Saturday, June 27, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Dear white, straight guys: it’s not about you.
No, really, listen up. I have been stunned this week by the cybersquall that has erupted over Rowenna Davis’ Guardian article, entitled – although not by her – ‘Stupid White Heterosexual Male’. The article was well written, reasonable, and managed to make points about equality without getting personal, which is unsurprising, as Rowenna Davis is at the tender age of 24 one of the finest and most ethical journalists I’ve ever had the privilege to meet. But the piece got almost as many negative comments as Charlie Brooker’s denouncement of the BNP in the same paper got supportive ones – all because Davis had the temerity to suggest that perhaps white, heterosexual males might not actually need their own anti-discrimination officer at Oxford University of all places (45% private school students, almost entirely white and with a tenacious male bias in finals marks), especially not when Andrew Lowe’s policies included ‘to replace St Anne's college crèche with a finishing school, ban women from the library and save money by getting female students to serve food in halls instead of kitchen staff.’ - [source]
No, really. You might not think that you personally, sitting behind your computer, reading this rant and getting pissy, are part of the problem -but you are. The people who attacked Rowenna Davis’ on-the-money article with such bile and vitriol are part of the problem, even though many of those are the very same hands-up-harries who were the first to condemn the BNP.
Because there is a heartbeat’s space between the blind stupid rage of otherwise sensible people who felt hard done by reading that article and the creeping influence of right-wing policymakers in parliament. There is a heartbeat’s space between the growing tide of otherwise non-idiotic white male resentment in this country and the breathtakingly idiotic racist, homophobic and misogynistic logic with which we have just sent two far-right representatives to the European Parliament. And if you are not prepared to step up, own your privilege and be part of the solution, then, my darlings, you are going to become part of the problem.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Sunday, June 07, 2009
But, I would like to delve a little deeper into the specifics of a new system. I would like see a change to the narrow geographical boundaries which mark out our constituencies. If a more proportional system is introduced, and lets hope it is, then I think it is time to reintroduce some quirkier features of our democracy. This is why I advocate a reintroduction of multi-member University Constituencies.
We are used to constituencies being constructed on a continuous geographical basis. For example and for no particular reason consider Newbury, Sedgefield, Dundee Westand Warrington North , these constituencies exist because they loosely represent the community which will elect that area’s MP. This is big bonus of the Constituency system, people are directly connected with their local representative. However, the cohesiveness of these seats also leads to them becoming safely Red, Blue or Yellow. This is bad for democracy because elections are then only really conducted in 150 marginal seats, and millions of votes cease to matter.
However, constituencies do not need a continuous area in order to be representative of those who would be its electors. There can be circumstances that link me more culturally, emotionally and politically with a call centre worker in France than a Tory Grandee in Sleaford and North Hykeham. As an ex-student, there are also very obvious reasons to believe that I have more in common with the people I eat with, drink with and study with across the country than the community I visited for 3 months out of every 12.
As a student, for 3 years (and sometimes more) half the young people in this country leave their homes and enter a new community that isn’t so much described by geography as by its “Studentness.”
These would be more representative in two main ways. First of all they would give students a say in the community to which they belong (should they choose to register there of course). Secondly, as a consequence of the reallocation of voters, local communities which the students have left will have a more equitably and fairer say in their own affairs. -[source]
Thursday, June 04, 2009
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
PL414. The Green Party deplores the intransigent attitude of the United Kingdom government to
the damaging biological effects to those living in close proximity to high voltage power cables, caused by the associated electromagnetic field. This constitutes an electrical pollution. Immediate action should be taken to ensure that no high voltage cables are sited near habitation and that those that are should be re-sited as soon as possible, recognising considerable urgency.