by Chris Jarvis
I didn’t want to write this article. For a long time, Peter Tatchell was one of my political heroes. Reading about the infamous Bermondsey by-election when I was 15 and going through the process of being outed and the abuse and violence that came with that, understanding that people such as Tatchell had put themselves through that 25 years prior so that the world we live in was more tolerant and more accepting, was a comfort and an inspiration. Tatchell’s continuing radicalism throughout his long career in activism and into his elder years had me in awe. One of the proudest moments I’d had as a student activist was organising a talk by him at my University and just chatting with him in the pub afterwards. But it’s become obvious that we need to talk about Tatchell.
There’s no denying that Peter Tatchell and people like him have been an incredible force for change in social attitudes and legislation in the UK when it comes to LGBT rights and human rights more broadly. From that violent and unpleasant by-election in 1983, through to his attempted citizens arrests of Robert Mugabe and his unequivocal support of human rights worldwide, Tatchell has been at the forefront of radical direct action, and progressive movements.Continue Reading
by Gunnar Eigener
‘War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.’ – George Orwell
In the aftermath of acts of terrorism — spotlight grabbing though it might be — politicians reach out, indirectly and through other politicians, to those affected. It demonstrates that perhaps they possess some element of humanity themselves. The media briefly shows the caring actions of the people of those countries and cities devastated, physically and emotionally. Then, once all has been said and done, business returns to normal.
We point and laugh across the pond at the circus that is Donald Trump’s presidential bid. We criticise the depths to which the Republicans stoop to find a scapegoat for America’s problems. Yet what we fail to recognise is that the same process is taking place here — it is simply spread across European governments instead of being conveniently bundled up into one laughable narcissistic crazy-haired package. We try to convince ourselves that not in Europe would we allow such bile and hatred come from one individual and we don’t. But nor do we look at the bigger picture and see that very same bile and hatred come in the form of legislation and government actions.Continue Reading
by Matilda Carter
This week Bernie Sanders made his full transformation from democratic figleaf for Hillary Clinton’s inevitable candidacy to serious contender, if still the underdog. In a mirroring of Jeremy Corbyn’s rise to the Labour leadership, Sanders has swept away the idea of socialism as a dirty word amongst the party faithful and has exposed the lack of ideas and vision from the compromising, centrist party leadership. Much like Corbyn’s rise to power, however, it is notable that millenials have voted in their droves for an old white man to be their saviour.
So far Clinton has refrained from playing the gender card, though many of her supporters have failed to, but this defeat in New Hampshire will open the floodgates. Clinton was always supposed to be the first female President in the minds of the Democratic leadership and they are going to do all they can to remind Bernie’s supporters of the opportunity they will lose over the coming months.Continue Reading
Content warning: female genital mutilation
by Lauren Marsh
“Because women and girls are not valued equally as human beings, they are treated as less than such. Female genital mutilation is an example of this that has to be stopped” –Waris Dirie
I have just returned from spending 3 months volunteering in Nigeria with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) as part of the ICS programme. International Citizen Service (ICS) is a once-in-a-lifetime volunteering opportunity open to all 18-25 year olds, backed by the UK government.
There is a strong emphasis on guided learning for the volunteers and to engage with this all volunteers had to take part in something called an ACD (Active Citizenship Day) — the aim of which is to present a global issue to the rest of the team to raise awareness and encourage them to instigate change. My Nigerian host home counterpart Bunmi and I presented ours on the subject of FGM (female genital mutilation.)Continue Reading
by Chris Jarvis
It’s no secret that the Liberal Democrats are far from the most popular political party in Britain today. After the General Election, they were left with just 8 MPs, and were ousted from their position as junior coalition partners in Government. For the preceding years, they attracted mockery, ire, and ridicule in equal measure, not least from young people and students, a group who once made up a significant proportion of their voter base – especially in the dizzy days of Cleggmania.
I’m still fascinated, then, by the fact that they have managed to maintain a sizeable membership through this time, including among young people. Why would a young person join the Liberal Democrats, and why would they remain active in the party? This intrigue is what led to me interviewing Charlie Kingsbury, current co-chair of Liberal Youth, as part of a series of interviews focusing of the role of young people in shaping British politics.Continue Reading
In November 2015, we ran an article entitled ‘Meet the Women Reviving Nature Writing‘, which explored and ran with the idea that women are slowly becoming the writers championing the idea of nature as the site of solace, interrupting the male-dominated narrative of conquering and dissecting.
“When we step outside and look up, we’re not little cogs in the capitalist machine. It’s the simplest act of resistance and renewal” – Kathleen Jamie.
Here’s an original piece from someone who stepped outside and looked up.
by Leigh Louise Horan
Recently I enjoyed my first extended foray into North Wales. I had been to Wales many times prior to being with my boyfriend, Dewi, who hails from Bangor, but the extent of my journeys across the border had included daytrips or school outings. I had experienced my fair share of tramping across the beach at Llandudno when I was younger, or complaining my way up the back of Snowdon. I had spent many a time hiking various routes around and across Moel Famau, and explored both Chirk and Powis castle. However, my lack of car and driving ability meant I had never been able to dictate my own experience of North Wales, and get to explore in the way I’d like.
Fortunately my boyfriend was prepared. Fully equipped with his driving license and a little rental Toyota Aygo, we excitedly set off with plans of seeing everything and somewhat ambitious ideas of swimming in the sea. It soon became clear though that an Aygo in the Welsh mountains, in poor winter weather, was not the most suitable vehicle.Continue Reading
by Rowan Van Tromp
Weighing in at an estimated 15m tonnes per annum, the UK’s food waste mountain is an issue that is finally been given the kind of attention it warrants, thanks to the persistence of campaigning groups like Feedback and The Real Junk Food Project, who both featured on Channel Four’s series Hugh’s War on Waste – the latest in a long line of environmental food campaigns lead by TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
Launched in conjunction with the series, a petition by This Is Rubbish has gained nearly a quarter of a million signatures. In an open letter to the CEO’s of the ‘Big 4’ supermarkets, it calls on retailers to collaborate with each other, as well as WRAP (Waste Resources Action Programme), to measure on-farm food waste so that it can be benchmarked by 2018 and ambitious targets can be set to reduce it by 2025.Continue Reading