We are delighted to announce the winner of this year’s Student Blog Competition in which students, aged 16-19 in full time secondary education, were challenged to submit a blog of maximum 600 words on the subject: Pandemic Politics: How has coronavirus changed UK Politics?

 

Nikolas Boyd-Carpenter, from St Paul’s School, was voted the unanimous winner by our panel of judges: James Weinberg, PSA Trustee, Lecturer in Political Behaviour at the University of Sheffield; George Parker, Political Editor, Financial Times; and Scott Harrison, Chair of Trustees, the Association of Citizenship Teachers:

“The winning blog focused throughout on government borrowing, with the pandemic placed at the centre of a most dramatic change in Conservative economic policy. Here, it is argued, coronavirus was not the problem, but the solution to a problem posed by the failure of austerity and the impact of Brexit on voting patterns: simply put, when asked “what can the conservative party do to retain ‘red wall seats’ and ‘level up?” the pandemic provided the answer.  

This blog was brave in pursuing this thematic approach, well-researched in establishing the longer and short-term historical context, logical in the development of the argument, lively (and even provocative) in the choice of words and compelling in coming to a conclusion”.

Nikolas’s blog will be published by the FT online – our partners in this initiative - as well as in PSA Blogs and will be printed in the PSA's magazine Political Insight.

 

The winner, and two runners-up, were announced at a virtual event, on 21st July, chaired by Andrew Jack, Global Education Editor, Financial Times. The announcement was preceded by a discussion on the topic of the blog between James Weinberg; George Parker; Dr Sarah Pickard, Senior Lecturer in British Politics & Society at the Sorbonne, and Baroness Morris of Yardley, former MP for Birmingham.

 

And in a surprise move, we were also joined for a short while by Keir Starmer!

 

Our congratulations go to the second and third placed students: Joseph Manley and Henry Worrall, both from Tiffin School.

 

We thank all the students who entered this year’s competition, and say ‘well done’ again to the six who made the shortlist alongside the winner and runners-up:

Elliot Morley                  Tonbridge School

Emma Hobson                Beaconsfield High School

Ross Doran                     University College School

Tom Dickinson               Tonbridge School

Viha Kedia                     Dubai College

 

Thanks also to UK Parliament and the Association of Citizenship Teachers who supported this event.