Education

Current British politics mirrors the mantra of its history: glorify the good, bury the bad

Is it possible that fewer people would hurl racial and Islamophobic slurs at Pakistanis and their communities if they knew that the British Raj was responsible for encouraging Pakistani migration to Britain in the mid twentieth century? I think so. The act of brushing such periods of history under the carpet, means that bigotry is fed by ignorance, which then allows for obliviousness and inaccuracies to find their ways into history books. (Read More)

'Europe' / CC
Europe

How could an independent Scotland join the European Union?

Another question to address is whether Scotland would have to adopt the euro as its currency. Tobias Lock and Kirsty Hughes, writing for European Futures suggest that Scotland ‘would probably have to commit to eventual euro membership, but would not meet the criteria yet.’ They also submit that an independent Scotland would ‘be able to postpone this [adoption of the euro] (probably indefinitely).’ (Read More)

Europe

Article 127: The question of the Single Market

With Theresa May’s Florence speech offering a semblance of calm in Europe, the fact remains that the process of leaving the European Union has only just begun. Indeed, amidst the backdrop of strenuous, prolonged negotiations, lies the small, often underreported piece of legislative verbiage that could prove to be the thorn in the side of Britain. (Read More)

Photograph: 'The pro-EU march from Hyde Park to Westminster in London on March 25, 2017, to mark 60 years since the EU's founding agreement, the Treaty of Rome' by Ilovetheeu / CC
Politics & Society

Is May safeguarding the position of EU and UK citizens?

“At face value, it appears to be a good deal. However, when one reads the small print, it becomes apparent that there is no value in the offer, and it lacks the certainty that Theresa May continuously refers to. The offer has come after the EU Council Decision of 22 May proposing their policy on safeguarding the position of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU. Therefore both sides have now adopted their position. However, the UK’s offer is nowhere close to what EU would like to secure as a part of the exit deal.” (Read More)

Politics & Society

Homelessness and expense: The reality of the private rented sector

“While, of course, the series undoubtedly explores areas such as unaffordability and sub-standard living conditions, we must remember that it acts only as a microcosm of society, by exploring the conditions of only a handful of private tenants. Indeed, the fact of the matter is that the impacts of the Private Rented Sector are becoming more profound and widespread than ever before.” (Read More)

Politics & Society

May’s snap judgement leaves the Tories red-faced

Perhaps it will be her who will now be the centrepiece of a ‘coalition of chaos’. She will be aggressively pursued by the parties who find themselves out of the loop. Labour, the SNP, and the Lib Dems will all be sharpening their knives. The next five years look set to be plagued with uncertainty and instability, the products of a divided Westminster May so confidently promised to unite.
(Read More)

'Theresa May' by DonkeyHotey
Politics & Society

How Politicians Talk To You

“Jeremy Corbyn’s socialist approach has not been in the mainstream for decades, and we are unaccustomed to hearing the idea championed that the broadest shoulders should bear the heaviest load. This principle has been normal in rich countries like Norway and Sweden. However, some of the richest 5% find it galling to be asked to pay yet more. The reintroduction of basic socialist language into British political debate jars profoundly with the individualistic language of our society normalised by Thatcher in the 1980s. As a result, Corbyn’s old ideas sound new and exciting to young people because they have never heard them before.” (Read More)

Politics & Society

Confessions of a Shy Tory

“I can assure you it takes more than money as well. You need to deeply change a culture and foster an atmosphere of individual responsibility and initiative in people. The only party that seems to mention responsibility is the Conservatives now, who have the word 11 times in their 2017 manifesto compared with 7 for Labour. A very crude measure, but like I say, much of this is just general feeling from the different parties.” (Read More)

Politics & Society

Hugh Andrew | The joy of democracy

“All the endless consultation about what the people want has neither settled anything nor tracked any clear path. Indeed, the government has largely halted in the last few years in the ceaseless build up or wind down from one vote to the next. The Scottish Parliament has no legislation before it and – before the Prime Minister’s announcement – the sole topic of interest seemed to be another referendum.” (Read More)

Politics & Society

The Labour Party: Goodbye working class?

“The Labour Party recently has been plagued with a myriad of controversial events. Front-bench resignations, shadow-cabinet reshuffles and reports of bullying have engulfed the normal day-to-day operation of the party to such an extent, that its effectiveness as an opposition and prospective government has come into question. In light of this, you would be right to think that matters couldn’t get worse. But they have, with two recent by-elections in Copeland and Stoke central bearing this out. ” (Read More)

Politics & Society

Hugh Andrew | In the Kingdom of Allemonde

“There seem to me many Golaud’s in Scotland today. Their shrill and loud voices speak of their own desire to silence the still small voices of doubt inside them. And many of these Golauds speak too on the Unionist side of the argument. In the stentorian shouting match about the ‘answer’, people have forgotten what the true ‘question’ is. Nor it is it, of course, one ‘question’ but many (and many in each of us) which feed into a sterile and binary divide. And that question is at the deepest level about who we are.” (Read More)

Politics & Society

Unionists should welcome Indy2

“Are we deceiving ourselves into thinking independence will grant our extensive wish list? Of course not, but as things stand we are getting very little. Scotland should be the author of its fate even if the road is wrought with difficulty.” (Read More)

Europe

From conflict to peace: Remembering Martin McGuinness

“What is easy to do, and perhaps too easily so, is to allow for the visceral reaction to turn into a reignition of past difficulties. If there is to be one rallying call today, it’s that peace, first and foremost, be celebrated and protected. That is a legacy, for all people and all sides, to hold onto and belongs to more than just one man. ” (Read More)

Politics & Society

Murdo Fraser | Sturgeon doesn’t speak for Scotland

“It is perhaps little wonder that Ms Sturgeon sees the political distraction offered by Brexit as an opportunity to divert attention from away from her government’s dismal domestic failings, and is promoting a grievance agenda against Westminster in order to try and drive up Yes support.” (Read More)

Politics & Society

Saving UKIP: A Herculean Task

“He has, until recently, retained strong support amongst both UKIP’s longest-serving members as well as the MEPs currently sitting in Brussels. And he may yet win the hearts and minds of the disillusioned, working-class voters he so doggedly pursues. The odds, however, are stacked heavily against him. Nevertheless, what is clear is regardless of whether Nuttall or UKIP survive this storm, the appetite for a party representing disillusioned, anti-establishment voters in the UK isn’t going anywhere.” (Read More)

Politics & Society

Government defeated on Brexit Bill as House of Lords back amendment to protect EU citizens

“Within three months of exercising the power under section 1(1), Ministers of the Crown must bring forward proposals to ensure that citizens of another European Union or European Economic Area country and their family members, who are legally resident in the United Kingdom on the day on which this Act is passed, continue to be treated in the same way with regards to their EU derived-rights and, in the case of residency, their potential to acquire such rights in the future.”
(Read More)

Middle East

Netanyahu’s UK visit represents a paradigm shift with Israel

“Settlements aside, Israeli/UK business remains stronger than ever. Trade relations between both countries are positive and are steadily growing in both directions. Bilateral trade is worth £5 billion a year and has doubled in the last decade. The UK is Israel’s second largest trading partner after the US. And, technological, pharmaceutical and military collaboration between both sides remains strong.” (Read More)

Education

Higher Education: Is Social Mobility working?

“I graduated in the summer of 2016, now while my student experience was absolutely fantastic; just a seconds thought about my £27,000 plus student debt is enough to make me feel nauseous. Coming from a working-class family, choosing Higher Education was incredibly daunting, I don’t even think my parents had £9000 in hand to claim their own. University felt like my only option, I needed a degree; if I wanted a successful career and to break my barriers, I had to obtain a degree and I’m so glad I did.” (Read More)

Scotland

The British Premier League

Countries stay together because they want to. Constitutional arrangements are contingent upon this desire, not progenitors of it. You see, there came a moment when no amount of ‘home rule’ could have preserved (all) Ireland within the Union. Think of it in human terms if you prefer, eventually a partner who is perceived as intolerable to live with is shown the door: no amount of domestic tinkering can mend the broken will. Thus it can be observed that a singular focus on the constitution as unionists strive to safeguard the British Union is to put the cart before the horse. Unionists have to cultivate the desire to remain British amongst their fellow countrymen or the Union is burst. (Read More)

Photograph: 'US-UK-Flags' / CC
Politics & Society

Farage, Trump and the Future of UK-US Relations

In the current global political climate, UK-US relations hang worryingly in the balance. Relations with one another’s transatlantic counterpart have simultaneously been touted as pivotal and yet uncertain, currently. Yet with Nigel Farage marching onto the scene claiming to be the key to reviving relations between the two nations through his ostensible “bromance” with Donald Trump, why, then, has Downing Street rebuffed Farage’s overtures so swiftly? And what are we to make of the future of UK-US relations? (Read More)

'Saltire' / Julien Ortet / CC
Politics & Society

What next for Scottish nationalism?

This short article discusses the fact that Scottish nationalists have not had the ‘summer of love’ that they had anticipated. With the divisive legacy of the 2014 referendum still raw, bad economic news and the failure of a significant ‘Brexit’ bounce they may face an uphill struggle in the short to medium term. Even their party leader has had to acknowledge this fact and state that Scottish independence now transcends economic considerations and that the Scottish people may not be better off financially post-independence. (Read More)

'Houses of Parliament' / CC
Politics & Society

Labour Leadership Crisis: What is the problem?

In the Labour Party split, there are two main factions that formed after the general election. They both hold different outlooks on the same conventional wisdom in British politics. This division derives from those who are seen as more left within the party and those that are seen as more moderate. The conventional narrative of British politics, which both sides have a different reading of, is that the Labour party was unelectable for 18 years because of disputes over how left wing or moderate the party should be. The party took unpopular far left policies thereby ruining its electability.

This narrative is what has pushed the party to see the situation with two different truths. The moderates read the Corbyn left, as disconnected with what the country would desire and is unelectable, just like the Labour of the 80s. The more left-wing in the party see Corbyn as having formed a different left. The similarities between them and 80s Labour are not problematic because the change in the world since the Cold war has made it so the issues should be viewed in a different light, such as nuclear disarmament. (Read More)

'Europe'/ CC
UK

UK votes for Brexit in historic referendum

The United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union in a historic referendum. This result will change the course of British history and possibly have a domino effect on other European countries. The result came as a surprise to many, even the Leave camp, but there are already some politicians in other European countries that want to hold a similar referendum in their country. The economic implications of Brexit are still not known but businesses have made it clear that they will have to review their plans now that the British people have voted for Brexit. Furthermore, prime minister David Cameron has resigned and will be remain in office until October. Only time will tell exactly what kind of consequences this referendum will have for the UK, Europe, and the world. (Read More)

Photograph: Pexels
Business & Economy

Basic Income: Scotland and Beyond

Professor Standing is right; with pilot programmes launching across the world, the time is ripe for a Scottish experiment – and with a Scottish parliamentary majority comprised of Greens, actively advocating for a basic income and a Scottish National Party amenable to the idea, there has never been a better time to push for a Scottish study. Scotland’s unique characteristics, population density, GDP and economic diversity make it an ideal candidate for a national pilot. (Read More)

Profile Cover Photo: Calton Hill, Edinburgh / Raphaël Chekroun / CC
Scotland

Could Ruth Davidson be the next leader of the Conservative Party?

In an era which has seen antipathy and mistrust towards the political classes mount to such levels as to give rise to the likes of Donald Trump, few politicians from the political mainstream can be deemed genuinely popular. And yet, the presidential-style campaign lead by the young, gregarious, kick-boxing, tank-straddling, former Territorial Army signaller struck a chord with voters in a way in which precious few in Ruth Davidson’s party could ever hope to emulate.
(Read More)

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon TV interview / Scottish Government / CC
Scotland

Not the Scotland I want to see

In my relativity short life, I have witnessed Scotland go from a stoic, sensible nation, where politics was based on the traditional left-right ideology and people made decisions based on economic and social evidence, to a place where large swathes of the population would vote for a party that’s primary aim would cause them grave, long-lasting, deep economic harm and social uncertainty, but yet would happily dismiss anything that counters this view. Any contrary evidence is just debunked as the work of the “establishment” or “Wastemonster” or “quisling politicians.”
(Read More)

Photograph: Pexels
Europe

Time to reboot the debate on Europe

Last week the first of a series of debates on the UK’s membership of the European Union took place in Glasgow. This debate were to focus on the concerns of young people, but it maybe didn’t get off to a wondrous start. The panel, with its mean age of almost 60, is maybe not the best to really understand the concerns of today’s youth. The debate itself very aptly summed up the referendum debate so far – scaremongering, with little regard for facts as the dominant narrative. This is doing nothing to rebuild the public’s trust in politicians, especially as both sides contradict the other sides’ arguments on a continuing basis. With less than a month to go, it is time for a reboot of the debate on Europe. (Read More)

UK

Ken Livingstone and the freedom of speech

It should be stressed that recent statements from Ken Livingstone and other representatives of the Labour Party have been anti-Semitic in their nature, and their suspensions, therefore, are correct. However, we must act with caution, especially in the current time. The ever-so-difficult balance between the freedom of speech and the protection against abuse must be found. (Read More)

UK

We owe ourselves more than cynicism in the wake of the #PanamaPapers

When we respond with sarcasm to the news that the prime minister profited from a scheme designed to avoid tax and lied about it to the public, we contribute to a culture that allows these injustices to go on unpunished. Cameron has claimed that his late father’s arrangements were completely legal and that the £31,000 dividend he received (which, incidentally, is more than the average U.K salary) was subject to all relevant U.K taxes. But legal isn’t the same as ethical – and wouldn’t we rather the two concepts were better aligned? (Read More)

UK

Where are the Labour voices?

Yet those currently at the heart of the Labour leadership seem to have managed to get through the last few weeks without such concerns. A google search of news and opinions on the referendum would get to quite a few pages in before Messrs Corbyn or McDonnell appear.
(Read More)

Scotland

The toxic split of the Conservatives: Iain Duncan Smith resigns

Mr Duncan Smith has seemingly sided with Mr Corbyn saying the Budget “benefits higher earning taxpayers”. Within his resignation letter he announced he could see them as defensible terms but only narrowly, “but they are not defensible in the way they were placed within a budget that benefits higher earning taxpayers”. He in the past has sympathised with some budget cuts to the welfare system due to the last Labour government which made difficult cuts necessary.
(Read More)

UK

The watershed Budget?

Much can, and has, been said about Duncan Smith and his welfare reform. It is easy to demonise him, however maybe unfairly. If one explores his background in welfare reform, one should not forget that this man is a part of a rare breed of politicians nowadays – conviction politicians. His genuine belief that his reforms are for the better for disabled and disenfranchised people should be applauded. (Read More)