After Zelo Street gave readers a little more information about the student who had showed such enthusiasm for zero hours contracts on last Friday’s Question Time leaders’ special, there was a significant response. Had Ed Robbins been a plant? Was he merely taking his political lead from older members of his family? Was it fair to suggest he was a Tory? Well, on that last point, the latest information to hand suggests the answer to that one is yes.
Ed Robbins watches Dimbleby Major
Robbins may have enjoyed a rewarding gap year and a number of other reassuringly expensive divertissements, but he has also found time to dabble in politics, and unless he has changed party since the 2015 General Election, most certainly is a Tory. I give you the 2014-15 issue of The Cheltonian, the house magazine of Cheltenham College, because all suitably upmarket independent schools have to have house magazines.
On Page 17, we can read about “Government and Politics”, and that “The Government and Politics department continued to enthuse and engage the student body. The academic year was bookended by the Scottish referendum, the rise and fall of UKIP and the excitement of a General Election. It is without doubt a deeply stimulating subject and the Sixth Form students were immersed in recent political developments. What with local hustings events and visits from prospective Cheltenham candidates, the pupils benefited hugely from the exposure to contemporary local and national issues”.
Was there some kind of practical element to this learning? There certainly was: “The real highlight for the department was the College-wide election. Every main party was represented and what followed was a highly informed and passionate campaign”. And who might have represented the Tories in this exercise? As if you need to ask.
Life can be hard for some. Or maybe not
“Edward Robbins (U6, L), representing the Conservative Party, won the popular vote and the majority of the constituencies (spread across the Houses, Common Room, administrative staff, catering staff and the estates department”. So all those who assumed that Ed Robbins was a Tory assumed correctly.
That would explain why he did not inconvenience the Imperial Progress of the Empress Theresa, but instead aimed his question squarely at Jeremy Corbyn, whose plain speaking and candour, coupled to a commitment to social justice and the kind of agenda that would not look out of place in mainland Europe probably frightens the living daylights out of many in and around the Cheltenham College former pupils’ world.
And for those who believed Zelo Street behaved somehow unfairly and improperly in exposing Ed Robbins, no-one is suggesting that he should not be free to espouse whatever views he chooses, and promote his chosen political agenda. But likewise, anyone else is free to call him out on it. Moreover, given the information in this post is openly available, it might have been thought that whoever does the audience vetting for Question Time would also have been able to dig it out.
It would certainly save the BBC a significant amount of grief. Just a thought.