Peers outreach programme

Lord Soley

I went to Faringdon Community College on Friday as part of the Peers Outreach Prograame. The College has a specialist status in engineering and appears to be doing very well. I always ask how many students have looked at Lords of the Blog – alas all too few! maybe this entry will increase the number!

The outreach programme was set up by the Lord Speaker (Baroness Hayman)  I have done a number of these visits and I am always impressed by the students. They are not shy about asking questions and they are often very challenging questions.

I always make it clear that I am a Labour Peer because although I try and maintain political balance I know that bias creeps in! The most difficult political question recently was about the Liberal Democrats and student fees. It would have been so easy to score a few political points but I stuck to a simple  ‘be careful what of what you promise’ reply! Generally a good political message for all politicians!

7 comments for “Peers outreach programme

  1. Senex
    29/11/2010 at 9:02 pm

    “The College has a specialist status in engineering and appears to be doing very well.”

    Excellent! The headmaster is rightly proud of his pupils. A teacher that is passionate about his or her subject cannot fail but to inspire their pupils. I had a science teacher at that age and for my last three years at school I was hitting 98% in the internal exams. He was an old man near retirement even then and amateur radio was his hobby. I remember buying and assembling a crystal set radio and using the bed spring as the aerial.

    Of course what these youngsters will never see are the great engineering companies of the 50 and 60’s like GEC, English Electric, Ferranti, Plessey, and Rover. I think the only one left of that era is Rolls Royce. Many of the engineers then would have had an HNC and would have gone to night school combined with day release at an FEC.

    I did a stint at night school myself and I distinctly remember the lecturer working at English Electric and he was good, very good. He taught advanced math as I recall but I remember him not for that but for a chance remark he made about building societies and how using a mutual society was prerable. So many years later we bought our first house and I chose ‘The Equitable Building Society’.

    About the mid 80’s I abandoned a regular salary for free enterprise and I did well, so well that I was able to pay off my mortgage entirely by the mid 90’s. So I missed the meltdown but had the best of profits from this old mutual; all thanks to an off the cuff remark by a remarkable man, an engineer, giving something back to society in the evenings of his life.

  2. ladytizzy
    29/11/2010 at 9:07 pm

    Ah, but: how many LotB commenters assembled their first blancmange in what is now the library in Faringdon?

  3. Croft
    30/11/2010 at 10:53 am

    “It would have been so easy to score a few political points but I stuck to a simple ‘be careful what of what you promise’ reply!”

    As I believe you voted for fees originally you can’t attack the principle of the fees only a somewhat more difficult argument about particular amounts which the academic evidence seems problematic in advancing. As far as I’m aware every country that has introduced fees has once the academic cycle has finished seen more students not less attending.

    I suspect we’d both agree the LD fees pledge was the consequence of a party never thinking it would be in government and never having to face reality. So I suppose in those terms making hard policy decisions seemed foolish.

  4. Carl.H
    30/11/2010 at 2:32 pm

    I have to concede that in comparison to your newer colleagues on the blog, my Lord, you do seem to have been less partisan. Personally I feel it a great shame that newer members are bringing their party spirit with them, shouting at brick walls is not one of my forte`s.

    As far as the Lib-Dems and their broken pledge, I`m sure going back we could find an equivalent that belongs to the Labour Party or the Tories for that matter.

    The Outreach Programme is a wonderful concept and I hope it succeeds in filling the void in the public`s mind that is The House of Lords.

    One question: Shouldn`t you just be a peer ? I`m pretty sure there`s nowhere in the title for “Labour”, you may have some of the Parties views but does that still give ou the right to represent the Party at these events ?

    Ok, ok that was two questions, so who`s counting !

  5. Lord Soley
    Clive Soley
    30/11/2010 at 5:01 pm

    Fascinating stuff! I would like to know more about Ladytizzy’s blancmange! Can you expand on the blancmange? Or did it collapse into a runny mess?!
    Full marks to your teacher Senex. We do have some big industries still – BAE for example. Also very advanced ones like aerospace and subsea engineering.
    Croft You’ll be pleased to know that I explained my conversion on fees to the students and how it led to a massive amount of blogging on my Clive Soley MP blog – the precursor to this blog.

  6. Carl.H
    30/11/2010 at 6:06 pm

    “I suspect we’d both agree the LD fees pledge was the consequence of a party never thinking it would be in government and never having to face reality.”

    Nick Clegg`s favourite remark during the TV debates leading upto the election and at other times was “Let`s be honest”, he simply wasn`t but the reality was people voted for his Party on it`s pledges.

    It is not only in the interest`s of the Lib-Dems to vote against the £9000 planned fees but in the interest of the integrity of every politician lest they prove that Parliament is infact full of liars and dishonest car salesmen type figures.

  7. Croft
    01/12/2010 at 12:10 pm

    Out of interest then where does that place you now? No change or higher fees?

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