At last week’s Quadivium Society Lecture, Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg MP came to School to talk to the Sixth Form. The Great Hall was packed with pupils who had no shortage of challenging questions to ask.
He began by outlining the historical, legal and constitutional basis for examining the differences between the United Kingdom and continental Europe, and how that historical context shaped his position on Brexit. He then outlined what conservatism means, contrasting a society built up from individuals, and the notion of the rulers being subject to the law, as against a society constructed from centralised principles downwards, or one where the ruler is himself the law.
Opening the floor to questions from all political angles, Mr Rees-Mogg responded in detail, covering everything from the housing crisis to gay marriage, taxation and national security, to faith in the public domain, and his own schooldays.
Earlier in the afternoon, he recorded an interview with Oundle’s radio station, OSCAR, covering a variety of topical political and ethical issues.
Between the two events, the Quadrivium department hosted him to a dinner with pupils to warm up for the main event. All pupils asked engaging questions and listened attentively and critically, including an informal session after the lecture where many pupils queued to continue their queries and take photos. We are grateful to Mr Rees-Mogg for being generous with his time, spending over four hours speaking with pupils over the course of his visit.
Quadrivium looks to provoke interest and debate across a broad spectrum of topics, to encourage pupils to follow what fascinates them into deeper research, and to engage in matters of public ethics. This final Quad lecture for the academic year was exemplary, and we hope next year to host a guest of similar standing from a counterpoint political stance.