News and Opinion From a Team of Young People

Monthly archive

August 2016

Baluchistan, India and China: Poetry in Politics

in Asia/World by

One of my more unfortunate habits is projecting my own sense of poetic justice and a sense of overarching narrative onto reality. Though in my head it immeasurably improves the 6:00 news, in reality it is more of a troublesome habit that clouds my understanding of international politics. Despite this, there is something irresistibly human about looking for pattern or a story in events – searching for something solid and dependable in an ocean of uncertainty and doubt. The desire to feel an emotional connection with characters in an unfolding history; this is a habit that –though I recognise it’s profound distance from reality- I guiltily indulge in. It is for this reason that I take particular interest in the unfolding drama in the East…

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Radicalisation: The Law is in Your Hands

in Middle East/UK/World by

Radicalisation: the buzzword of security councils and foreign ministers around Europe and America. From Jihadi John to Kadiza Sultana, the names that plaster our front pages are starting to pose increasingly complex moral questions to which we must somehow find legal responses. It is on all of us to take a vocal stance on these issues because these crimes are new. UK law will have to try and catch up with new ideas of justice, freedom, security, responsibility, vulnerability, and rights. If we don’t start asserting our own ideas on the issues then huge legal changes will go on behind the scenes and it will be too late for us to guide them. You have more power over the progress of British ideals now, as…

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What the Train Debacle Tells Us About Corbyn

in UK by

A number of thoughts sprang to mind when I saw the hunched figure of Jeremy Corbyn grasping at a newspaper on a grimy train floor, asking me to believe that his press team and his sarcastic tone couldn’t have cleared a whole carriage for him in a number of minutes, posing as a man of the people once again. Train floors cannot be good for your clothes, or your public image it seems, but luckily Jeremy’s suit was pretty raggedy before he squatted down and raised an eyebrow declaring that nationalization of the trains was the only way to save him from this awful fate. What was this meant to induce in me? Pity? Laughter? Anger? I have strong suspicions that his press officer is in…

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Liberty with Caveats: France’s Move Towards Fascism

in Europe by

Liberté, égalité, fraternité. These are the words behind the 1789 French revolution, a movement that abolished the monarchy and established a secular and democratic republic and the liberation of the people from monarchist repression. Recent events concerning the banning of the ‘burkini’ have thrown these values and France’s ‘secularism’ in to question. What must be discussed now is whether or not the French government is really committed to these values. French Prime minister, Manuel Valls, stated on the 18th of August that wearing a burkini was “not compatible with the values of the French Republic”. Calls to ban Islamic religious symbols in public have risen since 85 people were killed by a truck on Bastille Day in Nice last month, such bans have been imposed…

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Brexiteers’ Reaction to the Olympic Games Has Been Deplorable

in Europe/UK by

Billions of people around the world see the Olympics as a noble example of international cooperation and the indomitability of the human spirit. For once, the Olympics offer us a chance to set our political beliefs and agendas aside, and instead come together to celebrate our common humanity. For some of us, that is. Of course the Olympics will never be free of political agendas. Since it’s earliest days the event has been seen by countries as a chance to show some form of superiority over their neighbours. This is as true in 2016 as it has ever been. Ever the opportunists, Brexiters have taken the triumph of British athletes to demonstrate the natural superiority of the Anglo-Saxon race; despite this year’s team GB having…

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Is the time right to revaluate Hong Kong’s ‘pressure-cooker’ style of education?

in Asia by

Having collected my AS exam results, I breathed a sigh of relief as a very long year had come to a conclusion. I found myself wondering how other students my age have been faring in other countries over the past year. Hong Kong, a high density population of 7,000,000 has 3 universities in the annual Time Higher Education ranking. This is an impressive feat for a country with such a comparatively small population. The Hong Kong education system is reputed as one of the best in the world, producing a high number of students which go on to further education and high-paying jobs. However, it is all swings and roundabouts. Hong Kong’s education system has its fair number of vocal cynics and has been labelled…

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The Olympics: Some Good News for Once

in World by

Laurine van Riessen of the Netherlands may have cycled up a wall to avoid a nasty crash, but the Olympic officials have pulled off an even more impressive stunt to keep their plans upright in Rio this summer. Getting more than 200 countries and a few independent athletes together in one village to compete against each other in an incredibly tense situation where national and personal pride is at stake and billions of pounds have been invested barely sounds possible if you look at the tattered state of international relations outside the stadium doors. But every four years the world gathers to participate in this most uplifting and unlikely of events, producing some glimmer of hope for humanity on the dull horizon. The Olympics time…

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Trade Unions: An ineffective vehicle for change

in UK by

During the 1980s Thatcher was at the reins of the countries’ domestic and economic policy and trade union activity was fervent. My father being a card holder of the Union of Communication Workers would frequently ‘coalesce’ – that is picketing and conducting demonstrations with other union members to show indignation against the neo-liberal system that Thatcher was building: the closing of the coal mines, use of police as a repressive force and privatisation of industries. Amongst workers there was a strong sense of injustice that needed to be addressed. Hitherto wages were generally rising in correspondence to levels of production as unions were taking more active roles and held greater bargaining power. Now however, even within the current framework unions have failed to prevent the…

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The Refugee Crisis and the Importance of Action in International Relations

in Europe/World by

In international politics, as in life, it can seem easier to stand back and allow others who want to, to deal with the world’s problems. On an individual scale, sometimes that’s the best decision. However, on the international scale the people who want to deal with the world’s problems are exactly the people you wouldn’t want dealing with them. The only way to ensure that we achieve what we want is to go out and get it. It’s ridiculous to assume that doing nothing is going to get us the solution we want – because when we’re doing nothing, others are most certainly not. The first issue that we can apply these ideas to is the refugee crisis. The UK has done little to nothing…

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Restricting Labour Members’ Voting Rights is an Insult to Democracy

in UK by

Labour’s leadership election misery continues as the Court of Appeal overrules the High Court’s ruling and thus upholds the Labour NEC’s (National Executive Committee) original decision to disenfranchise from the election anyone who joined after 12th June, unless they paid £25. This means that 130,000 new members are unable to vote in the upcoming Labour leadership. The original High Court intervention into party politics was unprecedented and could’ve dramatically changed the outcome of the Labour leadership election and the fate of the Labour party itself. In a time of political disillusionment and disempowerment, Labour must ask what party they want to be: one which serves the people, supported through a democratic mandate, or a party which governs the people by telling them it knows best…

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