• Isabelle Osborne

Politicians: who would I most like to interview as a journalist?

As an aspiring journalist, I often think about who I would like to interview and why, from politicians to authors, activists to historic figures. Some of the people I would like to interview are no longer alive, whilst some remain at the forefront of media attention today.

Politics is an area that truly fascinates me. I feel it is important to understand the complexity of our political system, as this is the institution that has control of how our lives will be run. Below I explain which politicians, if given free choice, would I interview, my reasons why, and what I would ask them.

Margaret Thatcher

For many, Thatcher presents all that went wrong with late-1900s British politics. For others, she was a woman who was strong, firm, and confident. Thatcher inspires me because of her ability to take control of a predominantly white, rich male government, to break the perception of British politics that it is only a place for men. I believe there were many reforms introduced during her time that changed Britain for the better: the Housing Act (1980) and the Anglo-Irish Agreement (1985), for example. I do, however, appreciate that she stirred up much controversy with other policies she introduced - her reduction of trade union power, colliery closures, and the 'poll tax' (1989). As she is such a controversial figure, I would like to make up my own mind as to whether Thatcher was a great Prime Minister or worthy of the dislike surrounding her, by asking her whether she truly believes the policies she introduced were successful or not and her beliefs behind them.

David Cameron

A rather recent Prime Minister, Cameron is remembered for his unforeseen removal of the United Kingdom from Europe in his EU Referendum. However, I feel there is much more to Cameron's Prime Ministership that is often forgotten in the shadow of Brexit, and this is why I would like to interview him. Many things happened during his time in Downing Street, such as the financial crash in living memory, the Arab Spring, the Eurozone crisis and the legalisation of gay marriage, not to mention the fact he won a Conservative Majority for the first time in nearly a quarter of a century. I wouldn't focus upon Brexit predominantly, but quiz him about his other policies and look holistically at his Prime Ministership.

Tony Blair

I have very mixed views on Tony Blair. I appreciate his desire to raise young adult's aspirations in regards to university education, but was this realistic? (check out my article on this topic). What is more, his decision to declare war on Iraq in opposition to Saddam Hussein stirred up significant controversy, due to the fact that, whilst succeeding in removing a cruel dictator from power, attacking resulted in the death of thousands of innocent people. I would like to ask him whether he regrets his decision to attack Iraq and whether he feels his political career was compromised by his actions.

Anthony Eden

This is a rogue one, as Eden is not often remembered as a Prime Minister or his political career in the same way as the people who have come before him on this list. However, I feel he remains a very intriguing character - as Winston Churchill's successor, Eden had big shoes to fill and a lot to prove. His Prime Ministership is tainted by his foreign policy failure to seize the Suez Canal, which subsequently led to the decline of his reputation amongst the British public and his eventual resignation. There is belief that his handling of the Suez Crisis was affected by his taking of sedatives and stimulants following his cholecystectomy. I would like to ask him whether, in his opinion, the reputation of Churchill affected his political career so much so that it compromised his ability to succeed as Prime Minister, and whether his medical history influenced his ability to govern effectively.

Barack Obama

Being the United States of America's first African-American President, Obama is a shining light for changing the face of politics across the world. I believe Obama was one of the most positive things to happen to American in the 21st Century, not least due to his Affordable Care Act, dropping the veteran homeless rate by 50%, combatting pay discrimination against women, and signing the Hate Crimes Prevention Act (making assault based on sexual or gender identification a federal crime). However, I feel disappointed when I look at what America has become under the Republican leadership of Donald Trump, so I would like to ask Obama whether he feels his work as President has been reversed since he left the White House. In addition, I would also like to ask whether he feels his hope for change was left unfulfilled in any areas of the political, social or economic spectrum, and whether Trump's presidency has played a role in doing so.

In the next instalment of this mini series, 'Who would I most like to interview as a journalist?', I consider the authors and literary figures I would most like to interview and why.

Featured image courtesy of Nick Kane on Unsplash. Image license can be found here. No changes were made to this image.