The Russell Group founded in 1994, represents 24 universities that are research intensive, and are responsible for world-leading research. They have been long associated with representing the top universities in the UK, and in the world. Recently Brexit has been creating an issue, and is creating an uncertainty between Europe and the UK, and as to whether research funding will be nullified. Russell Group has recommended that science and research should be a priority in the talks that are taking place between the UK and the EU. It is vital that close relationships with members across the EU be maintained, in order to continue the progress that is being made as a result of the funding that is given. Dr Tim Bradshaw, the Acting Director of the Russell Group, stated that he wanted the rights of EU students and staff to be guaranteed after Brexit. This was due to the vast number of EU members that are vital to the universities, and the fact that nearly half of all UK academic articles are a result of international collaboration.
An example of where UK universities are benefiting of the EU funding is the Horizon 2020 research fund. This fund is bringing in more than £2bn into the higher education sector, and estimated to rise even further. If the UK suffers from a hard brexit, there is a strong chance that these types of EU funding could be put on hold, which can seriously impact the progress of research. Oxford University is one of the beneficiaries of EU funding, receiving almost £66m in the years 2014 and 2015, and thrives off this funding. Implications of Brexit could be so concerning, that Oxford is considering opening a campus in France in order to continue receiving EU funding.
In terms of the manifesto pledges, Labour have pledged to ensure that the UK maintains its leading research role it has by allowing Horizon 2020 funding to continue; the party wants to ensure that the UK maintains membership that is the equivalent to European organisations. The Conservative party remains ambiguous, implying that it will collaborate in science and innovation with EU member states. There is little doubt that this area is incredibly important, and the party that offers the most support on this issue will no doubt gain many votes.
UKIP, which stands for the ‘United Kingdom Independence Party’, is a right-wing political party with Paul Nuttall in charge. Over 39,000 citizens are members of UKIP and the party has been steadily growing ever since Brexit occurred, as they had merely achieved the purpose of their party when Britain left the EU. It is believed that migration outbound is around 323,000, whereas inbound is 596,000 a year, of this (inbound) 268K were from the EU whereas 257K were from outside the EU.
As highly skilled labour is extremely valued as well as students, they would be allowed into the country with a visa, unfortunately lowly skilled labour will experience a 5 year ban, in order to balance the flow of immigration. Mr Nuttall believes this “radical plan” will provide the party a much needed competitive edge over the conservatives, however Theresa May has included in her manifesto that net migration will drop. Net migration is simply defined as the difference between outbound immigration and inbound immigration, to identify whether there is in an imbalance in the flow of migration.
The policy hoped to be implemented will be known as the ‘one-in, one-out policy’, with the hopes of cutting migration from 600,000 to 300,000, overall believing they can achieve a 0% net migration level by five years’ time. There is an exception to the ban on low skilled labour, as ‘seasonal’ fruit pickers are allowed six month visas, due to the fact they play an important part in the UK economy, also it is an easy way to make quick money. UKIP are considering an ‘Australian style points system’ for ‘families, workers and students’, with a Migration control commission overlooking the whole operation. It is important to remember that until Brexit is finalised in 2019, there will still be the free movement of labour, which could cause an even bigger issue for the party. Mr Nuttall commented with “Net migration has been equivalent of a city the size of Birmingham over the past three years”... “This is clearly unsustainable and it is clearly unfair, particularly to inner city communities”.
The conservatives, particularly David Cameron were criticized in 2010 for not causing a significant drop in immigration levels, which could be classed as ‘sustainable’ enough for satisfaction. Immigration barriers have also been seen to be a burden for business, as employers seek the best workers regardless of their worldwide location. Reflecting upon this Nuttel made a fair statement that the Tories should not be trusted by their ‘political will’, as they lack the efforts to achieve any goals regarding the limiting on immigration. John Bickley, proclaimed that England was “the sixth most overcrowded country in the world”. Immigration not only puts a strain on the job sector for British citizens but also on local communities to deliver more needed resources and the public sector to create more transport in order to align with the carrying capacity of the population, not to mention wage cuts.
The UK, alike other nations, are working to reduce the amount of carbon emissions produced, in order to create a more greener and pollutant free environment. One way the government wants us to do this is by getting Londoners to obtain hot water and heat from ‘district heating networks’. The plan is that a central communal heat source will send heat and hot water along underground pipelines eventually leading to people's homes. The energy providers
believe these methods are efficient and suitable, however some residents have complained that this type of heating is simply to expensive for them. E.on runs a mini power station outside the ‘myatt’s field north oval quarter estate’, being installed as part of a redevelopment. The mini power station has simply been a burden to the residents. Uzoamaka Okafor is the chair of residents association and explained that the power station was causing extreme amounts of distress for the residents, especially for the less capable, such as the elderly. “It’s been riddled with issues, from intermittent hot water and heating, a number of outages, to concerns around high estimates bills, customer service and technical faults..."There are lots of residents that do not put their heating on at all; they go to bed early. I've bought one resident blankets, because she's so distressed about bills she doesn't want to put the heating on”. Smart meters had been placed in each home, but were incorrectly providing the wrong heating usage and increase bills unexpectedly. The bills of some residents were so high that they had to choose between warmth or food, two basic necessities.
In order to determine what went wrong, the report was constructed by Stuart Hodkinson who is part of the (University of Leeds) and Ruth London from the ‘Fuel poverty action’, they believe heat outages had happened on 48 separate occasions. Edward Connell, suffered from dementia and was elderly, he was struggling to cope with the cost of the bills, as they were too high. In October he died from a heart failure and to shock there was no food in his flat. E.on responded to Mr Connell’s death with "This is clearly a very sad case, but we have no insight into the wider circumstances of his death and the factors which may have led to it”. Jeremy Bungey, is head of the company's heat division, he sent a letter of apology to the residents but did claim that he had urged anyone with problems to contact them previously.
An estimated £320 million has been funded into encourage more heat networks to be built through the UK, as only 200,00 people are dependant on ‘district heating’. The department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, heat networks; "have the potential to reduce heating costs, in some cases by more than 30%". Many customers have claimed that there has been no price decrease and in fact a traditional boiler has been found to be cheaper. The government hopes that 18-20% of the population will be using these new heat networks by 2020.
The purpose of a general election is to provide freedom of choice to the public on what party they feel should run the country. It is important to register at your constituency to be qualified to take part in voting. Each person is allowed to vote for one MP, who represents their party and the overall party with the most votes has their party leader as prime minister undertaken by the Queen. There are a few essential requirements needed to be able to vote: a British citizen, over 18 and you need to be registered to vote. Certain qualifying commonwealth states such as Ireland are allowed to vote, if the person if over 18. If you are away from home/overseas during the general election, you are able to vote online, if you have registered to vote in the past 15 years. By going to the Electoral Commissioner's website ‘http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/our-work/who-we-are/the-commissioners’, you are able to check if you are registered to vote; if not feel free to register on the governmental website with a printable form attached.
The next general election has been called on 8th June by Theresa May the UK prime minister. It is believed she is holding the election to able to focus more on brexit negotiations, she is already fully aware that other parties such as: labour, SNP and the Lib Dem’s will take their shoot to delay the negotiations. Fortunately, she stands in high popularity, as votes from April show: the conservatives are leading by 43%, labour by 25%, Lib Dems with 10%, UKIP at 11% and the green party following on with 4%. However, in previous elections such as in 2015, the polls have proven to be incorrect, so take caution on predictions until the official result. Throughout her time as PM, she has successfully helped to reduce the forever growing deficit and backed plans for more grammar schools.
Normally, the next general election would have been hold in 2020, more precisely on the first Thursday in May, by the 2011 Fixed Term Parliaments Act. However over two-thirds of MP’s voted for another general election, 522 votes: 2 votes, which May has accepted. Jeremy Corbyn commented on May’s choice, ‘chance to vote for a government that will put the interests of the majority first’. Another term of reference is ‘snap election’ and the last time this happened was by Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1966 whose purpose was to increase Labour MP’s in parliament. Currently, the next election is now due for 2022, but this could change any time if ⅔ of MP’s chose otherwise. Campaigning for the election is most likely to start anytime soon as parliament will be breaking up on the 3rd May. It is expected that Labour’s manifesto will be released in the next two weeks, whereas Labour may be the second week in May. As of recently chancellor George Osborne will be leaving Westminster ‘for now’, followed by Labour’s Alan Johnson and 12 other various party members. At the moment the conservatives hold 330 seats in Parliament, Labour has 229, the SNP have 54 and the Liberal Democrats hold 9. As for now, the outcome of the election is far from certain, with Labour even announcing that if elected, they will introduce 4 new bank holidays into the public calendar.
SATs are tests undertaken by young pupils in primary school, as part of the national curriculum. As of recently, the national union of teachers have expressed a strong appeal on the detrimental effects these tests are having on pupils, who are only around eleven years of age. The idea of segregating children based on their ability is seen as simply unfair; due to the fact they are arguably still kids and are slowly grasping onto their own learning pathway. The tests have even been remarked as “the monster stalking our schools”, which emphasises how the tests act as a huge burden not only on the student but also the teacher, who is more than familiar with the effects it is having on their pupils. A recent conference at the National Union of Teachers supported a proposal to boycott sats, with a debate expected the following Monday.
A former teacher from Lancaster, Ms Collingwood, has had a first-hand experience on the effect these tests have had on her pupils with many even crying, due to an increase in hardness of the test which led to 47% on pupils failing. The emotional effect is simply unacceptable and high stress levels especially at such a young age can easily be linked to mental illnesses such as depression later on in life. She personally believed that the National Union of Teachers needed “to bring down the whole stinking edifice”, of the sats. Jessica Edwards, who believes sats need to be abolished, commented that; “sats in our schools is damaging to children and their education, damaging to the self-esteem and mental health and all the things that they need to succeed as they go through their education”. Further on she mentioned, “we all know that last year’s tests were the worst they ever had”… “They saw huge numbers of our children not ‘failing’ as they were labelled but being failed by the assessments that they undertook”.
The government has taken thought into scrapping sats but if any action is undertaken it won’t be until 2020, leaving the miserable burden on-going for over 3 years. The Department for Education believes that tests should not cause stress upon pupils but it is important that parents are aware if their children are leaving primary school with adequate scores in English and maths. To clarify the uncertainty a spokeswomen from the Department for Education addressed that; “We want a long-term, stable and proportionate system for primary assessment that measures the progress that children make throughout their time at primary school fairly and accurately, one that recognises teachers' professionalism in assessing their pupils and which does not impose a disproportionate burden”. She also commented, "We have worked with the teaching profession on how best to establish this and we are currently consulting on a number of proposals."
The National Union of Teacher’s secretary, Kevin Courtney claimed that teachers had marked the system as ‘broken’ and have only been waiting until the time it ended. "Primary education should be a time in children's lives when they develop a love of learning, not a fear and dread of failure. He then commented; "Drilling within a narrow set of disciplines and expectations is taking the joy out of learning and much of it is of questionable educational value”…"Children are being put under unnecessary stress and teachers' workload is heavily impacted upon”. Whilst it is important to consolidate a pupil’s knowledge through tests it is just as important the mental well-being of the child is not put under enormous amount of pressure especially at such a very young age.
On Thursday 30th March, the watchdog agency accidently leaked personal data of 3,000 MP’s staff and salaries. The independent parliamentary standards authority claimed that the data consisted of the names, working/holiday schedules of each staff affected and luckily more sensitive personal information such as: phone numbers, addresses and bank account details were kept safe and not leaked. The IPSA also said the “extremely sensitive” information of staff working for 650 of Parliaments MP’s, was only left on the old website for approximately four hours. Watchdog had announced that they took down the information within an hour of being alerted by Karl McCartney (conservative MP) and apologised just after an enquiry was launched, classing the incident as ‘serious’, as they are unsure how it occurred. They also established that they would not publish details of MP’s travel plans due to the incident that occurred at Westminster, the previous week. The death of PC Keith Palmer has encouraged police to strengthen their security, especially through preventing any threats of cyber-attacks. At the current moment it is unclear who was behind the leakage or if a group had worked together to obtain the data, but all will be revealed after the investigation.
Marcial Boo, who is the chief executive of watchdog, sent a personal email to each MP proclaiming that, “some documents were published in error”. Further on he elaborated that; “These should not have been made public as they contained confidential personal information about MP’s staff names, salaries, rewards, working patterns and holiday entitlements”. Also adding; “"We take information security very seriously and the safety and security of MPs and their staff is a priority. An investigation is currently underway and we have notified the Information Commissioner”…"We will be writing directly to all of those affected”. It is yet unclear whether the MP’s affected have forgiven the accident.
After the data had been released, certain MP’s believed it was “hugely embarrassing”, due to the fact certain employers were employing their wives and children, paying them for work which was not even undertaken. In fact, Francois Fillion who is the French presidential candidate was under investigations after allegedly paying his family thousands of euros for work which was simply not done. It is believed that approximately a ¼ of MP’s employ a “connected party”, robbing £3.6 million from taxpayers. Mr McCartney remarked that the perpetrator “really needs some IT training before their next job”, as for instance one MP was classified as ‘100% disabled’.
Record number of patients are facing longer waits than ever in A&E's as documents leaked recently show the full extent of the winter crisis in the NHS in England. Nearly 25% of patients arriving at A&E had to wait longer than 4 hours. To add on to this, a number of people faced long waits for a bed when A&E staff admitted them into hospital, with more than 18,000 trolley waits of four hours or more. Some 485 of them were longer than 12 hours. These figures are alarming to us, so what exactly can be done to tackle this issue?
Well, the department of education recently have proposed a 25% increase in junior medical student to help more homegrown doctors work in the department. However, the NHS is short on money, so the wages issue must be tackled also. Furthermore, the NHS have offered paramedics a £10,000 bonus to tackle the 999 crisis, keeping ambulances arriving on time to the patients in need of assistance.
Much criticism has been targeted at the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, whose tax budget has helped build up Brexit reserves, and not tackle the NHS crisis. With many doctors urgently calling for additional funding to aid them, the government is struggling to cope with the demands. With junior doctor salaries at their lowest ever, students are drifting away from choosing medicine.
There has also been many people campaigning about the treatment of nurses and staff within hospitals, with the average hours worked in a day increased in the last 4 years. People believed the overworked nurses are more likely to perform mistakes and are not being paid enough for what they do. The hospitals and surgeries are having problems with staffing, with increased pressure and demand on services from an ageing population.
The NHS in West Yorkshire is proposing to reduce its projected £800m deficit by cutting enough hospital beds to fill five wards. Eight billion pounds was pledged in the Conservative 2015 election manifesto and in 2014, George Osborne agreed a further £2bn for frontline services, however campaigners say this is not enough to keep the NHS afloat.
To conclude, the huge financial pressure and problems faced with overspending have left the NHS in no good state, and with the government struggling to cope with the financial issues, doctors may start to stop doing what they do best: save lives.
On Wednesday 22nd March, Khalid Masood accelerated his car on Westminster Bridge running civilians over, leaving them with life threatening conditions in hospital; Aysha Frade and Leslie Rhodes both died, alongside a 75 year old man. The car headed towards the direction of parliament, eventually crashing into the gates and being ditched there. Masood, then escaped from the car and headed towards parliament, armed with a knife, he was stopped by police, one of which was PC Keith Palmer. Mr Palmer was not armed but did have a protective layer of clothing, despite this he was still stabbed and later died from the injuries he suffered. Team GB’s boxing coach and MP Tobias Ellwood, leaped over to provide aid in an attempt to save Palmer, Mr Ellwood even attempted to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, with hopes of his survival.
Khalid Masood, was 52 years old born in Kent, it is believed that he moved to the West Midlands. Masood’s birth name was ‘Adrian Russell Elms’ however later changed to his current, as he converted to Islam. Previously, he had been under surveillance by security forces for offences such as carrying a knife, however none of those were terror related, leaving no suspicion of such a crime he would commit. In order to commit the attack, he rented a car, leaving his occupation as ‘teacher’, even though the department of education had no records showing that he was a teacher in England, but he did teach English as a second language in Saudi Arabia.
PC Keith Palmer was 48 years old at the time of his death, providing the country with 15 years of service and married with a five year old daughter. Aysha Frade, 43 years old with 2 young daughters, was an administrator at DLD College in London, who was killed as the car hit her just before it crashed into parliament. Kurt Cochran was a tourist from Utah, who came to London to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary with his wife Melissa, who survived the attack but was seriously injured. The final victim was a 75 year old pensioner Leslie Rhodes, he had previously been recovering from a medical treatment, but the attack worsened the situation and eventually his life support was turned off just a day after the tragic event. The attack left 50 people from 12 different countries injured, with 31 of them requiring hospital treatment. Three police officers were also injured as they were walking back from a commendation ceremony across the bridge. A Romanian tourist, who has been named by the Romanian embassy as ‘Andreea Cristea’ had fell of the bridge, as a result of the attack being severely injured.
“Severe”, has been used to describe the UK terror level, which could mean that the chance of another attack is high, therefore Londoners are too remain cautious and report any suspicious sightings. The disaster that occurred on Wednesday is being dealt with by, “near double strength”; of the police force said by Mr Rowley and additionally “up to a third” more of armed officers are on duty around the UK. Rowley added, "Our current arrangements have been developed with Parliament over many years and are designed to provide access to the seat of our government, balanced carefully with security that is proportionate but not overly intrusive” Also mentioning, “Of course, after an incident like this, as would be expected, my team will work with parliamentary authorities to assess whether a different tone or balance is necessary”.
This week the former chancellor Phillip Hammond; has unleashed plans to provide a transportation service for up to 15 miles for new pupils on free school meals, who attend a grammar school. This scheme would cost up to £5,000 a year per pupil, with extremely high costs, come cuts and as of last year disadvantaged/disabled pupils were deprived with a lower budget. The aim of this scheme is to eliminate the social barrier portrayed by selective education, hence why the government is willing to invest £5 million a year as funding into the transportation costs. Approximately 1,000 to 1,500 pupils are expected to benefit from this funding and transports costs in parliament are expected to rise to £20 million. Hammond commented on his reasons for suggesting this scheme; ““We recognize that for many parents the cost of travel can be a barrier to exercising that choice”. In order to enhance the support of his argument he mentioned, ““Pupils typically travel three times as far to attend selective schools, so we will extend free school transport to include all children on free school meals who attend a selective school because we are resolved that talent alone should determine the opportunities a child enjoys”. However, labour believe that Hammond has not taken into account that support for disadvantaged students provided to local councils has been slashed by £7 million a year. In fact an ombudsman reported a 63% of referrals were based on serious cases that involved in transportation to school, as 261 complaints were made, prior to the year before only being 160 complaints.
There have been many incidents of transportation inconveniences which have been shared publicly. One situation involved a mother whose middle daughter was the only one to receive transportation support from the local council and annoying funding for the other daughters were denied. Another situation consisted of a student with autism, losing his transport funding, resulting him having to walk dangerous and long distances just to travel to school. Angela Rayner, Labor's shadow education secretary out spoke that, ““The local school bus is now being replaced by the grammar school Uber. But when they are breaking their promise to protect school funding and heads are facing the worst cuts in a generation, it’s unbelievable that they think ‘cash for cabs’ is a good use of money”. Rayner also believes that many other pupils who are not disadvantaged are still faced with the same problem; “While we’re paying taxes for taxis, disabled teenagers are being left to fend for themselves and other kids are forced to change school for lack of transport”. “If this idea is the best that [education secretary] Justine Greening can come up with then she’s the one who should be getting a taxi for one”. Furthermore, a former spokesperson from ‘the department of education’ claimed, “Thousands of pupils on free school meals and other children from low income families will benefit from this new measure, removing the barrier that high transport costs can present. We will be working with selective schools and local authorities to provide this free transport, building on the service local authorities already provide to low income families attending other schools. Free school transport for pupils from low-income families has stayed in line with the numbers entitled to the service”. Overall this scheme seems fairly efficient but the fact cuts have been made from major sectors may be worrying to many low income and disadvantaged students.
Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary will be making a trip to Russia, to meet Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister. Johnson believes that “You've got to beware of what they are up to”, the prime minister has also reinforced that the meeting will not be based around “business as usual” and more on an “engage but beware” principle. Johnson also added, “we don’t want to get into a new Cold War. That’s something London and Washington are completely at one on”. Even though these comments may seem rather controversial, they are extremely important issues which need to be resolved such as dealing with the crisis in Syria and Ukraine, unfortunately, they both share different views on each issue, so negotiating may be harder than expected. An FCO spokesman said, “Discussions will focus on the UK-Russia relationship and current international issues including Syria and Ukraine, where we continue to have significant differences”, then continuing on to say, “The foreign secretary will continue to be robust on these issues where we differ”. It is further to confirmed when the two will meet; “Details of precise timings will be confirmed in due course. A potential visit has been in the pipeline for some time, with the Prime Minister and President Putin discussing this when they met in China in September 2016”.
Johnson will be the first minister to visit Moscow on an official visit since 5 years ago. However, just 5 months ago he was accused of “Russophobic hysteria”, due to the calling of protests outside the Russian embassy because of the Aleppo bombing. Even so, Johnson said there is “no case for relaxation”, as he believes that the EU needs to be responsible and take more care over Russia’s actions. Putin himself is currently under question as the UK makes careful moves, after the accusations based on the hacking of the US presidential election. Michael Flynn, who is the US national security advisor resigned due to allegations of leaking information to the Russian ambassador, supposedly then covering up the conversations, between the two. Furthermore, documents from the CIA showed that Russian operatives did, in fact, interfere in the US elections, which then questions whether Russia intervened in the EU referendum vote, even more, so tensions are rising on whether the outcome of the next German and French elections will be legitimate. Overall, there is an uncertain relationship, between Russia and UK, due to trust issues, at the moment, however, the meeting with Johnson is hoped to change this perspective.
It is said that 1 in every 30 £1 coins are counterfeit and fake. As of March 28th 2017 after 30 years of the first £1 coins, The Bank of England will be introducing the new £1 coin. You may have already seen the new £5 note and to step up the security the £1 comes into play. It is a 12 sided also known as a: Dodecahedron, and around 1.5 billion coins are being produced by the Royal Mint. It has been said that security levels have been raised with the new £1 coin. This will help business and tax payers to reduce the costs.
Looking at the comparison the New £1 coin is more lighter than the old rounded coin. It is also larger and thinner.
When looking at the coin the appearance or the design has been changed
A new design of the English Rose, Scottish Thistle, Welsh Leek and the Northern Ireland Shamrock have been included.
As of 28th March till the 15th October 2017 there will be a co-circulation period. This period is where both the old and the new £1 will be used. After the 16th of October there is a demonstration period where all the new £1 coins will be in full circulation and in use. The old £1 will not be in use.
Over 10,000 protestors have taken to the streets, down central London and outside Parliament, with the purpose of demonstrating against the attacks directed towards the NHS (National Health Service). The government especially is facing a vast amount of criticism after cuts; closures and privatisation of hospitals have worsened the health care throughout the country. The protestors claimed their outrage in the NHS was due to, “yet more austerity”, perhaps because cuts to the healthcare are a great risk, being one of the most important branches of public service. ‘#OurNHS’ was a common sighting, with worry that 2/3 hospital services in England being cut back, which would indeed concern the great public. The March started around Tavistock Square, then ended in Westminster, accompanying over 250,000 people, which illustrates the scale of the problem and the grand effects it has on people lives. Posters filled the air, with messages that included, ‘Keep your dirty hands of our hospital jobs’ and ‘cut the bone’, it does not seem as though the government is fulfilling her vision for the country, which was, “Together we will build a better Britain”. Many of the Union leaders remarked that the NHS services “are on their knees”, with a limit to economic support, there is only room for little social improvement. The March is being classified as one of the biggest NHS demonstrations to date, reflecting upon the severity of the situation.
The labour leader party, Jeremy Corbyn, showed up to heroically challenge the government and back supporters by claiming, “Don’t let them tell you there’s no money for the NHS. There’s no excuse for it… the money is there if you collect the taxes properly to fund it and pay for it”. Here, Corbyn has clamped his foot down and spoke the truth for the majority, which ultimately questions which service the government is prioritising their spending on. However, the ‘sustainability transformation plans’ (SMP), were set up by the government across England in order improve the NHS but have just resulted in “privatisation” and “cuts”, having the complete opposite effect. Further speakers included Bernie Saunder’s brother, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey and Coronation street star, Julie Hesmondhalgh. Len McCluskey asserted that “I am marching because I am furious. Tories destroying the greatest gift the people of this country have created”. The Deputy Chairmen for the British medical association council, Dr David Wrigley proclaimed, “a cry for help for anyone who uses the NHS”, “in such a desperate situation”. “We need to highlight it. As a doctor, I see day to day the serious pressures in the NHS due to the funding cuts from the government”.
Amongst the demonstrators was Felix Ramos, an individual who stood beside a coffin whilst on the march, he proclaimed a very valid point that “Many people are not going to get the help they need. If you do not have health, there is no life”. He correctly elaborated that, “Privatisation does not work for life. It is not going to care for the vulnerable but it might care for people who can afford special treatment. It is not for the majority”. In 2015, the department for work and pensions said 5 million people are on benefits with such a high majority, the government is not doing the country a favour through privatisation. The department of health spoke about a future investment of £4 billion into the NHS, but who would this really benefit, only those who can afford the cost. The protest is hoped to have opened the government eyes on the real situation of the NHS, before the budget next week.
In 1983, Parliament assembled Copeland, a constituency located in the House of Commons. Recently the conservatives have managed to take over labours long reign of over 80 years; Theresa May claimed that her reason for success was due to her style of government “working for everyone”. Even though the win in Copeland may have demotivated labour members it for sure kept Jeremy Corbyn going, as he made a separate win in a by-election at Stoke Central; however certain members of the labour party have urged Corbyn to reconsider his position, due to the loss.
Despite the odds being heavily against her, MP Trudy Harrison managed to bag the seat which labour had, ever since the 1930’s. May, also commented on Ms Harrison by saying, “such a fantastic candidate”… “Actually rolls up her sleeves and gets things done”. Here Harrison is being described as a very productive and motivated MP and with such a high vote share of 44.3%, it seems as though the public believed this just as much as May did. Following on, labour raked in 37.3% on the vote, with Gillian Troughton as their leader, the Lib Dems gained 7.2% of the vote with Rebecca Hanson, and Fiona Mils running for UKIP had 6.5% of the vote, followed by other parties making up 4.7% of the results. It was said that the Copeland result was the best by-election result since January 1966, commented on Strathcycle University professor, John Curtice.
May believes that the win was down to her critical thinking and the strong relationship the conservatives have built with the public, especially the working class. “They want a party which is on the side of ordinary working people, which will respect the way we voted in the referendum and which will build a country which represents everyone”. “That’s why they voted for me tonight”. Despite the loss, Corbyn responded by declaring a lack of labour campaigns, was the fault in Copeland, “message was not enough to through in Copeland”. He sees the win stoke general as being “decisive rejection of UKIP’s politics of division and dishonesty”. Corbyn seems to have learnt from the loss in Copeland, as he remarked that, “Labour will go further to reconnect with voters and break with the failed political census”.
It is clear that if no improvements are made it will leave a weak backbone for labour’s support, which could lead to a loss in votes at the next general election, mentioned by labour MP John Woodcock; “historic and catastrophic defeat”. The low moral throughout the labour party is not acting in anyone’s favour; more is needed to be done to increase their support. During the Stoke election, UKIP had believed they were in a major advantage, as in June the area was filled with mainly leave voters in relation to Brexit.
In Stoke-on-Trent the winner Gareth Snell, commented upon the voters, claiming they had, “Chosen the politics of hope over the politics of fear”. Further on, said; “the city will not allow ourselves to be defined by last year’s referendum and we will not allow ourselves to be divided by the result”. Nevertheless, UKIP candidate Paul Nuttal, who said “his time would come”, had come only second, with 24.7% of the vote leaving of a close result with conservative candidate, Jack Brereton, with 24.4%of the vote. This was followed by Zulfiqar Ali, representing the liberal democrats gaining 9.8% and other parties made up 4.1% of the vote. In contrast to 2015, labour managed to consolidate 39.3% of the vote, rather than their 37%. Even though they were defeated UKIP seem to stand tall, commenting that “There’s a lot more to come from us”, “I am not going anywhere”. Now that the conservatives have gained the Copeland seat, the defeat in Richmond is no longer a burden.
The fact Corbyn has lost the Copeland seat may show that there is a lack of trust towards him and the Labour party. Not to mention, that left wing MP’s are remarking that his character and actions have let him down.
Drug tests are the most important stage in the development of a drug; determining the safety and effects of a particular medicine, which is waiting to be prescribed to patients with potential life threatening diseases. It is morally, deemed ethical to drug test on willing volunteers, rather than unaware animals, but due to Brexit 600,000 clinical trials on patients, may no longer be available. The simple fact is it’s cheaper and also easier to follow one set of European regulations, in order to drug test throughout the whole of Europe. In this case, leaving the European union has left us in an unstable position of medical deficiency.
Beth Thompson, is a senior policy advisor, who suggested that our lack of luck regarding the new
EU regulations which will be missing out on, will cause patients with life threatening illnesses to miss out on new treatment opportunities. The regulations for clinical trials is hoped to streamline throughout all the 28 countries within the European Union, allowing each country to have the same application process, making trails easier and more efficient. Therefore, unless the UK improves its system of clinical trials, to mirror the strategy implemented in the EU, decline in clinical trials may occur. Ms Thompson continued to say; “The risk is definitely there that when the UK leaves the EU, and with it leaves that harmonised framework, that I will reduce the number of trails that happen in the UK”. It is uncertain if the EU will come to some sort agreement with the UK, as a bad image has already spawned, through the separation in unity.
Cancer is a rapidly developing disease with over 100 types of different cancers, special medication needs to be analytically focused upon to fight each separate cancer type and effectively help to destroy each cell, to prevent mutations. However, if clinical trials slow down then there will be a longer waiting period for new medications to be patented with time being invaluable, especially as cells can multiply at a rapid rate, ultimately reducing the survival rate for all diseases.
It seems as though the EU will rise in terms of medical advancements, countries like the US and Japan, with fall on the same plate as the UK. Jeremy Hunt, the former health secretary commented we could be at “the back of the queue”, regarding the two countries previously mentioned. Disease’s which are more common in the UK, in contrast to other countries, will sacrifice their willing patients who could volunteer more easily to undergo trials. Clinical trials, have benefited those with uncommon diseases, who can be tested upon, develop new medicines and stop the disease before it becomes a common threat and most importantly save lives. The head of the UK medical regulatory body of the mhra, Ian Hudson, mentioned, “as part of exit negotiations we will discuss with the European union and Member states how best to continue cooperation in the field of medical trials”.
For research to be undergone, it is accompanied by lengthy planning which is important in order to make sure the drug is safe, for further tests to be undergone, especially on human volunteers. The head of the cancer research, Paul Workman, highlighted; “Any regulatory barriers to working collaboratively with colleagues in the EU would limit our opportunities to take part in and lead these trails, which would have an impact on both research and patients”. Also, “The outcome of Brexit negotiations must ensure the UK remains competitive in a very tough environment”. The likelihood of this happening is particularly slim, as the EU has an economic edge, allowing them to stay away from making further negotiations with the UK; however times like these with portray the EU’s moral stance.
China is a significant contributor to the global market and unfortunately alongside, high emissions of greenhouse gases have been contributed on a global scale; which plays a vital role in causing global warming, this can ultimately present the severity of the country's environmental actions. Global warming can simply be conveyed through climate changes such as; unexpected precipitation levels, sea level rises, extreme weather occurrences, and also temperature fluctuations. Sea level rise can be caused by melting ice caps, similarly seen in Antarctica, when a hole in the ozone layer was discovered in May 1985, alike, China’s sea levels which have already started rising. When temperature’s escalate, the earth warms up melting the rocks, which form the earth, essentially slowly dissolving the earth away, not to mention an increased rate in evaporation which would cause increased precipitation.
In China’s case smog has been an extreme issue in public health, with masks been worn to protect people from breathing in dangerous chemicals to avoid the forever increasing risk of asthma and respiratory illnesses. This type of pollution is often referred to as ‘particulate matter’, forever increasing in China, perhaps caused by china's cities exceeding the legal air quality limit. Nevertheless, China is a superior trader and exporter of goods and the fact that the economic stronghold of the country can be intervened by the environment, is fascinating to investigate what will become of China in the future. An increase of 2% in annual rainfall, in northern, southern and northwest rainfall/snowfall have decreased, leaving the risk of droughts; however in the west precipitation has been on the rise, this could potentially reach 5% in annual rainfall. Annual temperature may rise by 0.23 degrees and even rise higher than the global average.
The “third national climate change assessment report”, was put together by 550 experts and scientists, establishing China’s current environmental stance. It is believed that; “overall climate change may further intensify the occurrence of floods and droughts”. This will cause a decline in crop production, which will have numerous effects on China’s economy, through the loss of jobs, higher produce prices and a decrease in the value of land. Eventually, leaving people in poverty and lacking essential necessities such as water and food. The lack of goods will deprive foreign markets and damage China’s trading industry. In the northeast of China, warmer weather will become common, extending the growing season; but leaving the burden of more: pesticides and pests. The report responds by claiming, “This will pose even more severe challenges for management of water resources”.
As mentioned previously, sea level rise is a major issue globally, but China is starting to stand out for the wrong reasons. With an increase of 2.9 millimeters a year of seawater, the country is exceeding the global average, leaving China’s coasts at risk. In order to protect the coastline, more money will need to be invested into development plans and coastal defences, depriving the economy of money which could have been placed on trade deals, in order to further enhance China’s future reputation as a superpower. In a space of 30 years, East China sea could near double from a shocking 7.5 cm to 14.5 cm. When 1 cm of sea rises, the coastline will be reversed backwards by nearly 10 meters. Sea level rise, will especially affect China’s fishing industry, which produces the highest figure in the world of 17.4% of seafood caught, accounting to an incredible 13.9 million tonnes. Having a significant effect on the economy China will be exposed to other competitors in the sea industry, on a global scale, not to mention face a loss of jobs and food for the country, as fish prices will increase, due to the increasing difficulty of the job.
However China has started to take action against global warming, by implementing new policies to prevent the severity of effects it could have on the country. Carbon trading is a new policy being implemented in order to reduce carbon emissions and reduce the burning of fossil fuels, especially for the use of electricity. By introducing incentives for buying hybrids, China hopes to reduce the smog and pollution faced on the roads, by reducing CO2 emissions and pulling high polluting cars of the road. Also, stricter regulations will be put forward to clamp down on the industrial burning of coal, providing cleaner air in the sky. Even though nuclear energy is not exactly, ‘renewable’, it produces the lowest amount of carbon for electricity, as a result the country's plans to build 60 nuclear power plants in the next decade. Slowly, the country will improve their environmental position and hopefully one day set an example on a global scale, to be an environmentally friendly country.
David Davis, who is the former Brexit secretary, produced alongside the government, the ‘white paper’, which is a document outlining the 12 main criteria for Brexit. Consisting of 75 pages, it shows how we will be leaving the single market, the European court of Justice and the customs union, also outlining how insignificant immigration change will be. Davis, commented by illustrating, “best days are still to come”, for the UK, whilst labour believe the document “says nothing” and lacks value as the votes have already been counted, whether or not Britain change their mind.
Plans for immigration, are yet to be justified, as the document entails that; "implementing any new immigration arrangements for EU nationals and the support they receive will be complex and Parliament will have an important role in considering these matters further”. Furthermore, a system needs to be devised to show what will happen to current EU nationals living in the UK. Businesses will play an essential part in the UK economy, being carefully prioritised to make sure, skilled workers are welcomed into the jobs sector. "This would give businesses and individuals enough time to plan and prepare for those new arrangements”. Such arrangements may involve, limiting international trade or cutting back on expenses. The government will be tackling a social issue regarding how vastly immigration will be controlled, on whether to economically satisfy business and the economy or prioritise the people, delivering on their expectancy of adequate action. Therefore, it has been confirmed that it will take several years until we see any effects on immigration patterns. On the other hand, the government is slowly piecing together a plan, focusing on foreign students, as tuition fees accumulate a fair amount of revenue for the country.
A major selling point for Brexit was saving the expense of £350 million on the cost of remaining in the EU, which was thought to have transitioned into helping the NHS. As a result, it seems as though “appropriate contributions”, will still be funded to Brussels, Europol, scientific and research departments and the European security arrangements. Europol correlates alongside the European arrest warrant, which generates a problem for May, due to the fact many MP’s despise of it. All in all this results in payments continuing to be sent to the EU, until further notice. Not to mention exiting the EU may cost us up to £51.5 billion, it seems as though we’ve let down the National Health Service.
Ever since 1923, there has been a common travel area (cta) between Ireland and Britain. However, an unresolved issue on the borders of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland remains, leaving the customs Union does not help resolve the problem anymore. The white paper lacks purpose to suggest what will happen, being unprepared, a suggestion of moving the UK border to the Irish Sea seems to be too controversial. “When the UK leaves the EU we aim to have as seamless and frictionless a border as possible between Northern Ireland and Ireland”, not convincing or reassuring to many residences.
Leaving the single market, seems far from close, as: trade, security and custom arrangements all seem to remain the same in the white papers; "may take in elements of current Single Market arrangements in certain areas as it makes no sense to start again from scratch when the UK and the remaining Member States have adhered to the same rules for so many years”. This clearly displays the fact little progress is being made to thoroughly shift ourselves away from the EU, displaying signs that Britain may not be as much of an independent country as it thought to be. Even our trade schedules, which are trade relationships, have just been in the EU and are continuing that way.
For years, a social divide has been illustrated through the affordability of tuition fees in the UK. The education of an individual acts as a backbone for their employability and the invaluable knowledge possessed. Traditionally, university was directed towards middle and upper class students, who could afford the price of a degree, in order to keep the family title consistent through the generations. However, lower class students, commonly avoided university, enrolling straight into labourers jobs, to maintain a sustainable living standard for their household.
The permutation in the education system, has allowed a wider audience of students from any background and social class, to attend university. In fact, students whose parents did not attend university or endure benefits from the government are entitled to privileges, such as lower entrance requirements or grants. Furthermore, employers are seeking out high achievers from state schools and offering school leavers programmes, which offer a fully paid degree at a top university and permanent job afterwards.
Nevertheless, you may be wondering where it leaves everyone else. Perhaps left in debt, as tuition fees are expected to rise to a staggering £9,250 a year, even though agreements had enclosed that £9,000 a year would be the capped amount, it seems to have still been suppressed. Jo Johnson, the university minister, has supported the inflation in prices, through the hope of better quality teaching, amongst many students views this is a questionable proposition. A poll conducted by ‘isidewith’, concluded that overall 59% of people favoured scraping university tuition fees and 41% surprisingly, feel they should remain the same. The 59% believe that those from low income families should pay a reduced rate, especially if they are the first in the family to attend university. Arguably, the remaining 41% do have a fair stance, as university costs go up in accordance to a higher numbers of students each year, which correlates to a sustainably high number of resources needed.
Even though fees are seen to be a downfall, students are not required to pay any money back until they are earning over £21,000 a year, which provides students extra time to become more financially stable, before any money is taken as a repayment from their loan. Additionally, universities will have to present informative feedback on what improvements have been put forward from an increase in tuition fee. This can convey a positive side effect for employability, as this may increase due to universities challenging their rates, against other institutions, to show which one will provide the best outcome for students.
Whilst the UK struggles to control tuition fees, many other countries throughout Europe such as: Germany, Denmark, Iceland and Norway are free, with the acceptation of a small administrative fee. This leaves the UK to question, what holds them back from completely eradicating tuition fees and perhaps to cut expense on other areas of the government, such as foreign aid or military spending, if necessary.
Alternatively, apprenticeship schemes have been on the rise by 63.5%, with students discovering the benefits of earning a salary and learning at the same time. Certain youngsters may see this as an opportunity to avoid the debt of university and instead suppress themselves to a different type of education. This ironically presents the recycle of labourer’s jobs, which had similarly been the case for those who could not afford the cost of attending university in previous decades.
Located within Northern India, around the Himalayan Mountains, lies the fairly populated state of Jammu and Kashmir. Housing over 12 million people, throughout the vast landscape, it stretches to 222 Km (2) and borders the surrounding states; Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, projecting south of the region. Conjointly, there are additional provinces within the state, in which Pakistan has conquered 70 years prior to the partition of India, compiling of: Baltistan, Skarduh and Gilgit. Consequently, China acquired various other regions within the state; nevertheless Jammu and Kashmir remain the largest and most agriculturally matured, in-comparison to other regions within the Indian sub-continent.
Alike other countries, each state consists of an elected official, also known as a chief minister, who ran the country. In Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed was the chosen representative, who has been serving since 4th April 2016. The dominant religion throughout was Islam, many believed it was stupendous to be part of Pakistan, whilst others also preferred the independence of inhabiting a separate state.
Formerly, the state had been run by a (Hindu) Maharajah (Harry Singh), who signed fair agreements to be independent but peaceful with India and Pakistan, India were happy with this, whereas Pakistan were less accepting and preferred Jammu and Kashmir to be under the control of Pakistan. Agreeing with the Maharajah was Sheikh Abdullah, who believed uniting with India was the best option. As a result, Pakistan endeavoured and trifled a plan to rule Jammu and Kashmir through the mobilization of military force. In order to protect the state and community, the Maharajah fled to India, pleading for help from Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The damage done by Pakistan was extensive, hundred’s had been killed and buildings were left wrecked. After careful consideration, Nehru sent Indian troops into Kashmir Valley, after an agreement that the state would not be part of India. Although Pakistan managed to prevail a fair proportion of the state, it was insignificant compared to the whole of Jammu and Kashmir. After resenting the continuation of conflict, India reached support from the United Nations and Pakistan was told to withdraw their troops. Due to conflicting interests, the UN inquired whether or not the people of Jammu and Kashmir wanted to be part of India, as part of their rights. To follow through, a system was brought about consisting of referendum or plebiscite, everyone in the state was entitled, but since Pakistan failed to leave, plebiscite was not an option. Superpowers such as the US and Britain remained passive towards the conflict, moronically labelling the state, ‘Disputed Territory’ and leaving the problem alone with India and Pakistan.
The imbalanced uncertainty of Pakistan continuing the conflict is still present, even though by law, Jammu and Kashmir is annexed to India. The land Pakistan currently occupies within the state provides no democratic rights or freedom to the citizens under control, with the on-going risk of persecution and death. Terrorism has risen within the Kashmir Valley, as leaders of extremist groups are demanding a reunion with Pakistan, which is against Indian law, causing imprisonment. Furthermore, in order to protect the local area, soldiers have been placed around the premises; however terrorists have even killed them in spite of anger, causing a blood bath in the valley.
A startling proposition coincided with Trump’s recommendation insisting, Nigel Farage as Britain’s, US ambassador, following through to Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy (prime minister's joint chief of state), travelling to New York and Washington in December, with a desideratum of meeting Trump’s advisers. 10 Downing Street, instated a confirmation that May will be meeting Trump during the spring, through a spokesman commenting by conjecturing, “This was part of a process leading towards the PM’s first visit with President-elect Trump next year”. Subsequent to further negotiations No 10 proclaimed, “During the second phone call with President-elect Trump, the prime minister suggested it would be a good idea for key staff from both teams to meet. “President-elect Trump agreed this will be useful. We are pleased to have been able to make that happen and the Prime minister looks forward to visiting the new president in the spring”. It seems as though Mr Farage has been evicted out of the picture, this is supposedly due to the fact May had been forbidden by ministers, from using Farage as a middle man to her advantage for the sole purpose of improving relations. Downing Street cemented this claim by stating that the government is already prepared and has “well established” connections with the United States. Nevertheless, Trump did affirm that “Many people would like to see Nigel Farage represent Great Britain as their ambassador to the United States. He would do a great job!” In response to this comment Nigel acknowledged how he was “very flattered”, by Trump’s compelling feedback.
In Interest to espouse the current ambassador, Mr Kim, Downing Street liberated a statement, promulgating “you have an ambassador who only took up his post earlier this year. He is doing a great job”. Without hesitation Mr Kim kept lights away and met with Ms May to consolidate that his job was indeed safe with him, having no intentions of replacing him with Farage. Mr Kim wrote to the Washington Post that, “Brexit and the election of president-elect Trump captured the mood and will of the electorate. Now is the time move forward together and embrace the opportunities ahead”. Later on addressing Brexit and president-elect Trump both being “fundamentally different issues”, being reinforced from the expression by voters.
A tenacious consanguinity is anticipated to be fabricated between Trump and May, as number 10 said, “They will work together closely, building on a legacy of previous leaders such as President Reagan and Margaret Thatcher”. Similar relations were hoped by Mr Kim, who said Britain and the United states would clasp “ever more closely on trade and security”, to justify the fact, Britain “remains America’s closest partner on defense”. In addition he quoted, “There is much the United States and Britain should, and will, tackle together as they have for 200 years. For decades, our partnership has been the cornerstone of the world order. So we, as an alliance, will continue to be strong”.
Withal, Farage has confirmed that he will be attending Trump’s inauguration later this month, claiming that “he can’t wait” to attend, unsurprising, as they have been close acquaintance’s with the most important time for Trump arriving, the marking of his presidency on the 20th January.
Chilling footage emerged on Sunday night featuring Shai Masot, a senior political officer in the Israeli Embassy and officer in the Israel defence force, who was filmed saying “can I give you some names of MP’s that I would suggest you take down?” The scene took place at a London restaurant and alongside him was Maria Strizzolo, who acts as an aide to the education minister and Robert Halfon, a former political director of the conservative friends of Israel. An alleged victim was reported to have been Sir Alan Duncan, who had close ties with the Palestine state, working as the foreign office minister. Previously Duncan has criticised Israel and was viewed as a wider problem than his boss Boris Johnson, remarked as “basically good” also “idiot without any kind of responsibilities”. As of recently, Duncan has declined to comment on the current circumstances of the situation.
Almost immediately, an apology was made by Mark Regev, the former Israeli ambassador, expressing his views towards Duncan regarding the situation, “the embassy considered the remarks completely unacceptable” and is currently in the process of passing Masot off as a junior staffer. During the conversation Masot revealed numerous details about his biography, which suggest he played an important role within the Embassy and was a well experienced politician. “About me: Interested in international relations and politics, working in the field for the last ten years and intend to continue developing in that section [in] the future. I am spontaneous, philosophical, open views and appreciate good people and aim to do good to the world. Philosophy: we all do better when we work together. Our differences do matter, but our common humanity matters more. Books: Niccolo Machiavelli is my god”. In context Masot, seems like a down to earth and well evoked man, but behind the scenes a questionable persona seems to revoke people's mind on what his real intentions are, especially with the state of Israel.
In Conjunction with Duncan, Crispin Blunt, chair of the commons foreign affairs select committee was also mentioned by Masot. Blunt responded with, “Whilst this apparent activity of a diplomat of a foreign state in the politics of the United Kingdom is formally outrageous and deserving of investigation, the real questions should be for the state of Israel itself. Israel’s future peace and security is not being served by ignoring the substantial peace lobby in both Israel and the world wide Jewish community and working to undermine those foreign politicians who share that perceptive”.
In a historical context, there have been on-going conflicts between Israel and Palestine, over the occupation of Gaza, it is thought that Palestine has a more fair right to the land, but this issue remains controversial to this day. As previously mentioned, Shai Masot (Israeli), versed his hatred towards MP’s who were Palestine supporters, showing the effects of the conflict, even in the UK.
The Scottish National Party believes Shai should be immediately removed from the Israeli Embassy regarding his comment to “take down”, the senior government minister. SNP’s foreign affairs spokesman Alex Salmond responded with, “It is completely unacceptable for the UK government to declare the matter closed- Shai Masot must go and go immediately before the end of his tenure at the Israeli Embassy”.
Condescendingly, critics have penalised there attention towards Boris Johnson and believe alongside the government, he is also not doing enough in his power to foresee this investigation. “Boris Johnson must right now revoke Mr Masot’s diplomatic status and remove him from the country as would most certainly have happened had the circumstances been reversed. Perhaps then the Israeli Government representatives will regard the foreign secretary as less of a fool”. It was later remarked, “I would expect the UK government to fully investigate this matter so that we can be confident our elected officials are free to carry out their jobs to the best of their ability and without fear of having their reputation smeared by Embassy Officials who do not agree with their views”.
Ever-since the war in Syria took place, over 400,000 lives have been lost. To put that into perspective, it is roughly the whole population of Miami, startling and breath-taking figures, which need to be acknowledged and concentrated on by the whole world. Since 2011 over 3 million civilians fled Syria, with a prospects of living in the EU, 1 million went to Lebanon, 1 million went to Turkey and over ¼ have settled as refugees in UN camps. The UN camps have significantly help shelter and feed the victims with nothing other than hope.
In the Summer of 2015; over 600,000 migrants entered Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Situated within where special holding centre's for migrants, which were especially full in Sicily, Italy and Lesbos. Due to the overfilled areas, a more familiar term started arising known as ‘squatter settlements’ which rose near border points in central/western Europe. Hence why aid is essential for the refugees survival and hope of having a better life in a safer country. Migrants had also come from: Iraq, Afghanistan, Northern Sub Saharan Africa, in order to escape issues such as: conflict, persecution, poverty, hoping to escape to richer countries. Due to the mass amounts of people, there was difficulty in the European governments to provide funding and ending up being controversially blamed for human smuggling and trafficking of migrants, as there was thought to be a lack of transportation options provided. In the Mediterranean; there were many news reports, which turned into famous photos, of the struggles migrants were facing: overcrowded boats, smuggling and even the horrific conditions leading to drowning of passengers. Due to the media and people's views on the crisis, the governments were urged and in fact pressured to take action on this matter, to help save as many lives as possible.
A more desirable location, unsurprisingly, was the UK. This was a population destination as the english language is easily widely spoken throughout the world and this would help to reinforce employment. At Calais; there were over 3,000 migrants, with 100s illegally entering in trucks, containers, causing disruptions in: the Eurotunnel and Ferry services. As a result there was a political tension caused between the UK and France, due to the fact France wanted the UK to take more of the migrants, taking pressure of their shoulder. The EU commissioner, introduced a quota system, allowing each state to equally take in a certain amount of migrants, making it fairer for places such as France.
Should the UK abolish the human rights act ? A recent survey has proven that ‘no’ was the popular majority answer with 76% (1,064,458) agreeing and ‘yes’ was a simmered 24% (337,010) people. The majority of those who choose yes agreed that it should be replaced with the Bill of rights. Whereas those who said no did also agree that criminals need to lose many of their rights as a punishment. Nevertheless the conservatives plan, disregarding the majority of the view, has in fact succeeded. Plans will shortly commence, as the justice secretary has confirmed that the Human Rights Act will change to the British Bill of Rights.
In 2015, the conservatives ironically agreed in their manifesto; that they would be abandoning the policy, in order to avoid a fight with the Scottish government. Theresa May has seen to be predominantly unveil great leverage with a controversial constitutional change. Responding to this situation in April with; “This is Great Britain, the country of the Magna Carta, parliamentary democracy and the fairest courts in the world”.
A main motive for the switch for the tories, was separating the British and European courts of Human rights. Furthermore to prevent foreign nationals, using the Human Rights act to cement their place in Britain after committing numerous offences. Also, concerns have also risen regarding the Strasbourg try to overrule verdicts that the courts and parliament, examples include: stopping the ban on prisoners voting rights and stopping life sentences, even for serious crimes committed.
The bill of rights; itself is a very conservative act, retaining previous British values. As mentioned, the conservatives hope to “restore common sense and tackle the misuse of the rights contained in the convention”. I short strategy paper was supposed to be published but no materialistic copy was provided. Hopes are; the reforms block the European court of Human rights from overruling British judgements in court.
The main roadblock for the government, Theresa May, is the say of the house of commons and the house of lords. The Guardian newspaper commented; “room for parliamentary manoeuvre could easily be restricted by a relatively small number of rebels”. Justice minister Ken Clarke and attorney general Dominic Grieve QC, believe the move will lose traditional laws and there could be issues within the European and British courts in the future. The commons did not provide a backrest for May’s opinion and instead the house of lords was seen to be more of a savior. With 224 candidates (213 labour and 101 Lib dems). With a new British Bill of Rights coming into place, only time can tell the effectiveness.
Ever since the start of the year, southern railway have displayed appalling customer satisfaction with problems ranging from; the operating of who closes the doors to trains being severely delayed, leaving passengers completely stranded in the cold weather. There have been over 2,242 cancelled scheduled services; which have affected a staggering 300,000 travelers. Victoria station has been faced with some of the worst disruptions in the recent past, with southern railway being the only option for some people, it seems they are going to be stranded in delays, until something is done. The cancelled services were due to a 24 hour walkout, which has happened the 3rd time this week, by an unnegotiated deal, between the drivers in union Aslef and the rail chiefs.
Social media has been stormed with hundreds of complaints; from the furious passengers, experiencing an awful service, with southern. Soraya Cotwal tweeted; ‘Left job I love yesterday because of rail dispute. Irony is a couldn't even get to my own leaving do! Thanks #Southernfail #Southernrail. The transport secretary; Chris Grayling, said he is toughing up anti strike laws, accusing the unions of ‘wanting to take the rail industry backwards’. The passengers who were left stranded in Victoria station, on thursday night, left a letter with Department For Transport, urging the government to immediately take action and tackle this nightmare. ‘We suffered a year-long nightmare because of the collapse of Southern Rail. ‘We have desperately called for government action and have been repeatedly ignored - even while many of us have lost our jobs , or had to move house’, which was said by a protest organiser spokesman, from the Association of British commuters.
National express have come to the rescue! Aiding passengers with 3,000 extra seats, helping
commuters who would normally travel from London to Brighton via Southern Rails. A Tory MP commented on the train service as ‘luddites’, driver only trains were certified by independent regulators, having run fine for 30 years. City analysts said that Southern had a deal with the government of a controversial £9 billion, for seven years. Taxpayers are the ones paying the compensation for passengers, stupidly, rather than the train operator Govia Thameslink Railway. Govia is owned by Go ahead , owning a majority of Southern, has urged investors to make careful consideration when buying shares, as the fall of sales has gone slightly below estimates. The extra costs of £3 billion, which is a fraction of the £50 million; suffered by taxpayers in costs compensation and lost ticket sales.
A serious problem with Southern Rails, involves the strikes outlined by the passengers. Recently, drivers joined train guards, to strike for three days this week. Some individuals and groups involved include: drivers, union Aslef, Rail Maritime and the transport union representing a high majority of the guards. A close MP with Aslef boss ‘Mick Whelan’, is Jeremy Corbyn, who claimed that driver only trains do present some safety issues. Mr Whelan was asked by Theresa May to cancel the strike, challenging Jeremy Corbyn.
Nevertheless, more needs to be done by Southern Rails, perhaps by rethinking their business plan, changing drivers, raising morale in the company and finding a way to regain their lose in customer satisfaction. Many rely on this service and changes need to be rapid and efficient.
Keith Rupert Murdoch is an Australian-American media master. Brought up from a dad, who was a; reporter, editor and senior executive of the Herald and Weekly times, he was well familiar with the media from a young age. With a £12 billion net worth, he is a very significant and influential figure in the media, perhaps through the help from his father. Murdoch also founded: News Corporation, Sky UK and 21st Century Fox.
Currently, he is undergoing a deal with his own telecommunications/news channel, Fox News; to buy out Sky news, in the UK,Germany and Italy. Furthermore, Murdoch will have control of: The Times, The Sun, Talksport and the Sunday Times. Before the deal can be sealed; Murdoch has to raise his £10.75 per share offer, value isn't sky at £18 billion. On the other hand, this will cause an outrage for many shareholders with Sky.
Sky's own directors consist of; deputy chairman ‘Martin Gilbert’, also the chief executive of sky shareholder Aberdeen Asset manager. Sky's directors have recommended that the shareholders should accept the offer from Fox. There was a 40% increase in share price; as soon as the announcement was made. The main beneficiaries of the deal, who will be syphoning a whooping £40 million, will be: finance chief, Andrew Griffith and Sky chief executive Jeremy Darroch.
Richard Marwood, a senior fund manager at Royal London asset management, controlling £62 million of Sky shares, released a statement declaring directors need to provide for financial support for shareholders. “We would urge the independent committee of Sky directors, who recommended that shareholders accept the offer, to share more information on the independent financial advice that they based their argument on”. He later went on to say; “Such disclosure would help shareholders assess the fairness of the offer and give greater confidence in the independence of the committee in the bid”. These can be easily seen as wise words, shareholders remaining as part of the company, may want to think twice about the value of their shares. An association of 71 funds including; Standard life, Jupiter asset manager and Local authority pension fund forum, account to 0.7% of Sky; said they want “robust” safeguards to protect “future probity”.
There are 10 working days remaining to overview any possible public interest concerns, especially from the media, the person in charge of making this happen is Karen Bradley. With the help of the regulator Ofcom, undergoing a 40 day investigation to determine whether or not, Murdoch will have to much power and control in the media. However, this factor is completely dependant on whether Bradley will seek the help of the Ofcom or not.
Nevertheless, the big question for everyone, is if Murdoch should have this much responsibility, as past events have reflected him to be questionable character. During Brexit, it is thought that he used his company ‘The Sun’, as a means of sending a biased message to leave the EU, influencing political views on overall scale. Perhaps, the deal may be delayed, until article 50 is triggered, meaning the leave from the EU would trigger a fall in the pound, causing a cheaper price for him, ultimately affecting shareholders, share values, but pocketing the directors... Also, do we really want an individual, having a vast amount of power in the media, who was involved in the phone hacking scandal.
On Thursday 15th December the deal was confirmed by Sky, now we are only left to sit back and review any changes occuring in the future.
Cannabis refers to a relatively tall plant containing a fixed upright stem, with divided serrated leaves and glandular hairs. The purpose of the drug is for the production of hemp fibres and also as a psychotropic drug. A common use is smoking it, of course with tobacco, but not completely necessary. For years, politicians and in fact society, have been debating whether or not the drug should be legalised; especially in the UK, but it seems if though, not much has been acknowledged by parliament to pursue the endeavour of legislation. There was a petition for legalising the production, distribution and use of cannabis, but parliament, declined this as it was seen to cause 'medical side-effects'.
Even though society, morally condemns those who smoke, there needs to be a fine line drawn, to show the freedom people have,in making their own decisions. Therefore by banning the drug, it causes people to feel as if their opinion is wrong and immoral. The government has been seen to take a moral stance on fighting recreational drugs,but perhaps this is to generate money from seizures. Also if the drug was legalised the treasury (UK) would be able to earn £1 billion on tax returns. Also, a politician can use 'fighting the war on drugs', as a moral stance against other opponents, so it is clear, there is more emphasis placed on benefiting the economy rather than the people. If the government thinks banning the drug, will stop its use, they are wrong. Cannabis is consistently being used day in and day out by drug dealers, distributing the drug and consumers who regularly smoke the drug. Cannabis is not a drug which a user can overdose on, but tobacco, however, can, which is currently legal. Why can't the drug simply be regulated; in the same way alcohol and cigarettes are ? If this does happen the price of the drug will fall and there will be a collapse in the illegal drug industry, reducing the overall crime rate for possession and distribution. Is this not what we need in society ? The simple way to reduce drug use is to control and decrease the marketing campaigns, but this is simply unrealistic as drugs generate a vast amount of money for the economy. As mentioned before drugs are optional; just like skydiving and jet skiing, there are always risks presented, especially with the harm done to your body. The Freedom of speech similarly contrasts to what should be the freedom of drug use, at your own risks, however, this is not the case, as you are simply banned for your choice. Drug dealers are secured to high profits and will surely sell to anyone who pays the price, however, if weed was legal and regulated with an age restriction, it should help underage use from happening in the first place.
Although there are many advantages to legalising the drug, there are also some disadvantages. More people would be interested in drug use, if there are more variations of drugs available on the market, deterring the aim of a healthy society. Regardless of the drug, weed can eliminate the consumer's ability to think logically and make rational decisions. The gateway theory suggests that if society accepts the use of soft drugs such as cannabis then people will start moving on to hard drugs like crack. Also if drugs are legalised it may send the wrong message to children, portraying the fact that drugs are legal, moral and acceptable, when in fact, they are the opposite of that.