FOCUS E15 ARE ON THE FRONT LINES OF WOMEN’S LIBERATION

by Robyn Banks

The Focus E15 campaign began suddenly in August 2013 when 29 young or expectant mothers, who had been residing in the Focus E15 hostel for homeless young people, were served eviction notices by East Thames Housing Association after Newham council severed its funding. Appealing to the council for help, the E15 mums were told that due to cuts to housing benefit and a lack of social housing, they would have to be relocated as far away as Manchester or Birmingham and suffer the consequences of being plucked suddenly from their homes, families and support networks.

The move, which many consider to be one of many changes taking place involving the relocation of people on low incomes to outside of London — a form of social cleansing — prompted one of the most fiery and successful grassroots anti-cuts campaigns under the conservative government. The Focus E15 mums got organised, protested and held marches and occupations for ‘social housing, not social cleansing’ to pressure Newham Council. Although the campaign was born from individual need and the right to have a roof over your head, when the E15 mums act women everywhere benefit.Continue Reading

THE SLOW DEATH OF UK’S MULTICULTURALISM?

by Faizal Nor Izham

Following the BBC Challengers’ Election Debate sans David Cameron, it appears the UK’s hotly-contested immigration issue could finally be put to rest after May 7.

In his speech, Ed Miliband proposed setting up a task force that would enforce heavier fines on firms which exploit low-paid workers and undermine the minimum wage. On the other hand, the Lib-Dems have outlined plans to boost local apprenticeships while the Tories pledged to make pension’s campaigner Ros Altmann a minister for consumer protection.

This follows a Telegraph report last month that the UK may continue to accept 300,000 more immigrants over the next five years, despite pledges by David Cameron to reduce 2014’s net migration of 298,000 to ‘tens of thousands’.

While pragmatic solutions are most welcome, the aftermath of the constant blame on immigrants would surely have taken its toll by now. When things start to get tough, they’re usually the first to be blamed. Depressed wages? Blame it on the immigrants. Rise in crime? Immigrants. Not enough housing? Again, immigrants. Yet structural problems continue to persist because enough not is being done to address them.Continue Reading

UEA JOINS MOVEMENT FOR BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS

by Chris Jarvis

Within the student movement, no issue does more to polarise individuals and create bizarre bedfellows than Israel-Palestine. No other topic, not even No Platform or the Free Education/Graduate Tax row arouses such emotion, nor splinters political factions so dramatically. Israel-Palestine is the single biggest division in the student left. What other issue sees the right-wing Labour Students join forces with Trotskyist group Workers’ Liberty?

Debating the conflict causes each side to throw accusations of complicity in violence and some form of discrimination at the other, amidst howls of inaccessibility. Passion is always in abundance.Continue Reading

TACKLING MENTAL HEALTH – NOW OR NEVER

by Faizal Nor Izham

In the aftermath of the Germanwings crash, Britain’s call to take mental health more seriously has never been more relevant. German pilot Andreas Lubitzmade headlines for killing himself and 149 others in a plane crash after reportedly going through a bout of depression (which he is said to have suffered from since 2009). Although the perpetrator of the March 24th crash was a non-Briton, this nevertheless makes the issue of mental health more urgent no matter which part of the world you’re from.

Tackling mental health is met with stigma across cultures. Terms to describe individuals are often derogatory, if not downright offensive — words like ‘loony’ and ‘nutter’ will often be tossed around a little too casually. Despite calls from celebrities such as Stephen Fry to take the matter more seriously — Fry has long made his battle with bipolar disorder public — efforts to combat the stigma in the public sphere will always be a tricky issue.Continue Reading

EU GETS READY TO SEND SYRIZA THE ‘YOU’RE DUMPED’ TEXT

by David Peel

We are a few weeks away from the General Election in Britain, and austerity is moving front and centre. Not NHS privatisation, not school academies, not McJobs or homelessness, but their mother and father – the ideology of austerity. The phoney election war between the major parties, otherwise known as the ‘cosy consensus’, is about to be dealt a blow.

It has emerged, if reports in The Times are right, that the EU has asked Finland to draw up plans for a Grexit, where Syriza doesn’t walk out of the EU, it is pushed. EU leaders are fresh out of patience with Greece, and their mood was not improved when Syriza leader Alex Tsipras turned to their bitterest enemy, Vladimir Putin, for help.

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COMMON PEOPLE

1

by Jack Brindelli

May 2015 is a landmark in modern British culture, and it just so happens to coincide with a general election where, more and more, being seen as ‘one of us’ is adjudged more important than actually helping us. Next month, it will have two whole decades since the original release of Pulp’s tragically timeless ‘Common People’. The song — which is broadly recognised as one of the defining anthems of Britpop, reached number 2 in the charts 20 years ago — was kept from the supposedly prestigious top spot by the caterwauling Robson-and-bloody-Jerome.

But while Unchained Melody limped on for another 5 years thanks to a cringing Gareth Gates cover, only Pulp’s music can truly be said to have stood the test of time; misinterpreted as it is to this very day by the crowd of preening, self-obsessed hipsters who regularly grace St Benedict’s Street on a Saturday night. And I have to ask before I get bogged down in polemic, if any of our readers might happen to be amongst the number whooping and prancing about in the Birdcage to this, how can you not see that this song is a howling stab of rage directed at poverty tourists like you?

Have you quaffed so much craft ale that the world is just a tweed-patterned blur at this stage, or is your fashionably unkempt lumberjack beard just growing upwards into your brain?Continue Reading

A LEGITIMACY CRISIS AND THE POTENTIAL GAME-CHANGERS: AN SNP-LABOUR COALITION

by Katherine Lucas

With the election race officially underway, another hung parliament is looking an increasingly possible outcome in May, a scenario in which the Scottish National Party (SNP) have the potential to be game-changers.

Ed Miliband vs. David Cameron is a question advantageous to the current incumbent of Number 10 — to the general population, meanwhile, it is akin to being asked whether they’d like to be shot or hanged.

Miliband and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon looked close to coming to blows at the seven-party election debate, but in reality their respective parties can be advantageous to one another. The fear – at least in Westminster – is that the Left cannot be reliant on separatists which threaten the union. Spain is an obvious comparison, if their government were to seek out a Basque-based party. On the other hand, Northern Ireland is perhaps a more helpful reminder of a power-sharing experiment which has been relatively successful. Sinn Fein, rather than using their place at Stormont to peddle their campaign for Irish re-unification, they are basically a device putting pressure on the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to issue fairer policies across the community.

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