Life & Culture

Young pundit has no time for elevenses

Grace McLaughlin was one of a group of children invited to share their views on TV


Grace McLaughlin has performed stand-up in Scandinavia, holds strong political opinions and has just made her TV debut on a Channel 4 fly-on-the-wall documentary. Grace is 11.

The west London schoolgirl was a voluble participant in Dinner at 11, broadcast on Monday, in which a group of children from diverse backgrounds were filmed at a dinner party discussing issues important to them.

Grace was 10 when the programme was recorded, having been recruited via an email sent out to schools and clubs. "I'm very interested in the world and politics. My own friends aren't very opinionated so it was a chance to talk about what is important to me."

Her father is Catholic and her mother is Jewish and in the programme Grace talks about her Jewish heritage and her concern that "Nazis still exist".

Being Jewish "is part of my blood," she says. "My favourite festival is Passover. I love the food and learning about the culture.

"I was considering having a batmitzvah at one point but decided I wasn't sure about religion. I'll wait till I'm older and make an informed decision."

She was a TV natural, having "been doing kids' stand-up comedy since I was eight. I even went to Norway last week to do comedy. I don't get stage fright." When not obsessing over North Korea or "what an idiot David Cameron is", she enjoys playing with friends.

"I don't want to be a stage kid. I want to be famous, but because I can make people laugh and change the world. I recently watched an interesting documentary on China that put me off wanting to work for the United Nations."

When Dinner at 11 was recorded, the UN was on Grace's "to do" list as an adult, along with ambitions to travel the world and helping to get rid of sweatshops. "There are so many human rights violations that go on in the world and I think the UN could do more.

"I talked about why I hate Cameron and the mess his government has made, but now there is someone I hate even more." It's Ukip leader Nigel Farage.

Grace thinks Ukip is "really scary for children my age. To think people are voting for them when they are so anti-immigration really worries me."

The children in the programme "got on really well, even if we didn't share the same opinions. We were able to listen to each other and that's what adults don't do sometimes. I've stayed in touch with some of them."

Her mother, Gabrielle Osrin, says: "There isn't a moment in the day she isn't asking me questions about feminism or the crisis in Syria. It gets exhausting. It was important for Grace to do the programme. Not the going on TV, but to be a child and have adults listen to her."

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