Cross-examining ex-Congress members

Year 13 Politics students made the most of the opportunity to question two US Members of Congress at a special event at the British Library. The Eccles Centre for American Studies organises conferences to enable British Sixth-Formers to hear at first-hand from those involved in the front-line of US politics.

“The boys certainly took the chance to quiz national political leaders in order to assess how well they perform their work,” said QE’s Head of Politics Liam Hargadon.

Mary Bono (pictured) was a Republican member of Congress representing California’s 45th District. She held this post from 1998, the time of death of her husband, the former pop singer Sonny Bono of 'Sonny and Cher' fame, until 2013. Brian Baird was a Democrat and represented the 3rd District of Washington from 1999 to 2011.

The day-long conference, sponsored by the US Embassy, also attracted academics who specialise in American Studies from some of the UK’s top universities, including Dr Ross English from King’s College, London, and Professor Iwan Morgan of University College, London. Dr English explained how the US Congress works, whilst Professor Morgan delivered a short lecture on the 21st-Century Presidency.

""“The conference was a terrific opportunity for our A-level boys to link together their academic knowledge of politics with the experience of those who practice in the field,” added Mr Hargadon. “It became clear that politicians are concerned about the dangers of ‘disconnect’ with younger voters and are keen to understand the issues and concerns of the next generation of voters.”