Vote early

15th April 2005 at 01:00
With the election now firmly under way, pupils will be trying to make sense of it all - just like the adults in fact. So hats off to the Hansard Society for doing its bit touring schools with a few MSPs to try out some "meaningful and interactive" engagement. This is a pilot exercise which aims to produce a resource pack in September.

We're not sure what the children have made of it so far, judging by their comments as reported by the Hansard Society's Greg Sanderson and Angela Wrapson in the latest edition of Holyrood magazine.

"I probably unenjoyed nothing," Lee, aged 10, said - a gnomic thought worthy of some MSPs themselves.

Dominic, aged 11, had a reality check with a budding Jeremy Paxman. "I liked the public meeting because I was a fireman and I made lots of points.

The annoying thing about the public meeting was Hamish kept interrupting me when I made long points."

Perhaps the kids should listen to the Green Party's co-convener Robin Harper and go into teaching before trying their hand at politics. Harper opted to become a modern studies teacher and, he says in the same issue of Holyrood, it is no coincidence there are so many former teachers in politics - First Minister Jack McConnell being the most notable example.

"Teachers, more than anybody, are connected into society in Scotland," he says. "Most teachers in the state education system have taught in the poorest parts of Scotland."

And the key skills required in both teaching and politics? The ability to communicate and the need to have a bit of a brass neck, Harper says.

A hefty dose of healthy self-esteem, we think the jargon has it.

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