On Friday, 29th November Cadet Mitchell from 136 (Chipping Norton) Squadron travelled to London as part of a national group of 48 Air Cadets to take part in an historic debate in the House of Lords. Cdt Mitchell had already attend 2 selection events to get this far – https://www.aircadets.tv/news/hot-topics-for-136-cadet-at-rafc-cranwell/. This was only the 7th time a group of individuals outside of parliament had debated within the House of Lords. The below article from Sdn Ldr Aitkins, HQAC provides an insight into the day and the occasion which Cdt Mitchell was involved with.
“This was the culmination of a huge amount of effort from permanent staff and CFAVs – in collaboration with the other cadet organisations and MOD, 13 RFCAs, the English Speaking Union, and the House of Lords Information Office. The run-up to the event did not always go smoothly: with so many links in the chain there was always the potential for things to go wrong – and, sure enough, sometimes they did!
However, on the evening Thursday 28 Nov the majority of our cadets assembled at the former Hammersmith TA Centre and the next morning they travelled by coach to the House of Lords. They were given a short tour of the Palace of Westminster before having lunch in the Royal Gallery.
Soon after Big Ben had struck 3 they were shown into the main chamber where they became only the 7th set of people, other than peers, to sit on the red benches. After the inevitable Fire & Safety Brief, the Lord Speaker, Baroness D’Souza, entered the chamber. She explained her role in the day’s proceedings and the Clerk to the Lords (effectively the Chief Executive) explained his role.
The question for debate was : ‘One hundred years after World War One, what is its legacy for the UK and how does it shape the nation today.’
The cadets and veterans were divided into three mixed groups each representing a different aspect of the legacy of the First World War. The three aspects were as follows:
- The UK is a more globally responsible nation
- Society is more aware of the impact of war
- The UK has not learned from its experience
The cadets from all of the cadet forces spoke well – although anyone in light blue will tell you the Air Cadets were evidently the best – the majority speaking with more confidence than the adult speakers.
At around 16.45 a vote was taken – each participant (cadets and veterans) being allowed to vote just once. The result was, perhaps, surprisingly that 73 supported the concept that the UK had not learnt from this experiences (or at least had not learnt enough!), while 61 agreed that there was an increased awareness of the impact of war on society, and 43 voting that the UK is a more globally responsible nation.
The Lord Speaker and the other peers who were present were full of praise for the quality cadets’ speaking, and their ability to stick to the time allocated – in contrast, it seems, to many Members of the House!
The event was televised on the Parliamentary Channel and will appear on the House of Lords’ YouTube site. In the meantime, a report of the event can be found on the House of Lords news site.
All in all this was the experience of a lifetime for the cadets that took part – and indeed those who had the pleasure of witnessing it. Thank you for your part in making it happen!”
The following links provide further footage of the day: