Last week, young people across Scotland reached the end of years of schooling and were presented with their final grades. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, these results were based not on a summer exam series, but on predicted grades from teachers and subsequent moderation by examining bodies. As many as a quarter of grades were lowered, hitting working-class pupils in poorer regions and schools the hardest. Further south, A level and GCSE students are still awaiting similarly-calculated results, due for release on the 13th and 20th of August respectively. But, with individual pupils’ futures at the mercy of wildly varying school averages, the most disadvantaged students are facing even more barriers to higher education.
A few days after Trump’s Presidential win, an article by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz – entitled Under President Trump Radical Hope is Our Best Weapon published in The New Yorker – went viral. In it, the Dominican writer called out Trump as a ‘misogynist’ and ‘racial demagogue’, and principally defended multiculturalism stating that in order to recuperate: ‘we need to bear witness to what we have lost: our safety, our sense of belonging, our vision of our country’. He further argued that the best way to do this was to employ a concept called ‘Radical Hope’.
This, according to the creator of the philosophy Jonathan Lear, is a determined sort of hope that tackles mass trauma by being “directed toward a future goodness which transcends the current ability to understand what it is.” Here, I would like to highlight the British Labour Party’s recent parliamentary progress as not only encapsulating this, but also expanding Díaz’ original proposed vision. Corbyn and his recently more socially democratic party so successfully delivered Radical Hope that it not only revived the liberal spirit, but the possibility of a truly equitable world.
by Joe Burns
The Grenfell Tower fire has painfully illustrated how destructive and negligent council spending can be. The predominant cause of the disaster was that money was spent in the wrong places.
Almost nine million pounds worth of refurbishment was completed on Grenfell Tower by Rydon and many other groups in May last year (though the “successful” refurbishment of Grenfell Tower has disappeared from Rydon’s website). The work included new exterior cladding, replacement windows and a communal heating system. The bottom four floors were also made into new communal spaces. However, nothing was done to satisfy residents, even after years of complaints by Grenfell Action Group, about the safety of the building. The local council even threatened the campaign group with legal action if they were to continue their pursuit.