Reproduced below is a short news report about the Question Time event I organised for students last week at the University of Birmingham. To read the original report, click here.

Around 75 students gathered in the Business School on Thursday 27th September to take part in the ‘QuestionTime@IASS’ event. Based on the popular BBC1 television programme, the IASS event brought together an eight strong panel of politicians, policymakers and commentators.

As well as Gisela Stuart (Labour MP for Edgbaston) and John Hemming (Liberal-Democrat MP for Yardley), students were able to put their questions to James Burns (Chair of the West Midlands Green Party), Alison Garnham (Child Poverty Action Group), Paul Nowak (TUC), and Siobhan Harper-Nunes (Shakti Women). The panel was completed by the inclusion of IASS’s own Professor of Social Work, Sue White and Owen Williams, the Vice-President of the University’s Conservative Futures group.

Questions posed by the students included asking was Nick Clegg’s ‘apology’ for raising tuition fees adequate, if there was a need to put a limit on levels of immigration, whether Andrew Mitchell’s alleged use of the word ‘pleb’ to describe a police officer was reflective of politicians attitudes towards public sector workers, and what might need to be done to bring Birmingham City Council’s Children’s Services out of ‘special measures’. As well as the questions themselves, students were also given the right to respond and gave the panellists – at times – something of a hard time.

For students and staff who were unable to attend, the College of Social Sciences’ Danann Swanton tweeted the event live using the hashtag #QTIASS.

Feedback from the event was overwhelmingly positive and for hours after the event, the Twitter-sphere was extremely active by panellists talking about how good the event had been. James Burn tweeted how he hoped “we gave students lots of food for thought” while Gisela Stuart described it as “great…and well chaired”.

At the end of the event, all of the panellists were asked to give one positive message for students to take away with them. From speaking with students after the event most liked the message given by University’s social policy programme alumnus, Siobhan Harper-Nunes who told students to “be the change”.


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