who were actually doing the asking.

But more important, the exercise showed that young people of today do have an interest in world events, and an opinion.

As Mr Heald said afterwards, the students were "articulate and confident" in facing the panel.

Indeed they were. But isn't it what we should really expect?

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