I was obviously delighted that the BBC's political editor found time to come and address a large sixth form meeting here yesterday, and it looks as if he didn't miss any scoops while undertaking this charitable venture.
Much that he said is worth further thought - he's always been an original and stimulating political thinker and observer - but I was impressed by the enthusiasm he feels for the political world, and his belief that we are indeed in exciting times. He ranged well beyond his British politics brief in assessing a world situation that is changing both the relationships of nations and the balance of power within them. How will China react internally to these precarious times? Do we look at Israel and simply say there is no solution? Has Russia lost the bounce she had earlier under Putin now that she's feeling her vulnerability?
Nick Robinson's survey of British politics is always worthwhile, and he updates his blog regularly with insights gleaned during his daily life at the heart of the Westminster village, but he also raised the interesting question of bias in reporting. Here he is, this former young Tory activist, needing to be the face of an impartial public broadcaster - does he achieve this? While one or two questions asked about the broader issue of BBC bias, no-one challenged him on his own position. Perhaps everyone was too polite; perhaps we think he has achieved a non-partisan approach. Interestingly, as he admitted afterwards, not everyone accepts that he is non-partisan - for a former Tory, the most regular accusation that gets flinged at him on his blog is that he is a Labour stooge!
Robinson was engaging and responsive, and I was impressed not long after he left when I wandered into one of the sixth form classrooms and saw students gathered round the interactive whiteboard, eagerly watching one of his earlier reports. Excellent, I thought, having heard him speak about his job they're now getting to grips with the raw material of his reportage. What better accolade can there be for a successful speech. Until I realised, they weren't listening to the actual content - they were waiting to see the policeman cross the screen behind him, the subject of one of his opening anecdotes! Serious politics is an uphill task after all.