Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Explaining FPTP To 9 Year Olds, The Crisp Analogy

This morning I went to give a talk to a school preparing for Mock elections. I recall in my School Mrs Thatcher won, but enough history. A previous speaker from another party spoke to the children as if they were 67, so I made an effort to do better. But how do you explain to children in a couple of minutes climate science, first past the post (FPTP) proportional representation and everything else.

So I gave it a go, and they seemed to follow most of it. Their teacher then asked them, put up your hands everyone who likes cheese and onion crisps. About half put up their hands. So under FPTP, you would all have to eat cheese and onion. A cry of dismay went up from the others. And quite right too, I know how they feel.

Then they asked me questions, and it was really tough. Hydrogen fuel cells, what car do I drive, electric vehicles, nuclear power, Afghanistan War, how many members do Parties have, ethanol as fuel and much more. They asked who my party leader was, I told them Caroline Lucas MEP, that she was on Question Time this week but they might be a bit young to watch it.

Green Vote Park

In the afternoon I went knocking on doors in Park Ward, trying to get Rob White elected in the Reading council election. He lost by 20 votes last time, but every time our vote has gone up and up, see graph above. I spoke to one man who went from being negative about all parties to volunteering to help us! Well that doesn't happen every day, it really makes you feel that you have done some good. I should talk about vegetable oil more often.

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