Ed Miliband engages NCS students with a lively talk on politics – video

Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre

Ed Miliband engages NCS students with a lively talk on politics – video

“Why does politics matter? I just think there’s no issue that affects you that isn’t relevant to politics.”

If you recently found yourself in East Ham and thought you saw Ed Miliband, your eyes weren’t fooling you. The former Labour party leader spent the afternoon of 25th April 2016 visiting our students as part of our Lecture Programme where he led a lively discussion on what politics means to him and the importance of political youth engagement.

Newly relaxed in what he described as “his new role”, Mr Miliband stood at the front of our entire student body and delivered a short speech on his experiences and career that covered how he found interest in politics, why it’s important and how political change happens.

“This is the most important thing that I want to say to you today. Some people will say change happens because great leaders make change happen. Of course great leaders are important and have an impact, but I have a different view about change. I think it’s movements that change things. In a way great leaders only do the things that they’re pushed into doing one way or another.”

Following his brief lecture, Mr Miliband spent the following hour in conversation with our students, taking questions from the floor to answer and often asking his own in return as he took genuine interest in the views and experiences of those in the room. A total of 24 questions were posed with topics ranging from Barack Obama’s intervention on the current EU referendum, how to best engage youth in the political process, experiences of the general election campaign and the current state of the NHS. It was lively and thoroughly engaging.

Mature, intelligent questions were met with honest responses that gave those studying Government and Politics at The NCS an insight into the inner thoughts of one our most respected political figures as well as an insight into the most recent general election. In an age of soundbytes, selfies and snapchats, Mr Miliband spent the afternoon with us giving everone present a chance to see beyond the media image; detailing the ways in which dialogue and thoughtful processes can lead to change in communities and society in general.

“Stay engaged in politics. Politics is frustrating, it’s difficult. Change is hard. I know from having lost the general election that there are big setbacks along the way. But don’t let that put you off. If you care about your community, your country and your world then I think in the end there are all kinds of ways in which you can go about changing things, but politics is incredibly important. Politics is about these kinds of conversations.”

Throughout his time with our students, Mr Miliband repeatedly stressed the importance of change and how anyone in the room could deliver it if they wanted it. On dreaming big, he praised our vision and work on inspiring students to go forward into the world knowing that they can become a leader in society.

“My one piece of advice would be follow your dreams. Follow your ambitions, follow your dreams and don’t let people say that because you didn’t go to a private school, because of the background that you’ve come from that you can’t achieve them. One of the great things about this school from my experience of it is that it’s encouraging high ambition and for nobody to stand in your way and I think that’s really important.”

Everyone at The NCS would like to thank Mr Miliband for taking the time from his busy schedule to visit and deliver an inspiring afternoon that will long be remembered. The video below has his opening remarks and gives a flavour of some of the following conversation that followed.

Video - watch the full lecture
The Student View
``Ed Miliband delivered an overwhelming message of political engagement for youth empowerment. More importantly, he demonstrated the necessity of persevering through the challenges that come with engagement. Miliband initiated a political dialogue that resonated with us and has left a profound impact on the NCS.`` – Zeerena
``Ed's speech was one of immense value. It was highly refreshing to witness a politician directly engaging with young minds, emphasising the importance of youth voice. It undoubtedly inspired many in the room, to the point where I am certain that politics is the right career path for me! It is definitely true to say that he left an everlasting impression on the NCS.`` – Saadia
``Ed Milliband’s speech engrained the message that change is possible and that it begins with us being active. He left us with a feeling of empowerment and optimism, it's definitely one of the talks that will continue to echo in my thoughts for time to come; and has positively encouraged me to engage with politics beyond the classroom and conclude that young people, collectively, can make a difference.`` – Majida
``I loved seeing Ed Miliband yesterday, his style of interaction was so genuinely engaging with the added benefit of his witty comebacks making the whole hall burst out laughing. I’m never going to forget this.`` – Yasmin
``'Follow your dreams'; I echo the words of Ed Milliband himself. It was an honour meeting such a high profile politician, which enabled me to gain an insight into the real scenes behind international politics.`` – Aishah
``Miliband's passion about political participation was outstanding. His views on increasing participation amongst the youth is the reason why I created my YouTube channel because I believe that there is a lot more to politics than people yelling at each other.`` – Mark
``Standing there on a platform, a few metres away from me was one of my biggest role models. Without the help of NCS, I wouldn't have experienced such an opportunity. The depth of this moment is life changing, and I am thankful that NCS is always exceeding my expectations.`` – Tamanna
``The lecture held by Ed Miliband was thought provoking and riveting. He demonstrated that our socioeconomic backgrounds do not define who we are. This day will forever remain close to my heart.`` – Azher
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