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Student Disunion

#TrollTheNUS – https://www.facebook.com/events/1028359820527087/

Recently the National Union of Students (NUS) released their pre-general election campaign for 2015, a tradition that is supposed to mobilise the youth vote and champion student politics on a national stage – however this year’s campaign is less remarkable for the promotion of student involvement in the democratic process and more for partisan alienation of those who don’t subscribe to a very specific ideology.

The not so subtle smear drive against the Liberal Democrats for what is perceived as a betrayal over the issue of tuition fees in the 2010 coalition agreement is the focal point of their campaign. Seemingly angry at a perceived dent to student finances, the union has spent £40,000 of student money to whinge about it five years later – that costs more than your degree. The NUS is supposed to be an independent body that encompasses, reflects and supports the variant, diverse political views of student bodies up and down the country – and with that in mind, this campaign is disgraceful.

Truth... Tuition fee repayment under Labour and the Lib Dems

Truth… Tuition fee repayment under Labour and the Lib Dems

Firstly, let’s clear up any discrepancies over the Lib Dems controversial U-turn on tuition fees. I, even as a Liberal Democrat member myself have a major issue with the party’s failure to deliver the policy that was one of the focal points of our 2010 manifesto. It’s frustrating but concessions had to be made to form a stable government in a time where the economy was anything but. The less publicised version of events is that both the Conservatives and the apparently supreme student guardians Labour both opposed the abolition of tuition fees, so the policy was undeliverable unless the Liberal Democrats won an outright majority. After all, it’s probably a little silly to expect a party that was awarded just 57 out of 650 seats to enact their full manifesto as the junior party in a coalition government, but I guess that’s a discussion for another time.

Regardless of this shortcoming – which has been persistently apologised for by both the party and Nick Clegg by the way – the Lib Dems are still championing rights for students such as the delivery of the Pupil Premium and commitments to slash public transport costs for students dependent on the service. The point I’m making is a sense of Lib Dem abandonment of the student population is so far wide of the mark.

Clangers... Labour aren't student policy champs

Clangers… Labour aren’t student policy champs

The big issue of this campaign by the NUS is its blatant subterfuge. The union carries very cosy links with the Labour party. Does anyone else find it convenient that the SEVERAL broken pledges by Labour on tuition fees are ignored in this ‘student retribution’ campaign? They pledged to not introduce them, and then did so in 1998. By 2001 they were promising not to raise fees but went right ahead in 2003. Ten years later, the party want to reduce the fees to £6000, which will only benefit those students with more disposable income – just when you thought Labour couldn’t slink any further to the right.  Perhaps, the most staggering fact of all is that students are now paying back less in loans under the Lib Dems than they were under Labour, despite the heightened fees. Surely the NUS’ decision to turn a blind eye to all of these clangers by Labour on student politics has nothing to do with the fact that each NUS leader has been a Labour party member for the last thirty years running, and that the Lib Dems are traditionally their biggest competitor for youth support?

Look for yourself, the party’s each have their own ideas for student politics – some more than others. The NUS should place the impetus on students to explore their own political opinions and form an identity for themselves. They should not pigeonhole a group of people they’re supposed to represent in to a parochial parable that only serves their interests. The so-called National Union of Students has done nothing but disunite the student population by propagating votes for their chosen political ends on the back of a false pretence whilst typecasting 10% of the student population as supporters of poisonous liars.

Accurate... How the campaign should have looked

Accurate… How the campaign should have looked

Thankfully, an anti-campaign aiming to troll these biased perjurers is in place, you can donate money to the Liberal Democrats, if you’re that way inclined and not let the NUS manipulate you with senseless propaganda. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that this campaign is a disgusting betrayal of the student population, something they’re purportedly against. The only liars here are the NUS, they haven’t failed to deliver on a promise, they’ve tried to exploit student to further the power of their UKIP-lite overlords, they should serve the student population – not manipulate them.

#TrollTheNUS – https://www.facebook.com/events/1028359820527087/

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They’re Not Being Racist But…: Don’t Vote UKIP

The party everyone is talking about in British politics is UKIP. Whether it be positively or negatively (hopefully negatively), Nigel Farage’s purple and yellow machine of racism national pride has continued to climb the opinion polls like a flesh-eating false widow spider up its unsuspecting victim’s leg. But I’m writing this to gently inform you as to why voting for UKIP in either the upcoming European or General Elections is simply inadvisable.

Remember, it’s not simply the parties that you’ll be voting for, you’re equally voting for its members to make decisions that will affect your life. So let’s have a look at some of the remarkable people that make the UK Independence Party possible;

1. They have links with Far Right European Parties

Yes, that’s right. Nigel Farage’s UKIP are associates of far-right political organisations on the continent. Shocking, I know. In fact, one of the organisations UKIP are part of, is the EFD (Europe of Freedom & Democracy). You probably don’t know a lot about them and nor do I. But, I do know Nigel Farage is co-president of the group alongside Francesco Speroni, who said Anders Breivik’s actions were “in defence of western civilisation”. Another member actually incensed Farage by stating that Breivik “had some good ideas”, he subsequently wrote a strongly-worded letter demanding an apology or UKIP would vacate the organisation. Instead, Marco Borghezio, the man in question responded by saying “Long live the Whites of Europe, long live our identity, our ethnicity, our race… our blue sky, like the eyes of our women. Blue, in a people who want to stay white.” Nigel Farage remains co-president of the organisation as of February 2014.

2. Some are racist and xenophobic

Who would have thought that a party rammed full of people so desperate to let us know that they’re not racist, are actually just that? It’s almost like they were in denial or realise racism isn’t a desirable political characteristic in the view of the electorate. Regardless, we all remember Godfrey Bloom’s “Bongo Bongo Land” gaffe and his incredibly convincing non-apology on Channel 4 news. Apparently the non-racist, definitely not racist, never have been racist, never will be racist, racist? Who? Us?! Never, we’re not racists party weren’t politically astute enough to purge the 2013 Plain English Campaign’s foot-in-mouth award recipient from the party. Another UKIP member when bemoaning the effects immigration had had on the NHS said “I am informed by past media that Black Caribbean and not Black African have a higher instance of schizophrenia. I wonder if this is due to inbreeding on these small islands in slave times or is it due to ­smoking grass.” More recently, Nigel Farage caused offence by negatively stereotyping Bulgarians on BBC’s Question Time. Paul Nuttall brilliantly defused the situation by claiming “Brits fear all immigrants, regardless of where they would come from.” Much better.

Leader: Nigel Farage is the face of UKIP’s xenophobic regime [Photo: Wikipedia]

3. Some are misogynists

Another stupefying fact, I know. To many, it will come as no surprise that Nigel Farage’s party prefer one gender to another, which certainly throws an upcoming section for a loop. In an interview with the Telegraph, Farage digressed his partiality to a lap dance or two, he even touched upon the issue of extra-marital affairs, saying that “everyone does it”, well accept gay men and women if dear old Nigel was to have his way. Of course, blithering sidekick Godfrey Bloom is able to provide us with a few more disbelieving head shakes. Bloom claimed that no employer in their right mind would offer a job to a ‘young, free woman’. Diplomatic, libertarian and equal rights champion Nigel Farage endorsed the comments and thus continues to observe the voluntary female exit rates from UKIP ticking over nicely.

4. Some discriminate based on ableness

Indeed, UKIP infamously refused entry to the party to Jack Biggs. Biggs was 65 at the time of his refusal and is an ex-servicemen who has had both knees replaced. He was told he could only serve as a paper candidate in 2007 but instead  ran independently against UKIP in Weymouth. One member, Geoffrey Clark went as far as to say that babies with disabilities ought to be compulsorily aborted because they will burden the state. Charming.

Repetitive…UKIP proudly promote that one policy they have [Photo: Flickr]

5. Some are homophobic

I know, I know! This latest revelation is painfully inconsistent with everything else in this article but yes the pestiferous purple army are anti-gay too. Of course, many members have made the illogical and laughably untrue connection of homosexuality and paedophilia, Dr. Julia Gasper even alleged “there is so much evidence that even a full-length book could hardly do justice to the ­subject” before condemning the gay rights movement as a “lunatic’s charter”. One member also vowed that homosexuals were not normal and shouldn’t try to shove it down his throat by claiming they are. More recently, Oxford UKIP councillor David Silvester claimed that the latest spell of bad weather was to do with the passing of same-sex marriage. Funnily, it was  some seven months late. But he did have a point, the Met Office revealed this week that Johnny and Danny’s flirting on EastEnders was likely the sole cause for flooding in the Thames valley – there’s your duff duff. The party’s official stance in the lead up to the same-sex marriage debate was as you would expect from uber-Liberal Nigel Farage; stern opposition. According to their official website equal human rights for all regardless of sexuality was “not a burning issue”, “not a matter that animates the discourse of our nation” or more accurately, not a matter that animates the discourse of heterosexuals. Thank goodness, this is one subject these bigoted tyrants were defeated on – looks like we can expect more wet weather to come.

6. Some are liars

Remember on New Years Day 2014 when 29 million Bulgarians and Romanians invaded the country whilst stealing the Polish’s stolen jobs? Well, Conservative MP Anna Soubry claimed that fliers had been handed out in the Broxtowe constituency by UKIP warning just that. An astonishing statistic given that the combined population of both nations is just 27 million. UKIP member Janice Atkinson claimed in February 2014 on an episode of Question Time that 70% of our laws were dictated to us by Brussels (the EU) whilst more accurately the House of Commons claims that is only true for 9.1% – just a slight exaggeration by their standards. Another member even claimed that more people settled in Britain in 2010 than in every other of year preceding 2010 combined. Unsurprisingly that breathtakingly moronic declaration is unequivocally false. In fact, UKIP’s wager against EU immigration is mislead too, given that Poland is the only European nation in the top 5 countries from which immigrants are arriving in the UK. Believe it or not, it’s also not just immigrants that are taking job-seeker’s benefits from the government, in fact, most benefits are paid out to those pesky thieving pensioners. According to a study by Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) at University College London, immigrants were up to 45% less likely to claim benefits than native Britons. Recent immigrants also contribute 34% more to taxes than is transferred to them, a total worth £25bn. But UKIP are surely right to alert us to these job-stealing immigrants who are somehow subsequently living on job seeker’s allowance. Especially, since us Brits would never be so sly and underhanded. Meanwhile, the UK, the 8th highest emigrating nation in the world, has 10,000 nationals living on job seeker’s allowance in Germany, 86% of whom are fit to work.

Also read;

Sources: BBC, The New Statesman, The Daily Mirror, The Guardian, The Metro, thelocal.de, UKIP’s official website, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post

Political Ramblings of an 18-year-old

I’m not going to profess to being a political expert. There are plenty of issues and protocol that evades me but here is my take on the political situation in Britain.

Influence… Britain’s rag are able to sway many voters.

If you frequent Twitter or any other forum across the country, you will find discontented adults moaning about the political landscape. They usually brand the party or parties in charge as ‘useless’. So how do the electorate punish those who have let them down? They vote in the other party who failed them the term before. This country has got in to an unbreakable cycle of electing Conservatives and then Labour only to be let down by both. Weirdly, people haven’t seemed to catch on. They’re more than happy voting for these two dead horses. In fairness, many people are misinformed or swept up in media hype over political issues. It’s no secret that newspapers and a person’s parents have a huge part to play in the development of a person’s political views.

In fact, before the 1920s, the Liberal party were the second party to the Conservatives, a feat that their phoenix organisation, the Liberal Democrats have failed to recapture. In fact, many people today in the UK, still support the views and policies of the Lib Dems but given a political system that favours just two parties, many consider a vote for the Lib Dems, a wasted one. Many people are unaware that popular policies such as the NHS, Keynesian economics and marriage equality were pioneered by the Liberals but still Labour and Conservatives top the British political hierarchy.

Frozen out… The electoral system does not accommodate for three parties.

As you’ve probably guessed, I’m a Lib Dem supporter. But this post isn’t necessarily aimed to get you to support them. I’m more about campaigning for people to adopt greater political awareness. Misinformation has played a key role in the popularisation of the right-wing UKIP. Many have concerns about the UK’s EU membership. Whether that be right or wrong, few seem to realise that UKIP do not promote patriotism but instead nationalism, a superiority over others due to nationality. A similar political ideal to the Nazi party of 1930s Germany. I’m not saying UKIP are nazis but they are a party that stands for bigotry, an intolerance of equality for sexual minorities, represented by members of a racist disposition.

This lack of understanding leads to the wrong people ruling the country. In my opinion, talk of extending the vote to 16-year-olds is wasted when most 18-year-olds don’t even care enough to voice their opinion. Why? Schools do not focus enough on promoting political sentience, so kids end up voting how the newspapers or their family tell them to, if they even bother in the first place.

I doubt you’ll find many 18-year-olds like me that want to encourage young people to take an interest. How can we complain when we’re voting for people we don’t even support? To be frank, schools should be in charge of developing political ideals in youths, after all that’s why subjects like PDP, PHSE and Citizenship were invented. So now, I challenge everybody reading this to answer the very short quizzes below and make an informed decision in 2015.

http://www.whoshouldyouvotefor.com/england.php (includes UKIP and Green party)

http://www.whodoivotefor.co.uk/ (includes Green party)

Modern Family : My Favourite Characters

Modern Family is fronted by a cast of eleven brilliant characters all the way from Jay down to Lily. Here is my ranking of their comedic performance and overall contribution to the show.

11. Lily Tucker-Pritchett

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“Daddy, Daddy! F***!”… Lily is the clan’s least popular member

The proverbial wooden spoon is awarded to the family’s youngest member, who is played by Aubrey Anderson-Emmons. It is very rare for the show’s characters to come under scrutiny but when they do it is usually Lily who takes the fall. She is often criticised for being annoying. I personally don’t share that opinion. It’s her sparing usage that sees her take last place.

10. Manny Delgado

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“I’d forgotten to have a childhood.”… Count Manny opens the top ten.

This might come as a surprise to most fans of the show but number ten on the countdown is ‘count-like dressing’, coffee drinking Manny Delgado. For the most part, Manny is very popular among the show’s fans and don’t get me wrong I do like him as a character but he just doesn’t make me laugh as much as some of the others. He’s just not ‘my cup of tea’, terminology I’m sure he’d appreciate.

9. Haley Dunphy

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“How far’s tolerance?”… Ditzy Haley is on cloud nine

The first Dunphy to appear on the countdown is eldest sibling, Haley. Again, Haley is rarely used as the main story of an episode but when she is, she can serve up some pretty funny moments as the role of the ‘typical’ teenage girl, especially when paired with her scathing sister, Alex

8. Luke Dunphy

“Are you doing sex?”… Luke is gr-eight

It may come as no surprise to you given Luke’s incredibly funny portrayals that actor, Nolan Gould is in fact an official genius with an IQ of 150. However, his dopey alter-ego couldn’t be more different. Luke is an inquisitive, overly-stimulated kid with the ability to leave the viewers in stitches with his goofy antics. There is literally nothing to pick between Luke and his two siblings when it comes to comedy, himself and Haley can count themselves unlucky to not be ranked higher.

7. Alex Dunphy

“The Empire Strikes Back”… Geeky Alex is number seven.

The next on the countdown is super-nerd, Alex Dunphy. In my opinion, Claire and Phil’s middle-child is by far and away the show’s most under-rated character. It’s fair to say that her sometimes snooty attitude can be off-putting but her razor sharp banterous exchanges with her aforementioned older sibling are often welcomed by cackles of laughter. And if she doesn’t deserved seventh place for that, she is also the coiner of the show’s best quote to date.

6. Gloria Pritchett

“I’m Colombian. I know a fake crime scene when I see one!”… Gloria is one of the big guns at number six.

“JAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!” Feisty diva, Gloria is next on the list and she has every reason to be placed so high. Her contrasting naive and scheming sides allow her to be the show’s most versatile character. Her wonderful accent is a hidden gem that amplifies the comedy of just about anything she says. On top of this, her quick-to-anger attitude and colourful accounts of her small Colombian village make her one of the show’s most popular characters.

5. Cameron Tucker

“Meryl Streep could play Batman and be the right choice.”… Drama-queen Cam is the show’s most flamboyant character.

Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Fifth place on my countdown of the best Modern Family characters is no other than flamboyant music teacher Cameron. Mitchell’s other half is a permanent manifestation of laughter. It’s almost impossible not to break out in fits of laughter when Cam unleashes his dramatic mood swings on the box. In fact, caving in to his hilarity is downright inevitable.

4. Phil Dunphy

“You’re all the porn I need.”… Doting dad, Phil only manages to reach fourth place.

Fourth spot goes to goofy salesman, Phil Dunphy. It’s pretty much impossible not to love ‘cool Dad’, Phil. He rarely fails to deliver in any episode. His outrageous antics vary from being tasered to relentlessly chasing his dearly sought after, iPad. Phil is a first class character and well worth a spot in the top four but unfortunately for our resident goof, there is another Dunphy lying in wait…

3. Mitchell Pritchett

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“There’s a little bit of me in that princess castle”… Mother’s boy, Mitchell is given bronze.

The first Pritchett to be taken out of the running is ‘fire-haired’, Mitchell. Mitchell has some hilarious moments opposite his life partner, Cam. His witty comebacks particularly against his father with whom he shares a turbulent relationship are always perfectly timed and executed.I used to find him annoying, until I realised it’s because we share quite a few traits. He’s a ‘grower’, not as obviously loveable as the likes of Cam, Phil and Gloria but he is a Pritchett after all.

2. Jay Pritchett

“I understand about 20% of what goes on around here.”… City tough Jay dons Phil’s onion glasses.

Just like Mitchell, it takes a little longer to warm to Jay than some of the other’s. The family’s patriarch just misses out on the top spot in this ranking. Jay is often prominent in every episode starring alongside his wife, Gloria and step-son, Manny which frequently leads to hilarious culture clashes with the two Colombians.  His vitriolic put-downs, often directed towards Phil are hellaciously funny and enough to make him one of the show’s most quotable characters. I think the quality about Jay, I love more and more, every time I cycle through my Modern Family DVD collection is his cheekiness. It’s a wonder Ed O’Neill hasn’t picked up an Emmy for his perfect performances.

And the winner is…

1. Claire Dunphy

“We were having fun!”… Super Claire Dunphy rules supreme.

I realise that this is an unconventional choice but in my view wholly justified. There can be no arguing that stressed-out, Claire Dunphy is by far and away the most realistic character to grace the screen. Many see her as nothing more than a nagging buzz-kill but Queen Claire is so much more. Whether, she’s battling town council with her scathing sarcasm, tripping over the various hazards she stumbles across in the Dunphy household or simply berating Phil and the kids, Julie Bowen expertly grafts a superior character that is not only charmingly realistic but a genuine comedic delight.