Politics Personal Statement
Submitted by Madeleine
I am a product of my generation. Growing up as part of an age acutely affected by the government's policies of austerity, I am only too aware of the inequality that is so prevalent in British post-2008 society. The want to study politics at higher level is a response driven by the contemporary, adversarial form of debate so freely peddled by the press at detriment to the forgotten lives affected directly by government policy. Who has the real power - the politicians, the press, or the people? Is there an alternative that can prove effective in providing for all?
The ability to take Government & Politics at A-Level allowed for ideological debate in accordance with core values across the political spectrum, widening my own socialist perspectives as a Labour party member and encouraging me to join affiliated think tank The Fabian Society. Reading 'Essays on Citizenship and the Social Class' by T. H. Marshall furthered this understanding, introducing the basic notion of social citizenship as an argument for a larger state and welfare expansion in opposition to conservative belief. I enjoyed being able to tackle discussion among a class predominantly falling to the right of the political spectrum with a fresh outlook, with ideas on social contract and socialism in literature demonstrated in 'The Gift Relationship' by Richard Titmuss or flaws in past implementation of austerity policy such as in Kynaston's 'Austerity Britain'. Wider reading played a notable part in my understanding of political culture - from 'Chavs' by Owen Jones examining stigma surrounding the British working class, to the study of totalitarian repression in Atwood's 'The Handmaids Tale' in my English Language and Literature course.
History was also a natural choice post-GCSE due to an enduring interest in the people of the past. The analytical lens through which historical debate is dissected is one I enjoy applying to many aspects of my education, and taking a module on Soviet Russia allowed for much independent research and reflection on political cause and effect in society - for example, the requisitioning horrors described in Figes' 'A People's Tragedy', or attending Historical Association lectures on 'Kaleidoscopes of Revolution: Views from the Russian Provinces in 1917'conducted by Professor Sarah Badcock displaying the vulnerabilities of various societies as a result of Soviet totalitarian rule; the urban industrial population or the rural peasant farmers left behind by the hidden upper echelons of the Communist party machinery.
To better understand the role of Parliament in forming legislation I have partaken in work experience placements in both the constituency and Westminster offices of Labour MP Karen Lee since the 2017 General Election, aiding with casework and parliamentary duties such as drafting questions to the Health Minister, or working alongside the local council on issues including the social housing shortage in Lincolnshire. This work resulted in an invitation to volunteer in office on a regular basis; allowing me a unique outlook with longevity on national and local level current politics.
As an English Ambassador I took on the responsibility of writing the Sixth Form Column for the school magazine for two years - honing time management skills with extracurricular responsibility - and I also founded the school's first political discussion group to enable debate in a moderated forum so as to make politics more accessible for the lower years. On weekends I coordinate a distribution team at my local foodbank; and currently as an aspiring polyglot, I am beginning to study Russian Cyrillic, having read advanced French for the past few years.
In the future I hope to continue engaging the people with policy and politics - whether that be from the corridors of Whitehall or the four walls of a lecture hall.