As anyone who either is- or has a sibling- aged 15 or 16 will know, GCSE exams are on their way. But this isn’t a blog about the impending terror faced by the country’s school leavers. It’s about something that leapt out at me as I was helping my younger sister with her history revision: namely that demonising the poor and vulnerable at times of economic hardship has a far longer pedigree than many realise.
On May 22, England heads to the polls to elect councillors for 162 local authorities across the country. Thousands of Labour candidates are standing from Camden to Coventry, among them many young people hoping to make their mark in public service.
2014 marks two anniversaries of great importance for Europe. One is the centenary of the beginning of the First World War; the other, a quarter century since the fall of Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the eastern bloc.
The gulf between rich and poor in post-Thatcher Britain is shocking. Vast cuts to public services, runaway privatisation, relaxed financial regulation, and the cutting of the top income tax from 83% to 60% (later to 40%), have turned the UK into one of the most unequal nations in the western world.
Over the course of the last year the media rediscovered its fascination with feminism- a movement that is now going through its fourth wave. An unprecedented amount of articles tracking the progress women have made towards achieving genuine gender equality was published this International Women’s Day. The statistics they contained demonstrate why feminism is still very much needed in modern society. One in three women worldwide will be beaten or sexually abused in their lifetime. Two women a week are killed by an intimate partner in the UK, and only 1% of the world’s property is owned by women.
The Homeless Link 2013 report on youth homelessness has found that over half of all cases are caused by a breakdown with parents or close relatives. It also found that rough sleeping amongst young people has risen since 2010, increasing by 15% in London alone between 2012 and 2013.
Hadleigh Roberts is a candidate to the European Parliament for the South West of England and Gibraltar. A graduate from Bath University and possessing an MA in interpreting and translation, Roberts works as a professional translator (French/Spanish to English) with experience in French, Spanish, UK and European Union (EU) politics.
With the current focus on Maria Miller’s expenses fiddling, it is easy to forget that MPs and other public figures are often tied up in scandal. The most recent example is that of the former deputy speaker Nigel Evans MP, who was recently cleared of charges of sexual abuse. The acquittal of Nigel Evans, hot on the heels of actors Bill Roache and Michael Le Vell, makes now an appropriate time to review how the UK legal system deals with cases of sexual abuse and rape.
The Labour Party is losing the fight to save the welfare state. In railing against coalition cuts, Labour seeks to paint itself as a warrior against injustice, protecting the most vulnerable in society. However by assuming the role of valiant defender for the poor, the party risks undermining the very institutions it is looking protect. Put simply it’s time for Labour to bury the moral crusade and get on with politics.
On the weekend of March 22, I had my first experience of door-to-door campaigning for the local government elections. We were supporting John Howard, an excellent local council candidate in Aldborough Ward, Redbridge. Winning a council seat for John at this year’s local elections would be a first step towards winning back the crucial marginal constituency, Ilford North, in 2015. At present the Conservatives have a 5,000 strong majority here.
Last Saturday saw the Young Fabians begin in earnest our campaigns programme, as we headed to Ilford North for some canvassing on behalf of Wes Streeting, the Labour candidate. For some of us, including myself, this was effectively an introduction to canvassing and an opportunity to experience the kind of door to door campaigning that is so crucial in winning votes and seats.