Knife crime and Windrush; a debate on topical issues in Hackney

Hackney students debate what to do about knife crime

What are the issues that matter to young college students today? The Student Association at Hackney Community College set out to find out in a wide ranging debate with iDebate as part of the Hackney Students’ Conference.

At least 110 students from across the college showed up. The result was a vibrant debate where everyone could take part and give their opinions. The issues ranged from the important current affairs to the personal.

At the more personal level there was rowdy discussion on whether it is better to be ‘real’ or ‘fake’ in the sense of using things like makeup to change one’s appearance. Whether it makes a difference if this is done online through Instagram filters or similar. Or going even further whether it is OK to lie to someone when you are on a first date with them – with a surprising number accepting that yes they would tell white lies in such circumstances, perhaps due to the potential rewards!

But there were also weightier issues. There have been 52 killings in London in the first hundred days of 2018. Higher than New York, and far higher than normal in the capital. And it is violence, often with knives, that has primarily hit young people. Opinions however are sharply divided on whether anything can be done about it. Would more police be the answer? Or would they just be an added aggravation with more aggressive stop and searches? More youth centres might help, but at the same time some worry that they would themselves provide a target.

The other meaty discussion was on the right to remain. Hackney is an area with an Afro-Caribbean community that is at the heart of the windrush scandal that has been playing out over the last couple of weeks. With the British Government’s position at the time – making no concessions – the ‘debate’ was very one sided with the government position eviscerated with no one defending its stance. The discussion was so engaging that among a small group of participants it continued for over an hour after the official close of the debate.