Inspired by election fever sweeping the country this week, the History and Politics Department encouraged the student body to exercise their democratic right to vote (or not) in the Trinity Mock Election for the Mayor of London. 

Upper Sixth student Aidan, co-chair of the Politics Society, did a fantastic job of organising and co-ordinating the event. This included chairing a mock hustings on Tuesday, where five Upper Sixth Politics students represented five of the thirteen candidates in the 2024 Mayor of London election.  

Aidan reports back on the hustings: “Blood, sweat and tears: all of which were found at Tuesday lunchtime’s mock mayoral hustings where five Upper Sixth politics students embodied the roles of five of the thirteen candidates in the 2024 Mayor of London election to answer (or avoid) questions from the audience and each other. Whilst not as quick or as witty as Hamilton’s cabinet battle between Jefferson and Hamilton, an interesting and engaging scene was created – not to be confused with one of the fight scenes from Rocky! Promises were made and broken within minutes of each other; as each candidate outlined key points in their manifestos in an attempt to persuade a packed audience of over 80+ students and staff to vote for them in the election that would occur the following day. 

“The ways in which candidates introduced themselves and their policies varied. Whilst some were welcomed and applauded, others faced harsh grilling from audience members during their time in the spotlight. Common policies that were discussed included that of the Ultra Low Emission Zone; introduced by Sadiq Khan during his time as Mayor of London; housing, crime and free school meals.   

“Violence almost broke out when Zoë Garbett, the Green candidate (played by Tom), accused the Reform candidate, Howard Cox (Tom) of not caring for London, which spiralled into a familiar episode of ‘Punch and Judy politics’ – a term coined to discuss the arguing and personal attacks that occur between politicians at times. The incumbent Labour Mayor Khan (played by Tom) defended his ULEZ policy well – considering the four horsemen of the political apocalypse, dressed in yellow, green, blue and darker blue were all opposing his policy. ULEZ was a top policy for all the candidates during the debate, so will it present as salient for the election? 

“As the debate shifted onto policing and crime, the Liberal Democrat candidate Rob Blackie (played by Fred) answered questions on his pledged London Met reforms, to which he was met by rebuttal from the Reform candidate. Likewise, Garbett and the Conservative candidate, Susan Hall (played by Sophia), debated back and forth on the issue of transport. Shortly after welcomed (or unwelcomed in the eyes of some candidates’ perspectives!) contributions from audience members on housing, the debate came to a close before someone lost a limb. Candidates were given one last chance to woo the audience with ten seconds to leave an impression of why they should vote for them. Garbett and Hall tried to cram as much as they could into their ten seconds – which might have been more like fifteen – whilst Howard Cox left the stage with arguably the most memorable line of all, ‘I love Britain, I love London, vote for me’. 

“All the candidates participated in a really enjoyable debate and arguably performed better than the actual politicians. Many members of the audience left feeling extremely entertained and informed, ready to exercise their democratic right to vote in the election the following day!” 

Mr Hutchings, Head of History and Politics, reports on the outcome, “Did you know that in the pivotal 1800 US Presidential Election, featured prominently in the musical Hamilton [which History students watched this week], only 32.3% of the electorate turned out to vote? A mere 75,088 voters, out of a population of 5.3 million people in the newly formed United States, decided the election of the third President Thomas Jefferson. With this historical perspective established, the Politics Department are certain you will not consider the 29.1% turnout in our own London Mayoral and Assembly Mock Election at the school a ‘participation crisis’. Our polling suggests that the low turnout is evidence of ‘hapathy’ amongst the student body. 

“In a closely contested race that remained undecided until the final hour, the incumbent Sadiq Khan was defeated by Count Binface of the Count Binface Party, who won by a narrow margin of just eight votes. Given that Count Binface placed ninth in the actual 2021 Election, this result is a significant political upheaval and a clear challenge to the entrenched two-party system. We extend our best wishes to Count Binface as he sets out to implement his ambitious manifesto. 

“The results for the London Assembly provided an intriguing insight into how the modified d’Hondt formula corrects the imbalances created by first-past-the-post systems. The Green Party performed exceptionally well in the constituencies, securing victories in the Second Year (a highly rotten borough with just 10% turnout), one of the Lower Sixth constituencies, both Upper Sixth constituencies, and the Staff constituency (we prefer the term ‘pocket borough’). The Conservatives prevailed in the Junior Year, First Year, and Fifth Year. Labour was victorious in the Fourth Year and the second Lower Sixth Constituency, while the Liberal Democrats proved their enduring relevance by winning the Third Year. The additional ‘top-up’ seats allocated based on the London-wide vote added five seats to Labour, four to the Liberal Democrats, two each to the Green Party and the previously unrepresented Reform Party, and one to the Conservatives. Consequently, Count Binface will navigate a diverse assembly comprising 7 Labour, 7 Green, 5 Liberal Democrat, 4 Conservative, and 2 Reform members. Hopefully they can get behind his plan to give the five-metre cycle lane on Selsdon Road World Heritage Status. 

“Special congratulations are due to Class 1B for achieving the highest turnout at 60%. We also extend our heartfelt thanks to Aidan, co-chair of the Politics Society, for his excellent organisation and coordination of this memorable event.” 

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