previously an Inter|national section writer
Josh is a UEA graduate in International Development with Economics and was the Ethical Issues Officer at the Union of UEA Students in 2014/15. He is also an activist working with the Young Greens and Defend Education on campaigns throughout university.
Dear Richard, Andrew, Elizabeth & Adrian,
I joined the Green Party 6 years ago, just before the 2010 General Election. Previously I hadn’t been all that interested in party politics, but when looking through the manifestos for various political parties I was immediately drawn to the Greens. The joining together of economic, social and environmental justice made sense to me.
On Friday at the County Council Annual General Meeting (AGM) you all abstained from the leadership vote, knowingly handing power from a Labour-led rainbow coalition to the Conservative Party.
(03.05.16) – I’m an Immigrant Now, so Why Don’t People Hate Me?
Just over a month ago I moved from the UK to the beautiful New Zealand – the home of the mighty All Blacks, the cute Kiwi bird and jumping into an abyss supported by nothing but a piece of string in search of some elusive sense of ‘excitement’ (also known as a bungee jump). I am going to be here for at least a year; with the graduate job market looking so feeble back home I decided working in a bar somewhere with a bit more sun wasn’t such a bad idea.
This makes me an economic migrant, and there are a lot of us young Europeans over here. So why aren’t people outraged that I am stealing a hard working Kiwi’s job or putting undue pressure on the welfare state? I should probably point out at this point that I am a white British atheist, and I think this may be very important in trying to answer the question of why I’m not victimised and resented by the vast majority of New Zealanders.
(19.02.16) – Class, Empire, and Cricket: Can It Ever Be Radical?
I know what you are thinking, cricket is the least radical sport apart from maybe professional bowls. The only way it can truly be radical is if the unprotected fielding masses rose up to take out the heavily padded bourgeois batsman and aim for the heads of the aristocratic umpires. But the game today is the preserve of the middle and upper classes in the UK and has a very apparent colonial legacy across the globe. It is a game that often puts people to sleep but has been used very specifically as a cultural export of an empire that once covered a quarter of the globe and is responsible for some of the worst atrocities in human history. Empire is a part of British history that should never be glorified and that we should be collectively ashamed and horrified by. But a poll was released about a month ago that showed 43% of people are actually proud of our colonial past.
(22.01.16) – Zambia: Where The Streets Are Paved With Copper
The past few weeks have seen a growing debate about the impacts of slowing growth in China on the global economy. But I want to talk about the potential impacts on Zambia specifically.
In Star Wars there are (arguably) three major factions; the Jedi, the Sith and the Galactic Republic. The Jedi strive for peace and harmony in the galaxy, whereas the Sith work for personal gain and power over others. The Republic is a democratically run institution that attempts to foster trade and good relations between planets and species.
In politics there are also three major groups; the far Left, the far Right and Centrists. The far Left work for economic equality through state implemented wealth redistribution. The far Right tend to use divisive and racist policies to create growth for a minority of people and to solidify their economic and political power. Centrists, who can often be seen to lean to the left or the right, tend to argue for free markets, promotion of trade and limited state intervention.
(25.11.15) – Let’s Talk About What Happened in Paris, Not Shout
I wrote an article a few weeks ago about how there is no chance for anyone to win outright in Syria. Since that article the tragic events in Paris have taken place and leaders from around the world alongside ordinary citizens have reacted to the news. As with all heartbreaking events, reactions have been fuelled by emotion, with the debate surrounding tricolore Facebook photo becoming a heated element of reaction to the atrocity. Many took up the option offered by Facebook to drape the French flag over their profile picture. I do have my reservations about this, mostly regarding Facebook picking and choosing which tragedies to offer this show of solidarity for. However, in a time of grief and high emotion I think this is a debate best left for another time.
‘Politics is about narratives. The problem is that these narratives have a real impact on people’s lives. We are likely to have a decade of Tory rule, a decade of the systematic destruction of our welfare state and all modes of the redistribution of wealth. Corporation tax rates have reduced significantly under this government, as well as the tax rate for the richest in society. We have seen significant cuts to public spending across the board including local governments, arts and higher education. But the Tories are good at narratives. They have weaved a myth of austerity despite it going against the economic consensus. We are still feeling the effects of the global financial crisis of 2008 and yet people seem to barely talk about this and be more concerned by spending levels than an out-of-control banking system.
On a majority of just 17 seats in the House of Commons the Conservatives seem confident, but I believe this confidence can be knocked using a few counter-narratives. A narrative of solidarity, one that illuminates the Tories as a party that is anti-poor, anti-worker and only on the side of the richest in our society. The three policies that are key to this narrative are the work penalty, junior doctors’ contracts and the British steel industry.’
(14.10.15) – No one Can Win in Syria – So Why Are We Trying
‘I am going to be honest, I have no idea exactly is happening is Syria. Now is when I should stop writing an article about the Syrian War right? Of course, that doesn’t seem to stop everyone else from having an opinion, so I’m going to have a punt.’
‘On Sunday a group of protesters threw paint and cereal at a café in Shoreditch called ‘Cereal Killer’, which only sells bowls of cereal. The reasoning for this demonstration, which also hit a letting agent, was an opposition to gentrification in the area. Gentrification is when house prices in an area rise and richer people start to move in, increasing prices further and pushing less well-off inhabitants out of the area. A key example of this is Stratford, transport links and infrastructure was improved for the Olympics pushing up prices and pushing out many residents.
But was targeting a café justifiable?’
(16.09.15) – A Radical Guide to the US Election
‘Citizens of America will not enter a polling booth for over a year but yet the Presidential election seems to be in full swing already. So what even is a primary? Are there any radical candidates? And is Kanye really running to be leader of the ‘free world’? Hopefully this radical guide to the US election will be able to clear things up a bit.’
‘A senior Labour figure is expected to make a speech tomorrow morning from the grave of Clement Attlee. They will explain that they believe the majority of the Labour Party membership are “too stupid” to vote in the coming election. Therefore anyone that votes for the bookies favourite candidate, Jeremy Corbyn, is not fit to vote and their ballot should be made void.’
(05.08.15) – The Greek Crisis: Out of Sight, Out of Mind
‘The Greek financial crisis has done what all news stories do when they do not have an abrupt or exciting ending. It has faded from the homepages of all major news websites, to a small box down the page a bit and eventually only being found by using the search bar. Out of sight, out of mind as the saying goes, but it was just a month ago that Greece voted on whether to accept austerity measures and have since been systematically ignored by their government and international creditors.’
‘Whilst the second round of Tory austerity begins to bite, the party of working people is deep into its leadership election, with just under a month to go until the results are announced. In a shock poll last week Jeremy Corbyn, the veteran socialist candidate, came out on top with the pollsters saying he has ignited a grassroots campaign of young Labour activists. But is this softly spoken, unassuming lefty going to be the saviour of the British Left?’
(08.07.15) – All Aboard! The Political Train is Here!
‘Everyone has their favourite mode of transport right? No? Oh, well I do and it is the train! Some people think it is weird that I enjoy travelling on tracks, but for some reason I do. Don’t worry this is not going to be a love letter to my dear choo choo-ing and chug chug-ing transportation machines. Trains are political too.’