On Thursday 1 December, eight Bedford School politics
students took part in a question and answer session with two former US
Congressmen at Sulgrave Manor, the ancestral home of George Washington’s
family. Martin Frost, a former member of the Democratic Party’s leadership team
in the House of Representatives, and Phil Gingrey, a former Republican Party
representative from Georgia, answered questions from a select group of students
as part of the US Congress’s ‘Congress2Campus’ programme. The representatives
spoke on a wide-range of issues and the election of Donald Trump formed the
backdrop to a good deal of soul-searching about the current state of the US
polity. Zahan Bharucha and Zac Rogers were lucky enough to be chosen to ask
their pre-prepared questions: Zahan’s enquiry about fake news and the hallowed
traditions of American journalism prompted a scathing attack on internet
bubbles from Mr Gingrey and an ode to the virtues of print media from Professor
Philip Davies from the Eccles Centre at the British Library, who was chairing
the event. Zac’s question about whether the Republican Party might acknowledge
the existence of man-made climate change certainly seemed to have Mr Gingrey on
the back foot!

After the event, the boys were fortunate to be able to
mingle with the Congressmen and certainly took the opportunity to ask them
searching questions in an informal setting: the sight of two hardened
politicians being quizzed on the finer points of US policy with regards to
Russia and the implications for NATO will live long in the memory.


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