The Rt Hon David Miliband addressed a packed audience of staff and students during a recent visit to the University of Stirling.
The visit formed part of Mr Miliband’s UK Universities Tour, an initiative which entails the former Foreign Secretary visiting over 20 Universities across the country this year.
Mr Miliband took part in a Q&A session, hosted by the University’s School of Arts and Humanities and chaired by Dr Eric Shaw, a Senior Lecturer in History and Politics. He answered questions for an hour on a range of domestic and international issues. Popular topics included nuclear power, economic policy, the Eurozone crisis, welfare state reforms, foreign policy, immigration, the Israel-Palestine conflict and the future of the UK union and devolution.
Explaining why the UK Universities Tour is so important, Mr Miliband said: “Students in the UK are now facing the reality of government policies that are dividing this country. I am going on this tour to listen to the voices that will shape our country’s future and show them that politicians need their ideas and capacity to help change our country.”
In answer to one student’s question about the key to success for his generation, Mr Miliband told his lively audience: “I know I look old and not part of your generation but the biggest challenge for all under-50s is climate change.”
He added: “We are using resources and are polluting as though there were three planets rather than one. Getting a change in the global energy and food system is going to be a very difficult task because you’re talking about a major shift from a high carbon to low carbon economy and that is going to be a monstrous-sized change for your generation.”
In addition to the Q&A session, Mr Miliband also met with members of the University’s Student Labour Club to discuss the group’s role on campus and the importance of Stirling students’ engagement in political affairs.
Describing the event, Joshua Bircham, a fourth year History and Politics student, said: “The event was really excellent. Miliband answered all our questions honestly and never skirted around. The time he dedicated to answering questions was also commendable and refreshing because it meant the event wasn’t simply about the audience sitting and listening to a politician giving a lecture.”
Event Chair, Stirling’s Dr Eric Shaw said: “We were delighted to welcome the former Foreign Secretary to Stirling and it was a real pleasure for our students and staff to take part in such thought-provoking political discussion.”
He added: “Our students formed an enthusiastic and attentive audience. They ensured our guest was presented with a very wide range of thoughtful and challenging questions and I’m sure they appreciated the candid answers they received. The enthusiasm with which all audience members participated demonstrated how engaged our campus community is with issues affecting people across Scotland, in the UK and around the globe.”