Rt Hon Michael Jack MP
Member of Parliament for Fylde in Lancashire, the Rt Hon Michael Jack, attended Bradford Technical College for 2 years, where he passed his A Levels and was elected President of the Students’ Union. He recalls his College years with affection and has particularly vivid memories of events of November 1963.
“I had not exactly excelled academically at Bradford Grammar School. The 2 years I spent at the College were
both happy and memorable. I received enough A Levels to enable me to go to Leicester University and at the
same time, through the good offices of the language laboratory, was able to learn enough conversational French
that still survives to this day.
During my time at College I became involved in the Students’ Union and my first venture into student political activity was running the Film & Photographic Society. I used to hire films to be shown in one of the lecture theatres in the textile block on a Friday evening. I would tramp around the different departments putting up my notices and probably around 10 brave souls used to come along and watch the films.
I think the most poignant of all of them was On the Beach. You may recall that this depicted what happened when a nuclear holocaust affected the world and the last few people remained in Australia. This outing got me well known in College and so it wasn’t too difficult for me to ultimately progress to be the President of the Students’ Union. That was certainly an important appointment as it took me forward to become involved in NUS politics.
I thoroughly benefited from the learning atmosphere that lectures presented as opposed to the more rigid structure of my old school. I was also able to tackle in economics and economic history, subjects I really enjoyed. It also taught me something else. People develop at different speeds as far as their education is concerned and organisations like the Technical College were able to cater for people like me whereas the more rigid environment at school had not at that time been of great help.
Since that time I have worked for Proctor & Gamble, Marks & Spencer and part of Northern Foods. I became a Conservative MP in 1987 for the constituency of Fylde in Lancashire and after I had been a Member for around 3 years I became part of John Major’s Government, holding 4 government posts, finishing up in the Treasury as Financial Secretary before the 1997 election. Opposition has seen me develop a keen interest in environmental, food and rural affairs matters and now I chair the Select Committee that deals with these issues in the House.
Perhaps one thing that I will remember above all others was where I was when President Kennedy was shot. We had been having a debate in the main hall of the College and the news filtered through to stunned silence in the audience. We had in fact been debating aspects about WWII. It is certainly an event which remains indelibly in my mind and the College will always be a part of it.
It is perhaps also worth recording that the College used to be a promoter of some excellent dance events in the old swimming pool nearby to the main college buildings (Windsor Baths). On one of those occasions when the pop band The Swinging Blue Jeans finished performing I remember leaving the hall and walking down towards the Gaumont Cinema in the company of none other than Brian Epstein. We got chatting and I said perhaps he would like to know I was going to see another one of his bands the following night. He asked which one it was and I told him it was the Beatles. I am afraid in those days I wasn’t to well up in pop music but again the college and a memorable concert the next night in the Gaumont will be something I will never forget.”
Photograph supplied by Rt Hon Michael Jack MP