Archive | February, 2010

Britain Isn’t Broken and Here’s Why

19 Feb

This is a reprint of an article I wrote for the University of Birmingham student paper ‘Redbrick.’ The original is available here.

Lately, newspaper headlines have announced that we live in ‘Broken Britain.’ David Cameron, the Conservative party leader, regularly refers to British society as broken. And it seems Cameron and the headline writers have found – or created – a ready audience. A recent edition of the BBC’s Question Time was dominated by the topic of Britain’s broken society with one audience member saying she ‘couldn’t recognise it from when she grew up.’ In a Populus poll, 70 per cent of participants agreed with the statement, ‘society is broken in Britain.’ But what is meant exactly by ‘Broken Britain?’ Is this vague phrase anything more than just a catchy slogan, playing on the public’s fears? Continue reading

Wikileaks Needs Our Support

12 Feb

This is a reprint of an article I wrote for the University of Birmingham student paper ‘Redbrick.’ The original is available here.

When an ex-SAS offi­cer John Wick came across the details of MPs’ expenses claims, he con­tacted the Daily Tele­graph for pub­lic­ity. But what hap­pens when jobs, lib­erty or lives are threat­ened if cen­sored infor­ma­tion can­not be leaked anonymously?

Since 2007, Wik­ileaks has offered an online repos­i­tory for anony­mous whistle­blow­ers to upload doc­u­ments show­ing uneth­i­cal prac­tices by gov­ern­ments and com­pa­nies. These doc­u­ments detail mis­de­meanours rang­ing from oil-traders Trafigura’s dump­ing of toxic waste off the West African coast to human rights abuses in China to the names of British National Party mem­bers includ­ing sev­eral police offi­cers, doc­tors and solicitors. Continue reading

On the Virtues of Coalition Government

5 Feb

This is a reprint of an article I wrote for the University of Birmingham student paper ‘Redbrick.’ The original is available here.

At some point before June 2010, Britain is to become an elec­toral bat­tle­ground. Polit­i­cal par­ties will be cam­paign­ing for our votes at a gen­eral elec­tion, with vot­ers poten­tially being swayed by issues such as the econ­omy and the MPs’ expenses scan­dal. How­ever, this elec­tion may be his­toric for the most unex­pected of reasons.

In Britain, one party usu­ally gains a major­ity of the seats in Par­lia­ment, mean­ing they do not need the sup­port of the oppo­si­tion par­ties to make laws. How­ever all this might change after the upcom­ing elec­tion. For the first time since the 1970s, there is a strong pos­si­bil­ity that no sin­gle party will gain over­all con­trol at West­min­ster, result­ing in what is known as a hung parliament. Continue reading

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