During my superb visit to Frederick Gough School I was quizzed by the School Council. The discussion was wide and varied picking up the many issues of our day including possible Scottish devolution and the challenges of the UK finding its new place in the world outside the European Union.

But the question that got me thinking was the one about fake news. How do we know which news sources to trust today?

I reflected that we are no longer in a world where the news comes to us mainly through sources whose provenance and perspective are well understood whether that be the BBC or the Daily Mail.

Now our news comes to us through a myriad of sources, splintered through electronic media.

How do we know who to trust? Or who to be healthily sceptical of? Or who to definitely not to trust?

With an American President who embraces Twitter and condemns the BBC the old certainties are long gone.

The students’ teacher, who had been a student of mine at John Leggott College some 10 years previously, remarked that when he was in the sixth form it was ‘Myspace’ not ‘Facebook’ or ‘Twitter’ that was the platform for group conversations.

Myspace! Who can remember ‘Myspace’? And then it was occasional not ever-present, not ubiquitous like now.

For the youngsters I was chatting to these platform are part of their everyday lives in a way in which they weren’t as recently as 10 years ago.

Global change continues to accelerate so we can’t know now if Instagram and Snapchat will become as obsolete as Myspace or if they are here to stay as part of what shapes our lives and determines our world view manipulated by algorithms and other things I can hardly start to understand.

What the Fred Gough students and teachers agreed is that we need to equip our young people as well as the rest of us to be able to ask the questions about sources. To be healthily sceptical about fake news. After all it is nothing new.

The Zinoviev Letter published by the Daily Mail four days before the 1924 general election was a forgery designed to undermine the Labour Party with its lies which it successfully did.

Another thing to be healthily sceptical about is my running ability. For reasons that now escape me I find myself committed to spend St George’s Day this year running the London Marathon.

I am not convinced I will slay the dragon of the challenge before me!

But I will be raising money for the three pancreatic cancer charities who I champion as Chair of the Party Parliamentary Group on Pancreatic Cancer and two amazing local charities – Lindsey Lodge Hospice and Scunthorpe Food Bank.

Another thing we didn’t have 10 years ago was Just Giving pages.

If you fancy encouraging me this St George’s Day you can go to uk.virginmoneygiving.com/nicdakinmp

Nic Dakin is the Labour Member of Parliament for Scunthorpe

An MP has many different ways to raise issues and campaign for things to change. And there are no shortage of people encouraging us to do this or that. Constituents, local businesses and other organisations head a list that includes professional lobbyists as well as amateur enthusiasts.

One mechanism is the 10 minute rule bill – a slot of prime time in the House of Commons on Tuesdays and Wednesdays where an individual MP can speak for 10 minutes on a particular issue without interruption.

Theoretically a colleague can speak against, though this rarely happens. Occasionally there is a vote.

When there is a speech against and/or a vote it’s really a bit of theatre to draw more attention to the issue as both government and opposition front benches usually stay out of the vote which the government has no obligation to take any notice of!

Theoretically the ‘bill’ will then be listed for further consideration on a sitting Friday though everyone knows it will never be debated again before finally falling off the future agenda as this session of Parliament concludes and a new Queen’s Speech sets out the government of the day’s next chapter of legislation.

So why does any MP bother with a 10 minute rule bill at all? More particularly why have I claimed the slot on February 28 to go through the rigmarole of preparing a draft bill and accompanying speech?

I have presented two previous 10 minute rule bills.

In both cases I worked with outside bodies so that my bill was part of a wider campaign.

I worked with the charity Sue Ryder on the first bill which sought to exempt hospices from certain VAT costs.

This was accompanied by various other pressures on government including parliamentary questions and meetings with ministers.

Although the bill went nowhere a measure was incorporated soon after in to a government bill to make the very changes in the law that my bill was looking for.

Likewise with my bill to give 16-18 year olds who attend colleges the same right to free school meals as those that attend schools sixth forms.

After working with the Association of Colleges, using my bill as part of a strong cross-party campaign the government changed the rules so that students attending colleges like John Leggott and North Lindsey in my constituency are no longer discriminated against in their entitlement to free school meals.

My bill next week will argue that colleges should have access to school students in their schools to talk to them about the options available.

For the last six years we have been going backwards in the quality of careers information, advice and guidance available to our young people.

Sadly some schools put barriers in the way of their students learning about options other than their sixth form.

This is not in the students’ interest and it is not in the country’s interest.

Hopefully the government will be listening again and will before very long adopt my latest 10 minute rule bill into law.

And by doing so they will be benefiting young people across our great country!

Nic Dakin is the Labour Member of Parliament for Scunthorpe

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