“The modules have been unique in approach to teaching. They have put my voice as a student first and given me the confidence to put my arguments at the forefront. It was a massive honour to meet Alastair Campbell and David Cameron and ask them questions directly. This was an amazing experience that is a highlight of my masters degree and academic career so far.”Greta Nuzi, postgraduate student
31 March 2023
Students host Q&As with David Cameron and Alastair Campbell
King’s students examining the contemporary history of the institutions of British Government were recently given the opportunity to meet with and question some of the country’s well-known political heavyweights, including former Prime Minister David Cameron.
Those studying the Strand Group’s modules have this year met a host of practitioners who have worked at the very centre of British Government. The postgraduate and undergraduate modules, partnered with government, focus on No.10 Downing Street and HM Treasury (led by Professor Jon Davis), The Governance of London (led by Dr Jack Brown), and The Blair Years – led by Dr Michelle Clement.
David Cameron wrapped up the teaching year speaking to students about his experiences as Prime Minister. He answered questions on a host of topics such as the decision to hold the EU referendum in 2016, putting together the coalition government and his relationships with world leaders.
In previous weeks students have heard from Alastair Campbell, who was former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s spokesperson, press secretary and director of communications and strategy. He talked about his experiences in Downing Street and answered questions from students.
Campbell, who is also now the host of 'The Rest is Politics' podcast mentioned his visit in a recent episode. He spoke with students taking ‘The Blair Years’ module, with the discussion ranging from The Good Friday Agreement through to foreign policy and public service reform. During the class, he showed students an old notebook he has recently found in which he had written “New Labour, New Britain” – possibly the first record of the rebranding forever linked with the Blair-Brown era.
Bálint Dömötör, a third-year undergraduate student, said: “I really enjoyed the ‘Prime Ministers and Leadership Since Thatcher’ module over the course of the term and Monday's event with David Cameron was the cherry on top. It is really unique to have a module where students can actually interact with the topic of it. It was a remarkable opportunity to gain insight into the office of the Prime Minister. I was really happy that the event was a big Q&A session for the student.”
Professor Jon Davis, Director of the Strand Group, said: “It is always a privilege to provide students with these unique opportunities. I’m very grateful to David Cameron, Alastair Campbell, and all the guest speakers we have had this year. The students’ questions were exceptional, and I look forward to seeing the answers from the VIP guests quoted in their essays."