“The language of priorities”, as Nye Bevan once told Labour conference, “is the religion of socialism”, and the time has come for a hallowed Labour party institution, the All Women Shortlist (AWS), to be subjected to some ritualistic scrutiny.
“A lack of language skills in the UK is costing our economy about £48bn. The shortage of Mandarin speakers is part of the problem. I don’t want young British people to get left behind.” –Vince Cable
As China’s economy and influence continue to grow, so too does the importance of Chinese language skills for UK businesses.
It seems unfashionable to back Ed Miliband. True, he may not be the best in front of the camera, he does bear an uncanny resemblance to one of my favourite childhood characters (Wallace from Wallace and Gromit) and he doesn’t look great when eating a bacon sandwich (who does?). But with the General Election, and the choice over what kind of country we want to live in, arriving next May, it’s time to put the superficial stuff aside and get serious. It’s time to come clean about the real Ed Miliband: a visionary leader with the bold ideas to make the country work for the many.
One hundred years ago the lights went out across Europe. The First World War plunged humanity into the most horrific conflict in history, incurring 37 million military and civilian casualties (a number equal to the total population of England and Wales at the time), including 16 million deaths.
“Crowdfunding” has become a buzzword in the past few years, and I would know; I have a little alert set up that lets me know every time the subject is mentioned online.
An Ambassador in Belgrade once said: “There is only one organisation which allows Ambassadors the chance to meet formally once a week, it’s unique; no one other organisation does it.” That organisation spans 57 countries across the globe: The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) covers over a billion people and is the world’s largest regional security organisation.
Growing up as a Muslim in this country means facing a unique combination of challenges. The Muslim identity is often seen in a negative light, thanks to the actions of extremists and a perception that Muslims isolate themselves from wider society.
In recent months, the Scottish independence debate has become the hottest of political hot potatoes. Passions are running high, with a recent ICM poll reporting that 21% of Scots questioned said discussions with friends and family had “degenerated into rows” (though this poll may not have taken into account the Scottish appetite for a good rammy).
Among Labour activists, and feminists in particular, it is a truth universally acknowledged that Cameron and Clegg refuse to promote the women in their parties. The accepted wisdom is that their front bench is almost entirely, and very deliberately, male, whereas ours has a much stronger gender balance.
Since the government’s welfare reforms came into effect, a family can now claim a maximum of £500 a week in benefits. It may sound a lot, being slightly higher than the UK average weekly wage of £449, but it won’t get you far in London. The average weekly rent for a family home in London is £379 a week, compared to £166 in the UK as a whole. When a home costs more than twice as much in London, does it make sense to cap benefits at the same level as everywhere else?
The recent controversy over the Uber taxi service has led to searching questions on the impact of technology on traditional industries and its effect on employment. It also challenges the centre-left to find meaningful ways to react to these changes. Every day we see the impact of technology on businesses, in apps like Uber, and even in our relationships with apps like Tinder. In retail, well-known supermarkets are expanding their use of technology at the expense of on-site workers in order to maintain profits.
Feminism is by its very nature the disruption of the status quo; it is truly radical politics that aim to completely transform society. For that reason, feminism is never going to be popular and it is never going to be a vote winner – it is a utopian vision that is ultimately very difficult to sell as a remedy to people's day to day concerns. The question must be asked, that if the Labour Party's strategy is promoting the politics of consensus, will the party be ignoring radical feminist reforms in the name of favourable polling? Whilst we could all do with following Caitlin Moran's advice of getting up on a chair and declaring ourselves strident feminists, there still remains the question about how this attitude can be implemented in popular policy.