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Andy Walker

Schools European Elections

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This is a very interesting project. At the moment I unfortuantely do not teach the suitable age groups and classes to participate. I know that one of our year 11 classes is doing something similar, but the teacher does not speak English well enough to do it in English and I do not know the class. Maybe you could giev me some details about the project :unsure:

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I think it is a very worthwhile activity! The general apathy about the European Elections in Britain is a direct result of the astonishing level of ignorance about EU matters. Hopefully, this activity will raise people's understanding of these issues.

I am not aware of an organised mock elections otherwise I would certainly have entered my students. Compared to mock General Elections organised by the Citizenship Foundation et al. there doesn't seem to have been an equivalent ... another indication of the disinterested British approach towards the EU, perhaps.

Edited by HolgKroll

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So far the activity has created much useful discussion about Europe and the various political parties - all good citizenship education desperately needed.

A disturbingly high level of support for far right parties has been vocalised by many of our students. The result will be very interesting as will how this College decides to respond to it.

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Election Results can be accessed HERE

As predicted a large amount of support for the fascist party in some of the schools and some evidence of multiple voting

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Do you have an explanation for the result of the mock elections?

Unfortunately we did not do such a thing at my school, but I suppose that the students' decision would have been the same as the result of the European elections in Germany: gains for the conservatives and the greens, losses for the Social Democrats.

With the large German parties being at a loss what to do about German economy, our system of social security etc. many students would have decided to support the party with the best result in the elections: the "party" of the non-voters.

Edited by UlrikeSchuhFricke

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Hi Ulrike

My immediate thoughts are that some of the schools involved will not have prepared their students in any way for this experience leaving them with their parents and peers as the only input into their political education. If you look at the breakdown of votes school by school you will notice that my school only apparently has 18 Nazis walking its corridors whereas others have many more!

This is part can be put down to the way we tried to explain each parties position and ideology in the run up to the election.

Some of the schools also quite clearly exerted no control over how often students voted and I imagine certain schools results reflect nothing more than the determination of a minority of students to wreck the results.

I am also accutely aware that the political culture of the area has lurched to the far Right in recent years despite for some time returning a Labour MP to Parliament. Anti-Asylum and anti-immigration arguments hold the usual simplistic appeal for lazy and ignorant people.

Finally all the information available to students was online. The Kent County Council internet filtering system filtered out the BNP website disallowing access to it from within the schools. As soon as we realised this we made key features of the BNP site available on the school intranet and took time to discuss the contents of it and why it might have been filtered out with the students. I don't imagine that the other schools will have done this thereby making the BNP seem interesting, exotic and anti-establishment.

I will be very interested to see whether these schools attempt to tackle the issues raised by this project. I fear most will do nothing being as they are more concerned with exam results over education ;) .

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Andy

thank you for the explanation. I think the main problem in our countries is how to educate our students so that they change from human beings into citizens.

I have some ideas and I hope I will find some time to post them soon.

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Andy

thank you for the explanation. I think the main problem in our countries is how to educate our students so that they change from human beings into citizens.

I have some ideas and I hope I will find some time to post them soon.

I've been doing some follow up work with some of the students HERE.

I have also set up a little forum on the site where they can suggest improvements to the process they experienced HERE.

Though it was clearly a flawed process it has produced some good opportunities for discussion and debate.

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I am also accutely aware that the political culture of the area has lurched to the far Right in recent years despite for some time returning a Labour MP to Parliament. Anti-Asylum and anti-immigration arguments hold the usual simplistic appeal for lazy and ignorant people.

I agree that in parts of England the political debate has been lurching to the right for some time. The votes of these students are fairly similar to the votes cast by their parents in the EU parliamentary elections with the exception of the unashamed support for the BNP. The Daily Mail, amongst others, has made xenophobia and racism acceptable if it comes in the guise of be-suited UKIP or Conservative candidates. The youngsters in the poll obviously don't draw that line and go for the real thing. Maybe an indication for worrying times ahead? What was also interesting about the EU elections is the fact that in other parts of the UK, most notably Wales and Scotland, the move to the right was far less pronounced, if at all discernible. An indication that proportional electoral systems and devolution really have produced different party systems.

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What was also interesting about the EU elections is the fact that in other parts of the UK, most notably Wales and Scotland, the move to the right was far less pronounced, if at all discernible. An indication that proportional electoral systems and devolution really have produced different party systems.

I am not sure I completely agree with this statement. Some areas saw a shift to the left. The Liberal Democrats, on the left of New Labour, saw an increase in its vote.

We also had local elections at the same time as the European Elections. This also shows interesting developments. New Labour lost control of several councils in old industrial areas and university towns. The swing was to more left-wing parties (Liberal Democrats and the Greens). This is a stark warning to New Labour that they cannot rely on the support of those who still hold left-wing views.

It is reported that the Greens might even win Brighton Pavilion in the next general election.

See the following:

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=967

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The votes of these students are fairly similar to the votes cast by their parents in the EU parliamentary elections with the exception of the unashamed support for the BNP.

Things may not be a grim as we thought. If you look at the statistics carefully you will see for instance that one school with a very high vote for the BNP managed a very impressive 125% turn out. This is especially impressive as the school in question struggles to achieve 70% attendance on a good day <_<

The poll was clearly badly affected by multiple voting.

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Despite the flaws of the mock elections the results seem to reflect the opinion of our students. Obviously they deeply distrust the parties/coalitions ruling the European countries at the moment.

The German results of the European elections and the elections in Thuringia clearly showed how dissatisfied the people are with the political performance of the Social Democrats. The Greens also saw an increase in the European election and in Thuringia the heirs of the old SED (the more or less Communist party of the German Democratic Republic) managed to poll more votes than four years before and the SPD with its worst result since the foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany. But as I said in my previous posting the "party of the non-voters" clearly won the elections. I am not quite sure if I am pleased with the fact that obviously German people prefer non-voting to voting for a far-right party.

The political atmosphere in Germany is fairly ambivalent: on the one hand you have a huge amount of discontent but on the other hand you have the same amount of apathy especially when you want to move beyond letting off steam and want to find ways of restructuring our social system.

Unfortunately the same apathy can be found among our students.

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Despite the flaws of the mock elections the results seem to reflect the opinion of our students. Obviously they deeply distrust the parties/coalitions ruling the European countries at the moment.

Hi Ulrike

In the case of my students I disagree. They have actually displayed such an ignorance of all things political in the process of the mock election that I can't believe they think anything particularly strongly either way about the current political elite.

It is my intention to try and use this revelation and the disturbing and distorted mock election results as a lever to make "Citizenship" education more than just lip service to a government initiative

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They have actually displayed such an ignorance of all things political in the process of the mock election that I can't believe they think anything particularly strongly either way about the current political elite.

But isn't that exactly the problem? That many of the students are not really interested in politics and simply repeat what they hear from their parents, peers, media etc?

Looking at the politics lessons at our school one might get the idea that our students are highly interested in politics and that they are really motivated to get involved, but I personally think that they simply do what we expect them to do: feign interest. Only a minority is really interested and actively tries to use the democratic means and venues available for students in our schools. To me one of the main problems is not only to reach the students intellectually but emotionally as well, to make them feel and understand what democracy is, what it is like to live in a dictatorship and how essential everybody's active participation is for the survival of our democratic systems (faulty as they may be).

Using the results of the mock elections and the students' comments complaining about others cheating seems to be a good idea to find out what the students really know and think. Unfortunately we did not have anything like a mock election, but I did have a discussion in one of my classes about the German results of the European elections and the high percentage of non-voters.

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