Hilary Benn MP - gave a talk to Sixth Form Students on the 12th September 2016
On Monday 12th Hilary Benn gave an extremely interesting and engaging talk in the Sixth Form assembly.
He started by talking about how the diversity in his constituency, Leeds reminded him of the importance of inter-dependency when it comes to England’s place in the world. He spoke about Brexit and how he feels the choice to leave is inward looking and, in many ways, isolating. He did however underline the need to respect the people’s vote and to try to understand the concerns of the leave voters. He believes people voted to leave for a range of reasons; from the desire for sovereignty, to fear about immigration and the availability of jobs, to disenchantment with the Eurozone intervention. He explained what informed his own decision to be part of the remain camp, was his firmly held belief in the importance of building relations in the global community. He went on to speak about England’s historical global position and how we as a nation have remained relevant and powerful because of our skill and innovation and through maintaining mutually beneficial working relationships with other countries in the European Union..
He pronounced the defining characteristic of international affairs in the 21st century to be the movement of people - those looking for opportunities to live a better life and those fleeing conflict. He said he believed the UN needs to play its part, such as in Syria where the impact of the conflict has been devastating (50% of people have been displaced from their homes). He finished by speaking about the threat of climate change to communities (such as in Bangladesh) and the responsibility we all have to make the world a more stable, peaceful and sustainable place for the next generation.
In true Camden style, the student audience asked him a number of challenging and pertinent questions, ranging from why he voted to support military intervention in Iraq, to what his opinion on the fact that people suffering devastating effects from natural disasters such as the Bangladeshi flooding and landslides are not given refugee status, to what he thought the future of the labour party was and why he supported Owen Smith. His responses were thoughtful and honest and he stayed behind for an extra 40 minutes after the assembly to answer questions from the many students who had other questions.
He was a very engaging and thought-provoking speaker.
Edie – Sixth Form Senior Prefect.