Assembly Speaker, 29 October 2018 – Jason Arthur minister for Finance and Health for Haringey Council
Jason Arthur, a cabinet member for Finance and Health for Haringey Council who has worked to tackle educational inequality both as a teacher and in the charity sector, spoke to our Year 12 and 13 students about his works and his campaigns and how we all could and should become much more socially active.
He spoke about the two campaign groups which he co-founded ‘I Will’ and ‘FFS’. The first is about encouraging people to empower themselves, hence I will, and work to bring about change if there is a social issue which they feel very strongly about.
Jason Arthur said if we think that something is wrong or unfair, we should not get mad but, instead, get organised. He suggests we follow the steps in this acronym – S.T.A.I.R.S: ‘Scholarship’ to be committed to the love of learning; ‘Transformation’ to constantly be able to push yourself to change and adapt; ‘Aspiration’ to have high ambition and expectations in life; ‘Inclusion’ to understand that you and your peers are part of a community; ‘Resilience’ to push through the difficult things, and ‘Social responsibility’ to ultimately be able to leave school with academic aspirations but also with a greater sense about YOU, what you care about, what you can offer and what contributions you will make to society.
The students were then asked a thought-provoking question – whether they think in 10 years’ time this country will be better or worse off. Around 20% of students said they thought it would improve, 10% said it will be roughly the same and a majority of 70% students said they thought it would be worse off. Jason pointed out that it was actually very easy to become insular and focus on yourself and your little bubble, especially with social media bombarding us every day, however if we as young people want to improve the world we live in knowing it could get worse, we have to directly address these challenges and be prepared to act. He wants to make social action a norm for students as not only will it broaden our knowledge about the world we live in, but it will also benefit our community and living standards.
The ‘FFS’ ( for our future’s sake) is a group of students and young people across the UK who focus on mobilising more young people to campaign for a referendum on the terms of the Brexit deal. A huge majority of young people are angry about leaving the European Union and feel like their future is being stolen from them. The ‘FFS’ campaign fights for young people’s voices to be heard and to help bring change. Interestingly, and ironically, the home page of the FFS website features a quotation from David Davis ‘If a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy.
Jason was a really engaging and inspiring speaker - “Do it today. Not tomorrow. Do something.” - Jason.
Nour, Senior Prefect