Pupils of Millfields community school have elected their first prime minister at the end of a week of fervent campaigning and passionate debate. Eleven year-old Cem Owens led his Millfields Mania party to a narrow but decisive victory after votes were cast on Thursday afternoon. Quoted in the Millfields Daily newspaper, produced by student reporters each day, the newly sworn-in PM said he felt "honoured and grateful" and pledged to run an inclusive premiership in which "everyone's voice is heard."
Millfields Mania's manifesto pledged a massive expansion of local youth clubs, skate parks and libraries, a commitment to increased spending on education (especially trips and "great school dinners") and a global drive against child poverty. It drew inspiration from the words of Gandhi: "Be the change you want to see in the world."
A week of energetic campaigning reached a colourful peak on Thursday when party supporters marched in noisy but well-behaved groups to the Round Chapel, attracting applause and puzzled looks from shop keepers and passers-by. Following a rousing rendition of the national anthem, party leaders and their supporters took turns to address the electorate.
Lunch break polling had suggested the Millfields Triangle party and Purple Power party were leading neck-and-neck with the Red Justice party a close third, but the opening address from the ingeniously named Give More, Get More party may well have swayed some undecideds.
Its leader Ruby Andrews said her ambitious local pledge to make school meals free for all would be funded by cuts in the school's stationery budget. In what was seen by observers as an attempt to present an imagine of moderation, Miss Andrews said: "We need enough stationery, but not too much." More controversially, she proposed getting rid of nuclear weapons so that more money could be spent on developing electric cars and building what she termed "a happier world with more fluffy bunnies."
Millfields Triangle, which appended the words "Litter-Busters" to its name in order to emphasise its flagship local policy, promised more bins, more litter-picking volunteers and community service sentences for litter-droppers. Led by Harris Scott-Fenton, is shared with Millfields Mania a foreign policy of ending child poverty worldwide.
The youngest of the party leaders, RJP's Joshua Pilling (9), pledged to make Hackney London's greenest borough, provide education free to people of all ages and to end child labour and slavery. His party's over-arching goal was to ensure that the young no longer grow up to be "be employed in horrid places by horrid people." For Purple Power, Emmanuel Akam set out a detailed programme for improved playground design, including areas designated for eating and drinking with their own waste disposal units and segregated spaces for pets.
Millfields Mania had been trailing in the polls but their populist approach, using reggae tune "This is Our World" to deliver their message of liberating children from the scourge of "post-school boredom" gave them the momentum required for victory. At total of 602 votes were cast, with only 15 ballot papers spoiled. Headteacher Jane Betsworth was unavailable for comment, apparently due to complete and utter exhaustion.
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