I attended the Conservative Party Conference 2014 for the second time this year – and what a week it was. As usual with conference, it is a long few days which consist of a mixture of fringe meetings, meeting friends, the main speeches in the hall and, of course, the party members only sessions. There are always lots of opportunity to ask questions to MPs and Ministers and give them things to think about.
This year I focussed on human rights, immigration and schools/education fringe events mainly because I find these topics quite interesting.
Before conference, I quite liked the sound of a British Bill of Rights, however after spending much time amongst lawyers, human rights specialists and others, I spent a lot of time battle with the idea of ECHR (European Convention of Human Rights) vs a British Bill of Rights. I am now undecided on whether a British Bill of Rights is the correct way forward. I do agree that the ECHR has changed from it’s original purpose and can bring in some bizarre laws; such as prisoners deserve a right to vote in elections, but it also holds other countries to a higher standard then they hold themselves – which is a very powerful thing.
Immigration is always a hard thing to discuss – the room can turn sour due to the language being used and people not always realising that the majority of immigrants actually come to this country and work very hard to make ends meet. They also are usually law abiding citizens and have the same British values as you and me.
The issue, however, is uncontrolled immigration, not knowing who is in the country and who has left and, the big one, illegal immigration. I quite like the States system – where you are in logged in and out of the system. We should have some kind of check on entrance and exiting of Britain where one is checked against criminal databases but also whether they have kept to their visa agreements in other countries too. Also, I’m a fan of the idea that fingerprints are taken. Yes this will bring up the debate of a “big brother” state but the way I see it is – if you don’t do anything wrong then you have nothing to worry about.
Lastly, education. As someone who has just graduated from University with a Masters in Mathematics and has been tutoring for 4 years (and continuing to do so) I’m very keen on learning new ideas of teaching, learning and being a part of the change for the better for students but, most importantly, asking why certain things are not being brought into place. For the last few years, I’ve carried out analysis on Pupil Premium data for some schools and have found that those the Pupil Premium funding is supposed to help doesn’t actually help as teachers will use the funding for during school time but the children actually need the support in the holidays or after school. Children from high income families will get that support and ‘well-rounded’ experience from parents or family (I’m aware this is a general statement) and those from low income families won’t (or more than likely won’t) so I believe that the Pupil Premium Funding should be used during the holidays to provide holiday clubs, camps, extra sessions or provide material for students to take home and do work over the holidays.
PM David Cameron’s speech
The Prime Ministers speech was brilliant. Full of hope, optimism and, more importantly, a vision for the future. I’m not saying his ideas were perfect (no-one’s ever is) but out of the choices we have he is the best person to take this country forward and make us Great again. The best way to explain the speech is to post the video below and let you listen to it yourselves.