Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Behind the scenes in an MP's office

Over the Summer, several local young people have helped out in my constituency office and have had the opportunity to learn more about how politics works. Here, Emily Ashford, 18, from Thornbury, describes her experiences and reflections on her time in the constituency office - uncensored!:

“This week I have had the great opportunity to become part of Steve Webb’s fantastic and very lovely office team. I’ve been drafting letters, researching individual cases and just generally sticking my nose in; broadening my knowledge of government departments and organisations. I’m also aware that depending on when young people have done work experience here, they have been able to take part in a range of activities including going door to door, leafleting and talking to Yate and Thornbury residents about their views and problems. At least one of the ‘interns’ has also been to Westminster with Steve. The office itself is a relatively small room, upstairs at Poole Court, the home of Yate Town Council. There are 6 working desks, one is Steve’s and the other 5 are for each of his employees, who all work so hard in helping Steve to manage and deal with all of the inquiries he has in his inbox and postbox every day. I am hugely grateful to all of them and to Steve for letting me have this opportunity.

Tomorrow I return to sixth form with a new perspective on problem solving that can be applied to the responsibilities I have as a student in the community. I was especially led to think about this after hearing a lecture back at the offices last night, which was aimed to encourage everyone to get to grips with the politics going on in their area; to take an active role in talking to people at their level and to change the things you want to see changed.

This work experience has also helped me to form opinions about important issues and about the education decisions I have to make over the next few months and years. When I organised this work experience I was thinking about applying for a social policy degree, but as you might expect of a girl of my age, I’ve changed my mind; again. I am now planning to do a social work degree and though you may think that work experience with Steve Webb would now be redundant in its use, it has actually been hugely beneficial. Steve has been able to tell me about organisations that otherwise I would have been unaware of and has shown me individual cases he is dealing with that were of interest to me. It really is astonishing when you realise how so many jobs and organisations interlink with others to form a network that without, our communities would really struggle.

I’ve also rediscovered my love for tea and biscuits. :) ”

Friday, 4 September 2009

Does the PM read every petition personally?

Was just looking at the Number 10 petition website and read the following rather startling message:

Notice: Submission of new petitions will be closed until 7th September while the Prime Minister is away from Number 10.

Does this mean that the PM personally approves every new petition before it goes on the website?? I think we should be told....