BEST LEADERSHIP FORWARD: WHERE’S THE OPPOSITION?

by Sunetra Senior

To mount successful opposition, Labour Leader, Keir Starmer, must embody an Evolved Left.

The ambiguous outcome of the recent by-election at North Shropshire has been telling: screaming even. Starmer is a leader of airs over recognisable reformative action. A microcosm of the calamity of the general election in the summer, the traditionally Tory stronghold in the North of England was lost to the Liberal Democrats as opposed to Labour, despite it being fertile territory for the latter in the wake of recent Conservative catastrophe: the explicit exposure of corruption, incompetent handling of the pandemic and the creeping economic fallout of Brexit, have seen the Tories floundering in the polls. Starmer’s red party should enjoy a stronger lead. A piece for Open Democracy states: “After the Conservatives, the biggest loser from this by-election is Labour. The party shed more than half of its vote share, from 22% to 10%, and was pushed into third place.” This is a deepening of the disillusionment from the nation-wide local election held earlier this year. Labour failed to make substantial gains, while also unable to regain Hartlepool as the party’s traditional heartland.  For someone who made ‘winning’ a lynchpin of his manifesto as announced at the annual Labour conference in Autumn, Starmer’s performance has been persistently poor. 

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FIGHTING THE MEDIA MAN – A GUIDE TO THE UK’S INDEPENDENT, ANTI-CORPORATE MEDIA

By Rowan Gavin

Content warning: mentions transphobia in media

A friend recently described infamous podcaster Joe Rogan as “an independent broadcaster that you might not like/agree with but [who] actually has a voice to push back against corporate media”. Has the standard of anti-establishment commentary really fallen so low that we must turn to a UFC commentator for any effective criticism of the corporate status quo? 

Short answer: hell no!

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UNIVERSAL CREDIT LIFELINE TAKEN AWAY FROM 70,000 NORFOLK PEOPLE

by Sean Meleady

Thousands of people across Norfolk are facing financial struggle after the government cut the £20 a week uplift to the Universal Credit benefit in October. Although it was intended as a temporary measure to help with the economic effects of the lockdowns, it has become a lifeline for many

It is estimated that 14,907 people in Norwich have lost £1,040 of their income with around 40% of them in employment. In June 2021 69,895 people were on Universal Credit in Norfolk alone.

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MORE THAN CLEAR RED WATER, IS IT TIME FOR AN INDEPENDENT WELSH LABOUR?

by Jonathan Lee

As the UK Labour Party conference fizzles to an uninspiring close, the party appears to be as divided and directionless as ever. Keir Starmer’s long, heckle-drawing speech fell short on setting out a clear agenda for the party, but was big on Labour winning, winning, winning.

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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN… AFGHANISTAN

by V Arun Kumar
Image description:

The frame is divided into three sections, with the top heading - 'United States of America In'. All three section has a United States Airforce aircraft, visually moving from one section to another. In the first frame, on the left, the US Airforce aircraft is coming in dropping weapons like assault rifles and stringer missile launchers, each attached to a parachute. They are being dropped to the ground where a sign board pointing ahead appears on which Afghanistan is written. On the top of this first frame, 1979 is written, to indicate the US support to the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan, who later formed the Taliban.  

In the second section, in the middle, the US aircraft is dropping bombs on Afghanistan (a sign board is visible on ground) and on the top 2001 is written marking the US invasion of Afghanistan. The third and last section, with the text 2021 written at the top shows the US aircraft flying away with two people falling off the plane to the ground with a sign board 'Afghanistan' pointing back, representing the actual incident of Afghans, trying to leave the country after US withdrawal and Taliban takeover, falling off a US air force aircraft during take off from Kabul International Airport. 

Image description:

The frame is divided into three sections, with the top heading – ‘United States of America In’. All three section has a United States Airforce aircraft, visually moving from one section to another. In the first frame, on the left, the US Airforce aircraft is coming in dropping weapons like assault rifles and stringer missile launchers, each attached to a parachute. They are being dropped to the ground where a sign board pointing ahead appears on which Afghanistan is written. On the top of this first frame, 1979 is written, to indicate the US support to the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan, who later formed the Taliban.  

In the second section, in the middle, the US aircraft is dropping bombs on Afghanistan (a sign board is visible on ground) and on the top 2001 is written marking the US invasion of Afghanistan. The third and last section, with the text 2021 written at the top shows the US aircraft flying away with two people falling off the plane to the ground with a sign board ‘Afghanistan’ pointing back, representing the actual incident of Afghans, trying to leave the country after US withdrawal and Taliban takeover, falling off a US air force aircraft during take off from Kabul International Airport. 


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LAST WORD FESTIVAL – LAUREATES: CECILIA KNAPP AND ALEXANDRA HUỲNH

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By Carmina Masoliver

This year’s Last Word Festival at The Roundhouse has been a mixture of online and in-person events. Although I had hoped to be able to attend more events, and accessing the festival hasn’t been easy, it was a pleasure to listen to poets Cecilia Knapp and Alexandra Huỳnh in conversation as I tucked into my dinner at home.

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HANCOCK’S HALF-HOUR – THE DARK COMEDY OF UK POLITICS IN 2021

By Howard Green

Sometimes, it’s hard not to laugh at contemporary British politics. The fall of Matt Hancock is the latest instalment in this ongoing political sitcom. Hancock, the Partridge-esque Health Secretary who came to prominence during the pandemic, was forced to resign a few weeks ago through external pressure following an extramarital affair with one of his aides, Gina Coladangelo.

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THE HOLIDAY HOME PARADOX: WE LOVE CORNWALL BUT FEEL COMPELLED TO DESTROY IT

by Sarah Edgcumbe

“Stop whining, you ungrateful inbred bastards, it’s our money that keeps you afloat” or some variant of that sentiment is regularly heard by Cornish people and permanent residents of Cornwall. Particularly in the summer. Particularly when we register our frustration at being priced out of communities we grew up in; at pristine green land being built upon, despite the presence of thousands of empty homes; and particularly when we dare to register our opinion that people are not entitled to as many houses as they like, no matter how wealthy they are. The severe levels of poverty experienced in parts of Cornwall are completely overlooked by wealthy holiday home-owners and the government (the two being far from mutually exclusive). It is hidden from view sufficiently that it will not dirty their holiday photos, it will not visibly encroach upon the sandy beaches or the pristine sea. They can pretend that everybody in Cornwall is as thick as portrayed in the TV show Doc Martin while maintaining a wilful ignorance about the devastating effects their Airbnb accommodation or holiday home is wreaking upon the county they proclaim to love.

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“NEUTRALITY”: A TOOL OF SYSTEMATIC MURDER AND OPPRESSION

by Sarah Edgcumbe

TW: settler colonialism, violence, war

Media outlets are once again decrying the “conflict” between Israel and Palestine, framing Hamas actions as “terrorism”, whilst conversely describing Israel’s as “military action”. At the time of writing, Hamas rockets had killed eight in Israel, while Israeli aerial bombardment of Gaza had killed 122 Palestinians (including 31 children) and injured 830 others. The imbalance in power, resources and media discourse is beyond belief.

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SKATING ON THE EAST COAST

a black and white image of a person on a skateboard, superimposed on abstract imagery and shapes of various coolours, giving the illusion of skating on a path, or stream, or wave
by Ash

Olympics aside, it’s an interesting time for skateboarding, especially on the UK east coast. To shredder’s delight we’ve witnessed new parks crop up in Loddon and Cobholm to name a couple, and to our dismay old scene relics like the Trowse DIY spot have been levelled. New local projects such as Cigarette skateboards, Barely coping clothing, Girls sk8 east anglia, the shed and Doghead promo have been established to support the scene, whilst Norfolk’s beloved Drug store have had their iconic sign nicked shortly before closing doors and moving into a dreamy new venue.

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