News and Opinion From a Team of Young People

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August 2016 - page 2

The Bad Penny Debates: Grammar Schools

in UK by

Theresa May is, reportedly, going to lift the ban on new grammar schools being created across Britain. Tony Blair introduced the ban in 1998 and it has been hotly debated since. Do grammar schools help the poor and should the new Education Secratary, Justine Greening, end the ban? That sounds like the makings of a debate, so let’s have it. Finn Proposals to introduce new grammar schools, after their decline over the past 60 years, is a topic that is of importance to me as a grammar school student myself. Before any possible misconceptions occur I do not take my position lightly, I realise that I am indeed in a fortunate situation. However, I cannot argue for the introduction of more grammar schools, or for that…

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Putin’s Unlikely New Friendship

in Europe/Middle East/World by

A few days ago, after visiting a local Chinese restaurant, I received an ominous message from a fortune cookie: ‘An unexpected friendship will turn out to be permanent.’ Of course, I interpreted the prediction as applying to me, despite the fact that it is not specified. However in an unexpected twist in the tale of modern international politics, the anonymous writer may have for once made a successful foretelling. A few days ago, Turkey’s foreign minister announced deepened defensive cooperation with Russia, establishing a joint military and intelligence mechanism with their former foes. It was only last year when Turkey and Russia were at each other’s throats after the downing of a Russian jet by Turkish forces. More recently, Erdogan began to consciously push for…

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On Historical Facts and Why We Should Believe Them

in History by

The beautiful, humbling, and unlikely discoveries of past worlds and the people that created them are being bludgeoned by heavy-handed accusations. The latest trend in our obsessively empirical world is to resurrect the empty complaints of the post-modernists in order to eschew history as not a factual practice, diminishing it to the level of glorified literature and trivializing all that it has given to our culture and progress since its conception in fifth century B.C. Greece by Herodotus. Historians rarely address the philosophical grounds upon which they write and educate, but the more they are challenged the more they must begin to. We are obliged to stop ignoring the difficult questions that face our academic riches because it is these that make us doubt that…

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Toby Young on Social Mobility, Splitting and Selective Schooling

in UK by

If every minister was as bold as Michael Gove, Britain would have the largest economy in the world within 50 years. Toby Young. A self-proclaimed classical liberal and associate editor of The Spectator, Toby Young is no stranger to controversy. As a BrExiteer, the former CEO of a free school and the founder of #Tories4Corbyn, frequently finding himself on the front line of political debate. One of the first major policies of the new government is, according to reports, to lift the ban on new grammar schools. Theresa May gave a stirring speech about the importance of a fair society on the steps of Downing Street, but on average only 4.85% of grammar school students have been eligible for free school meals at any point in…

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Europe Needs Pragmatism and Unity, Not Delusions

in Europe by

For a long time, I’ve been hesitant to express my thoughts about the EU. Months ago I published a short piece on the topic, but in it I simpered and tamed my ideas to make them more palatable to those who may be undecided on the issue of Europe. That was before the referendum. Now, those of us who supported EU membership have been proven right. The warnings we issued to the British public were not heeded and the suffering we predicted is materialising. People don’t need to be persuaded by sugar-coated arguments, they are demanding truth – and the truth is what I will give you. Brexiters even now continue to peddle the fantasy of a ‘global Britain’. A Britain engaged in the world,…

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Western Elitism in History: Thinly Veiled Lying

in History/World by

In sixteenth century Korea, a naval genius called Admiral Yi changed the course of history almost single-handedly. The Japanese military leader Hideyoshi had made the decision to invade China to bring down the Ming dynasty and all that stood in his way was the militarily weak state of Korea. Having rejected the introduction of guns into their army years before, the Korean aristocrats that fought still used archers as their main form of attack. Their cannons were around one metre at largest and they had never updated their defensive walls to allow for the firing of these cannons at advancing troops from the ground. Their weakness showed when they were faced with noise and dust billowing around them as gunfire erupted and Japanese Samurai charged.…

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What We Learned from the Conventions

in Election 2016/US and Canada by

The conventions are done, the candidates are back on the trail and this is the state of play. He’s Kaine, He’s Sore, He’s Bonkers Senator Tim Kaine is an unsurprisingly safe choice for VP. He toes the party line on abortion, despite his personal qualms, and speaks fluent Spanish, which will hammer home the Latino vote. Trump rushed to Twitter to swiftly rebuke Clinton’s pick and claimed that he introduced unpopular tax rises in New Jersey, despite him governing Virginia. It is an excellent choice from the Clinton campaign, despite some suggesting Cory Booker or Julian Castro as party unifying tickets. It hammers home the ‘safe hands’ message and, although he isn’t an attack dog, has the fight in him to take Trump down a…

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Why Secular Democracy Will Never Be Achieved in the Middle East

in Middle East/World by

In the west, we see secularism, democracy and liberty as the zenith of human progress – admirable goals which all societies should aim for. Indeed, throughout most of our history we have attempted to enforce these values on the rest of the world. Though our understanding of western values was different in the 19th century, European empires still attempted to ‘civilise’ the rest of the world by forcing their values on them. There are places where these practises have successfully created ‘Western’ democracies, however there are even more where this strategy has backfired with terrible consequences for the nations involved. Despite these failures, western countries continue to attempt to mould the world in their image, regardless of the consequences. A more recent example of this…

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