My View, Tony Storey - Keep politics out of schools

Tony Storey
Tony Storey

Did you take the trouble to vote in the recent European and borough elections?

Sadly I suspect lots of you didn’t. Given that our ancestors fought hard to achieve a vote it was somewhat remiss to fail to use the privilege.

The candidates gather for the results at the election vote 2014 for Doncaster at Doncaster Racecourse. Picture: Andrew Roe

The candidates gather for the results at the election vote 2014 for Doncaster at Doncaster Racecourse. Picture: Andrew Roe

Somebody has to represent us on Doncaster Council, or in Brussels or Strasbourg or at Westminster.

Don’t moan about their efforts or idiosyncrasies and if you’re unhappy with the candidates on offer stand yourself as a party rep or independent.

Do try to vote for the person you think will seek to achieve the most public good rather than someone flying a one-person or odd-pressure-group kite. I prefer to cast my vote for a person, or party, seeking to offer solutions to a wide range of issues and problems, not simply a popular band wagon, sometimes with potential ‘racist’ undertones.

While I’m happy to support some environmental causes, I can’t see much point in having ‘green’ MPs or councillors given they would be responsible for a much more complex social and financial environment.

Nor can I see much value in leaving the EU given we can moderate some of its tenets, hence Ukip or English independent parties or English democrats are not for me and I rather object to them pinching our national flag symbols.

My ideal representative is someone with practical intelligence, a genuine desire to help, not seeking personal gain or kudos, non phobic and – whatever their party creed – prepared to be open minded to other points of view.

Such folks can come from all walks of life, career paths and age groups.

Given both my grandfathers were Northumbrian coal miners, and several of my uncles, the family tradition was to vote Labour. My father, a bus driver, was the local union convenor at his Carlisle garage, but no militant.

I was ‘adopted’ in my teens by a local Labour-organising family residing in a farmhouse in rural South Tyneside, I’d help out at election time.

They were a large family accommodating disparate strands of left wing politics but focused on doing good for the local community.

Over Sunday high tea I met a host of visiting Labour dignitaries and academics. It was a household of books and periodicals which I enjoyed reading, along with the conversation.

Several of the family were local councillors or county councillors and Labour agents for the parliamentary rural seat of Hexham - inevitably with a Tory MP.

Sadly I didn’t find the Doncaster Labour Party in the 1970s and 80s of the same ilk although some local councillors still had that family Labour social conscience.

The Donnygate scandal was no surprise. Hence I became apolitical and sought to keep politics out of education.

* Tony Storey, Former headteacher of The Hayfield School