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Nudging : The Way Forward?

Human beings are remarkably good at decision making. Millions of years of evolution mean we are capable of processing information and making … Keep Reading

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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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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