Preview Magazine

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2022-2023 ISSUE

Welcome to Preview 2023

Tandridge Council. This will hopefully help more people to understand what these elections entail and why they are so important. We also have an interview with the Headmaster on Labour’s plan to charge VAT on private school fees, giving a fascinating insight into how a policy like this could impact students at Caterham.

Politics is a subject that influences almost every aspect, of every day, of everyone’s lives. Whether you like it or not, the Prime Minister and their government plays a huge part in that. They decide the amount of tax you pay on goods and services, as well as on your income. They decide how much money the health service, education sector and emergency services receive.

The government decides changes to laws and the creation of new ones, such as the recently updated Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Act that will allow the police to put more restrictions on marches and protests. Understanding more about politics, which hopefully Preview will be able to help the reader do, will allow you to make the best decisions for yourself and your family regarding wider issues like the cost-of-living crisis and the recent increase in free childcare.

Interest and knowledge of recent events and political issues will make anyone a much better and more informed voter and citizen. Knowing the current party in government, and how good of a job they have done, will allow a voter to more effectively hold them to account in elections.

In this year’s magazine, we have an interview with Mr Parker, Head of Spanish here at school, on his standing in the upcoming local elections for

Politics is also incredibly exciting, especially here in the United Kingdom in recent years, where we have seen three prime ministers come and go in less than twelve months. This is why I am incredibly excited for this year’s edition of Preview magazine, Caterham School›s very own politics publication. Studying politics has been an enriching and invigorating experience, I was therefore really excited to be a part of the Preview team and it has been a pleasure to collaborate with Mr Phillips, Jeffery L, Francesca C and Mathilda O›M to make something the whole school can be proud of.

Being Chief Editor, I have read all of the articles produced this year and written a few of my own and I have been astounded by the range of talent and passion in the school. The range of topics included this year from the war in Ukraine to corruption within football’s governing body makes Preview an unrivalled resource for anyone interested in global affairs.

In addition to the eye opening articles, Caterham School artists have gotten involved with Alexander in the Third Year designing an eye catching front cover, showcasing our artistic expertise. I hope that Preview will give readers many new ideas to think about and will enlighten you on topics that may often be overlooked in mainstream media. Preview has inspired me to read the news more and get even more involved in politics and I ask that you keep an open mind so that it can inspire you too.

Thank you for reading and supporting Preview magazine.

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Preview 2021-23 3 Content Sport It’s not coming home - Tomini O. 4 Corruption within FIFA - Luke O. 6 UK Politics Should the monarchy be abolished? - Issy M. 8 Matt Hancock & the dysfunctions of our political system - Sophia H. 10 Time to abolish the House of Lords? - Francesca C. 12 MPs; hard-working representatives or selfish sleazeballs? - Will F. 16 What is the best way to elect representatives? - Olivia M. 18 Knife crime - Krishan A. 20 Japan Comparing Japan & the UK - Dante B. 22 Abenomics - Ryo B. 26 US politics Don’t Say Gay - Mathilda O. 28 A sad day for the court and country - Molly M. 30 The truth behind puppy mills - Katie D. 32 Military, conflict, politics & international relations The global politics of the F-35 - Reuben A. 34 Women’s rights in Iran hit rock bottom through the murder of Masha Amini Eva Grace T. .............................. 36 Is the Russian invasion of Ukraine justified? - Jeffery L 38 Could we be doing more for Ukrainian refugees? - Ria M. 42 Interviews The Blair years in Alistair Campbell’s own words - Charlie B. 44 Headmaster interview - Dante B. 46 Mr Parker interview - Dante B. 48

It’s not coming home

Football is widely considered the world’s greatest sport and known as ‘the beautiful game’. It is not difficult to understand why football is captivating as it evokes communal unity and a sense of togetherness, particularly during international competitions. Passion and unpredictability make football enthralling and exhilarating, but that is also its downside.

The England national football team have played in two major international competitions in recent years: the UEFA European Championship 2020 and the FIFA World Cup 2022. The time these matches took place is indescribable; such fun and bliss infiltrated Britain during the tribulations of COVID, inflation and union strikes, so what went wrong? Well, we lost.

England played the entire competition incredibly and deservedly made it to the Euro 2020 final on July 11th, 2021. The match against Italy resulted in a draw (1 – 1); thus, it went to penalties to determine the winner.

England’s coach Gareth Southgate called upon three young, talented players, Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho to take on the responsibility for the penalties, and unfortunately, to the team and fans’ dismay, Italy won 3-2 on penalties. Losing was profoundly disheartening to all those following the competition. It was clear how dedicated and driven the national team was since this was England’s first finals appearance in any major tournament since 1966. As a consequence of this loss, the fans’ frustration fell onto the shoulders of the three black penalty takers. These men are more than football players; they are inspirational

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Tomini O. Upper Sixth

individuals. Jadon Sancho, 22, aided Nike’s project to build a football pitch in South-East London providing less fortunate children with the opportunity to play their beloved sport.

Bukayo Saka, 21, teamed up with the charity BigShoe in 2022 to help 120 children worldwide receive life-changing medical surgeries. Marcus Rashford, 25, during the COVID pandemic, campaigned for the prevention of child food poverty in the UK, resulting in two government U-turns concerning free school meals to vulnerable children during the school holidays.

Some fans had forgotten everything these three men had achieved outside the pitch, alongside their worthy goals and assists during the tournament. They reduced these players to the only distinctive characteristic that separated them from their teammates – race. The nation shared emotions of misery and disappointment. However, specific individuals channelled these emotions into anger and subjected Jadon Sancho, Bukayo Saka and Marcus Rashford to an abundance of vile online racial abuse. The Football Association, Boris Johnson and Prince William condemned the racist abuse, which was so intense and overwhelming that the Metropolitan Police started investigating the abuse perpetuated towards the players on Twitter. The abuse became physical, with Marcus Rashford’s mural – created to celebrate the inspirational work Rashford executed during the pandemic against food poverty – being defaced; the graffiti consisted of racial slurs and profanity covering the artwork.

Racist abuse towards players comes from the minority of football watchers who scream the loudest and project their disappointment towards the players who carried them this far in the first place due to their ability. Support for the players somewhat silenced the hate, with members of Withington, Manchester gathering to write positive messages around and over the vandalising of Rashford’s mural and high-profile individuals

speaking out offering kind words for the three men. The fans’ response after the match exposed this terrible problem within ‘football culture’ and questioned how and why racism is allowed to fester in the football community. Although, as Sancho wrote in a post a few days after the Euro final, “Hate will never win,” he was undoubtedly correct.

History, unfortunately, repeated itself. Despite not missing any penalties, England’s loss in the Qatar World Cup became a problem for Saka and Rashford; again, the racist comments and messages returned. The problem of racism in football is not just bound to England. After France’s loss to Argentina in the FIFA World Cup Final 2022, the three black penalty takers Kingsley Coman, Aurélien Tchouaméni, and Randal Kolo Muani experienced the same racist messages, with Kylian Mbappé also receiving discriminatory messages. Further demonstrating that no matter how well a black footballer plays, if some fans are not satisfied, racism will ensue.

It is not easy to articulate the emotions that arise whilst seeing your race publicly and violently vilified on social media. Racism in football impacts not only the players but viewers from ethnic minority backgrounds; a 2021 YouGov poll revealed that 74% of ethnically diverse fans planning to visit a stadium are concerned about racist abuse. Rather than enjoying the match, these individuals look for the closest exits in case their team loses; this is not how football should be.

Winning is the universal goal for all those playing in and watching an England game. Naturally, anger or sadness arises when this goal is no longer achievable. However, it is not natural nor understandable to focus these intense emotions on the players, especially those deemed responsible for the loss. We cannot sing the lyrics ‘It’s coming home’ any time soon if black football players are made to feel excluded from the country they call home.

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Corruption within FIFA

The Fédération internationale de football association (FIFA), was founded on the 21st of May 1904 by seven national associations: Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. It is the largest governing body in the footballing world.

Despite being so powerful and organising and overseeing almost every aspect of football, including tournaments such as the World Cup, FIFA, rather than being an unbiased and fair organisation, has shown its true colours to be stained with ugly marks of bribery and corruption.

At the forefront of the controversies within FIFA would be their ex-president Joseph “Sepp” Blatter. He is a Swiss former football administrator who served as the eighth President of FIFA from 1998 to 2015, with a recent corruption case made public in 2015 seeing him banned from participating in any FIFA events until 2027.

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Rising through the ranks from his position of general secretary in 1981, Blatter increased his power by making more African and Asian countries influential in the football sphere. On the 2nd of June 2015, just a week after the United States government indicted several former FIFA officials and sports marketing companies for bribery and money laundering , Blatter called an election for a new FIFA president, and withdrew himself from contention.

In September of the same year, criminal proceedings against Blatter were announced by the Swiss Attorney generals office regarding “criminal mismanagement… and misappropriation”. In October, Blatter was suspended alongside his other co-conspirators and top FIFA officials and was eventually ousted from his role in December. Following this in 2021, Blatter received a further 6-year ban and was fined after an investigation into bonus payments. Another main area of corruption within FIFA is regarding the hosting rights of the World Cup. The recent Qatar World Cup has not been innocent to these claims of wrongdoings. In December of 2010, Russia and Qatar were awarded rights to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup respectively, both nations had controversy surrounding their hosting bids, but Qatar was more notable.

One reason for this was an alleged “secret meeting” which took place in Paris between then French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Qatars then Crown Prince Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Michel Platini, who at the time was both UEFA president and vice-president of FIFA.

At the vote, it was announced that Qatar would host the 2022 World Cup, winning 14 of the 22 executive committee votes, including Platini’s. The controversial decision was met with surprise and suspicion and thoughts of bribery were never held far from this decision.

The announcement that the World Cup would be held in winter to avoid the summer heat of Qatar, further indicated the lack of prior preparation and

thought going into awarding the rights to Qatar. A year later in May of 2011, a former member of the Qatari bid, Phaedra Al-Majid, solidified suspicions by his claims that money was paid to members of FIFA’s executive committee in order to buy votes. However, this was denied hastily by the Qatar 2022 bid team, claiming their name had been “dragged through the mud for no reason”. In the same year, FIFA executive committee member, the Qatari Mohamed Bin Hammam, was found guilty of bribery and banned from all international and national football for life.

The most concerning part of the Qatar 2022 World Cup however, was the tragic disregard for human rights in regards to the construction of the World Cup’s infrastructure and subsequent loss of human life, with this first being uncovered in 2013 by Amnesty International, releasing a report of “an alarming level of exploitation”.

Sepp Blatter, never far from controversy, was tied into accusations of bribery and corruption, as Swiss authorities opened criminal proceedings in 2015 against Blatter focusing on a payment of two million Swiss francs to Platini. The payment was for work carried out by Platini as a consultant for FIFA between 1999 and 2002 but was not executed until 3 months after Qatar won its bid to host the World Cup. Despite Platini being held for questioning in 2019, and an abundance of evidence as to wrongdoing in regards to the Qatari World Cup bid, the tournament still went ahead. Despite the Qatari’s putting on an entertaining show, what should be a prestigious tournament governed by a respectable and fair organisation, was overshadowed by the devastating loss of life and total ignorance to the rights of the 30,000 migrant workers who were condemned to years of harsh labour

In summary, FIFA should remain a neutral, fair, and compassionate body, yet the true nature of FIFA is that of bribery and corruption, with a disastrous amount of blood dripping off the ever money hungry hands of the organisation and its employees.

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“criminal mismanagement… and misappropriation”

Should the Monarchy be abolished?

The passing of Queen Elizabeth has caused a rise in royalist sentiment throughout the UK, whilst also having others question if the UK even needs another monarch at all. Furthermore, the unpopularity of King Charles III combined with the shameful reputation of Prince Andrew, has led more and more people to become vocal in their opposition to the Monarchy.

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Issy M. Upper Sixth

The Monarchy is a long-standing British tradition and dates back centuries, with mainy claiming it to be the ‘epitome’ of the image of Britain. However, it is also important to remember the intertwined history between monarchy and colonialism. Goods owned by the Monarchy such as the Koh-I-Noor diamond were stolen during the era of colonialism and are now appropriated into the Crown Jewels, despite both Pakistan and India requesting them to be returned. Moreover, all the royal properties used throughout the Stuart dynasty benefit from money provided through slavery due to William III’s involvement with the Royal African company. While we shouldn’t shy away and try to cover up the nation’s past mistakes, it is not an excuse to showcase them by putting them on a throne and crowning them as ‘above’. In addition to this, there are several countries in the commonwealth that want to remove the monarch as their head of state and are taking steps to have King Charles III removed, perhaps following Barbados’ removal of Queen Elizabeth from this role in 2021. While some claim that the Monarchy is a uniting force, it is clear that it has been equally divisive.

The Monarchy also serves to reinforce the vast class and wealth divide in England, serving as an emblem for unearned privilege that has no place in today’s society. While the nation is faced with a cost-of-living crisis, workers strike for better pay and food-bank usage is at an alltime high, the Monarchy represents the wealthy, not the vast majority. Furthermore, with King Charles promising an all-out coronation with no expense spared, it might be time to accept the fact that the royal family is out of touch with everyday life. In addition to this, the archaic hereditary role for the monarch is clearly outdated when compared to the UK’s now modern democratic system, with people having

no say in who represents them in head of state.

In addition to this, the sexual abuse lawsuit against Prince Andrew, and his connections to convicted sex offender Jeffery Epstein, has further pushed the image of a family above the laws and rules that everyone else has to follow. There has also been a growing divide in how young people view the Monarchy. In 2015 69% of 18–24-year-olds believed that Britain should remain a monarchy but the latest polls, from 2020 onwards show that this has overwhelmingly fallen to just 35%. With the increasing disillusionment of support from the younger generation towards the Monarchy can they still claim to represent Britain?

Lastly, the age-old argument used to defend the Monarchy when all else fails is that it helps to attract tourism and boost the economy. While it is true that the Monarchy does bring in tourism, it would be untrue to say that this is the only thing the UK has to offer, and it is more than likely that the UK would still receive the high number of tourists it has now without having to support the overprivileged family living in the palace. France, for example, has the Palace of Versailles as an attraction without the family living inside of it and receives more tourists than Buckingham Palace.

So, is it time to take a leaf from France’s book? In addition, the cost of keeping the Monarchy is steadily increasing, and many are feeling resentful for having to pay for their extravagant lifestyle.

Looking back throughout history, having a King called Charles ends in overthrowing the Monarchy. However, is it time to stop repeating the same story and this time not invite the Monarchy back? Or is the UK doomed to forever live under the archaic family that claims the image of Britain.

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Matt Hancock & the dysfunctions of our political system

Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been a controversial figure in politics in recent years. Hancock originally resigned from his role after the press exposed his affair with his aide during lockdown. The affair was received with outrage by the public who were advised by the former Health Secretary to not hug or engage in any physical contact with individuals from outside one’s home at the time, highlighting a disregard for rules that he implemented. Additionally, Hancock was involved in the ‘Partygate’ scandal concerning illegal parties carried out by government officials during lockdown, contradicting the government guidance given.

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Sophia H. Upper Sixth

Most recently, Hancock caused further controversy for his decision to travel to Australia for three weeks to appear on ‘I’m a Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here!’ whilst Parliament was in session. Hancock’s disregard for his responsibility to his constituents and disregard for government guidance highlights important dysfunctions in the political system, such as issues with the First Past the Post electoral system and Conservative sleaze which could potentially lead to a participation crisis.

Hancock’s false sense of unaccountability highlights the issues with the First Past the Post voting system. First Past the Post is a plurality system used in general elections to elect a representative for each of the 650 constituencies. A strength of this system is that it means there is a clear Member of Parliament (MP)-constituency link, in theory, there is clear accountability for politicians and constituents are able to contact their MP with concerns. However, this system is undoubtedly flawed due to the predictability of elections and creation of safe seats. Safe seats are used to describe constituencies where it is certain the same party will win. In 2019 the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) predicted 316/316 safe seats correctly. Additionally, the ERS predicted that 71% of votes were wasted in 2019. The existence of safe seats means votes are not of equal value and undermines the accountability of MPs who govern these areas as there is less concern over their re-election.

West Suffolk has been a Conservative seat since its creation in 1997, with its current

MP being Hancock; a prime example of an MP becoming too secure with their parliamentary constituency. In November 2022, Hancock announced he would be appearing on the reality show ‘I’m a Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here!’. Perhaps if Hancock held a marginal seat, he would have put his constituents first over a reality show, which he allegedly received £400k to appear on. The news was received with disgust from West Suffolk constituents due to the clear lack of concern for his constituency whilst he jetted off to Australia, demonstrated by the petition which gained 45,000 signatures demanding to pull him from the jungle. Hancock’s ability to leave Parliament for three weeks completely cut off from contact with the outside world emphasises his sense of security in his job. Arguably if his seat was considered unsafe and there would be a threat he would not be re-elected he may have acted differently. Whilst Hancock has stated he will step down in the next election, his initial choice to appear on the show stresses how he feels unanswerable to his constituents.

Hancock’s affair, his involvement in ‘Partygate’ and his appearance on ‘I’m A Celeb’ are not the only examples of scandal the Conservative Party has faced in recent years. The Party has become ‘mired in sleaze’ says Justice Minister Ellie Reeves. Hancock’s affair and ‘I’m a Celeb’ appearance are two of many events undermining the integrity of the Conservative Party. In July 2020, Charlie Elphike was found guilty on three counts of sexual assault less than a year after resigning as MP for Dover. Additionally, in April 2020 Ahmed

Kahn resigned after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy after providing him with alcohol at a party in 2008. Furthermore, Neil Parish resigned in 2022 after admitting he watched pornography twice in the House of Commons. The plethora of scandals amongst the Conservative Party gives the impression to the public that the party is riddled with dishonesty. The leading party appearing to be so dishonourable undermines the integrity of Parliament and discourages the public from trusting politicians which threatens the authority of political leaders’ decisions.

The greatest danger of the unaccountability of politicians and abundance of scandal within the government is that it leads to a distrust of politicians amongst the public. The Office of National Statistics stated in July 2022 that only 35% of the population trusts the Government. As a result, the public feel less of an obligation to engage in a system that they feel so disregarded by. Furthermore, this damages the legitimacy of the Government and their authority. The inability to be transparent and truthful with the public distances politicians from normal citizens, making them feel less cared for.

Overall, Matt Hancock’s scandals shed light on the much greater political issue of the unaccountability of politicians. More measures must be taken, stricter consequences are necessary for politicians who disobey the rules, and a rebranding of the Conservative Party is necessary to move away from its damaged reputation.

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Time to abolish the House of Lords?

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Francesca C. Lower Sixth

The House of Lords as we know it today has been an established aspect of the UK’s Parliamentary system since the beginning of the 19th century. However, it is disputable as to whether the Lords are necessarily important in today’s society. Perhaps the House of Lords adds a crucial level of variation through the idea of appointed and not elected individuals. It also may introduce a more diverse range of people into Parliament through life peers that can be appointed into the Lords. This could add legitimacy to the law-making process.

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One of the most defining aspects of the House of Lords is that it is an unelected body. Instead, peers can be appointed in the form of a hereditary, spiritual or life peer, although the House of Lords Act of 1999 reduced the number of hereditary peers to approximately 92. So, it could be argued that the Lords can be useful in the legislative process, as party discipline is weaker between unelected peers, and the removal of the majority of peers who attended the House of Lords because of an inherited title increases legitimacy. Furthermore, the House of Lords has recently been proven to be effective in the legislative process, as seen in December 2020 when Lords forced the Government to review the Internal Markets Bill.

The Salisbury Convention prevents the House of Lords from opposing a bill that blocks the current government’s manifesto, despite any protests by peers. This was evident in 2021 when the House of Lords’ Covid-19 committee made 24 recommendations to government policies. However, the Government didn’t even acknowledge 8 of these recommendations and minimal legislative change was made.

So, the Lord’s current ability to effectively apply pressure against the Government can be debated.

Moreover, it is clear that the House of Commons has power over the Lord’s ability to pass legislation. The Parliaments Acts of 1911 and 1949 prevent peers from vetoing public bills, or rejecting public bills and mean that legislation can only be delayed by a maximum of one year by the Lords before it is passed. The Common’s legal superiority over the Lords was seen when all defeats by the Lords on both the EU Withdrawal Bill and the Article 50 Bill were overturned by the Commons.

A significant role of both Parliamentary chambers is to scrutinise the Government effectively, through examining the inner workings of government departments and the policy developed by government ministers. This is achieved through a system of select committees in the Lords that are set up to examine issues. These committees do not mirror those of the House of Commons, but the Lords’ committees are allowed more time to examine issues than the Commons and tend to scrutinise

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in a more detailed and effective manner due to the lack of party loyalty in the Lords. Recently, the Lords has seen successes in effective government scrutiny. For example, the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee reports on whether bills proposed by government ministers have the aim of delegating too much legislative power to the Government, which limits how they are scrutinised in the future. In 2022, the Seafarers’ Wages Bill was proposed to ensure that seafarers that had close ties to the UK were paid at least an equivalent of the UK minimum wage whilst in UK waters. The committee recommended 2 sub sections were reformed as they granted excessive powers to the Secretary of State. In response, the government agreed to one of these recommendations.

Whilst the Lords’ committees could provide an important role in providing variation to the type of scrutiny the Executive faces, the Lords’ efforts are arguably less significant to the system of scrutiny as a whole when compared to the extensive methods employed by the Commons.

This is because the Lord’s system of scrutiny lacks Prime Minister Questions (PMQs)these are used by the Commons to directly scrutinise the PM, such as when in July 2022 Conservative backbencher Gary Sambrook called Boris Johnsons’ handling of the Chris Pincher groping case “insulting”. Furthermore, since 2010, backbenchers in the Commons have been elected chairs to these departmental select committees, meaning that commonly overlooked MPs gain expertise in specific areas. Finally, a Liaison Committee - This is composed of select committee chairs and works to scrutinise the Government. For instance, in May 2020, the first Liaison Committee meeting with Johnson as Prime Minister commenced. During this session, they questioned him on the government’s handling of the COVID-19 Pandemic and his controversial aide Dominic Cummings.

Under a representative democracy, it is imperative that the members of both chambers of Parliament reflect the country, as their titular role is to make policy decisions on behalf of and in the best interests of the people.

From first glance, the House of Lords can be assumed to lack representation, as peers are appointed instead of being elected by the people to assume power. However, the Lords being an unelected body could be used to their advantage to provide representation. Since peers do not have any ties to a specific political agenda, or to the fulfilment of the wishes of their constituents, they may be more willing to represent wider groups of people. Peers represent many areas outside of politics, such as businesses, the arts, sports and science, for example, Lord Walton who was a former president of the British Medical Association (BMA).

A concern is that the Lords lack democratic representation, as Lords are unable to represent their constituents in the way that MPs in the Commons can. For example, in 2021 Hull West MP Emma Hardy quit her esteemed frontbencher position in the House of Commons to focus on raising awareness for Hull’s struggles due to COVID. Additionally, the Lords currently lack sufficient descriptive representation. For example, as of December 2022, approximately 29% of the members of the Lords are women, a lesser figure than the 35% of MPs in the Commons that are women.

Fundamentally, the House of Lords has had recent success in scrutinising the Executive, representing the public and passing and criticising legislation. It works alongside the House of Commons to form the Parliamentary system that attempts to maintain a fair democracy. However, whether the work of peers is necessary and still needed when the House of Commons is regularly regarded as superior to the House of Lords is up for debate.

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MPs; hard-working representatives or selfish sleazeballs?

Throughout the history of UK politics, scandals have always occurred. However, in recent years the number of scandals surrounding Members of Parliament (MPs) have become more and more prevalent.

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Will F. Lower Sixth

Although MPs are human and are therefore guaranteed to make mistakes, I believe that they should uphold their job with a certain level of professionalism as, at the end of the day, they run our country.

So, in this article, I will be bringing light to the some of the recent disasters that go against the expected standards.

In the 1960s the number scandals recorded was only three. In the 2010s the number of major events caused by MPs putting Parliament in a bad light was 25. These events included bribes, lies and sexual harassment which completely undermines what Parliament stands for.

Not only do these events cause havoc, they also waste time which could have been invested elsewhere. Scandals such as Matt Hancock’s affair which took place during the COVID-19 Pandemic, a time when the Health Secretary’s full commitment was vital in order to keep the people safe, wasted time that lead to unprofessional decisions being made, leading to the deaths of loved ones.

Politicians have also been using their power and taking advantage of it, causing outrage and unpopularity. Prime Minister Boris Johnson

was involved in Partygate. Not only did he go against the rules he created, but he also mocked the thousands of people whose lives were restricted for months upon end.

However, it is important to remember that the vast majority of MPs conduct themselves professionally and ethically.

It is worth noting, like any other large institution, that the UK Parliament is not immune to misconduct. But also like any other institutions there must be a process to investigate allegations. Those found to have engaged in serious misconduct should face severe consequences such as suspension, expulsion, or even criminal charges.

It is also important to note that media coverage of such scandals can sometimes be disproportionate, and that one, or a few, individuals who engage in misconduct should not be taken as a representative of the entire group.

To conclude, I believe that Parliament will remain beset by scandals unless serious measures of policing are introduced. However, these scandals are a result of human nature - we will have to accept them as part of politics.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson was involved in Partygate

What is the best way to elect representatives?

An effective electoral system should include social and proportional representation alongside secret, clear and simple voting with a good choice of candidates. Moreover, it is necessary to have a system that forms a strong opposition and a strong government that can effectively lead and control the country. All systems have elements of these requirements but it is debatable whether there is a system that covers all of them, or is that too much to ask?

Although The UK and the US both currently use the First Past the Post (FPTP) electoral system , it’s decline in popularity and the fact that few countries still use this possibly outdated system leave its relevance up for debate. There are many advantages to using a more proportional system like the Single Transferable Vote (STV) among others.

To use FPTP voters have a choice of candidate to represent their constituency, of which there are 650 in the UK. Voters mark their choice on a simple ballot paper. Candidates do not need a majority in this system – just a plurality to become the Member of Parliament (MP) for their constituency. In the UK a political party needs 326 constituency seats

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Olivia M. Upper Sixth

to form a majority government in the House of Commons. The reasons that both the UK and the US among others still use FPTP is because it is highly likely that a single party will win an overall majority leading to strong and successful governments – avoiding power sharing and secret deals. Furthermore, it establishes a clear MP constituency link, and it is easy to understand for the electorate. Despite all these positives, there are reasons why other countries choose not to adopt this system, the main one being its lack of proportionality as it favours concentrated party support. This means votes for smaller parties are effectively wasted, as they have no real chance of winning the election, leading to an increase in tactical voting. Similarly, MPs are also elected without winning most of the support – only a plurality, meaning that they are mainly representing constituents who didn’t vote for them.

The Single Transferable Vote (STV) can be seen as superior to FPTP as it covers some areas that FPTP lacks such as proportionality.

But at what cost? STV is used in the Northern Irish Assembly in which voters put numbers next to each candidate in order of preference. Each candidate needs to meet a quota of votes calculated by the Droop Formula to be elected. Once this quota is achieved, remaining votes are transferred to the next most popular candidate. The advantages as previously mentioned is that higher proportional outcomes are achieved with less wasted votes. Therefore, negative campaigning is decreased and there is more choice on the ballot paper. However, there are disadvantages that come

alongside being more proportional, such as ballot papers being large and confusing which may be complicated for some voters. Moreover, voters may feel disconnected from their representative because of the high volume of choice that must be made. Another big problem that can arise is that coalitions are much more frequent, so the strength of the government is compromised, and the two most opposed parties do generally still dominate.

Another more proportional system that is used in the Welsh and Scottish Assemblies is the Additional Member System (AMS). Each voter has two votes –one for a constituency representative which is decided through FPTP and the second for a regional representative using a more proportional system. The d’Hondt formula is used to calculate who wins seats from the second vote based on the number of seats already won. The advantages of AMS are the increase in proportionality allowing for greater representation and more choice. However, the problems with this system mainly arise from the first vote using FPTP, therefore the issues with disproportionality are carried into the first vote of this system. Moreover, AMS is more likely to produce coalitions and is complex with multiple party chosen representatives.

A less used system is the Supplementary Vote (SV) which is used to elect London Mayors in England. Voters have two columns on their ballot paper and put an ‘X’ by their first and second choice. If a candidate gets more than 50% on the first-choice column, they win. If they have less than 50% then the top two candidates.

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Knife crime has been a growing concern in London in recent years, with reports of stabbings becoming increasingly common in the news. The number of knife crimes committed in the city has risen sharply, prompting the London Metropolitan Police and local government officials to implement a number of initiatives aimed at reducing the number of attacks. However, despite these efforts, knife crime in London continues to be a major problem; leaving many wondering what is driving the trend and what can be done to combat it.

Oneof the key factors driving the rise in knife crime is economic inequality and poverty. London is one of the most economically divided cities in the world, with a significant portion of the population living in poverty. This is particularly true for young people, who are often faced with limited opportunities for education and employment. Many turn to gangs and criminal activity as a means of survival and knife crime is often a by-product of this environment.

Another major contributor to knife crime is the availability of knives and other weapons. Knives are readily available for purchase in shops and online, and a lack of regulation and enforcement makes it easy for young people to get their hands on them. Additionally, a culture of violence and aggression is often perpetrated by the media, making knives and other weapons seem like a viable means of protection or power, rather than the dangerous tools they are.

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Krishan A. Upper Sixth

The London Metropolitan Police have implemented several initiatives in recent years to address the problem of knife crime, including increased patrols in high-crime areas, the use of stop-and-search powers, and the introduction of knife-detection technology in public places. Additionally, the police have worked with community organisations and other groups to address the root causes of knife crime, such as poverty and social inequality. These efforts have included youth outreach programs, job training and mentorship opportunities.

One example of a successful initiative is the “Knives Take Lives” campaign, which is run by the London Fire Brigade. The campaign focuses on educating young people about the dangers of carrying knives and the tragic consequences that can result. The program includes presentations in schools, youth centres and community centres, as well as public awareness campaigns and outreach to at-risk youth.

Another example of a communitybased initiative is the “Street Doctors” program. This particular program trains young people to provide first aid to knife crime victims and raises awareness about knife crime in their communities. The program has been successful in creating a sense of community and empowerment among young people, who

are often the most affected by knife crime.

In 2019 and 2020, London saw an unprecedented rise in knife crime and recorded the highest number of fatal stabbings of young people in the city in a decade. This rise has been attributed to various factors, from social issues like poverty to a lack of educational and employment opportunities, a fragmented community and the impact of government cuts.

In response to this increase, in 2020, London Mayor Sadiq Khan launched a “Knife Crime Emergency Taskforce” to address the problem. The task force focused on targeted policing, youth engagement and support for communities affected by knife crime. They also introduced new powers for police officers under the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 to tackle knife crime across London. This includes powers to stop and search anyone who an officer believes is in possession of a corrosive substance, bladed article or offensive weapon.

Despite these efforts, knife crime in London continues to be a major problem. It is important that the approach taken to tackle knife crime is multifaceted, addressing the underlying issues such as poverty and social inequality, while also providing support to those affected by knife crime, including victims and their families. It is also crucial that the cultural perception of knives as a means of protection, or power, is changed.

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Comparing Japan & the UK

The Japanese political system is a Constitutional Monarchy that is dictated by the Constitution of Japan. The constitution was written by American civilian officials working during the Allied occupation of Japan in 1947. It replaced the original constitution known as the Meiji Constitution with a system very similar to the UK. In terms of government, there are three main bodies, the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary.

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Dante B. Lower Sixth

The Head of State is the Emperor, a monarch, whose role is purely ceremonial. The Executive in practise is actually run by the Head of Government, also known as the Prime Minister and their Cabinet, also known as the Ministers of State. The Cabinet is called the Cabinet of Japan and oversees the daily governing and dictating of specific government departments. Currently, the Japanese government is a coalition government between the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the Komeito party, meaning that the Cabinet consists mostly of LDP members and one member of the Komeito party. Ministers of State include the Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications, Minister of Justice, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister of Finance etc. They have many explicit powers, such as the execution of the law, the conduction of foreign affairs, the administration of the civil service and the drafting of the budget. The LDP is the biggest and most elected party in Japan and since the year 1955, Japan has been a dominant party system.

This is proven by the fact that of the thirty-one Prime Ministers who have been appointed, twenty-four of them have been members of the LDP. In the current Kishida Cabinet, there is one Minister from the Komeito Party, Tetsuo Saito, who is the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

The Japanese legislature is a bicameral system, meaning there are two houses. The legislative body as a whole is known as the National Diet, the lower house is known as the House of Representatives and the upper house is known as the House of Councillors. In the House of Councillors there are 248 seats, 118 of which are held by the LDP. To be elected to the House of Councillors, one must be a Japanese national above the age of thirty. The House of Representatives has 465 seats. Although it is the ‘lower house’, it is more powerful than the House of Councillors. It can override the vetoes on bills imposed by the other house if it has a two-thirds majority. Unlike the House of Councillors, one

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must be over the age of twenty-five to run for office in the House of Representatives. The dominant party again is the LDP, with 261 seats. The second biggest party in Japan and in both houses is the Central Democratic Party (CDP) who have 39 seats in the House of Councillors and 96 seats in the House of Representatives. Elections for the House of Councillors are every three years; however, they are staggered so that only half of the councillors are up for election every three years, meaning that councillors must serve a six-year term. Of the 121 members up for election every three years, 73 are elected from 45 districts by single non-transferrable vote (SNTV). SNTV is an electoral system that is used to elect multiple members from one area, ‘district’ in this case. It is exactly like firstpast-the-post (FPTP), used in UK general elections, but multiple members are elected in each district. The other 48 are elected from a whole country list, by proportional representation. Elections for the House of Representatives are held every four years and a semi-proportional, mixed electoral system is used to elect members. 60% of the seats in the House of Representatives are elected by first-past-the-post because they are single member constituencies. The other 186 members are elected by a party list system of proportional representation. This results in eleven regional blocs that each have between 6 – 30 members of the House of Representatives depending on

how large the region is and how populous it is. To vote in either election, you must be a Japanese national of at least 18 years of age. This was recently changed in 2016, from 20 to 18.

The Prime Minister (PM) is currently Fumio Kishida, who became PM on the 4th of October 2021. He is the President of the Liberal Democratic Party and has been a Member of the House of Representatives for the 1st Hiroshima District since the 20th of October 1996. Under former PM Shinzo Abe, Kishida was the Minister for Foreign Affairs for five years. In Japan, the PM is appointed by the National Diet. To be elected they must be a member of the House of the Diet. The PM is nominated by either both houses of the Diet, or just the House of Representatives. As the House of Representatives is more powerful than the House of Councillors, if they cannot settle on a particular person in ten days, the person nominated by the House of Representatives automatically becomes the PM. This means that the PM is most likely a member of the majority party, and therefore, most likely a member of the LDP. This is because they have lots of seats in the House of Representatives and can therefore nominate the most powerful person in their party.

There are many similarities between the United Kingdom’s political system and that of Japan. Japan uses first-past-the-post (FPTP) to elect 60% of the members of the House of Representatives, this is modelled off the UK who

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also uses FPTP to elect all members of the House of Commons. Additionally, the Japanese use a bicameral system, and have an upper and a lower House. These may have different names to the UK, but it is the same system as the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Similarly, the House of Representatives in Japan may be the lower house, but it has more power, exactly like the House of Commons in the UK. The House of Commons can override votes and amendments on bills made by the House of Lords despite being the ‘lower’ house. Another clear similarity between the two countries is the relationship between the Head of State and the government.

In both countries, a monarch rules but the role is mostly ceremonial.. Just like the UK, the head of government in Japan is known as the Prime Minister. The PM and their Cabinet is given the power that the monarch used to have, and is able to exercise many different powers via the Emperor.

These powers include the promulgation of the amendment of the Constitution of Japan, laws, Cabinet Orders and Treaties, assembly of the Diet, dissolution of the House of Representatives and the reception of foreign ambassadors and ministers. The PM has the power to dismiss and appoint ministers, which is very similar to the powers of Patronage that the Prime Minister of the UK has. Moreover, the Japanese PM must be a member of the Diet, just as the PM in the UK must also be a member of Parliament. There are also a few differences between the Japanese

political system and the UK’s political system, as to be expected. The Constitution of Japan is codified and entrenched, whereas the UK’s constitution is uncodified and unentrenched. Moreover, when it comes to elections, Japan uses a semi-proportional mixed electoral system whereas the UK uses a non-proportional, nonmixed electoral system. This means that Japan has more proportional electoral results, as well as using FPTP, they also use a proportional party list system and SNTV, unlike the UK which uses just FPTP. Overall, three electoral systems are used to elect members to the Diet whereas only one is used in the UK.

On the whole, it would seem that Japan and the UK have much in common when it comes to their political systems which may be unsurprising, due to the fact that Japan’s modern political system is mainly modelled on the UKs. The fact that the Head of Government is also known as the Prime Minister in Japan and the idea of bicameralism in Parliament is also exactly the same as the UK. The only differences being that there are far fewer seats in Japan’s National Diet than the UK’s Parliament and the use of differing electoral systems. Japan uses a more proportional system that includes using three electoral systems whereas the UK uses only one electoral system that is non-proportional. Although, overall, there are definitely more similarities than differences.

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Shinzo Abe & Abenomics

Shinzo Abe, who served as Prime Minister of Japan from 2012 to 2020 holds an important place in Japanese politics. He strived to change perceptions of Japan, stating “If the Japanese need one thing now, that thing is confidence—the ability to turn our faces to the sun, like the sunflower does when it blooms at the height of summer”.

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Ryo B. Upper Sixth

His first stint as Prime Minister was in 2006 which lasted a little over a year, ending due to ill health. During the next 5 years after he stepped down, Japan experienced 5 different Prime Ministers and saw the Liberal Democratic Party which has been dominant since its founding in 1955 fall out of power for only the second time in its history. Once returning as Prime Minister in 2012, Shinzo Abe put in place a group of economic policies commonly known as ‘Abenomics’. This included government spending and a growth strategy designed to get the economy out of the stagnation that had clasped the nation for decades. He focused on three areas of economic policies nicknamed the “three arrows”. The first being expansionary monetary policy, in an attempt to rid Japan of the deflation that had plagued the nation. The second arrow was putting in place flexible fiscal policy to restrain public debt without jeopardising the recovery of the nation’s economy. Finally, structural reform to assist the revival of productivity in the nation and to increase growth.

Expansionary monetary policy

The first of the arrows, expansionary monetary policy, is a method of economic growth which consists of expanding the money supply quicker than usual. Japan printed between 60 and 70 trillion yen (approx. 500bn USD), to make Japanese exports more attractive to other nations and to help Japan reach its inflation target of 2%. In April 2013, the Bank of Japan promised to buy new assets including government bonds and equity, to raise inflation to 2% within about two years which is the target that was set out by the government. Later in 2016 the Bank of Japan introduced negative interest rates, a cap on ten-year bond yields and promised to let inflation surpass the target of 2%. This stopped persistent deflation which is a great achievement that is often overlooked.

Government spending programme

The second arrow set out a new government spending programme to stimulate demand and consumption. This resulted in an increase in growth in the short run and helped Japan reach a budget surplus in the long run, which is where government expenditure is lower than government revenue. This helped Japan to repay some of their existing national debts which would have been created to fund the expansionary monetary policy in the first arrow. This second arrow was also largely seen as a success.

Reform regulation

The third arrow was much more complex, aiming to reform various regulations to make Japanese industries more competitive internationally and to encourage investment into the nation from the private sector. It included reforms to corporate governance, easing restrictions on hiring foreign staff in special economic zones, helping the health sector and putting measures in place to help both Japanese and foreign entrepreneurs. It also aimed to modernise the agricultural sector and to restructure the utility and pharmaceutical industries.

Abenomics is seen to have worked well, with Japan getting closer to their inflation targets and the unemployment rate in Japan being lower than when Abe assumed power for the second time. Japan also saw an increase in gross domestic product, showing how Abe’s reforms were able to help get Japan out of a stagnant phase. Shinzo Abe has had an undeniable impact on Japanese politics, with aspects of Abenomics being visible today, helping Japan get out of the passivity that had plagued it for decades.

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“Three arrows” economic policy

Recently in American politics: the controversial Florida Parental Rights in Education Bill, commonly referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” has passed to law as of the 28th of February 2022 and has been in effect since the 1st of July 2022. The bill outlines the prohibition of sexual orientation and gender identity discussions from kindergarten to grade 3 (5-9 years old).

Furthermore, Governor of Florida, Ronald DeSantis provided misinformation that it would only affect these age groups. However, the bill states that if discussions aren’t age appropriate, they can’t be discussed, no matter the age of the children. The vagueness of this bill allows leeway for prosecution and stereotypes to be

enforced. Yet, the bill cannot violate the Civil Rights Act since federal anti-discrimination laws take precedence over state laws. Meaning theoretically, protection would be provided; however, in the eyes of Floridian and National LGBTQ+ youth, activists and politicians this isn’t the case.

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This bill would effectively silence the LGBTQ+ community within Florida and enforce a stigma of secrecy and taboo surrounding these topics. These themes are the reason that 22% of all hate crimes that occur in Florida are directed towards this community, a number that surpasses the number of religious hate crimes, according to The Department of Justice. This vicious cycle continues due to bills like this that allow for the normalisation of hate and alienation. In a study by the Trevor Project they found that 45% of LGBT youth seriously considered suicide and 1 in 5 transgender and non-binary people attempted suicide, however students that found schools and communities to be LGBT-affirming reported lower levels of attempts. The Don’t Say Gay Act could negatively affect these numbers and cause higher suicide rates among Floridian youth. Chasten Buttigieg, husband to the Secretary of Transportation and a retired teacher tweeted the bill “will kill kids”. This is not the only case where the law has lacked in terms of protecting the LGBTQ+ community; in Florida there is no state-wide law that bans discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, meaning they can be unlawfully evicted, refused (from service) and fired based on ‘protected characteristics’.

The repercussions of this peaceful and celebratory protest demonstrate and reveal the true motives of the education system surrounding LGBTQ+ rights. Disney workers also staged a walkout due to the act as the company itself gave $50,000 to aid Governor DeSantis’ re-election campaign. Some employees visited an Orlando LGBTQ+ centre to send letters with words of affirmation. Whilst this support was from a minority of their workers, the impact was recognised.

Before the bill was published an amendment was removed that stated: if an educator found out a child was a member of the LGBTQ+ community they could tell the parents within 6 weeks. Despite the amendment’s removal, Shevrin Jones, the first openly LGBTQ+ member of Florida’s Senate said the bill could forcibly ‘out’ students and youth, highlighting the concern of alternate political standpoints. The National Law Centre of Homelessness and Poverty states LGBTQ+ youth are 120% more at risk of homelessness than heterosexual and cisgendered youth, a direct impact of forced ‘outing’ and miseducation. Outing can cause problems in the home not just with disownment but with shunning and homophobia which can negatively affect mental health. The Trevor Project also found that 60% of children seeking mental health care were not able to receive it. A further problem is the matter of conversion therapy which despite multiple bills in Florida to abolish it, like for example the 11th of March 2016 ban for minors, have all failed to pass to into law. It was also found by UCLA: Williams Institute that 16,000 LGBT youth will receive conversion therapy in the 32 states that it isn’t banned. This emphasises the need to normalise and accept the members of these communities and ensure law protects rather than prosecutes them.

Residents of Florida, specifically high school students protested this act and staged walkouts to show their defiance. Organiser of the statewide protests, Jack Petocz was suspended indefinitely from his school after handing out 200 pride flags and saying that his school was trying to “[silence] a queer student” and that the Act was “an attempt to hurt queer people like me”.

Joe Biden, current US President called the act “hateful”, which is said by Governor DeSantis to allow parents to feel they are sending they’re children for “an education, not an indoctrination”. The stigma and belief is that discussing these issues and topics will influence children, but the real question is, will this influence be a negative one, as many in the State of Florida insinuate.

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A sad day for the Court & country

On June 24th, 2022, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs v Jackson [Women’s Health Organization (JWHO)]. The court upheld Mississippi’s ban on abortion at 15 weeks into pregnancy, overturned Roe V. Wade, and ended the federal constitutional right to abortion in the US at 5 votes to 4.

What was Roe. V Wade?

The historical Supreme Court case of Roe. V Wade, ruling on January 22nd, 1973, decriminalised abortion nationwide, giving women in every US state the ability to have an abortion:

“[T]he ‘liberty’ protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment covers more than those freedoms explicitly named in the Bill of Rights… Several decisions of this Court make clear that freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment… That right [to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion] necessarily includes the right of a woman to decide whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.”

Concurring Opinion in Roe v. Wade, by Justice Potter Stewart (Jan. 22nd, 1973)

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Molly M. Upper Sixth

Most importantly, the Roe v. Wade case- for half a century- became a landmark case. One which brought hope to women, not only in the US, but in other countries around the world, that society might become more tolerable for them. This is now not the case.

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling, President Joe Biden remarked: “It is a sad day for the Court, and for the Country”, and “Now that Roe is gone. Let’s be very clear: the health, and life, of women in this nation is now at risk”. And indeed, evidence suggests that Biden is correct. Nearly 1 in 4 women in America will have an abortion by age 45 according to the Guttmacher Institute. A banning of clinical abortions will only result in an increase in illegal, unsafe abortions- also known as ‘backstreet abortions’. Thus placing “The health and life of women in [the US] at risk.” According to the Guttmacher Institute, the abortion rates in countries in which it is criminalised are similar to those of countries wherein abortion is legal. In parts of the world where abortion is illegal, botched abortions still cause about 8-11 percent of all maternal deaths, or about 30,000 each year (Guttmacher, 2017).

For those in support of criminalising abortion, the Christian concept of the Sanctity of Life is often utilised to explain why abortion should be illegal, arguing that all life is sacred. However, abortions will still be carried out once States declare their anti-abortion laws; in some cases, these will both terminate the pregnancy, and kill the mother. Therefore, any Sanctity of Life argument is rendered ineffective and unconvincing. Abortion clinics, like Planned Parenthood, exist to allow women to safely carry out abortions; and thus, it was considered a type of healthcare. Now instead, abortions will have to be orchestrated out of state- this fact showcases that the Dobbs V Jackson ruling has the greatest negative impact upon the poorest in society, which also happens to be African Americans. (In 2021, 19.5% of African Americans lived below the poverty line, compared to 8.2% of

white Americans- according to Statistica. These women will be unable to travel out of state or out of the country in order to get their treatment.

The iconic Gloria Steinem- an American journalist and social-political activist who emerged as a nationally recognised leader of second-wave feminism- was interviewed about the new Supreme Court ruling in a BBC interview: “If we do not have decision-making power over our own physical selves, there’s no democracy.” And it is this lack of democracy in the US demonstrated in the Dobbs V. Jackson court case which begs the question: what’s next? A Gallup poll, published prior to the court’s final decision, showed that 80% of Americans do not support the banning of abortion, and yet 5 out of the 4 justices voted to criminalise it. Clearly today’s predominantly conservative US Supreme Court does not care for public opinion and is not democratically representative. Their willingness to overrule the best known, most politically contested Supreme Court decision suggests that they will not hesitate to reconsider other important cases. Many are beginning to fear for the safety of LGBTQ+ rights, for example, given both Justice Alito, and Justice Thomas’ expressed views against same sex marriage. Dobbs V. Jackson has demonstrated a total disregard for public opinion and has also demonstrated a certain brutality and negligence of the Court towards the rights of American people who can so very easily become, once again, marginalised.

On paper the Dobbs v Jackson Supreme Court case is a criminalisation of abortions after 15 weeks. In reality, the overturning of Roe v Wade is symbolic and indicative of a changing culture in the US. Abortion rights, which previously seemed to be protected, have been called into question, and consequently destroyed. And with a predominantly conservative Court many have no doubt that other rights will now also be questioned. Democracy is failing. And the fundamental rights of women in the US are being stripped before the world’s very eyes.

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“Let’s be very clear: the health, and life, of women in this nation is now at risk”
President Joe Biden

The truth behind puppy mills

For decades puppies have been in high demand, whether that be as the newest fashion accessory, Christmas gift or to feature in a posed Instagram post. This huge demand for puppies needed to be met with a huge supply of them, leading to the growth and spread of Puppy Mills.

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Puppy Mills’ - before reading this article I doubt this label will strike a chord with many of you as the name fails to convey the terrifying and disturbing nature of these institutions. However, after finishing this article, I hope to have instilled a sense of urgency in all readers about puppy mills and the mass farming of puppies.So, let’s rip off the façade and discuss what is going on inside these Puppy Mills. Firstly, let’s describe them as what they are- puppy making factories. In these factories the main priority is quick cheap breeding, which as you can imagine provides horrendous consequences in terms of the dog’s welfare, hygiene, and comfort. Let me paint a picture of what most of these establishments entail. Cramped cages line the properties, insurmountable piles of faeces and debris litter the surroundings and sick, dead, and neglected puppies, along with mothers that swarm the property like a defeated army. These unthinkable conditions are a breeding ground for bacteria, and this coupled with the lack of veterinary, or general, care for the inhabitant dogs means that Puppy Mills are plagued with death and pain. Whilst it cannot be known how many dogs die in Puppy Mills each year due to their unregulated nature, it is estimated that a horrifying 2 million dogs die in US Puppy Mills every year after falling victim to the heinous and dangerous conditions they provide.

So where can these puppy farms be found? What countries are allowing this cruelty? You might expect to see these practices in less developed countries, which is true. However, Puppy mills are an epidemic that can be found in the most developed countries of the world like the US, UK, and Australia. In the US there are an estimated 10,000 Puppy mills active with 500,00 dogs kept solely for breeding in these hell houses. The

conditions and practices in Puppy mills are evidently inhumane and unacceptable, so how are they still allowed in countries like the US?

The answer is simple, the reason that in many US states Puppy Mills are legal is that the Animal Welfare Act, the federal law which regulates pet breeding, is outdated and weak regarding pet breeders and breeding practices. Whilst in October 2021 a new law named the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act was passed to boost animal rights in the US, the Act was merely a reassertion of a previous act and therefore failed to properly address Puppy Mills. This left a grey area around the topic, meaning Puppy mills can still be legally functioning.

Although depressing and disheartening, there are actions we can take to combat Puppy Mills. Clearly the best thing that can be done is to stop buying from mills and adopt dogs instead. This prevents them profiting and thereby hopefully will force them to close. However, evidently not everyone can adopt and get involved in this way. So, action can also be taken in donating to animal welfare charities, so that they gain the resources to lobby for policy changes. Furthermore, we can raise awareness like I am doing in this article to try and prevent people from making the mistake of supporting such

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It is estimated that a horrifying 2 million dogs die in US puppy mills every year

The Global Politics of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, also known as the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, is a fifth-generation, single-seat, single-engine, stealth-capable military aircraft that has been the subject of much debate and controversy in the global political arena.

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The F-35 program was first initiated in the 1990s to replace ageing fighter jets in the United States and its allies’ military arsenals. The program was intended to create a multirole aircraft that could perform a variety of missions, including air-to-air combat, air-to-ground strikes, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. The program, however, quickly ran into numerous issues, including cost overruns, technical difficulties, and delays. Despite these setbacks, the F-35 has been procured by many countries around the world and is now in active service. One of the main controversies surrounding the F-35 program is cost. The program had been plagued by cost overruns, with the estimated cost of the program ballooning to over $1.5 trillion dollars. This has led to criticism from many quarters, with some arguing that the money could be better spent on other programs, or social services. Despite the high cost, supporters of the F-35 argue that the aircraft is a necessary investment in national security and that it will provide a decisive military advantage in any future conflicts.

Another major controversy surrounding the F-35 program has been the participation of foreign countries in the program. The United States has traditionally been very protective of its military technology and has been reluctant to share it with other countries. However, in the case of the F-35 program, the United States has allowed

several other countries to participate in the program and even buy the aircraft. This has led to concerns that the technology could be stolen, or reverse-engineered by foreign adversaries. Supporters argue that the participation of foreign countries in the program has helped to reduce the cost of the aircraft and that the aircraft will help to ensure the strength of the military forces of the United States and its allies.

The F-35 has also been a source of political tension between the United States and some of its allies. Turkey, a member of the NATO alliance, was originally a partner in the program but was kicked out after they procured a Russian air-defence system. Similarly, Canada has been criticized for delays in the procurement of the F-35 and other countries have also been vocal about their desire to investigate other options.

In conclusion, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is a highly controversial program that has been the subject of much debate and political wrangling in the global arena. The program has suffered cost overruns, technical difficulties, and delays, and has led to a number of political controversies, including the participation of foreign countries, the protection of sensitive technology, and tensions between the United States and its allies. Despite these issues, the F-35 is considered a critical investment in national security by many and continues to be procured by countries around the world.

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Women’s rights in Iran hit rock bottom through the murder of Masha Amini

The current conflict in Iran and its devastating effect on women in particular should be at the forefront of everyone’s current political knowledge. The already extreme tensions were reignited by the murder of Masha Amini while in the hands of Iran’s Morality Police in August 2022. It is evident that the current laws and guidelines within Iran based on the beliefs of the Islamic Republic allow immense persecution and discrimination against women, hence leading to many protests of those angry and failed by their government.

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Eva Grace T. Upper Sixth

Essentially, women have been pushing against persecutory laws and a sexist government by challenging enforced dress codes and sexual harassment. Masha Amini died while in custody 3 days after she had been arrested, with Iranian officials denying reports that she was beaten, sparking protests and uproar. In addition to thousands of women banding together to protest, many have also removed their hijabs and cut their hair, defying the wishes and expectations of Iran’s Morality Police. Although under the Iranian constitution there is equal protection of men and women, by girls being able to attend university and have an education for example, in reality women remain subject to discrimination. This includes family law where wives must seek the permission of their husbands to seek employment or obtain a passport. Since the Iranian revolution of 1979, wearing a hijab became obligatory in public places, drawing major attention to women removing them as a form of protest in the modern day. However, President Raisi introduced further restrictions in August 2022.

Protests first broke out in the Iranian Kurdish town of Saqez mid-September, where Masha Amini was buried, leading to a spread of protests across all of Iran’s 31 provinces. The government’s response was to introduce restrictions on the internet and communications, to limit world knowledge on the horrors currently occurring, and further the difficulty of accessing the full extent of these protests. A range of women have been involved from differing minority ethnic groups such as the Kurds, and university students. The United Nations condemned the “apparent unnecessary and disproportionate use of force” against protestors by Iranian security forces, due to the uncertain but concerning number of fatalities and arrests made. Norway-based Iran Human

Rights stated that at least 154 people had been killed by 4th October, with officials confirming at least 1200 arrests, many being teenagers.

Although Iran’s government pledges to investigate Amini’s death, there is arguably still a lack of responsibility being taken by Iran, blaming the agitation on foreign influence, including the US, EU and Israel. Furthermore, her death may not even be justifiably investigated, as the police stated Amini died of natural causes instead of brutality. Kurdish groups in Iraq’s Kurdistan region were also accused of influence, with Iran launching drone and artillery attacks in late September.

The UN Office for Human Rights called for an independent investigation in September saying that laws regulating what women wear should be repealed; while the UK Government summoned Iranian diplomatic officials, calling on security forces to refrain from violence. Iran remains one of the UK’s human rights priority countries, with the government raising wider concerns for the country’s use of the death penalty as well as restrictions on freedom of expression, belief, and assembly. Some Iranian officials have therefore been sanctioned by the UK in response to human rights violations,. Regarding the US, they too had extensive sanctions in place against Iran, with President Biden stating he would impose ‘further costs’ on those suppressing the protests. Although arguably there has been little progression and women may be in a worse position currently by fighting for the protection of their rights, there have been hints at some change in the policy on enforcement of the hijab. Even some in the Iranian Parliament have suggested police reforms, with President Raisi implying possible change by stating “values cannot change but methods can”.

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Can Russia justify their

An effective electoral system should include social and proportional representation alongside secret, clear and simple voting with a good choice of candidates. Moreover, it is necessary to have a system that forms a strong opposition and a strong government that can effectively lead and control the country. All systems have elements of these requirements but it is debatable whether there is a system that covers all of them, or is that too much to ask?

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Jeffery L. Lower Sixth

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has entered its first-year anniversary on the 24th February 2023, and so far there is no end in sight. The Kremlin for the past year has repeatedly accused Ukraine of supporting Nazi groups, genocide, and NATO for its provocation against Russia. Putin repeatedly reiterates the point of NATO’s eastward expansion, citing it as a direct threat towards the sovereignty of Russia, and stated that this “special military operation” was forced to be conducted by Western powers. On the other hand, we see western media outlets constantly fighting back against Putin, describing Putin as an evil figure, who wishes to jeopardize global security and achieve global domination. Yet just how much of these claims are true, and in the end, is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as justified as Putin says?

The Kremlin’s rhetoric: NATO broke their promise of eastward expansion

Putin’s annual speech on the 21st of February continued the Kremlin’s usual stance and proceeded to blame the West for the war. He cited the expansion of NATO and New European anti-rocket defence systems as provocative to Russia and accused the West of having “infinite power” as their ultimate objective. Since 1991, NATO has incorporated 11 Eastern European countries and three former Soviet Republics into the military alliance,

and most of these incorporations happened before Putin became President of Russia. US Secretary of State James Baker’s “not an inch eastward” assurance towards Gorbachev during his visit to Russia on the 9th February 1990 under the pretext that the Soviet Union would accept the unification of Germany, is often times the quoted sources in accusing the West for breaking the promise. In short, this view of Russia’s arose mainly from former Cold War dialogues between then USA and USSR while discussing the future of Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall. During these dialogues, the west adopted the stance of promising no further eastward expansion of NATO, in exchange of hoping that the USSR would agree to a unified Germany that has links with NATO. However, in the final treaty no such legal terms were written down and signed, meaning that such verbal promises technically had no legal obligations. At the same time the scope of discussion is also debated, as to whether diplomats at the time were referring “East” to East Germany, or in general Eastern Europe as a whole.

Assessing the viewpoints of both sides, it can be said that there technically are arguments for both. For NATO, their claim is that they never violated any terms this is valid on a legal basis. They never actually signed or committed to any terms that required them to not expand eastward. Therefore, they did not actually violate any treaty or obligation in opening dialogue with Kyiv, discussing their relations with NATO or directly supporting Ukraine through military and economical means. Besides, NATO still upholds the treaty signed during the unification of Germany up until this day, and hence why we see a reduced number of foreign troops stationed in East Germany, as well as different restrictions put upon what types of weapons are allowed to be

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stationed in Germany. From the Kremlin’s point of view, it is also technically valid for them to say that NATO did violate their commitments of no eastward expansion. Historical context provides us with evidence of verbal agreements made by western diplomats during the flurry of negotiations done by both sides in this period. However, whether violating a verbal agreement made 30 years ago during a period of constant negotiations is sufficient to accuse the other of violating its own commitments is debatable. On top of this, many countries have joined NATO post 1991. All former Warsaw Pact countries such as Poland and Hungary turned NATO. If Russia was to commit to their argument that the West violated their agreement, perhaps they should have voiced louder when these countries decided to join NATO after the breakup of the Warsaw Pact.

There aren’t any Nazis to de-nazify

A phrase that we often hear from the Kremlin to justify their invasion of Ukraine. The above phrase mainly refers to two main points, which is demilitarisation, meaning the disarmament of Ukraine as a country and restricting it from having their own military, and denazification, the belief that there are neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine, and such groups should be eliminated. The aim for demilitarization of Ukraine in Putin’s mind is mainly because of his belief that the Ukrainians are committing genocide against the Russian speaking population in Ukraine. Following the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine in 2014, anti-revolution and proRussian protests began in the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts in Ukraine. Armed, Russianbacked separatists seized government buildings in the two regions and proclaimed themselves independent. This led to the Ukrainian government using its military to fight back against the Russian-backed

separatists in these regions. This conflict in Eastern Ukraine has caused many casualties for both military and civilian personnel and is the main backdrop for Russia’s claim that the Ukrainians are committing a genocide against the local Russian-speaking population. Another claim on “denazification” refers to the far-right paramilitary organizations and groups in Ukraine needed to be removed. However, these far-right organizations are fringe elements in Ukraine’s society, and Zelenskyy’s landslide victory in the 2019 presidential elections proves otherwise. Zelenskyy is also Jewish himself, with his grandfather fighting in the Red Army during the Second World War, and his family losing relatives during the Holocaust. Moreover, the term “denazification” simply does not apply in this context, simply because there aren’t any Nazis to “de-nazify”. Putin’s use of the term “denazification” is likely more of a propaganda and slogan for the war, instead of a concrete justification. Russia lost millions of men to Nazi Germany during the Second World War,. Therefore, Putin may have hoped by using terms such as “denazification”, he would be able to increase the legitimacy of his invasion and gain more domestic support from the population.

Assessing the two terms, it is not hard to conclude that these justifications are likely fabricated by the Kremlin to persuade and convince the local population about the invasion’s legitimacy, more than justifying the invasion towards foreign countries. Conflicts and war cause casualties to both civilian and military personnel, and it is inevitable that innocent people are caught in the crossfire. It is simply insensible and absurd to call these a deliberate attempt at performing a genocide against a certain population. The point on denazification is similar, with the Kremlin providing no evidence on their claims, it is

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“The demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine”

complete nonsense how a democratically elected government is now being accused of being Nazis.


Whataboutism refers to the point in an argument, when one draws comparison of one act towards the other in attempt to justify its legality. Whataboutism has also been used by the Kremlin to justify its invasion of Ukraine. The Kremlin has cited foreign interventions by NATO countries such as the 2003 Iraq War, Kosovo War and Syrian Civil War as examples of Western military actions that they claimed were illegal. The Kremlin also expresses the viewpoint that powerful countries such as the USA can undermine international law without significant repercussions. Russia have been constantly drawing comparisons of these interventions towards its current invasion in Ukraine, basically trying to justify along the lines “if they can do it, why couldn’t we?”

Whataboutism has seen prevalent use in propaganda, and it is not something that is new to the political stage. However, different arguments exist to discuss whether such arguments, are merely a deflection of one’s responsibility, or in certain situations, useful for justifying acts. When we put the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine into this discussion, we can see a reason for the Russian media to use such arguments. There is no denying that NATO and western powers have had their own controversial decisions in the past, most notably the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Such acts do contradict the West’s statement on defending other’s countries sovereignty, and Russia does have a reason to use such explanations for their acts. However, one illegal act does not justify the other. You cannot argue that just because someone else was speeding on the highway, therefore you should be allowed to do it. International laws are codified in

formal documents and clearly outline rules and regulations that countries should follow regarding their sovereignty and territorial integrity. The act of invasion itself was already on the wrong, and Russian’s justifying their invasion using another illegal invasion only paints the picture that Russia fully understands the invasion being unjustified.

So is there actually any truth to it?

The Russian justifications we have discussed so far, all point to the Invasion being an unjustified violation of another country’s sovereignty. Justifications such as “denazification”, “demilitarization”, and “what about Iraq” all hold little to no value in reasonings to invade a fellow neighbour. It is no doubt that the Russian Invasion of Ukraine is an unjustified and illegal conflict that holds no actual valid reasoning. However, when researching the justification on NATO breaking the eastward expansion claim, I must say that I do see some degree of truth in such a reasoning. Despite no official records, it is understandable why the Russians and then Soviet Union would feel betrayed when NATO suddenly rapidly expanded eastwards after the collapse of the Warsaw Pact. When a military alliance that has been fighting you for the last 50 years suddenly expands itself hundreds of miles eastward towards your border, it is understandable why Russia would feel threatened in a way, albeit NATO being a defensive alliance. Thought it should also be emphasized that just because there is some truth behind one of the reasons, it does not mean that the invasion is justified. In conclusion, despite seeing some truth and logic behind one of the reasons, it is not strong enough to warrant a full-scale invasion of a neighbouring country. Hence the invasion itself is illegal and unjustified in nature.

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The invasion is illegal & unjustified in nature

Could we be doing more for Ukrainian refugees?

On the morning of the 24th of February 2022 Russia invaded Ukraine, to international shock. As of December 2022, the UN recorded that there have been 6,828 civilian deaths, with a further 10,760 injured. Since the invasion, displaced people have become refugees mostly in Europe, but also in countries such as the USA and Canada.

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Ria M. Lower Sixth

Many countries felt unprepared for this sudden influx of refugees (although the war has been almost inevitable for years, not least because of Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014), and as such they all reacted in different ways. Poland was on the front line as a bordering country to Ukraine: in the first few weeks of war more than 8 million people already arrived in the country.

In response, the UK government launched several schemes, to try and help the people affected. First was the Ukraine Extensions System (3rd May), allowing Ukrainians on temporary visas to extend their current visa by 3 years. The second, the Ukraine Family Scheme (4th May), was for people who wanted to leave Ukraine who had a family already living in the UK. Finally, was the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme, or Homes for Ukraine, which allowed any Ukrainian citizen to come to the UK if they had a sponsor already living within the country. These refugees were also given a Biometric Residence Permit for three years; however, their sponsors were only obligated to accommodate Ukrainians in their homes for 6 months.

As of mid-August, 81,700 Ukrainian citizens had arrived in the UK under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, and a further 33,500 under the Ukrainian Family Scheme. This is in addition to the 38,000 Ukrainian-born residents in the UK in 2019. It is clear to see that the UK has welcomed many Ukrainian citizens over the last year.

It has been no secret that this is the biggest intake of refugees to the UK since 1945 and the Kindertransport, but Russia’s invasion is not by any means the first war to take place since the Second World War. Critics of the government have been condemning these policies and schemes as they could have been put in place for other refugees, for example during the Syrian Refugee Crisis of 2015, or the many people affected by conflicts throughout the world, for example in Ethiopia, Afghanistan, or Iran.

In addition, there were reports of a hugely disproportionate number of people living in Ukraine who were people of colour, including those on student visas who could not

escape the country as quickly as their white counterparts. Both these aspects have led to countries in western Europe being accused of racism, and prioritising people who they can directly relate to, therefore implying that these actions are, whilst morally ‘good’ not altogether consistent.

It is also important to compare the UK’s actions with those of other countries, most significantly those in the EU and others bordering Ukraine. These nations, most noticeably Poland and Romania, experienced huge surges of refugees that they could not manage to keep within their country. The original scheme for EU temporary protection did not require a visa – the UK’s scheme did. The infamous visa delay caused would-be sponsors to stage protests outside the Houses of Parliament last May.

In addition, as the original 6-month period has ended for many refugees, along with the cost of living increasing, sponsors in the UK are finding it less and less feasible for their Ukrainian guests to stay with them long-term. Last November, 2,175 Ukrainians were forced to register as homeless, and this figure is only going to increase as the war continues. The government has stated that these refugees will be eligible for housing and universal credit. However, approximately 4 million people already live in social housing in England, so these people have only further exacerbated the housing crisis at no fault of their own. This therefore implies that the actions of the UK are not sustainable long-term.

Overall, it is possible to argue that the UK has coped well with the crisis, as the 100,000 people who have been welcomed into the country show. However, as the war continues and the death toll steadily rises, the pressure on the government to house and care for Ukrainians decreases. People have pointed out how the cost of living crisis is it harder for sponsors to continue to house Ukrainians. Therefore, it is possible that the real challenge to the UK Government and Ukrainian refugees will be to see what happens in the coming months as Putin continues to wage his war that impacts the rest of Europe and the world.

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The Blair Years in Alastair Campbell’s Own Words

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Tony Blair’s former Spin Doctor Alastair Campbell and question him on his Labour Government. My purpose when going into this interview was to gain insider access to the successes and failures of the Blair Administration. I believe I was successful in my aim, gaining insight into Blair’s infamous ‘sofa government’, the Government’s policy on crime, and leadership struggles which severely impacted Blair’s ability to govern.

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Charlie B. Upper Sixth

Prior to the interview, I conducted a research project into Blair’s leadership style. First coined by the Editor of the Times Newspaper Daniel Finkelstein, the term ‘sofa government’, highlighted the style of government in which he argued Blair was a proprietor, seeking to make decisions amongst a smaller group of technocratic specialists, rather than using a traditional cabinet government in which all cabinet members were involved in the policy process. It became clear to me that this style was necessary due to the modernisation of politics as it was no longer practical to lead a cabinet government. This was down to several reasons, most notably, it had become the case that by the early 1990’s media influence had become so great that the governmental structure had to modernise; Blair’s predecessor John Major had already adapted to it before Blair suggesting that Blairs’ style wasn’t that major a change. During the interview, I asked Campbell for his views on this idea: he was adamant that the influence of Blair’s ‘sofa government’ had been overstated, arguing that policy making was a wholly collective issue as policy ideas must go through civil servants, experts, and advisers before they even reach cabinet.

This wasn’t an issue I had considered before ; decision making goes through so many stages and checks that the final decision is normally always collective.

Another topic of conversation was New Labour’s idea of being, ‘tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime’. This approach was also used by President Bill Clinton in the US. I took issue to this approach as it doesn’t attempt to attack the true cause of crime, poverty. This approach had a disproportionate effect on ethnic minorities in the UK. On the issue of knife crime in London this approach only worsened tensions between the impoverished and the police and does little to combat the huge rise of knife related violence in recent years. I questioned Campbell on the direction of this policy and the Government’s lack of prioritisation of knife crime. He made it clear that he firmly believed in this way of dealing with crime and that he believed other issues to be more in national interest.

I concluded that the lack of action on the subject

of knife crime from all parts of the political spectrum is due to a lack of empathy within privileged political parties and organisations. I believe this is a real and prevalent issue; no government has shown any intent on attacking the root causes of this problem and this also applies to the Blair administration.

A key talking point of the Blair administration was his tumultuous relationship with his Chancellor and successor, Gordon Brown. After their successful election campaign in 1997, it was clear that there was a divide in government between the aptly named, Blairites and Brownites; it was a coalition of power, Blair had to appease Brown supporters at every turn to avoid threat of rebellion. By 2001, Brown was already demanding a departure date for Blair, during our conversation, Alastair Campbell recalled Brown saying to Blair, “You betrayed me. You said you would never challenge me, and you took that away from me.” Blair had agreed to give Brown power after 3 terms and in 2005 this became a realisation. It could be argued Brown limited Blair’s vision for the country with his agenda. I put this theory to Alastair Campbell. Campbell was sure to distance himself from this judgement, he argued that New Labour wouldn’t have worked without Brown, he saved Blair from the Euro, he delivered sweeping reforms taking millions out of poverty whilst increasing educational standards. It must be said that this is a strong argument, and Brown’s political might was assured after the 2008 global financial crisis in which he led a sound response alongside the US and dozens of other countries.

This experience gave me a true insight into the Blair Administration. It is easy to disregard Gordon Brown as a disruptive and incompetent politician, who was untrustworthy with the economy, but he was essential to the fabric of the Blair Administration, he kept the party together for those ten years. Although I disagree with their policy on crime, the Labour Party had good intentions and Blair’s style of government has clearly been exaggerated in recent time to attack unpopular decisions his government made.

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Brown’s political might was assured after the 2008 global financial crisis

The good & bad of Labour’s plans to introduce VAT on private school fees with thoughts from the Headmaster

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Sir Keir Starmer announced in late 2022 his party’s plans to introduce value added tax (VAT) on private school fees. It is not just Labour and Starmer who are backing this idea. Levelling Up Secretary and Conservative MP Michael Gove spoke on the issue in 2017 stating that exemption from VAT has meant that the wealthiest have gained a 20% discount and this has led to rising inequality.

Currently, private schools are labelled as charitable institutions by the government, meaning they are exempt from VAT and corporation tax. This may shock many, as VAT for most consumer goods and services is 20%, which, considering the price of private school tuition would be an incredible hike in price. This idea was originally developed during Labour’s 2017 general election campaign. However, it was not a clear policy promise. Labour was not specifically saying they would introduce this law, as long as partnerships between state institutions and private institutions increased. Partnerships can come in many different forms, including the sharing of facilities or expertise, invitations to events or even sponsoring academies. Caterham School has many partnership schemes with local state schools. For example, the London Academy of Excellence, which sees its pupils invited to Caterham run networking events. Although it would appear that Caterham’s partnerships are thriving the same cannot be said for other schemes. In 2017, there were more than 10,000 partnerships between private and public schools, but, in 2021, it was recorded by the Independent Schools Council (ISC) that only 6,900 remained. This has angered the Labour Party, who believe the current Conservative government has failed in this department. However, this decrease may also be down to the

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Covid-19 pandemic, which meant that school mixing was strictly prohibited. Due to this major decrease, Starmer has re-launched the Labour Party’s tax on private school fees campaign. With the end to the financial benefits that private schools receive, over £1.7 billion could be gained. This is a huge amount of money and could be used to fund welfare, pensions and health care, increasing equality in our society. Additionally, the Labour Party has insinuated that much of this money will be re-invested into state run education. This could solve the problem of large class sizes and improve academic results. It would increase equality of opportunity, which is the idea of creating a fairer society, in order to allow a greater number of people to fulfil their potential.

teachers, caretakers, and owners, which may be detrimental to local economies in the long term. Another possible problem is the movement of private school pupils to state run schools. The ISC has reported that an introduction of VAT could result in 25% of private school pupils switching to state schools.

Being both a Labour Party member and a private school student makes this topic an interesting one to research. Having been a student at Caterham for over five years now and have really enjoyed my time here. Yet I firmly believe in increasing tax and redistributing, therefore producing an interesting conundrum.

To gain a greater insight into how this policy would affect Caterham personally, I talked to the Headmaster, Mr Jones.

What kind of impact could this policy have on the industry as a whole?

The main negative of this scheme will be the closure of smaller independent schools. These schools may not be able to afford the increase in tax. The Daily Mail reported that Labour’s plans may result in the closure of around 200 schools. Closure will cause a loss of jobs and stable incoming for many people including

“If VAT comes in at 20%” the Headmaster responded, “it will have a significant impact”. He argued that it could be disastrous for some smaller independent schools and may even hinder “their ability to operate”. Affording independent school fees is “already challenging for lots of families” and the introduction of VAT is likely to result in “a significant number of families being unable to afford school fees”. Mr Jones believes this will likely lead to “a significant number of people leaving the independent sector and moving to the maintained sector” leading “some schools in some parts of the country to go bust”. Raising an interesting point that I had not quite considered, the Headmaster said “parents of children in independent schools are already paying tax towards the maintained sector”, therefore, “why shouldn’t they have a choice to spend their own income on independent education”. Finally, he argued that 25-30% of pupils leaving independent schools would “simply move the problem from one place to another as additional funding and capacity would need to be found in the state sector for these pupils”.

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What impacts could Caterham experience and how may they be dealt with?

“I think it is too early to say” as there are just “so many unknowns at the moment” but “of course we are thinking about it”. As the idea has not been transformed into policy as yet and the Labour Party’s 2024 manifesto has not been released, all the School can rightly do is “think about what the impact might be and try to assess what we can do”. It may be a difficult situation due to the school’s desire to “keep school fees as low as possible and as affordable as possible for as many people as possible”. School funding may be stretched, challenging the Headmaster and Board’s strong belief in “breadth, in excellence, in a co-curricular programme that is vibrant which is what makes [Caterham] special”. “It will make things tougher for everyone for sure” but “we are not at risk from not existing anymore”.

What contribution do you think private schools have on education in the UK?

Having worked in the maintained sector and having attended a comprehensive school Mr Jones believes that “the independent sector makes a huge contribution to the educational landscape of the UK, as does the maintained sector”. In the independent sector, schools can be “more innovative and try new things out” the wealth of extra-curricular activities is able to be more vast with opportunities in music, drama, art and sport. The independent system therefore makes a huge contribution to “creativity, to innovation, to broader conversation about wellbeing and welfare”. Mr Jones noted “We also do an awful lot of work with maintained schools, for example, the East Surrey Learning Partnership and our sponsorship of the London Academy of Excellence (which is both financial and in kind), because we are a charity that happens to be a school with a clear purpose about the role education should play in wider society”. Despite the claim that partnerships between

independent schools and public schools have decreased, Mr Jones rightly spoke out, saying “during COVID we actually increased out partnership work, such as the laptops for lockdown scheme”.

Do you think this plan is achievable in a four-year Parliamentary Term?

“It is eminently achievable. They could do it day one”. However, whether it makes it into a manifesto remains to be seen, if it does…it is not going to take a long-protracted period of Parliamentary activity. Although, there will be challenge to it, for sure”.

What impacts do you think the state sector would experience?

Despite the idea that this policy would “create a pot of money that can be used to improve education in state schools” The Headmaster argued that it would be more likely that “in terms of the job that needs to be done, £1.7 billion would not touch the sides of the problem that a lack of investment has created. All of us involved in education agree that there has been underinvestment in state education for too long. The solution to this is not to diminish one thriving sector in the hope it will improve state education – simply put, the problem for state schools is not independent schools, it has been government choices. Not only is the £1.7 billion figure contested, even if it were accurate the positive impacts on state schools will be negligible. This is an ideological choice which, sadly, will not improve state schools to the extent promised and will focus attention on the wrong issue if we are really serious about improving education for everyone”. It is just a matter of time before we see an announcement on this policy from the Labour Party, with an upcoming manifesto in the next year we will be much clearer on how this may impact everyone and if it will even go ahead.

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With the end to the financial benefits that private schools receive, over £1.7 billion could be gained

Mr Parker runs for local election!

The 2023 United Kingdom local elections took place on the 4th May 2023 in England and on the 18th May in Northern Ireland. Local council elections are very important in determining how local public services are run and whom they are run by. Some examples of these services are rubbish collection, fixing potholes, and care for the elderly and disabled.

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Dante B. Lower Sixth

The run up to these elections were incredibly interesting for a number of different reasons. A tumultuous year in UK politics was making it out to be a terrible result for the Tories. Market turbulence caused by Liz Truss’ ‘minibudget’ and the Partygate scandal have left the Conservatives disliked by the majority of the population. Strikes were another incredibly important issue in the run up to the election, with junior doctors, nurses and train operatives being the headline acts. This further damaged the government’s local credibility, leading to a loss of 1,063 councillors in 2023. The election was interesting for other reasons too. It was the first election to utilise the new voter identification laws which forced people to bring ID with them to the polling station. This had quite a significant impact on voter turnout as nearly 10,000 people did not return to vote after they were turned away for not having sufficient identification. Many people were concerned that this would decrease turnout, particularly in ethnic minority groups.

However, for us at Caterham, the most interesting part of this election was Head of Spanish Mr Parker standing for the seat of Chaldon in the council of Tandridge. Mr Parker, who has been working at Caterham School for nearly 15 years has been a Liberal Democrat member since the early 2000s and due to the lack of volunteers, decided to stand for election in 2023. I went to talk to him about his election experience and political history. Although, this interview was conducted before the elections took place.


A brief history

I went into this interview knowing very little about Mr Parker’s political past goals, first asking him to give me a brief history. Mr Parker, “first got involved in politics, way back in the 2001 general election.” Thinking I was just talking to him about the upcoming local elections, it was quite a surprise to find out that he was “a candidate in the 2001 general election” and even, “on TV, on the radio”. He was first inspired to get involved when working at, Monmouth School in Wales just before the turn of the century, after hearing presentations from candidates for the Welsh Assembly. At the time there was discussion surrounding whether devolution should happen in Wales or not with a referendum coming up on whether Wales should have an assembly. Recalling these presentations Mr Parker said “[he] thought they were terrible”, believing that, “they were doing exactly what you didn’t want devolution to do”.

After watching these poor quality candidates, he started talking about becoming an independent candidate at the general election. He then learnt that the Director of Studies at Monmouth was a Liberal Democrat member; “[the Director of Studies] suggested I stand for the Liberal Democrats. And that is how it happened, before I knew it, I was campaigning to become a Member of Parliament because the Liberal Democrats didn’t have a candidate”.

After leaving teaching and moving to London he decided to “get involved with politics properly” and stood for local election in Southwark, which was being run by the Lib Dems. Mr Parker explained he “organised the campaign for his ward and stood for election in a developmental seat in which I stood a decent chance”.

Describing the campaign he detailed that he

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“knocked on doors and spoke to everybody”. Although he didn’t win Peckham Rye he argued that “it was an exciting campaign to be a part of, there was even a recount on the night. I remember staying up until 4 am to watch despite being exhausted”.

Returning to teaching in the mid 2000s, he began working at Caterham School and living in Chaldon where he has become the Lib Dem candidate for the local party there. Chaldon is a Conservative safe but, he said that he likes “to still stand because it is important that the Lib Dems have someone”. He revealed that he was offered a safe seat, which would have made him a councillor, however, he turned it down.

What policies or ideas did the Lib Dems have that appealed to you?

Mr Parker said that what he likes about the Lib Dems is that they have “freedom and democracy at its heart” and because they can “adapt to different situations” rather than being entrenched in what their original ideas are. He argued that “what the Lib Dems do well is look at situations or crises and analyse what is the right thing to do”.

What are the main issues in the UK at the moment that need to be addressed at the next general election?

The issue he argued needs to be dealt with is the “cost of living crisis” saying that “mortgage rates have gone up and that a perfect storm of increasing gas and electricity prices have made it impossible for some to “make ends meet”. Mr Parker went on to say “Austerity, scandals and former prime minister Liz Truss’ disastrous mini-budget have prevented the problems everyday people experience from reaching the news and caused many to ask the question how am I going to afford to live?”

How influential do you believe council elections are in the UK?

Mr Parker detailed “two levels to which local council elections are useful at. The first use

being their ability to sort out the really tiny details such as car parking, rubbish collection and potholes being the obvious example”.

He argued that it was also another way in which people can “give the sitting government a message. On a wider level it shows democracy in the UK is alive and well”.

If you were to win the council seat, what changes would you like to see?

“Easy” Mr Parker said, saying that “fly tipping”particularly on “Roffe’s Lane is a major issue, I loathe it”. Furthermore he argued that there is too much traffic, saying that Chaldon is used as a “rat run” from Merstham to Croydon. What is the process of running for council like?

“It depends on which council elections and where you are” and “each party has their own format,” said Mr Parker. The Lib Dems put “leaflets through the door” and have local parties such as the “Caterham party” to campaign in the local area.

Do you think third parties like the Lib Dems have that much of an influence on UK politics?

“The answer is yes” Mr Parker answered “as long as they get it right. A third party has more freedom to move they can respond quicker to real world events and can speak out about important issues making sure they stay on the table”.

What do you think has been holding the Lib Dems back in the last few general elections?

“Our involvement in the coalition was a disaster. The Lib Dems did not keep [their] identity separate from the government well enough. The Lib Dems lost the students over the student loan debacle and became the Tories poodle”. The result

Mr Parker did not win the Chaldon council seat as was expected but he came a lot closer than he thought he would, obtaining 133 votes and coming in second place, behind the Conservative’s 386.

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Caterham opinion poll

In the UK, 16-17 year olds should be allowed to vote in general elections

Strongly agree 10.00%

Agree 20.00%

Disagree 50.00%

Strongly disagree 20.00%

If you were to vote in the next general election, which political party would you vote for?

The Conservative Party 10.00%

The Labour Party 10.00%

The Liberal Democrat Party 80.00%

The Conservative Party has lost their credibility

Strongly agree 50.00%

Agree 50.00%

Disagree 0.00%

Rishi Sunak is a good prime minister

Agree 20.00%

Neither agree nor disagree 30.00%

Disagree 40.00%

Strongly disagree 10.00%

Keir Starmer (the leader of the Labour Party) is a prime minister in waiting

Agree 30.00%

Neither agree nor disagree 30.00%

Disagree 30.00%

Strongly disagree 10.00%

The Government is sufficiently prioritising the environmental agenda

Strongly agree 10.00%

Agree 20.00%

Disagree 70.00%

How often do you engage with the news

Every day 30.00%

More than once a week 60.00%

Weekly 10.00%

The UK should be doing more to help Ukraine

Agree 40.00%

Neither agree nor disagree 20.00%

Disagree 20.00%

Strongly disagree 20.00%

The Covid-19 pandemic was handled well by the government

Agree 10.00%

Disagree 60.00%

Strongly disagree 30.00%

Immigration to the UK should be decreased

No idea 20.00%

Agree 20.00%

Neither agree nor disagree 10.00%

Disagree 30.00%

Strongly disagree 20.00%

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