Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Monday, 13 January 2014


I went into Hele School in Plympton on Friday to meet with a group of lively teenagers who wanted to grill me about our democracy. I always enjoy my school visits and looking forward to a full and frank exchange of views and this was no different.

We are very fortunate to have five excellent secondary schools in this constituency, all of them turning out motivated and well-educated young people. We should be proud of them.

Teachers sometimes get a bad press, but it is not deserved. They work very hard and often bring their work home, not least to prepare for the next day or mark class work. Successive governments have introduced constant changes in working arrangements for schools and if we are not careful we will simply destroy morale and undermine the crucial teaching profession.

So let me say it loud and clear: thank you teachers of South West Devon for all you do for the next generation.

And what about the next generation? When we see them coming out of school with very short ties and shirts un-tucked, gathering in scruffy groups near bus stops, we old fogies can tend to write them off. This is a huge mistake. Their fashion sense might be "interesting" – until you remember tank tops and crushed denim flared trousers (my pride and joy). They might listen to weird music and then we recall what our parents thought about Led Zepplin. They might spend most of their leisure time with eyes glued to iphones but so would we have if these amazing things had been invented then.

Fashions are transient and superficial. The crucial questions are: do they care, are they hungry to learn, are they talented and capable of working hard. Are their hearts in the right place?

On all these levels, for the overwhelming majority, I have no doubt that the answer is a resounding yes.

Of course there is always a handful who cause trouble. That was the same in my day growing up in Tiverton in the 1970's. Some young people have such chaotic and disturbed upbringings that they have no real chance of a smooth life. That thankfully remains a minority.

I speak with sixth formers from the five secondary schools in this patch several times a year. I can confirm that they are as lively and interested and full of energy and potential as they have ever been.

Our future is in safe hands.

posted by Gary @ 19:02