Teaching Future Generations

I’m pleased the Skills Funding Agency has launched upon the unprecedented step of taking the University of Lincoln to court in order to safeguard the land-based agricultural facilities at Riseholme here in the constituency. Unfortunately, without regard to the educational needs of the county or for the quite reasonable concerns of local residents in Riseholme, the University is looking to build a residential development on the site. The superb staff at Bishop Burton College (who run Riseholme College) are organising a site visit for the SFA next month which I plan on attending.

Meanwhile, in London the process of withdrawing the UK from the EU is continuing at speed. The House of Lords is a vital part of our parliamentary democracy and plays an essential role in scrutinising our laws. But it would be wrong for unelected peers to try to overrule the will of the British people expressed in a referendum. I’m confident, however, that the peers will be mindful of their role in our unwritten constitution and will not obstruct the path of Brexit.

The Holocaust was a crime of global significance which must never be forgotten. Remembering the horror of this event is incredibly difficult to put into words, let alone to try and represent in physical form. Not long ago I visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and was left deeply impressed by the experience. This museum does a very good job of educating visitors about the Holocaust as well as trying to place it in a historical context. To emphasise the individuality of the victims, every visitor is handed a little card with the name and story of someone who suffered in the concentration camps – whether they were killed or whether they survived.

Teaching future generations about the Holocaust is vital, and I am glad that groups of schoolchildren from Lincolnshire have had the privilege of visiting Auschwitz in what is now Poland and witnessing this place first hand. But we can do more to facilitate educating about the Holocaust here in Great Britain.

Recently I organised a Commons debate about the proposed national Holocaust memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens next to Parliament. Unfortunately, due to the various requirements of this site the organisers have had to scale down their original proposals to include an educational experience like at the Museum in Washington. I think this is a mistake.

Less than half a mile from Parliament, the Imperial War Museum is investing millions in renovating the galleries it devotes to the Holocaust. The Museum has previously expressed an interest in having its permanent exhibition integrated into a Holocaust memorial, and there is sufficient space to do this at the Museum’s site in Lambeth, unlike in Victoria Tower Gardens.

A National Holocaust Memorial will, I hope, become a required site for school visits to London and so the organisers ought to adapt their plans so that here in Britain we can replicate the tremendous success of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.