Minister Harriett Baldwin spoke about the importance of voting at Malvern St James Girls’ School’s mock election.
Year 9s and Year 6s got the chance to discuss key issues on their doorstep and hear what it’s like to be an MP from the current minster for West Worcestershire.
The conservative politician spoke told the girls that she would have ‘laughed out loud’, if she has been told she would become a government minister at school. ‘In fact,’ she continued, ‘one of my teachers told me I should be a glove buyer at Harrods! It never even occurred to me to think of a career in politics – there were so few women in this area. But here I am.’
Harriett was a great inspiration for girls aspiring to enter politics and said she would strongly recommend politics to any woman. ‘You can influence your community at a local level and at a national level. I was a late starter in this world, not getting involved until my 40s. But it’s great to start young: that’s why it’s so good to see all of you organising this mock election in school.’
After her talk, Harriett took questions from the audience who wanted to quiz her on a variety of issues and topics, from nuclear wears to the economy, why she chose Conservatism to the best and worst aspects of the job. The MP’s closing comment to the girls was, ‘I don’t mind who you vote for, but please vote for someone’. It’s important to register when you’re 18 and to use your vote as an expression of what you want for society.’
The talk formed part of an ongoing campaign at Malvern St James Girls’ School entitled Facts Matter, which encourages everyone to look beyond the political slogans, soundbites and headlines to get to the truth of party policies. As part of Facts Matter, the school is holding its own mock election trail.
Harriett visited all of the political parties’ stands so she could meet the girls individually and give them pointers on their campaigns and things to think about.
MSJ’s Headmistress, Mrs Olivera Raraty commented, ‘The MSJ girls will be scrutinising policies carefully over the next few days, ahead of the school’s election which takes place before half term. I’m grateful for Harriett’s expertise and her encouragement that, later in life, the girls can be anything they want to be. It’s good to feel that we may be fostering the politicians and MPs – perhaps even the Prime Minister – of the future.’