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Politics day sees leading Scottish politicians visit the College

Nicola Sturgeon and journo students v2

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon took time out of their busy schedules to speak to journalism students at Glasgow Clyde College about the major stories in politics at the moment.

The guest speaker sessions tied in with the public affairs module that is taught on the HND Practical Journalism course.

Ms Sturgeon, who is the MSP for Glasgow Southside spoke openly about her time as First Minister, including the ups and downs of the role, in particular during the Covid-19 pandemic.

She also talked about her work championing women’s rights and mentioned that she felt it was tougher for young women going into politics and journalism these days.

“I find myself pausing when asked would I advise people to go into politics”, said the 53-year-old.

“At times, things are going backwards and in the wrong direction. We continue to have the global fight against misogyny. Social media is pushing people to the [opposite] poles of arguments. It seems that if you disagree on one thing with a person, you disagree with them on everything and that shouldn’t be the case.”

However, the former SNP leader had this advice, especially for the female members of the audience wanting to enter the journalism or political profession:

“Go for it. Make sure you support each other. Find other women to support and build that network of support as seen with groups like Women in Journalism. By doing so, you will build your resilience…and look after your mental health.”

Later in the day, Mr Sarwar spoke to the class about the on-going situation between Israel and Hamas, telling the students that he would be supporting the Scottish Government’s motion at Holyrood for a ceasefire in the conflict.

Asked whether this would go against the view of the party in England, the MSP for the Glasgow region replied with, “I am the boss in Scotland.” Following the visit, 21 Labour MSPs, including their leader, voted in favour of the ceasefire.

Charles Fletcher and Anas SarwarThe 40-year-old discussed his ambition to become Scotland’s next First Minister and his hopes that Sir Keir Starmer will win the next general election, predicted to be in the next year, and will become Prime Minister.

Public Affairs lecturer and broadcaster, Charles Fletcher, who organised the day’s workshops said, "The students had direct, unfiltered access to two of Scotland's outstanding politicians. Their questions were topical and both workshops served to deliver an insight into what's happening not only in Scottish politics, but also the wider UK and the world. It was a great day to discuss and see first-hand the relevance of Public Affairs."

Julia Braun-Raven who is a student in the first year cohort added, “Finding myself in front of a former First Minister was a fantastic experience. Watching students ask Ms Sturgeon questions and asking one myself helped enormously with our confidence. Her friendly and out-going nature may have made it easier to break through any stress I may have had prior to asking my question.

“Anas Sarwar also created a welcoming and nurturing environment which allowed myself and my fellow colleagues to ask important questions on serious issues such as the on-going conflict between Hamas and Israel.” 

If you or someone you know is interested in studying journalism, you can find out more about HND Practical Journalism here. Applications to start the course in August 2024 will open in January.