Graham Riddick addresses the Politics Society

The Politics Society was most fortunate to be addressed by Graham Riddick on 16 October. Graham had been elected MP for Colne Valley in Lancashire (the first conservative there for 102 years!). He won the seat in 1987 at the end of the Thatcher era. He had some fascinating stories to tell us about Thatcher (not as imperious in person as presented in the press). His contention that it was The Poll Tax and not Europe that led to her downfall was useful to Historians as well as Politics students. Graham told us how he had become involved as politics. His grandfather Sir Edward Ruggles-Brise was MP for Maldon in Essex and this sparked an initial interest. He expanded on the role of an MP and was able to clarify political complexities brilliantly (Politics, he contended, is essentially an argument about Big Government or Small Government, whether in Britain or America). He favoured small. He also spoke about media intrusion (he had himself been the victim of a sting by The Sunday Times and although he was fully exonerated he still found it difficult talk about – but still favoured a free if more responsible press). He spoke with an infectious enthusiasm which held the audience’s attention and the questions which followed were lively and thought-provoking. This was a warm and intelligent address from a knowledgeable politician and was greatly appreciated and enjoyed by all those present.

By Jonathan Selby, Head of History and Teacher of Politics


Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.

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