On Tuesday evening The Haileybury Lecture Series commenced with the Attlee Memorial Lecture. The Attlee Lecture honours Haileybury’s greatest parliamentarian and one of the finest of all prime ministers, former pupil, Clement Attlee. This noteworthy lecture was given by the former Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow. For nearly a decade, Mr Bercow was Speaker during some of the most tumultuous times in the modern history of parliament.
Mr Bercow’s lecture addressed the importance of “change amidst the change-resistant”, he enlightened the audience with his limitless knowledge and expressed why doing things differently is essential to the development and progression of our modern society. When faced with resistance and words of doubt against his decisions, such as “you can’t do that because it’s never been done before”, Mr Bercow confidently countered with “that is exactly why it should be done”.
The former Speaker of the House of Commons gave many anecdotes about his experience as Speaker and as an MP for Buckingham within the Conservative Party. He captivated the room with his entertaining narrative and boldly addressed claims that questioned his character. Bercow shared stellar advice with our pupils about the career paths they choose to take, most notably he encouraged them to pick something that will make them jump out of bed in the morning with excitement for the day and anticipation of what they might encounter.
John Bercow’s lecture was a perfect display of oracy at its finest and shared an abundance of knowledge our pupils will be sure to learn from. Lucien, U6, Vice-President of the Attlee Society, gave a powerful speech to close the evening, here are some words from him.
“It was a privilege to be able to give the vote of thanks and what drove me to deliver it was the work that he has done in reforming the House of Commons, and the help he has done to my grandfather’s charity called The Human Trafficking Foundation. I wanted to give something back to a Speaker who has truly changed the way the public view the House of Commons.
“I thought the evening was a unique occasion, with parents, teachers and pupils alike coming together to celebrate a truly prestigious parliamentarian, and I feel the talk was very special, with Bercow’s demeanour commanding respect. After not being in the Attlee room for so long it was also great to be entertained there, and exciting (and terrifying) to give the vote of thanks in front of all those people.”
For information on future lectures, please see our Arts & Events booklet.
Arts & Events Booklet