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The School’s politics society has hosted some high profile political figures in recent weeks, including leading British Marxist Mark Thomas, and MP Chris Grayling.
On Wednesday 11 November, Mark Thomas visited St John’s to discuss the topic ‘Has capitalism failed: the Marxist case’. Around 50 pupils attended Mr Thomas’ talk, where he argued that the recent economic crisis was an inevitable feature of the boom and bust cycle of capitalism. He also raised the notion that argued it was a deeply unjust and exploitative system that was also the root cause of the ecological crisis that threatens our very existence.
Several pupils challenged Mr Thomas, and made strong arguments on the historical failure of socialism in the Soviet Union, and the success and superior model of our society.
On Friday 20 November, MP & senior member of the government Chris Grayling spoke on his life in politics, alongside wider political issues. To a packed audience in the Old Chapel, Mr Grayling began by explaining the key ministerial posts he has held in two governments, and offered a glimpse into life at the heart of British politics.
After a thoroughly interesting introduction Mr Grayling invited questions from the audience on any political issue. It was an invitation that the pupils accepted with great enthusiasm and the next 40 minutes were a genuinely testing time for our guest. Pupils asked a range of sophisticated questions on topics as varied as tax credit cuts, rehabilitation of prisoners, the UK’s voting system and Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.
St John’s pupils showed a remarkable depth of knowledge, often asking a supplementary question when they felt the original answer was insufficient. It was an enjoyable evening and the audience were grateful to Mr Grayling for being open to discussing such a diverse range of political issues.
Head of Politics at St John’s Julian Thomas commented: “Not only are these talks enjoyable and insightful, but they are also of great help academically to our A level politics and economics pupils.”
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