The debate on Friday 25 April of Any Questions? stimulated not only an array of opinions during the programme and on the Saturday lunch time broadcast on Radio 4, but also after the programme during a reception at the Master’s Lodge.
Big School played host to the popular programme, and was attended by nearly 300 people from surrounding areas, as well as from the Haileybury community.
The panel, chaired by Jonathan Dimbleby, comprised Theresa May, chairman of the Conservative Party, Glenn Frankel, London bureau chief for the Washington Post, Lord Clement-Jones, health spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats and a past pupil of Haileybury, and Mike O’Brien, Foreign Office minister.
One of the pupils who attended the broadcast was head of school, Beth Bowen. This is her account of the evening.
"It was a wholly successful evening and I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet the panellists and chairman of the debate, Jonathan Dimbleby. All four panellists performed fantastically under the pressure of replying to topical and controversial questions which, the producer assured us, were completely unplanned.
As would be expected, all four panellists were accomplished speakers and replied carefully and succinctly to all questions. Indeed, the debate was far from uninteresting as Theresa May, Chairman of the Conservative Party, honestly replied to a question asking whether she thought her party was unelectable!
After the programme, I was fortunate enough to meet the guests, and was able to talk to Theresa May. I was very curious to learn how one gets into politics and was surprised to hear that she is a Geography graduate and that what I thought would be a mandatory Politics degree is not as essential as a passionate interest in debate and a flair for oratory.
My personal interest in the political world was fuelled by Theresa’s acknowledgement that there are still few women in politics, and with a request for more young women to become involved, my own passion for political affairs has been ignited!
However, one curiosity of mine was confirmed by the discussion, that being in the public arena is an exhausting task, where every word you vocalise has the potential to be misconstrued. However, no equivocation or ambiguity was observed on Friday where all the guests spoke with clarity and it was made all the more apparent why they had been elected to be representatives for the people. It was a fascinating and insightful evening and one which has converted me to Saturday lunchtimes with Radio 4!"