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PORTSMOUTH POINT


PORTSMOUTH POINT

f ight CLUB

Editorial

issue

TEAM

Pourquoi La France A La Meilleure Culture/ Warum Deutschland Die Besten Kultur Hat Melissa Smith and Fergus Houghton-Connell

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What Is The Greatest Music Album? George Neame, Ben Wallis, Tim Bustin, Fraser Mackenzie and Mark Richardson 10 Is There A God? Angela Carter and Andrew Hogg What Was The Most Significant Scientific Discovery? Justin Wilkinson, Daniel Rollins and Sampad Sengupta Should Technology Be Used in Football? Ben Willcocks and George Kimber-Sweatman Different Interpretations of Browning’s ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ Fay Davies, Josh Rampton, Tom Harper, Benjamin Schofield and Gregory Walton-Green Is Austerity The Right Economic Policy For The UK? Fergus Houghton-Connell and Henry Cunnison The Theological and Cultural Legacy of Catholicism Ruth Richmond and Benjamin Schofield

How Great A Threat Is Climate Change? John Wiggins and Lewis Garland

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Wagner v Verdi: Bicentenary Battle Aladdin Benali and Tim MacBain

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Should Drugs Be Legalised? 42 Christian Davison and George Chapman What’s Your Favourite Film? Katherine Tobin, Alex Quarrie-Jones, Alice MacBain, Tom Harper and Charlie Albuery

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Should Abortion Remain Legal? Grace Gawn and Daniel Rollins

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Who Is The Greatest British Politician? Josh Rampton, Sam Collings-Wells, Dominic Wood, Henry Cunnison, Charlie Scutts and Will Wallace

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Should Gay Marriage Be Legalized? Jo Kirby and Simon Lemieux

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Investigating Modern Portraiture Styles Sophie Tobin

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En Defensa De Las Corridas De Toros Tom Harper

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The Victorian Representation of Women Lottie Kent

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Editorial Team (Magazine and Blog) Daniel Rollins (Blog Editor) * Charlie Albuery * William Bates * Tim Bustin * Jemima Carter * George Chapman * Dodo Charles * Nathaniel Charles * Neil Chhabda * Kelvin Chiu * Zach Choppen * Callum Cross * Lucy Cole * Henry Cunnison * Louisa Dassow * Fay Davies * Freya Derby * Billie Downer * Zoe Dukoff-Gordon * Nicholas Graham * Hattie Gould * Will Hall *Tom Harper * Charlie Henderson * Fergus Houghton-Connell * Andrew Jones * Lottie Kent * George Kimber-Sweatman * Charlotte Knighton * George Laver * Henry Ling * Tim MacBain * Annie Materna * George Neame * Thomas Penlington * Oliver Price * Alex Quarrie-Jones * Taylor Richardson * Maisie Riddle * Zoe Rundle * Benjamin Schofield * Sampad Sengupta * Melissa Smith * Isabel Stark * Louisa Stark * Hugh Summers * Katherine Tobin * Oliver Velasco * William Wallace * Gregory Walton-Green * Ross Watkins * Ben Willcocks * Bea Wilkinson.

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ortsmouth Point blog offers PGS pupils a daily forum for sharing their own ideas, opinions and enthusiasms while engaging with those of their peers. In this spirit of civilised debate, we introduce the new “Fight Club” issue of Portsmouth Point magazine, in which pupils and staff explore controversial subjects in depth. Located only a few hundred yards from the Portsmouth Grammar School, Portsmouth Point was famed in the early eighteenth century (when PGS was founded) for the variety of its coffee houses, where Portmuthians met to read newspapers and journals (relatively recent innovations at the time) and discuss the most contentious issues of the day. Our name, Portsmouth Point, pays tribute to these pioneering places of discussion and debate; every day, on the blog, our pupils have original and insightful points to make regarding the cultural, intellectual, political and sporting events taking place in the world around them. In this ‘Fight Club’ issue, Melissa Smith and Fergus HoughtonConnell spar over the relative merits of French and German culture, in French and German, while, in Spanish, Tom Harper defends bullfighting with a matador’s flair. We also present rigorous debates on whether austerity is the right economic policy for Britain, technology should be used in football, God does or does not exist, drugs should be made legal and abortion should remain legal. To mark the bicentenary of two musical giants, Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi, Aladdin Benali and Tim MacBain debate their relative merits. Meanwhile, pupils present divergent responses to the questions “What is the greatest music album?”, “What is the greatest film?” and “Who is the most significant British politician?” We also present a battle of the sciences, as Justin Wilkinson, Daniel Rollins and Sampad Sengupta debate whether Biology, Chemistry or Physics has been responsible for the most important scientific discovery. Students of literature prove equally prepared for combat; “’Fight Club’ is not such a far cry from ‘Poetry Club’” argues Fay Davies, introducing four differing interpretations of one poem. Not all of our articles involve disagreement. John Wiggins and Lewis Garland consider different aspects of the challenge presented by global warming, while Benjamin Schofield and Dr Richmond investigate the cultural and theological legacy of Catholicism. Lottie Kent evaluates the representation of women in Victorian art and Sophie Tobin explores a range of different artistic styles in a very original way.

PORTSMOUTH POINT

The Editors July 2013

Editor: James Burkinshaw Magazine Designer: Clara Feltham, The Graphic Design House Cover Image: George Neame and Lucy Cole (photograph by Mark Richardson)

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A La Meilleure Culture

La France

Pourquoi

Melissa Smith

YEAR 12

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Left: Nu Bleu II by Henri Matisse Centre: Coco Chanel Right: French cuisine (from Joel Robuchon, one of Paris’ three star chefs)

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u'on le veuille ou non, les Français s’y connaissent au sujet de la culture. Que ce soit la mode, la cuisine ou bien les sports d'hiver, ils sont au premier rang. Il suffit de regarder autour de soi pour voir les preuves de son influence sur notre propre vie de ce côté de la Manche - les baguettes au rayon boulangerie du supermarché, le T-shirt rayé breton dans l'armoire. La plupart d'entre nous avons, à un moment ou un autre, mangé un croissant au beurre avec les doigts, ou admiré un sac à main Chanel de loin. En revanche, même si les exceptions doivent exister, il est difficile d'imaginer un Français qui désire ardemment un Yorkshire pudding, ou qui regarde EastEnders avec passion. Le simple fait est qu’il y a quelque chose à propos de cette culture française dont les français sont si fiers qui lui donne une qualité particulière. Mais qu'est-ce qui lui donne son air de je ne sais quoi? En 2007, Time Magazine a publié un article intitulé «La mort de la culture française», au mécontentement de plus d'un lecteur (français

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ou autre). L'article soutenait que cette culture qui était autrefois si influente, détériorait petit à petit, principalement à cause de la superpuissance américaine. L'auteur, Donald Morrison, a expliqué comment plus de la moitié des entrées au cinéma en France cette année-là étaient pour des films réalisés aux Etats-Unis, tandis que la popularité des films français avaient baissé. Il a décrit la diminution des icônes artistiques et musicales françaises contemporaines, avec des artistes comme Monet, Matisse et Edith Piaf disparu depuis longtemps. Ce qu'il a omis de reconnaître, à mes yeux, c'est que la culture française ne se réduit pas aux dernières sorties de film, ou aux livres best-seller les plus récents. La culture imprègne les domaines superficiels de la société moderne, et à mon avis la plus grande de toutes est celle qui peut s'enraciner si profondément dans la mentalité d’un pays qu'il ne peut pas être influencé par l'obsession superficielle avec la popularité démontrée par le grand public de l'époque. Dans ce cas, la résilience de la culture française est ce qui la rend si impressionnante. Tout d'abord, l'ampleur des domaines que la culture française englobe parle de soi. La culture

elle-même peut être difficile à quantifier, mais sans aucun doute l’homme cherche ardemment à représenter tout ce que l’esprit humain peut concevoir. La nourriture, le cinéma, l'art, la France est présente à l’appel. Il y a une raison Pourquoi la plupart des termes culinaires sont en français, la plupart des artistes les plus célèbres du monde sont (et étaient) français, et que des couples du monde entiers affluent vers la «ville de l'amour» chaque année. Un de mes aspects préférés de la culture française doit être la nourriture. En tant qu’amatrice de toute sorte de chocolat, je trouve que la France fournit une base bien établie pour la plupart des aliments que j'aime. Nous empruntons une multitude de termes de la cuisine française, du mot ‘le chef’ (de chef de cuisine) à la manière dont nous cuisinons (champignons sautés peut-être?). Les Français n’ont pas seulement ouvert la voie pour des chefs dans les cuisines à travers le monde, mais ils nous ont aussi fourni avec des plats classiques innombrables que n’importe quel menu d’un restaurant très respecté ne saurait ne pas proposer. Ces plats sont si communs que peut-être vous ne les remarquez pas - entrecôte, pâté, crème brûlée, pour n'en citer que quelques-uns. Si cela n’a pas déjà établi la France comme la plaque tournante du monde culinaire, peut-être sa possession de l’école culinaire la plus réputée dans le monde, Le Cordon Bleu, vous convaincra. Il existe un stéréotype bien connu de l’homme français traditionnel : une chemise rayée Breton, béret perché délicatement sur la tête, oignons enfilées autour du cou. Peut-être l’homme que nous nous représentons est en train de dessiner sur un chevalet, ou de savourer un plat d’escargots ou de cuisses de grenouille. Mis à part l'esthétique, ils sont également connus pour être peutêtre un peu arrogants. Cependant, le Français moyen reflète

probablement 0-10% de ces caractéristiques. Il est vrai que l’on peut trouver un garçon un peu froid dans un restaurant, ou une vendeuse particulièrement inutile, mais ils ne sont pas moins courants chez nous en Grande-Bretagne. Quant aux oignons, il suffit de vous approcher d’un français (pour faire la bise à la française ?) pour mettre de côté l’image du français qui pue les oignons. Ces caricatures ne servent qu'à prouver que notre idée de la France est très claire, renforçant encore son impact culturel sur le reste du monde. En tant que langue romane (c’est à dire dérivée du latin vulgaire), le français est souvent désigné comme la «langue de l'amour». Associée à Paris, cela renforce d’autant plus l'idéal romantique de la France. Peut-être s’agit-il de l'élégance de la Seine suivant doucement son cours, ou des sons lyriques de la conversation, quelle qu'elle soit, la France a certainement une réputation pour l’amour. Quand l’ardeur romantique est au cœur de sa culture, il n'est pas étonnant que les Français soient si enthousiastes à s’approprier l’amour. La mode est un autre domaine dans lequel la France excelle. Avec la haute couture à Paris depuis les années 1860 et Coco Chanel qui a captivé le monde vestimentaire au début du vingtième siècle, il est une vérité indéniable que le style serait un peu moins chic, sans l'influence considérable de la capitale de la mode elle-même. Sans Chanel, par exemple, la petite robe noire ne serait pas le cœur de la garde-robe de chaque femme, n ° 5 ne serait pas l'odeur irréfutable de la sophistication, et Kiera Knightley ne serait jamais capable de circuler sur une moto au nom d’une campagne de publicité. Pour conclure, si les rues inondées de touristes aux Champs-Élysées, la pyramide en verre du Louvre ou la Tour Eiffel constamment photographiée ne prouvent pas la fascination avec la France dont sont captivés un si grand nombre, j'espère au moins que vous serez capable de le comprendre dans le contexte de votre propre vie. De la nourriture que vous mangez, aux vêtements que vous portez, nous sommes et nous continuons à être influencés par nos cousins français. Vous direz peut-être qu’il ne s’agit de rien de plus que le hasard géographique qui rapproche nos deux pays, mais à mon avis c'est quelque chose de plus. Alors la prochaine fois que vous vous trouvez en sirotant un verre de Merlot et en réfléchissant à la grandeur de la culture française, repensez à la dernière fois que vous avez entendu quelqu'un remarquer la signification culturelle de la sauce Worcestershire. Oui, je me doutais bien.

l'ampleur des domaines que la culture française englobe

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Left: Schloss Neuschwanstein Above: Berlin’s Museum Island Top right: Bayern Munich win the Champions’ League final

warum

deutschland

die besten kultur hat Fergus Houghton-Connell

YEAR 12

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iele Leute meinen, dass Deutschland ein bisschen langweilig sei. Sicher hat es keine verbrennende Hitze wie Mallorca oder die großartigen Kirchen Roms, aber Deutschland hat noch viel anzubieten, für Touristen, die bereit sind, den Ärmelkanal zu überqueren.

Kunst und Museen Die Alte Nationalgalerie, das Bodemuseum und das Pergamonmuseum sind nur ein paar der vielen Kunst- und Geschichte- Museen auf der Museuminsel Berlins. Man kann deutsche Architektur weltweit sehen, mit Bauhausegebäuden sogar in Tel-Aviv, oder in Dessau, wenn man nur Deutschland besuchen will. Man kann deutsche Literatur aus dem Mittelalter anreißen, jedoch fallen zwei deutsche Schriftsteller auf, das Gebrüder Grimm. Zusammen haben sie bekannte Kinderbücher popularisiert, wie Aschenputtel, Hänsel und Gretel, Rapunzel und Schneewittchen. Auch haben deutsche Philosophen eine wichtige Rolle in der Weltgeschichte gespielt, mit Karl Marz und Friedrich Engels, die die Theorie des Kommunismus entwickelt haben, sowie Gottfried Leibniz das Prinzip von Optimismus. Das deutsche Kino sah einen großen Anstieg in den Zwanziger Jahren, mit großartigen Schauspielerinnen, wie Marlene Dietrich, in die Szene aber in letzten Jahren haben deutsche Filme, wie „Das Leben der Anderen“ und „Good bye, Lenin“ internationale Anerkennung, sogar mit einem Oscar gewonnen. Aber ich verlasse das Beste zum Schluss, die deutsche Musik. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Wagner und Handel, um nur ein paar zu nennen. Kein anderes Land hat so viele begabte Musiker hergestellt, und Berlin hat eine große Vielfalt von Konzerthallen, wo man die bekanntesten Sinfonien und Orchester hören kann.

Wissenschaft und Technologie Auch haben deutsche Wissenschaftler ihre Rolle in der Geschichte gespielt. Albert Einstein und Max Planck sind am besten bekannt für ihre Arbeit in Quantenmechanik, mit Erwin Schrödinger haben sie ihre Arbeit in Physik weiterentwickelt. Jedoch sind deutsche Erfinder bei weitem Deutschlands einflussreichste Wissenschaftler, wenn es um Technologie geht. Ferdinand von Zeppelin, Rudolf Diesel und Karl Benz haben enormen Fortschritt in der Automobiltechnologie gemacht – Vorsprung durch Technik - und Konrad Zuse hat den ersten Computer geschafft. Ein Deutscher hat sogar den ersten Nobelpreis für Physik gewonnen. Sport Deutsche sind vorherrschend in so vielen Sportarten. Bayern München hat die Champions-League final gewonnen und Sebastien Vettel hat während der letzten drei Jahren die Formel-Eins Meisterschaft gewonnen (zugegeben, dass sie noch nicht sehr gut bei Kricket sind!), und solche wie Becker, Schumacher und Beckenbauer sind einige der besten Sportler der Welt in ihren jeweiligen Sportarten. Jedoch sind die Deutschen von Sportarten begeistert , die die Briten seltsam finden. Zum Beispiel mögen Deutsche Leistungswandern, Handball und Rollschuhlaufen ebenso wie eine Vielfalt von Wintersportarten, wo sie gut drauf sind.

Karneval und Traditionen Köln feiert „Karneval“ in Februar, am Anfang der Fastzeit, mit riesigen Festen auf den Straßen und die Leute verkleiden sich als Clowns und andere Seltsamkeiten. Musikfestivals fallen ab und zu in Deutschland vor, aber ein Fest ist beliebter als die anderen: das Oktoberfest. Tausende von Leuten versammeln sich unter einem Zelt in München, hören Musik und, natürlich, trinken Tausende Liter Bier, obwohl es teuer ist. Jedoch, wenn man dahingeht, wird man sich unter vielen betrunkenen Deutschen finden. Aber man kann Wirtschaften und Kneipen in fast jeder deutschen Stadt finden. Landschaft Endlich bietet Deutschland viele Sehenswürdigkeiten. In Südbayern ist die Grenze der Alpen und innerhalb ein paar Stunden kann man in den tollen Skiorten sein. Tatsächlich ist Bayern für viele schöne Orte das Zuhause, wie das Schloss Neuschwanstein, wo Chitty Chitty Bang Bang gefilmt wurde, und das Kehlsteinhaus, das die Sommerfrische des Hitlers in den Alpen war und es hat umwerfende Ansichten. Deutschland auch hat viele Geheimnisse; die Seen, die zahlreichen Burgstädte, ebenso wie die langen Strände, die aber etwas kälter als Mallorca sind. Also, wenn man die Nase voll von venezianischen Kanälen hat und dem langweiligen Eiffelturm, dann vielleicht ist Deutschland der Ort für ihn. Es gibt viele Schlösser, Seen und M useen in Deutschland und auch Berlin hat eine lebhafte Jugendszene. Vielleicht wird man Deutschland teurer als die anderen europäischen Länder finden, aber man kann auf die vielen Burgstädte und Traditionen der Deutschen aufzichten. Und vergiss nicht, eine Eintrittskarte fur die Bundesliga kostet nur 10 Euro!

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why

France Has The Best Culture Melissa Smith

YEAR 12

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ike it or not, the French know a thing or two about culture. From fashion to food to winter sports, they have it covered. One only has to look around to see evidence of its influence upon our own existence across the pond: the baguettes in the bread aisle, the Breton striped t-shirt in the wardrobe. Most of us have at some point sampled a buttery croissant with sticky fingers or admired a Chanel handbag from afar. These are perhaps regular occurrences in some households, yet it is difficult to imagine a Frenchman yearning for a Yorkshire pudding or catching up on the latest episode of Eastenders. The fact is, there is something about the culture they are so proud of that stands out against the likes of our own. But what is it that gives it its air of je ne sais quoi? In 2007 Time published an article entitled ‘The Death of French Culture’, to the discontent of many a reader (French and otherwise). The article argued that the culture that was once so great has been slowly disintegrating over time, primarily at the hands of the superpower that is the USA. The writer, Donald Morrison, explained how over half of cinema tickets sold in France that year were for films made in the U.S, whilst French films took a step back. He described the dwindling of contemporary French artistic and musical icons, with the likes of Monet, Matisse and Edith Piaf long since gone. What he failed to recognise, in my eyes, is that there is more to French culture than the latest film releases, or the most recent bestseller book. Culture pervades these superficial fields of modern society, and in my opinion the greatest one of all is one that can root itself so deeply in that country’s psyche that it cannot be swayed by the cursory obsession with popularity demonstrated by the general public of the time. In this case, the resilience of la culture française is what makes it so impressive. First of all, the sheer magnitude of areas that French culture encompasses is an obvious credit. Culture itself may be hard to quantify, but no doubt any aspect that can be thought of is fervently represented. Food, cinema, art; you name it, France has it. There is a reason most culinary terms are in French, many of the world’s most famous artists are and were French, and that couples worldwide flock to the ‘city of love’ each year. One of my favourite aspects of French culture has to be the food. As an enthusiast for all things au chocolat, I find that

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France provides a well established base for many of the foods I love. We borrow a multitude of terms from the French kitchen, from the word chef itself (from chef de cuisine) to the way we cook (sautéed mushrooms anyone?). Not only have the French paved the way for chefs in kitchens worldwide, but they have also provided us with myriad classic dishes that any menu of a well-respected restaurant would not be seen without. These dishes are so common that you perhaps don’t even notice them – entrecôte steak, paté, crème brûlée, to name a few. If this didn’t already establish France as the culinary hub of the world, perhaps its possession of world’s most renowned culinary arts school, Le Cordon Bleu, will persuade you. There is a well known stereotype of the ‘traditional’ French man or woman: a Breton striped shirt, beret perched delicately on top of the head, onions strung around the neck. Perhaps they are painting on an easel, or tucking into a fresh plate of escargots (snails) or cuisses de grenouille (frog legs). Aside from the aesthetic, they are also known to be perhaps erring on the side of arrogance. However, stereotypes apart, the average Frenchman probably exhibits 0-10% of these characteristics. Whilst it is not uncommon to find a somewhat aloof waiter in a restaurant, or a particularly unhelpful shop assistant, these are no less common in British parts. As for the onions, well if you’ve ever smelt a French person you can probably cast that one aside. These caricatures only serve to prove how distinct our idea of France is, further bolstering its cultural impact on the rest of the world. Somewhat fittingly a Romance language (i.e. derived from Vulgar Latin), French is often referred to as the ‘language of love’. Coupled with Paris, this enhances the romantic ideal of France all the more. Perhaps it is the elegance of the softly winding Seine, or the lyrical sound of conversation; whatever it is, France certainly has a reputation for romance. With passion at the heart of their culture, there’s no wonder the French are so enthusiastic to call it their own. Fashion is another area in which France excels. With haute couture originating in Paris in the 1860s and Coco Chanel taking the sartorial world by storm in the early twentieth century, it is an undeniable truth that style would be somewhat less chic without the sizeable influence of the capital of fashion itself. Without Chanel, for example, the little black dress would not be the crux of every woman’s wardrobe, No. 5 would not be the irrefutable scent of sophistication, and Keira Knightley would never get to drive around on a motorbike in the name of an advertising campaign. To conclude, if the tourist-drenched streets of the ChampsÉlysées, the packed-out pyramid of the Louvre or the continually-photographed Eiffel Tower don’t prove the fascination with France held by so many, then I hope at least that you will be able to understand it in the context of your own life. From the food you eat to the clothes you wear, you are, and continue to be, influenced by our friends down below. Perhaps this is merely the close proximity swaying us in their direction, but in my opinion it is something more. So the next time you find yourself sipping a glass of Merlot and deliberating on how great French culture truly is, think back to the last time you heard someone remark on the cultural significance of Worcestershire sauce. Yes, I thought as much.

why

germany Has The Best Culture

Fergus Houghton-Connell YEAR 12

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any people think that Germany is, well, a bit dull. Yes, it doesn’t have the scorching heats of Majorca or the grand churches of Rome, but Germany still has a lot to offer for any tourists willing to cross the continent.

Arts and Museums The Old National Gallery, the Bode Museum and the Pergamon Museum are just a few of the many art and history museums on Berlin’s Museum Island. German architecture can be seen world wide, with Bauhaus buildings even in Tel-Aviv, or in Dessau if you are intent on visiting Germany. German literature can be traced back to the medieval era, too; however, two German writers stand out from the rest, the Brothers Grimm. Together they popularised well-known children’s stories, such as ‘Cinderella’, ‘Hansel and Gretel’, ‘Rapunzel’ and ‘Snow White’. German philosophers have also staked their part in history, with Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels developing the theory of Communism and Gottfried Leibniz stating the principle of Optimism. German cinema saw a huge surge in the 1920s, with great actresses such as Marlene Dietrich taking the scene, but, in more recent years, German films such as The Lives of Others and Goodbye, Lenin have had international recognition, with the former even winning an Oscar. But I leave the best to last: German music, including Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Wagner and Handel, to name a few. No other country can compete with the plethora of musicians that have come out of Germany; Berlin has a large variety of concert halls, where you can hear the most famous symphonies recreated. Science and Technology German scientists have also played their part in History. Albert Einstein and Max Planck are best known for their work in Quantum Mechanics, with Erwin Schrodinger further developing their work in Physics. However, German inventors have bragging rights when it comes to technology. Ferdinand von Zeppelin, Rudolf Diesel and Karl Benz all made huge leaps forward in automotive and air transportation technology and Konrad Zuse created the first computer. A German even won the first Nobel Prize for Physics.

Sport Germans are dominant in so many sports. Bayern Munich won the Champions League final and Sebastian Vettel has won the F1 Championship for the last three years (although they still aren’t good at cricket), and throughout history the likes of Becker, Schumacher and Beckenbauer are seen as some of the greatest in their respective sports. However, the Germans are keen in sports that we British would consider odd. For example, Germans like power hiking, handball and roller-skating, as well as a variety of winter sports, and they’re good at them too. Carnivals and Traditions Cologne celebrates “Karneval” in February as the start of Lent, with huge celebrations lining the streets and people dressed as clowns and other oddities. Music festivals take place frequently in Germany; however, one festival stands out from the rest: Oktoberfest. People gather under a tent in Munich, listen to music and, of course, drink litres of beer for a reasonable price. However, if you do go, you may find yourself left with a lot of very drunk Germans. However, beer halls and pubs can be found almost everywhere in German cities. Landscape Finally, Germany has lots to offer in terms of places to see. In the south of Bavaria is the edge of the Alps and, within a few hours, you can be in the top ski resorts. In fact, Bavaria is home to many beautiful places to see, such as the Neuschwanstein Castle, the place where Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was filmed, and the Eagle’s nest, Hitler’s summer retreat in the Alps, which has stunning views. Germany also has many hidden secrets: the lakes dotted around the country and the numerous castle towns, as well as the beaches which are long, albeit slightly colder than those of Majorca. So, if you’re sick of the usual Venetian canals and the dull Eiffel Tower, then Germany may just be the place for you. Castles, lakes and museums come thick and fast in the German states and Berlin even has a lively scene for the youth of today. You may find Germany slightly more expensive than its European counterparts, but you can’t miss out on the wealth of carnivals and the other traditions of the German people. And remember: a football match ticket only costs 10 euros.

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The place we ran from

by Tired Pony

George Neame YEAR 13

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The tune is throbbing, pulsating, and instantly lulls the listener into a state of calmness and serenity.

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ired Pony is the brainchild of Gary Lightbody, frontman of the more well-known alternative rock band Snow Patrol. The idea of a ‘country-tinged supergroup’ came to him in a bar in Ireland many years ago, but it was only in 2010 that this became reality. Enlisting members from bands such as R.E.M and Belle and Sebastian, The Place We Ran From was recorded in less than a week and peaked at number 17 in the UK Albums Chart. Opener ‘Northwestern Skies’ begins with a subtle, echoing guitar strum, before becoming overlain with a slow drum beat and piercing acoustic twangs, giving it an instant sense of nostalgia and simplicity, one that screams ‘Americana’ and sounds somewhat foreign but somewhat familiar. The tune is throbbing, pulsating, and instantly lulls the listener into a state of calmness and serenity. Even the lyrics (‘There’s no answers in the tempest, just a million other questions, so just let it take you over, so that we can learn our lesson’) seem to be saying ‘take a seat, watch the world go by; what will be will be’. ‘Get on the Road’ follows, recruiting female American vocalist and actor Zooey Deschanel to sing the lyrics in unison with Lightbody, an exquisite and harmonious effect that amplifies the passion of the song. ‘Point Me at Lost Islands’ and single ‘Dead American Writers’ are shorter, snappier and more upbeat tunes that transform the album from a tranquil love letter to a euphonic blast of hi-hats, rhythmic guitar strums and piano riffs. Here the group show their incredible versatility, with songs that make you want to tap your feet, dance along and sing out loud. One of the most touching and

poignant songs on the album, ‘Held in the Arms of Your Words’, follows an incredibly basic chord pattern, but clearly simple is sometimes best. There is little to it apart from an acoustic guitar and crooning vocals, yet this again creates a soothing, peaceful atmosphere that cumulates with the swinging, swaying repetition of the chorus. There is, at times, a sense that it will never end, accompanied by the hope that it won’t. The second half of The Place We Ran From experiments with different styles, vocalists and tempos, but each with the same characteristic pluck of the guitar and soothing rhythm. Finally, the all-too-short ten-track album comes to a defining finale with ‘Pieces’, the tone of which is set from the first thirty seconds with a stabbing bass line and drum beat. The lyrics echo chillingly until the very last line, when an epic crescendo begins to brew, an organised chaos with a clattering of pianos, drums and strained electric guitars. Undoubtedly the loudest and densest point of the album, it is also the high point, a song that transposes itself so quickly into something completely new and novel, a final release of energy in an album that does nothing if not calm the soul. Tired Pony’s debut is undoubtedly the greatest album ever. It is innovative, smart and passionate, and features some of the most expressive lyrics ever written, including ‘There isn’t one magical word, but a carnival of them instead’ and ‘They can’t have got that far, ‘cos I can still see some swinging locks’. Just sit back, relax and get swept away by the peaceful beauty.

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11


what is the

Greatest

MU

Quadrophenia

by The Who

OK Computer

by Radiohead

Ben Wallis YEAR 13

R

adiohead are a band who will always divide opinion; comparisons with Marmite come to mind. Having released their first album twenty years ago in 1993 and remaining active to this day, the band have explored a wide range of styles through eight albums, any of which are worthy of praise and critical analysis; however, it is the third album, 1997's OK Computer, that just manages to stand above the rest, defining Radiohead as one of the most innovative bands of the modern era. The album's brilliance comes from the combination of musical excellence, artistic commentary on modern life and cultural significance. Through his lyrics, Thom Yorke explores themes of consumerism, social alienation and modern isolation, with a penetrating degree of emotional honesty that makes OK Computer a stark and

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unforgiving commentary on the state of modern life that is as meaningful now as it was 16 years ago. OK Computer refuses to abide by convention; in contrast to the simplicity of Britpop at the time, the album was ambitious, using unconventional song structures, such as the six minute long 'Paranoid Android', and focusing on irregular chord progressions. Similarly, the guitar work of Jonny Greenwood is exceptional; solos are innovative and aggressive in defiance of tradition, tearing songs apart and building them up again. Guitar is also used to express the emotions of particular songs, for example in 'Subterrarian Homesick Alien' taking on an airy, otherworldly feel that perfectly reflects the subject matter. In 'Climbing Up The Walls', strings are used to create a dark and tense atmosphere, rather than effects typical of a pop song. Lyrically OK Computer demonstrates Thom at the height of his powers. It is full of striking, beautiful and thought-provoking imagery, for example on 'No Surprises' where Yorke describes "A heart that's full up like a landfill"; comparing the centre of the human body and emotion with a place for disposing waste creates a tragic image. The album offers a significant commentary on the modern lifestyle. 'Fitter Happier' is not technically a song, as there is no singing; instead, a computerised voice reads a series of goals for modern life: "Fitter, happier, more productive, comfortable, not drinking too much" and so on. As the list progresses, contradictions and ironies emerge: "Concerned, but powerless. An empowered and informed member of society." This one piece is worthy of a whole article itself; it is a criticism of the ideal lifestyle presented to us and the conformity that Thom Yorke feels so oppressed by. Often described as 'The first twenty-first century album', OK Computer stands as a great album due to its far-reaching influence. It signalled the end of the Britpop era and the dominance of Blur and Oasis by being something completely different and sounding truly cutting-edge. After this, Radiohead spawned a host of imitators and they have been cited as influence by many of the most successful bands of the next decade, such as Muse, Coldplay and Bloc Party. The calm and moody characteristics of much modern 'indie rock' can be attributed to the impact of Radiohead on the music industry. So what makes an album the greatest ever? In my opinion: musical excellence, innovation, lyrical depth and influence; OK Computer offers all of these. It is an album of an exceptional band at their best, experimental enough to be interesting and not scared to take risks, but still a commercial success, charting at number one in the UK, and with a depth of meaning that is sadly absent in much of the music industry.

O

sic Album?

Tim Bustin YEAR 12

ften dubbed the last great Who album, Quadrophenia is overly ambitious, incredibly complex yet utterly brilliant – a summation of the music of these rock heavyweights. In 1973, after creating such classic albums as Tommy, Live at Leeds and Who’s Next, there was intense pressure on Townshend to once again write something spectacular to meet the ridiculously high expectations The Who had created with the quality of their music. That something was Quadrophenia: a rock opera in which the music tells a story, set in a 1960s England in which riots between rival gangs of Mods and Rockers cause violence and destruction; the main character of the story is Jimmy, a teenage Mod torn between fashion and depression, love and anger, following “a way of life” and raging at that life’s letdowns. Quadrophenia returns The Who to its Mod roots and gives insight into 1960s culture (the film version of the album shows this better) but most importantly it is a varied and emotional work of genius, representing Jimmy’s conflicting feelings and struggles. There are a staggering 17 songs, often constructed around four leitmotifs encompassing Jimmy’s differing personalities: romantic, manic, tough- guy and depressive (he is quadrophenic). These are represented musically, allowing each song to take its own mood swing so that the album is constantly developing. The first track, ‘The Real Me’, sets the scene for both story and music, truly showing what The Who are capable of. John Entwistle plays the part of lead guitar on his bass to the

background of Keith Moon’s hell-bent drumming, as Roger Daltrey screams the pain of Jimmy. Townshend restrains his electric guitar to a backing instrument, but makes it fit in with Moon’s endless drum rolls. Horns blare in the background as the song blends into the intro of the next – the title track, a sixminute instrumental between drums, synthesiser, background noises, piano, brass, strings and every guitar imaginable, all playing interweaving themes of stupefying complexity. A photo booklet for the album helps to explain the story throughout, including the second, equally long instrumental, ‘The Rock’, in which Jimmy takes a boat out across a stormy sea to a solitary rock far out from land, contemplating suicide but finally returning to land for the finale ‘Love Reigns Over Me’ – a truly powerful force, at a permanent high, resulting in Jimmy’s realisation of truth that he can be who he wants. The imagery created by the music, even in the instrumentals, lets you visualise these events as they occur, the heavy drums and high guitar screams letting you feel the power of the storm and Jimmy’s mood swings from sweet depression to anger in tracks such as in ‘Sea and Sand’ and ‘I’m One’; the raw power of the chords on ‘The Punk on the Godfather’ pulse outrage. Quadrophenia is undoubtedly the pinnacle of The Who’s career, once again showing Townshend to be a composer rather than a songwriter, while the sheer talent of Moon’s insane drumming, Entwistle’s genius bass playing, Daltery’s power vocals, as well as Townshend’s musical brilliance, create both the sounds of serenity and destruction all on the same record.

Quadrophenia is undoubtedly the pinnacle of the who's career.

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13


what is the

Greatest

Sounds of a Playground Fading

by In Flames

The Dark Side of the Moon

by Pink Floyd

Fraser Mackenzie YEAR 13

T

here is a reason why these Swedish pioneers of melodic death metal have continued to captivate, delight and infuriate for nearly two decades while entire battalions of copycat bands have come and gone with little impact: their constantly evolving vision is one of progression. Therefore, it is no wonder that the metal world routinely awaits their impending new releases with a shivery mix of giddy anticipation and nervous apprehension. Whether it was the grungy, melodic riffs of The Jester Race or the electronics-laden ear-candy of Your Escape, In Flames have always managed to deliver quality music and it is safe to say that nothing much has changed for album number ten for the Gothenburg quintet, Sounds of a Playground Fading. The more hardcore amongst the metal-head population will be glad to hear that the band continue to maintain their thrashmetal-esque reputation but that’s not to say that you have to be a seasoned head-banger to enjoy this album. As they always have, the band experiment with electronic synth to deepen the texture of their pieces and the resultant melodic conglomerate gives the perfect combination of old and new. Classic tracks such as ‘Ropes’ explore these traits to the fullest extent and the result left me wanting to keep listening, but feeling anxious about what’s to follow.

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B

sic Album?

Mr Mark Richardson

ENGLISH DEPARTMENT

deep, powerful drum-lines and crunchy guitar riffs. The opening track ‘Sounds of a Playground Fading’ contains everything that a current fan would expect from the band. The unmatched combination of deep, powerful drum-lines with melodic yet somewhat crunchy guitar riffs ensures that the band has stayed true to its death-metal roots, whilst pioneering the genre further still. The mellow vocals of frontman Anders Fridén provide the perfect accompaniment to this epic Scandinavian ensemble. As well as being one of the most critically acclaimed melodic death metal albums of the last decade, Sounds of a Playground Fading also boasts a vast range of styles amongst its tracks, ranging from the fast-paced and thrashy ‘Enter Tragedy’ to the melancholy power ballad ‘Liberation’. It’s clear that this compilation of Nordic musical mastery has something that appeals to all musical tastes, including those new to the band. But that’s not to say that In Flames have forsaken their humble origins. Track number three, ‘All For Me’, instantly reminds you of the old In Flames days. This nostalgic melody ought to make the long-time fans of the group feel like they are witnessing a return to the underground sound of the band’s middle albums. From the first riff all the way up to the first verse, you’d easily be fooled that the old In Flames were back. The first verse of the modern In Flames musical style hits you like a ton of bricks and you are immediately immersed in the band’s new style and image, which even the most hardened of metal-heads would approve of. It is clear that Sounds of a Playground Fading is a retrospective album that provides the ideal mixture of the “good old In Flames” whilst still demonstrating that the ambitious Swedes continue to lead their genre into the future.

MU

y the time you read this, April 18th is likely to be but a vague memory. No doubt lots happened that day, but one thing was important enough to be given some prominence on national news, which was the death of Storm Thorgerson, for over forty years the designer of numerous album sleeves. As soon as the news finished, I put on the LP the bulletin used as its iconic example of his work, and an album which I just HAD to listen to again. It was, of course, Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon. Technically, I did not put on any LP: I fired up my iTunes library and used the Remote app to beam the MP3 version throughout the house. Vinyl is all very well, but digital is more user-friendly when making an unprompted choice. The system played not only Dark Side but also continued with the rest of the Floyd playlist. By the time it got to the soundtrack album More my wife politely asked why we were listening to this rubbish, which was a fair point: the band’s reputation will not rest on that album. Indeed, their output has been incredibly diverse, and I parted company with the Floyd experience with Animals; my decision was confirmed when The Wall came out. Whatever Floyd had become, they weren’t mine any more. There are two reasons why the album is worth talking about here: firstly, it’s a tour de force, being a mixture of soul, electronica, jazz, English lyricism, songs both poppy and trippy, and a culmination of many distinct elements from their previous work; secondly, it’s a sustained body of work, not a loosely-connected bunch of songs, a work that may well come to symbolise the music business of the sixties and early seventies, as well as the cultural life of an aspect of Western life in general and that of Britain in particular.

From the opening heart-beat, which segues into a variety of elements that are later to be found in the rest of the record and which in turn launch into ‘Breathe’, through the stereo-busting electronica and found noises of ‘On The Run’, into the clocks chiming at the start of ‘Time’ (with its famous lyric ‘Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way’) to the concluding wordless singing of session singer Claire Torry at the end of ‘Great Gig in the Sky’, the first side of the album was jawdropping in its ambition, its reach, its musicality and its feel. This was an English band, for goodness’ sake. Oh yes, they had been clever, jokey, brimming with incredible ability and originality. But playing with ‘feel’? That was new. The second side starts with more found noises, this time cash registers. The use of the non-musical noises recorded elsewhere and then added in later is a signature element of the band, and the discordant noise of money being collected is a deliberately offensive and ironic opening to the second side. What is here? Well, as with the Beatles before them, in ‘Taxman’ on Revolver, it’s a song about success. But, whereas the Beatles’ song was (excuse the pun) a bit rich, banging on about how much tax they had to pay as a result of fame and fortune to an audience who had to pay for the album and who were never going to be asked to pay such an exorbitant level of income tax, this song is mocking the culture of consumerism. We then move into the patient ‘Us and Them’, which contains oblique references to the war, perhaps WW1, and then we cut straight into ‘Any Colour You Like’, with delicate keyboards and shimmering guitar, which then moves into the darker reaches of ‘Brain Damage’ with its references to lunacy (a term coined because it was thought that mental instability was connected to the phases of the moon) and then the final moments of ‘Eclipse’, where everything is undermined as ‘everything under the sun is in tune’ (which is great) but ‘the sun is eclipsed by the moon’ (not so great). Finally, with the muttered observation that ‘as a matter of fact there’s no dark side of the moon: it’s all dark’, we are back to the heartbeat of the opening, and the journey is over. Conceived as two long songs, one on each side of the album, the LP marked the band’s turning point from being an underground and counter-cultural band to being a wildly popular stadium act, whose last appearance was part of the Live 8 Hyde Park concert in 2005. It was quickly used as a favourite demo disc for retailers selling hi-fi equipment, and its most lucrative song, of course, turned out to be ‘Money’. With hindsight, it was their last record as a unified group; in the future lay bitterness, feuding and contempt: dark, not pink. Oh, and Thorgerson himself never liked that cover!

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15


Is there a God?

yes: intelligent design

Mrs Angela Carter

PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES DEPARTMENT

is there a

god?

Baruch Spinoza

INTELLIGENT DESIGN

I

magine you are at a dinner party and the conversation goes like this: “So, what do you do for a living?” “I teach.” “What subject?” “Philosophy and Religious Studies.” A deathly silence prevails. A silence I have never really understood. Here goes then: a challenge to prove God exists before dessert (no such thing as a free meal). Well, I can’t prove there is a God, obviously, and neither do I want to. Another need I have never really had. However, that doesn’t stop me from enjoying a jolly good debate on the subject, just as C.S Lewis did in his Socratic club, or revelling in the upset in the philosophical arena when Anthony Flew, our most ardent atheist, suddenly announced that he was a Deist and had been misled by Richard Dawkins. Well, we must follow the argument wherever it leads us. I will lay out an argument for a God, but you must decide for yourself whether it is Aristotle’s Prime Mover or the interactive, immanent God of the Abrahamic faiths. A question that continues to be raised is: how can a universe of mindless matter produce beings with intrinsic ends, self-replication capabilities, and “coded” chemistry? So I will discuss the case for intelligent design, rather than follow the path of C.S Lewis’

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argument from morality, an idea that Flew wasn’t convinced by, although he admired Lewis and was a regular at the Socratic Club lectures. Flew disagreed with Lewis’ argument because it was based on the premise that the concept of a Being, can be derived from the concept of goodness. For the same reason, Flew also rejected the Ontological Argument for the existence of God. As a challenge to the scientific revolution (that began in earnest in the seventeenth century and continues today), there was a need to look to reason and observation of the natural world and argue that there was sufficient evidence to determine the existence of God. One problem here, for those who want to argue for God’s immanence, is that although it enables us to believe in one God, it tends to reject organised religion along with the authority of revelation. Is this a rejection too far? Maybe we have to treat the problem of morality and how we reach our beliefs and values as a purely human one. Flew, taking a philosophical and mechanistic view of nature, looked to the ideas of Descartes and Spinoza. Descartes believed that the world itself is a part of God. Spinoza, who was greatly influenced by Descartes, described the world as “divisible”: it

has parts, but “God is nature” and can be known to humanity through thoughts and extension (matter). I will try, in simplified form, to present Spinoza’s basic elements of God (he did this in 15 propositions). God is the infinite, necessarily existing (that is uncaused), unique substance of the universe. God, therefore, has all possible attributes, rather like Aristotle’s Prime Mover, a cause which actualises the potential in everything else. The Prime Mover would have to do this without being affected by anything else (otherwise it would be just another link into infinite regression). It must also have no potential, being something which is already everything that it could be, “pure actuality” with no potential to change or to be acted upon. If there was to be a second substance, then it would have to have one of the attributes already possessed by God. This argument that the world itself is a part of God led Spinoza to believe that not only do finite things have God as their cause, but also that they cannot be conceived without God, who controls everything through natural laws. Only God is truly free. We, though, could obtain happiness through seeing things from the perspective of eternity. Einstein was asked why he thought Spinoza’s view was not generally accepted. He replied, I do not have the professional knowledge to write a scholarly article about Spinoza. But what I think about this man I can express in a few words. Spinoza was the first to apply with strict consistency the idea of an allpervasive determinism to human thought, feeling, and action. In my opinion, his point of view has not gained general acceptance by all those striving for clarity and logical rigour only because it requires not only consistency of

thought, but also unusual integrity, magnanimity, and — modesty.1 So, after many months of soul searching, Flew announced that he had been persuaded that “it was simply out of the question that the first living matter evolved out of dead matter and then developed into an extraordinary complicated creature”. He later made a video of his conversion called ‘Has Science Discovered God?’ Flew had studied research into DNA and concluded that it had shown“by the unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce human life, that intelligence must have been involved”. This, along with the Teleological Argument of Aquinas’ five proofs of God and Aristotle’s concept of the Prime Mover, was enough to convince our most ardent supporter of atheism. As Flew explained, repeatedly, he simply had to go where the evidence led. However, he thought that this was not a divine being that intervened in human affairs. Here we have a God who called creation into being, but the next question is: why did he bother? That topic will be left for debate at another dinner party.

how can a universe of mindless matter produce beings with intrinsic ends?

Bibliography Professor Anthony Flew’s obituary in the Daily Telegraph - 13th April, 2010; “Understanding Philosophy of Religion” by Libby Ahluwalia Notes: 1Einstein's View of God and Spinoza, from a letter to Murray W. Gross, Apr. 26, 1947, Einstein Archive, reel 33-324, Jammer, p. 138 - 139: when questioned about God and religion on behalf of an aged Talmudic scholar.

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17


Is there a God?

no: the happy humanist

is there a

god? the happy humanist Mr Andrew Hogg

happiness requires no belief in an afterlife or another world. God is out of the picture

MODERN LANGUAGES DEPARTMENT

W

hat mental image does the word “God” conjure up for you? An old white man with a beard, a young black woman, a shapeless, formless “spirit”? Representations of God have traditionally taken the form of a difficult-to-please father-figure (Old Testament) or a kindly father-figure (New Testament). But why should we stop at one god? Many religions worship more than one god, most notably Hinduism; some have none, such as Buddhism. Quite clearly, God, gods and religion are human constructs, developed from a need to explain and justify our existence, as well as ordering society and providing rules for maintaining that order. Who needs it? Today, we have science to help explain the difficult questions of existence, and democracy to run society. However imperfect they may be, neither of them requires the existence of a number of extra-terrestrial, ethereal beings to function. In fact, not only are they not required but it is adherence to religion that holds us back in social terms and is also the cause of much of the strife, discord and enmity that causes such despair.

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Religion also hinders progress toward individual liberation and determination (particularly for women), the development of scientific knowledge and understanding and the movement towards open and tolerant co-existence. If you want examples, think of the creationists’ opposition to scientific research and the teaching of evolution in schools and universities, the role of the Christian, especially Catholic, church in the abuse of vulnerable young people, the deliberate provocation caused by the building of Jewish settlements on Palestinian land, civil war between Muslim sects, violence between Muslims and Hindus in India and between Muslims and Buddhists in Burma. And, closer to home, in the preaching of hate and encouragement to kill nonbelievers by radical Muslims in the UK. What is the basis for religious belief, other than an inherited habit or tradition? It surely has no scientific or rational foundation. A recent statistic suggested that almost half of Americans believe the universe to be less than ten thousand years old; the scientific community is now more or less agreed that a figure of 14 billion is more accurate. Which seems more likely to you?

Only a few decades ago, it was considered improper to write or speak criticising religion, partly because there was an assumption in Western society that we were all believers in, if not members of, the Christian church (preferably Church of England but, at a push, Roman Catholic or “non-conformist”). This situation has radically altered and members of religious groups are now in the minority and even considered unusual in some sections of society. There is now much less tolerance of religious symbols and identity in public, indicating a movement towards a secular society where religion is not central to the determining of laws. While this is predominantly true of Western Europe, it does not yet apply in the USA where there is often antagonism between state and federal laws over such issues as abortion, gay marriage and even science education, nor does it apply in some Islamic countries where a move from non-sectarian government to an equally repressive theocratic regime may well result from the “liberation” movements encouraged by the West. But before we get too smug in our condemnation of the stonings and beheadings being carried out in some

countries in the name of Islam, let’s not forget our own crusades, Inquisition, burnings at the stake, hanging, drawing and quartering and many massacres, all carried out with enthusiasm in the name of Christianity. It is, however, easy to understand the attraction of religion: we are meaning-seeking creatures, so finding ready-made answers in a welcoming community is bound to be an attractive option. “On est condamné d’être libre”, said Sartre, “We are condemned to be free”; the freedom to make up one’s own mind and go one’s own way in life can be daunting. What about the other bequests of religion? Apart from the security provided by faith and belonging, surely we can cite beautiful buildings, music, art and charitable actions? None of these, however, is restricted to religion; beauty in art, music and architecture can be found outside religion, charitable acts are also carried out by non-religious people, and, what’s more, without the sub-text underlying the benevolence. People who trust to the scientific method and make human welfare and happiness central to ethical decision-making are called humanists and their beliefs humanism. The realisation that there is no afterlife can encourage the desire to give meaning by seeking happiness for oneself and for others. You may remember the “Atheist Bus Campaign” of 2009, where, in response to hellfire-and-damnation adverts on London buses, the message “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy life” achieved wide support and exposure in the press. (I like the “probably”: just in case!) A recent campaign, “Don’t label me”, draws attention to the practice of labelling – and in some cases physically marking - children with a religion from birth, rather than allowing them to make up their own minds. At first sight, much of this seems disrespectful and hedonistic but humanism stresses a humbler conception of our knowledge of the world. It takes courage to live with the open-endedness and uncertainty of changing beliefs and views as humankind evolves, rather than hanging on to superstitious and out-dated traditions. Humanism recognises the needs that drove people to develop those religious beliefs and to adhere to them, but also stresses that so much of what can bring joy and happiness to our existence is based on the natural events of this world and on the value of things human; it requires no belief in an afterlife or another world. “Reason, decency, tolerance and empathy and hope are human traits that we should aspire to, not because we seek the reward of eternal life or because we fear the punishment of a supernatural being, but because they define our humanity.” Jim Al-Khalili, scientist and author “Science expresses the greatest human values: our care for each other and our wish to make sense of the world in which we find ourselves.” Raymond Tallis, philosopher and novelist And finally: “All children should be free to grow up in a world where they are allowed to question, doubt, think freely and reach their own conclusions about what they believe.” Ariane Sherine, writer and journalist

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19


the most significant

scientific discovery

what was the most significant

Discovery? Justin Wilkinson

YEAR 12

Biology: Jenner’s Development of Vaccination

T

here are many biological experiments of considerable importance, from Alexander Fleming’s accidental discovery of penicillin through to Pasteur’s swan-necked flasks, and the disproving of spontaneous generation. However, the experiment that has saved the most lives, and the topic of this article, is the development of vaccination by Edward Jenner in 1796. Over the course of 12,000 years, it is estimated that smallpox has claimed the lives of almost a billion people, terrorising families across the planet and through the ages. Consider that 400,000 people (twice the current population of Portsmouth) died in Europe every year due to smallpox in the latter part of the eighteenth century and that, even in 1967, fifteen million people contracted the disease, of whom two million died. The development of ideas around vaccination is thought to have begun in sixteenth century China. The inoculation process, as it was then, involved the exposure of the patient to an attenuated form of the disease. In the case of smallpox, instead of injecting the patient with the live form of the virus (which had a 30% fatality rate) a less lethal strain was injected (with a fatality rate of only 1-2%). Edward Jenner performed a scientific experiment that today would have been morally unjustifiable, but which proved his theory, and has gone on to be the principle of disease prevention today. The experiment itself was surprisingly simple. It was a calculated risk on Jenner’s part – a man trying to save humanity from disease. He had heard tell that milk maids did not contract smallpox, if they had had cowpox before. On this evidence, he extracted pus from a pustule on a milk maid. On the 14th of May, 1796, he took this pus and injected it into James Phipps, who was (in Jenner’s words) “a healthy boy, about eight years old for the purpose of inoculation for the cow pox”. Having inoculated the boy with cowpox, Jenner allowed it to set in long enough for Phipps to recover. Then, on the 1st of July, 1796, Jenner extracted a sample from a smallpox pustule and injected it into the same boy. James Phipps survived the first inoculation with smallpox and the twenty or so that followed the first. This experiment led to the first “safe” method of disease prevention – the vaccination. In fact the word vaccination comes from the Latin “vacca” meaning cow, named after the cowpox

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which Jenner used to create a preventative for small pox. In modern society, the testing of a new medicine on a boy would never be contemplated, let alone executed, yet in those times, it was performed without a second thought. In later life, Jenner gave Phipps a free lease on a house – a reasonable price for being a human guinea pig. In the 1920s, Banting and Best were condemned by some for experimenting with insulin on dogs, yet Jenner is hailed as a hero. To be fair, he does meet the criteria, saving the lives of many, experimenting for the greater good. Today, however, medicines undergo rigorous testing to ensure that they are safe for human use, often spending decades in trials. In a time in which antibiotic resistance is increasing across the globe, threatening to make even the most minor surgical procedures a dangerous risk once more, one can see the appeal of simply taking action as Jenner did. Despite smallpox finally being eradicated (the last cases were in 1978) ,some samples have been retained in laboratories for experimental and scientific purposes. Now, in the twenty-first century, vaccinations are once more in the news, with the measles outbreak in Swansea. The outbreak was due to the loss of herd immunity (a term meaning that, if a significant proportion of the population Edward Jenner vaccinating a child is immunised from a disease, the likelihood of someone carrying the disease encountering someone who is not immune and transmitting the disease is lowered). The loss of this herd immunity is blamed upon the unfounded criticisms of the triple MMR vaccine in the late 1990s as being a possible cause of autism; as a result of the fake controversy, there was a reduction in the number of parents willing to have their child immunised. This has led, some thirty years later, to the consequences in Swansea. In short: Edward Jenner’s straightforward experimentation techniques began the end of the most deadly affliction to affect humanity; smallpox is thought to have killed more people than both world wars several times over. His discovery laid the foundations of immunisation that have been applied for over two hundred years since.

Chemistry: Lavoisier and the Conservation of Mass

A

Daniel Rollins YEAR 12

ntoine Lavoisier (1743 –1794) was a French aristocrat who has been called the “father of modern chemistry”. As well as helping develop the metric system naming both hydrogen and oxygen and first identifying sulphur as an element, he is responsible for many of Chemistry’s basic theories. He proved, for example, that oxygen combined with other elements upon combustion disproving earlier theories about burning. His most significant contribution, however, was his careful quantitative method of experimentation, the weighing out and measuring of chemicals with accurate balances using sealed glass containers to prevent gases escaping. It was through this method that he discovered one of chemistry’s most fundamental laws: the Law of Conservation of Mass. In his book, Elements of Chemistry (1785), Lavoisier wrote: "Nothing is created, either in the operations of art or in those of Antoine Lavoisier’s quantitative method nature, and it may be considered of experimentation as a general principle that in every operation there exists an equal quantity of matter before and after the operation; that the quality and quantity of the constituents is the same, and that what happens is only changes, modifications. It is on this principle that is founded all the art of performing chemical experiments; in all such must be assumed a true equality or equation between constituents of the substances examined, and those resulting from their analysis." He proved this by burning several compounds and elements in sealed containers and discovering that the total weight of the container did not change from before the substance was burned to after it had been burnt. In one of his experiments, he burnt sulphur in a sealed container and found that, while the total content of the container kept the same mass, the piece of sulphur he had burnt had increased in mass, showing that that sulphur was reacting with a gas in the air later identified as oxygen. He repeated this

experiment with phosphorous and other elements such as tin and lead and found the same result. He also decomposed lead calx (lead oxide) and mercury calx (mercury oxide) and, while the compounds seemed to lose mass as they were burnt, the total mass of the container still remained constant, suggesting that the compounds decomposed and gave off a gas: oxygen. In yet another experiment Lavoisier proved this was not only true in inorganic reactions but in natural biological processes as well. He placed fruit into one of his sealed glass containers and left it in a warm place for several days to decompose into a putrid pile of rotten matter. After this, he observed that, while the colour, shape and texture of the fruit had changed and water had condensed onto the sides of the glass, the total mass of the container remained unchanged, yet again proving that in any chemical reaction, while the state and combination of elements change, the mass of the matter does not. Lavoisier, unfortunately, came to an untimely and gruesome end; during the French Revolution, because of his membership of the Ferme Générale, an unpopular group of tax collectors and because of his protection of foreign scientists, he was branded a traitor and executed. He was later exonerated by the French government; the Italian scientist, Lagrange, said of Lavoisier’s death, “It took them only an instant to cut off his head, but France may not produce another such head in a century.” His contribution to Chemistry, although cut short, has remained significant to this day, as he made many of the discoveries that we take for granted now, including the existence of oxygen and hydrogen, the fact that the diamond is a form of carbon and that burning and rusting are reactions with oxygen. His Law of the Conservation of Mass and his methodology, however, are probably his most significant contributions to Chemistry. The entire field of Stoichiometry, in which the relative quantities of reactants and products are predicted and measured, is based almost entirely upon these principles. The use of closed containers also revolutionised chemistry, moving it from its vague alchemistic past into the modern age. While it may seem obvious now that lost gases affect the results of experiments, it was Lavoisier who insisted on keeping his experiments in “closed systems”, a concept that has now been applied to many areas of Chemistry and even Physics, ensuring that any changes in a reaction are able to be measured accurately and to be reliably understood.

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the most significant

scientific discovery

Sampad Sengupta

YEAR 12

Physics: Galileo’s Experiments on Motion

jenner's experiment has saved more lives than any other.

W

hen speaking of experiments in Physics, most people nowadays would think of dark matter research and space exploration. However, I believe some of the most influential experiments in Physics were conducted over three hundred years ago, when all of this technology was not available and the human brain was one’s greatest tool. Galileo Galilei was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer and philosopher, born in February 1564 in Pisa, Italy. He conducted experiments on motion which paved the way for many physicists in later years, including Sir Isaac Newton, who formulated the mathematical laws of motion and universal gravitation. In 1581, when Galileo was at the University

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Galileo facing the Inquisition

of Pisa, he noticed a swinging chandelier, which air currents shifted about to swing in larger and smaller arcs. He used his pulse as a timer and noticed that the chandelier took about the same time to oscillate regardless of how far it swung. He went home and conducted the experiment using several pendulums and concluded that a simple pendulum was isochronous, which meant it swung the same amount of time independent of its amplitude. Later on, however, Christiaan Huygens, a Dutch mathematician, discovered that this was only approximately true. Galileo is better known for his experiments on motion. Contrary to the ideas of Aristotle, who believed that heavy bodies possessed a substance called ‘gravity’ and light bodies possessed a substance called ‘levity’ which caused heavier bodies to fall faster to the ground than lighter objects, Galileo said that the

lavoisier moved chemistry from its alchemistic past into the modern age.

rate of acceleration of a falling object was independent of its mass, provided the opposing forces due to friction and drag were minimised. He proved this when he was studying metal spheres of different masses rolling down a groove in an inclined plane. He wanted to measure the distance travelled by the ball as function of time after release. He demonstrated that, for a given angle, they all took the same time to reach the bottom of the plane. This was because they were accelerated by the component of the gravitational force acting along the slope, and, being spheres, they had very little friction. Galileo could show that this experiment was equivalent to free fall, but slower and thus easier to observe. Using the inclined plane at small angles made timing much easier as all he was using to time the spheres was his own pulse. Galileo also carried out a demonstration from the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa for everyone to see. According to a biography by Galileo's pupil Vincenzo Viviani, in 1589 Galileo had dropped two balls of different masses from the Leaning Tower of Pisa to demonstrate that their time of descent was independent of their mass. Thus he discovered that objects fell at the same acceleration, proving his prediction to be true, while, at the same time disproving Aristotle's theory of gravity (which states that objects fall at speed relative to their mass).

galileo's ideas are an integral part of our daily lives.

Galileo proposed that a falling body would fall with a uniform acceleration, as long as the resistance of the medium through which it was falling remained negligible, or in the limiting case of its falling through a vacuum. He derived the correct kinematical law for the distance travelled during a uniform acceleration starting from rest, stating that it would be proportional to the square of the time elapsed. There were others who had suggested this theory earlier and Galileo had expressed the time-squared law using geometrical constructions and mathematically precise words, adhering to the standards of the day. He concluded that objects retained their velocities unless a force, namely friction, acts upon them, refuting the generally accepted Aristotelian hypothesis that objects "naturally" slow down and stop when they run out of force. Galileo also designed an experiment to demonstrate the parabolic path of a projectile in flight, thus contradicting Aristotle’s idea of force running out. He rolled a sphere down a curved track so that it was projected from the end through a series of hoops. He adjusted the positions of the hoops so that the sphere passed through each one, showing directly the parabolic path. Galileo's Principle of Inertia stated: "A body moving on a level surface will continue in the same direction at constant speed unless disturbed." This principle was incorporated into Newton's laws of motion. These experiments of Galileo and his theories were not well received by the Catholic Church at that time, which condemned him on "vehement suspicion of heresy". However, his work acted as a platform for several physicists and mathematicians who followed. Sir Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” Galileo’s ideas and experiments might not have been popular with most people during his time, but they are now, whether we realise it or not, an integral part of our daily lives.

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should

technology be Used In

football Ben Willcocks year 13

why avoid technology if it is easily accessible to us?

T

echnology in football would simply be a complete benefit to the game. Football has been described as one the most “evolved games” (Gary Neville) in the world, as well as one of the most diverse, combining cultures from all over the world. Therefore, it baffles me why the authorities have only decided to introduce technology in football very recently. Although it is arguable that the use of technology might slow down the flow of the game, many referees currently enjoy awarding free-kicks in order to discourage bad tackles, so one could argue that a free- flowing game is becoming more and more of an idyllic fantasy anyway. I am a strong believer in the idea of introducing “challenges” into the game, as are used in sports such as tennis and cricket. In this system, the teams would have a certain number of “challenges” whereby they could contest the decision made by the on-field referee and ask the fourth official who would be examining the game with sophisticated technology, whether the decision could be changed or reconsidered. This method could be used for free-kicks, red cards, penalties or even more minor decisions such as throw-ins. In my eyes, it should prevent the disrespectful behaviour of managers towards officials on the touchline; perhaps Alan Pardew would learn not to hit out at officials when decisions don’t go his way! Although several managers (like Pardew, perhaps) believe that biased behaviour is present among referees, I completely disagree with these opinions. For me, despite the regular coincidence, I believe that legends such as “Fergie Time” and referees’ preference to favour home sides should remain simply as excuses rather than fact. In my opinion, technology shouldn’t be introduced due to the lack of ability from officials – I merely think it would benefit the game.

I am ecstatic about the fact that goal-line technology will be used next season in the Premier League. So many problems have occurred over the last year, which have upset many managers and fans robbed of a legitimate goal. Most notably, Frank Lampard’s superb effort a few years ago against Germany in the International Championship has remained in several people’s minds, especially amongst us patriotic English fans! It has even been argued that one could plant sensors on the posts so that, when the ball crosses the line, a claxon sounds to inform the referees that the ball has crossed the entire goal-line. In fact, if one utilised this for offside decisions as well, there would not be a necessity to have linesmen in the game. One could officiate through just two referees, one on field and one in the stands. In my opinion, the way forward in football is a combination of humans who can give leeway depending on the gravity of a situation and computers that can determine whether a ball has crossed the line, for example, or whether a player is offside or not. We, as fans of the game, have experienced too many poor decisions in recent years that have hurt our teams, and, although I agree that the referees cope with what seems like an extremely difficult job, I believe that technology is a simple way to make the game fairer and more enjoyable for everyone involved. Besides, referees are only human! Although I like to think of myself as a football expert, I can only give my opinion based on what I have experienced over the last few years and my conclusion is: why avoid technology if it is easily accessible to us? Not only would it reduce stress for referees and tantrums from managers after an ‘unjust’ decision, it would also make football a far more enjoyable sport, as the fans would know that their team is not being mistreated.

George Kimber-Sweatman

year 13

H

ow often does a weekend in The Premier League pass without some form of debate involving a refereeing decision? Not very often. How often is the referee proven to be correct? Very often. What would there be in football to argue about without these decisions to mull over? Very little. How easy would it be to fully introduce technology into football? Impossible. The fact that The English Premier League has arguably the best group of officials in world football is often lost on the partisan fans, who are often encouraged by the media to focus only on the mistakes. Therefore, cries are often heard for technology to be introduced into the decision-making process in order to eradicate perceived errors. However, there are two main problems with that. Firstly, there is the issue of whether it is actually needed. Personally, I feel that technology is only necessary when it is damn near impossible for a human to make a decision and, to my mind, the only situations in which that is true are tight goal or no-goal decisions when it is unclear whether the ball has crossed the goal line. These decisions are obviously critical to the outcome of matches and, with assistant referees (who have responsibility for these decisions) in their prescribed position, which is level with the second-last defender (who would usually be at least 12 yards from the goal line), at the time the ball is struck towards goal, in a race between assistant and ball to the line, there is only ever going to be one winner. In order to make an accurate decision, it is critical that the assistant is perfectly in line with the goal line at the moment the ball crosses (or doesn’t cross) and that is impossible in almost all situations. And that is not even taking the speed of the incident into account – the assistant has a split second to judge marginal movements. Therefore, I am totally in favour of FIFA’s decision to introduce goal-line technology to the

Goal-line technology

highest level of football from the start of next season. However, for other decisions, it is perfectly possible for humans to make highly accurate judgements. And, by and large, they do so expertly at the top level in England. Offside decisions are amongst the toughest, but Premier League Assistants get over 99% of them correct. The referees themselves are responsible for the majority of the remainder of decisions and they have a similarly impressive success-rate. So why are there so many calls for technology to be introduced? There is no legitimate reason. The second problem with the possibility of technology in football is its implementation and the form it would take. The big issue for FIFA, when introducing goal line technology, was that it had to be instant so as not to interrupt the flow of the game. However, it would be impossible for the decisionmaking to be immediate for foul recognition and off-sides. If the technology were introduced, what would be the process for challenging a decision? Would each team have a set number of challenges as in cricket and tennis? Would that result in tactical reviews to slow down the game or stop opponents from retaining possession? The sport would be changed unrecognisably, when it is loved all over the world in its current form. Also, the laws of football are largely based on “the opinion of the referee” when it comes to recognition of offences. Even within a group of top-level, impartial referees watching the same incident, there can be huge differences of opinion. So if a decision were to be ‘challenged’ and the referee in the stand watching the replay disagreed with the on-field official, whose decision would be upheld? This is not to mention the hugely different impressions that slow-motion and different camera angles can give of an incident – one angle could make a tackle look horrendous, whereas another could make it look totally fair. Which camera angle would be used to make the decision? In summary, there are too many unanswered questions for the introduction of non-goal line technology to be seriously considered. There is also no need for it – why replace the officials who are doing such a great job at the moment? And, of course, why remove the main discussion point for football fans in pubs and homes across the nation every weekend?

Will technology end scenes such as this? 24

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different interpretations of

Josh Rampton

T year 12

Browning’s ‘Porphyria’s Lover’

Fay Davies

year 13

W So, a group of different readings of a poem is really a clash between different ways of thinking.

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I ntroduction

hen we think of the term ‘fight’, poetry interpretation might not immediately spring to mind. But I would like to propose that ‘Fight Club’ is not such a far cry from ‘Poetry Club’. An interpretation (or reading) of a text is, in some ways, an argument. You are telling people what you believe this text to mean. You are bringing your own philosophical, ideological, political and personal stance to the text, a stance that is to some extent unique. You are pitting yourself against other interpretations of this text, which may indeed contradict your own. In his 1976 article ‘Interpreting the Variorum’ the literary theorist Stanley Fish claims that we interpret texts as part of ‘interpretive communities’. This gives us a particular way of reading the text, a particular set of cultural assumptions. So, a group of different readings of a poem is really a clash between different ways of thinking. These readings of ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ do indeed encompass different ways of thinking. Poetry is rooted firmly in historical context in Tom’s Historicist piece, but it has less prominence in Ben’s Aestheticist reading in which he explores the conflicting images of the text. Josh brings a Feminist slant in his examination of power relations; such concerns are absent in Gregory’s Structuralist reading, in which he identifies allusions to other texts, genres and ideas. He argues that such allusions create expectations on the part of the reader, which Browning goes on to subvert. Note how Josh and Tom offer differing interpretations of the final line. Both attribute great importance to these last words, but their reasons are distinct. Of course, meaning and significance is a vague area. Different interpretations will often overlap, drawing on similar ideas to shape meaning. But, even when they collide head-on, both are correct. So perhaps the true difference between this exercise and the typical fight is that, in this case, there can be no winner.

A F eminist reading

his poem is clearly a controversial one, in the eyes of contemporary Victorian audiences and even more so in the eyes of an audience of today, accustomed to relative equality. To be shocking and controversial may have been the aim of Robert Browning, who with his wife Elizabeth Barrett Browning campaigned for liberal causes such as the rights of women. This poem could therefore have been aimed to satirise the stringency of the idea of perfect femininity, tied to husband and home, and the endemic domestic violence that was only just coming into public awareness. From a feminist point of view, this poem could be seen to represent the indifference that men seem to show towards women exerting power and control to a degree, especially in a sexual sense, where this poem seems to suggest the way men find the reversal of dominance and passivity in this area erotic and even preferable. However, once women assert “too much power” men immediately take advantage of their testosterone-fuelled brute force to restore women to their “rightful place”. This could be seen, to an extent, to reflect the discomfort that some men still feel towards women who are powerful or assert power or control. This poem could be a reflection, satirical or non-satirical, on the immensely popular contemporary work by Coventry Patmore, ‘The Angel In The House’ becoming a household term to describe a woman who embodied the Victorian ideal of femininity, devoted to husband and family, that was epitomised by the Royal family (Queen Victoria and her devotion to Prince Albert) for the middle classes to emulate. A feminist may well see this as a nauseating reminder of the sickening and even pathetic devotion of women to their husbands that feminists still criticise some women for today. Although those who retain a Victorian perspective on women might argue that Porphyria is some kind of loose woman or whore, a feminist or indeed a male inclined to respect the prerogatives of women over their own bodies and their sexual liberation would disagree. The way Porphyria “Made her smooth white shoulder bare” and made the lover’s “cheek lie there” is more of a sign of sexual independence and assertion than the vulgar, lewd acts of a “fallen woman” if one adopts this point of view. The title of this poem, ‘Porphyria’s Lover’, immediately satirises the convention that the woman would always be the possessed object; however, as it turns out, it is the man who is passive, sitting waiting for her in a cottage and watching her action drive the narrative while he is inert. On one level, this poem could be a reflection of the Pygmalion myth, a male delusion that women can only be pure and truly feminine when they are an art object, under total control of men. Or simply, on a more disturbing level, the murder of Porphyria may just be simply a bid to regain control of a woman who has subverted the expectations and limitations of her sex as opposed to an attempt to attain some kind of warped perfection. The fact that the versification (the way the poem looks on the page) and the rhyme scheme remain unbroken even by the killing is a chilling suggestion that the lover is callous, cold and calculating. Although open to different interpretations, the final line of this poem “And yet God has not said a word!” could be

interpreted by a feminist as reminiscent of the religious roots of the oppression and mistreatment of women in that God “has not said a word” to condemn the cold-blooded killing of Porphyria. Moreover, ironically linking back to the idea of ‘The Angel in the House’, Porphyria is portrayed as almost angelic at the beginning of the poem (“when glided in Porphyria”, “making all the cottage warm”), which not only emphasises the cruelty of her death but makes her an angelic martyr in a way that mirrors the portrayal of Emily Davison years later after her perceived martyrdom to the cause of women’s suffrage.

Benjamin J. Schofield year 12

‘P

A C lose reading of I mages

orphyria’s Lover’ tells a tale out of the ordinary, the story of a murder and an exploration of insanity. As an earlier title of the piece, ‘Madhouse Cells’, indicates, the narrator is insane, yet in the narrative of the poem he goes undescribed. In fact, we can only assume the narrator’s gender as Browning leaves us not even a stray pronoun as a clue. However, due to the form of dramatic monologue, we learn far more about the inner mind of the narrator through his description than we would otherwise. The poem begins with a succession of images of the storm raging outside the lovers’ retreat, each seemingly unfit for a storm. How can wind be “sullen”, tearing down elm-tops “for spite”? As well as evoking a fitful storm, the images reflect the nature of the narrator, his own “cheerless” mental state. Porphyria herself, the centre of the poem, is initially described as being as “soiled” as her gloves; she “glide[s]” into the poem at once, carrying the storm in with her and shutting it out. It is interesting that, after death, Porphyria appears more alive than when she first enters: “The smiling rosy little head,/ So glad it has its utmost will”, an image at once macabre and beautiful, the still couple sitting there throughout the night; only one sits too still. The poem revolves between the aesthetic of two images, then: the riotous storm, and the gentle couple. In one there is anger, imperfection, and spite; the other portrays rosy perfection. The question Browning seems to put to us is: which is better? Firstly in the mind of a madman, and then in us: should we choose life, with all its stormy soiled imperfections, or the elegance and love of death?

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P orphyria ' s L over

Tom Harper

B year 12

A H istoricist R eading

rowning’s work with the dramatic monologue form stems from numerous accusations of ‘perversity’ from contemporaries on account of the disturbing characters he invents in his poetry, and hence the form was utilised as a means of distancing himself from his more sinister speakers. However, where the historical reading in this piece lies is in the fact that such accusations were based on many readers feeling the need to sympathise with such vulgar characters, as many of the themes highlighted in the poem (not including spontaneous murder) were indeed typical of the Victorian context in which this narrative was created. In the article ‘Men of Blood’, author Carter J. Wood acknowledges that analyses of Victorian violence necessitate an understanding of that period’s “constructions of dutiful femininity that excused men’s ‘disciplinary’ violence ... or even actively supported male household dominance”, as Victorian gender ideology held women in a passive, loyal and submissive role with men having the authority to keep them in such a category. When analysing the poem more closely, various references can be found as evidence towards Porphyria’s potential infidelity and hence a violation of the Victorian mindset: whether it be the “gay feast” bringing implications of a lust-driven evening out or the more subtle word “fall” perhaps making a reference to the Victorian “fallen woman” and hence prostitute. Thus one might take the view that in killing Porphyria the narrator is executing justice upon her in accordance with the time period, as female sexual promiscuity was heavily condemned by such a culture. Interestingly, the poem’s triumphant ultimate line “And yet God has not said a word!” can also be seen to reflect the crisis of faith occurring in the Victorian era. Darwin’s publication of The Origins of Species in 1859 instigated an unprecedented debate over the existence of God and so, arguably, by potentially challenging a divine intervention, the speaker can be seen to highlight the loss in faith of that period. Hence the narrator’s brutish act goes unpunished by the end of the narrative due to the context in which he resides, as, from a Historicist reading, not only can the murder be perceived as justifiable because it conforms to Victorian social ideologies and because no spiritual repercussions are implied, thereby transforming a seemingly mindless act into debatably logical one.

Gregory Walton-Green

year 12

T

he key element to appreciating ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ is in understanding how Browning repeatedly subverts our expectations. In the first nine lines, we are offered a scene that could come just as easily from the Romantic poetry of the earlier nineteenth century; the immensely impressive might of nature at its most ferocious is juxtaposed with the doting girl who makes the rural cottage comfortable and warm for the narrator. From this we might expect something along the lines of Coleridges’s ‘Frost at Midnight’, another poem set in a cottage with a fire burning, but this one goes on to reflect at length on the power of nature, a common theme in Romantic poetry. Instead of these musings, Browning plunges us into a description of a woman being overtly sexual, undressing in front of her lover and taking the lead in their relationship. This sort of open display of sexuality had been absent from poetry since the Renaissance, and so is entirely unexpected in a poem that starts off in a Romantic vein. If Browning were to continue to develop along this plot-line, he might have taken a similar route to that of Renaissance poet Sir Thomas Wyatt in his poem ‘They Flee From Me’. In it, we are offered a description of female dominance also seen in ‘Porphyria’: the title characters are described as “seek[ing]” the narrator with “naked feet”, and one woman is said to have “caught me [the narrator] in her arms” after her “loose gown” had fallen from her shoulders. The parallels with ‘Porphyria’ are self-evident. However, from line twenty-two, Browning moves away somewhat from suggestive imagery, and instead focuses on Porphyria’s innermost emotions, almost reminiscent of his contemporary Tennyson. Godiva, in relation to her internal struggle between “proper” behaviour and her obligations, and Mariana, in her unfulfilled desire for her absent lover, surrounded by a depressing, decaying landscape, both share some similarities with Porphyria.

BROWNING REPEATEDLY SUBVERTS OUR EXPECTATIONS.

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A S tructuralist R eading

THE rain set early in to-night, The sullen wind was soon awake, It tore the elm-tops down for spite, And did its worst to vex the lake: I listen'd with heart fit to break. When glided in Porphyria; straight She shut the cold out and the storm, And kneel'd and made the cheerless grate Blaze up, and all the cottage warm; Which done, she rose, and from her form Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl, And laid her soil'd gloves by, untied Her hat and let the damp hair fall, And, last, she sat down by my side And call'd me. When no voice replied, She put my arm about her waist, And made her smooth white shoulder bare, And all her yellow hair displaced, And, stooping, made my cheek lie there, And spread, o'er all, her yellow hair, Murmuring how she loved me—she Too weak, for all her heart's endeavour, To set its struggling passion free From pride, and vainer ties dissever, And give herself to me for ever. But passion sometimes would prevail, Nor could to-night's gay feast restrain A sudden thought of one so pale For love of her, and all in vain: So, she was come through wind and rain. Be sure I look'd up at her eyes Happy and proud; at last I knew Porphyria worshipp'd me; surprise Made my heart swell, and still it grew While I debated what to do. That moment she was mine, mine, fair, Perfectly pure and good: I found A thing to do, and all her hair In one long yellow string I wound Three times her little throat around, And strangled her. No pain felt she; I am quite sure she felt no pain. As a shut bud that holds a bee, I warily oped her lids: again Laugh'd the blue eyes without a stain. And I untighten'd next the tress About her neck; her cheek once more Blush'd bright beneath my burning kiss: I propp'd her head up as before, Only, this time my shoulder bore Her head, which droops upon it still: The smiling rosy little head, So glad it has its utmost will, That all it scorn'd at once is fled, And I, its love, am gain'd instead! Porphyria's love: she guess'd not how Her darling one wish would be heard. And thus we sit together now, And all night long we have not stirr'd, And yet God has not said a word!

different interpretations of

Browning’s ‘Porphyria’s Lover’

Just as we are starting to identify with Porphyria, Browning immediately turns our view, instead, on to her lover, the narrator. The romantic imagery of his “heart swell[ing]”, means that we expect what he was “to do” to be something sexual in nature, to release the tension built up in the earlier seductive depiction of Porphyria undressing. Yet, once again, Browning has deceived us as to where the poem is leading. He releases the tension not by a sexual encounter but by murder. This plot twist is central to the poem, highlighting Browning’s skill at structuring his work, but remaining in keeping with the poem as a whole. For instance, he continues to describe the actions after the death in terms of the language of desire, albeit having perverted such language to depict a selfish need for control rather than love. Furthermore, the macabre ending leads us to see the Gothic suggestions in the introductory lines when the narrator is describing the tempestuous weather. By these methods, Browning manages to tie the poem together as one complete work despite the numerous subversions of expectation. In ‘Porphyria’s Lover’, Browning has mastered the skill of manipulating plot, which allows him to consistently surprise the reader. As a narrative poem, plot is crucial in shaping our understanding, and this is why I believe the careful structuring of ‘Porphyria’s Lover’, which draws on so many genres and literary traditions, is the most important element both in forming the character of the poem and in our interpretation.

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Austerity

is The Right Economic Policy For The UK?

yes Fergus Houghton-Connell

year 12

A

usterity has had a lot of bad press recently, due to the worsening situation in Europe and the UK’s double-dip recession, but I still believe that the Chancellor is correct to enforce tax increases and cuts in public spending. The UK economy is on a slow, but steady, recovery and if the same austerity measures are continued past 2015, many forecasters believe that we will see encouraging growth in GDP (Gross Domestic Product) as well as a large decrease in government borrowing. One of the big reasons for the hatred towards austerity is the stagnated growth or, in the case of many European countries, the continuation of negative growth and low employment. This occurs because government spending decreases, which reduces aggregate demand, and thus GDP, leading to a fall in economic growth. Also, unemployment will rise if the Government spends less, especially in the public sector, due to the cutting of government departments and councils just to take two examples. Moreover, a negative ‘Multiplier Effect’ may occur, whereby a decrease in investment by the Government leads to a greater decrease in the national income; as firms lay off people, so

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household incomes fall and thus consumption too, leading to a decrease in tax revenue and so on. All of this is a prime example of what is happening in many Eurozone countries at the moment, where unemployment is at a record high and growth is staggeringly low. So why would a government use austerity measures to try to cure an economy? Firstly, Eurozone countries have been struggling recently, which means that the value of their currency will decrease due to the decreasing demand for the Euro currency. So, if the value of the Euro against the Pound decreases, the price of UK exports will become relatively more expensive and the price of UK imports will become relatively cheaper. So, firms will buy more imports and fewer exports and, because net exports are a component of aggregate demand and thus GDP, if the value of the Euro decreases, UK GDP will decrease too. So, austerity in the UK may not be the only reason why we are seeing low growth. The UK economy is somewhat different to Eurozone economies. As shown in the graph on the left, the UK economy has been experiencing growth (albeit low), which we are expecting to continue in the next few years. So why has this been happening? Monetary policy could be playing a large role in the shaping of the economy. For example, interest rates are at just 0.5%, which means that people will be encouraged to spend rather than save, thus causing consumption in the economy to increase so that GDP will increase. The economy may experience demandpull inflation (whereby an increase in aggregate demand, which includes consumption, leads to an increase in prices, or inflation). However, the low interest rates, mixed with austerity measures, could cause growth to increase at a slow and steady rate, as shown in the graph on the left, without causing too much inflation: a very good move indeed. Another reason for the increasing growth could be the rise in business and consumer confidence. Ultimately, if business and consumer confidence are low, then, no matter what the Government does, it will have little effect as consumers won’t want to buy anything or invest any of their money. However, in the UK, we are seeing confidence slowly rise, so people are spending more on big-ticket items and banks are willing to lend more to businesses. This increase in consumption and investment will increase GDP, as consumption and investment are components of aggregate demand, and thus we will see growth in the economy. So why are we seeing consumer and business confidence rising, when austerity measures apparently decrease growth and employment? Now we are starting to see the long-term benefits of austerity, the main aim of which is to reduce the budget deficit and decrease government borrowing, which is what we are seeing in the economy at the moment. In the shortrun, growth will fall; however, in the long-run, as shown in the graph, borrowing will decrease and we will see a reduction of the budget deficit, as a result of which news, consumer and business confidence are likely to increase, thus inevitably causing growth to rise and unemployment to decrease. Overall, I believe that austerity may not be suitable for Eurozone economies; however, for the UK, it is just what we need after years of over-spending and de-regulation.

F

ollowing the 2008 global recession, the majority of major developed economies, including Britain, opted for a policy of deficit reduction and austerity. The evidence from the following four years has now conclusively shown us that austerity was, as textbook economics predicted, a really awful idea. However, to understand the failures of austerity it is necessary to evaluate the case for it. There are two main arguments that could be put forward to support a reduction in government statement: firstly, that government debt is too high, and, secondly, austerity will actually be expansionary and increase growth. The argument that debt is too high is understandable. Britain’s debt currently stands at 88% per cent of GDP, and the other developed nations all have similar levels. The Harvard economists Reinhart and Rogoff produced a highly influential paper, ‘Growth In A Time of Debt’, seemingly showing that debt over 90% of GDP is highly detrimental to growth. Thus it is easy to understand western politicians’ determination to cut and avoid this cliff. The case for cutting is even stronger in Eurozone countries, which have no monetary option to avoid bankruptcy. Furthermore there was much talk of expansionary austerity. The argument here, advocated strongly by David Cameron and Olli Rehn, EU commissioner for Economic affairs, is that austerity will actually aid recovery. Proponents claim that austerity will boost confidence and thus lead to an increase in private spending and investment from firms. In essence, the argument is that the private sector will not only take up the slack caused by government cuts, but actually expand as well. But the arguments of the austerians have been all but defeated. The Reinhart-Rogoff paper has turned out to be fatally flawed due to a coding error, but its methodology was always in question, as it seemed to confuse correlation with causation. There is not some level of debt that spells disaster for the economy. Nor is there any real threat of default for countries with their own currencies (the Eurozone is a special case, which I will address later). As Japan shows, debt of over 200% can be sustainably held. The idea that austerity is expansionary has also been widely discredited. A working paper, ‘New International Evidence’, by the IMF, shows that not only does fiscal tightening reduce GDP, it also reduces private sector spending, making the policy anything but expansionary. Recent evidence from Vox.eu, the blog of Europe’s leading economic think tank, also points at the developed economies’ policy of austerity as a reason why the slump has been the worst since The Great Depression. So what should be happening? The answer is a massive fiscal stimulus. The Western economies are in the grips of the “Lesser Depression” as Paul Krugman has called it, suffering a continued slump in demand and thus production. Monetary policy can do little more to increase demand in the current climate, as interest rates are already against the zero lower bound. Therefore, the only tool to control demand available to the policy makers is fiscal. If

Sources: www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2011/wp11158.pdf www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/05/09/ krugmans_still_wrong_118323.html krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/ mainlymacro.blogspot.co.uk

Henry Cunnison

NO year 12

the government expands spending, not only will it directly employ more people, and thus boost growth, but it will also cause a multiplier. The increased employment by the government means that the new workers have more money to spend, which will in turn boost company profits, and lead them to invest, and so on. A stimulus of £1Bn will boost GDP by significantly more than that figure. There is also no danger of “crowding out” private spending, given the current climate. Nor will austerity produce a better economy in the long run, as some have claimed. The continued mass unemployment will create a massive problem for the future. People, who initially lost their jobs due to cyclical, temporary reasons, could easily find themselves lacking the skills firms require to return to work. Unemployment has been high for four years now, and those who have not found work throughout the depression have seen their skills decline. There is a danger a large part of the workforce will become unemployable, even when the economy recovers. The Eurozone presents a special case in terms of austerity. It is impossible to deny that countries such as Greece, Spain and the rest of the “periphery” do have a serious debt problem, and without the option of their own monetary policy to reduce this burden, do have to make quite deep cuts. There is also no doubt that this has caused savage economic decline. The problem is that the fiscal contraction needed to be offset by an expansion in the core countries (read: Germany). Instead, the whole Eurozone, including Germany, is being dragged further into a deepening depression. Yet some austerians have declared that there is not enough austerity in the Eurozone, pointing to the fact that only three of its countries had reduced spending as a percentage of GDP by 2012 compared to 2003-07 levels. This really is one the most ill-conceived arguments for austerity. The fact is that all the other Eurozone countries, such as Greece, Italy and Spain, have cut spending, but GDP has plummeted too, meaning the spending-to-GDP ratio has increased. This is an example of selfdefeating austerity, where cutting actually increases the deficit as a percentage of output by reducing GDP. In most recessions, when monetary policy is effective, austerity can potentially be justified, though it will never be expansionary in a crisis, with confidence so low. However, in the current climate, when monetary policy is ineffective, when the developed nations are all in a liquid trap, it is a truly foolish idea, one which even an A-level textbook would discredit.

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the theological and cultural legacy of

Catholicism

Dr Ruth Richmond

HEAD OF PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES

Does Papal Catholicism still have a future?

O

n 13 March 2013, a new Pope, Francis 1, became the Bishop of Rome and leader (Holy Father, from the Latin papa) to over 1.2 billion Roman Catholics worldwide. What does his title mean? What are his roles? And, ultimately, does the Christian faith need a Pope? In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter the Apostle. He is the Chief Pastor of the whole Church, the Vicar of Christ on Earth. He is also a reluctant celebrity, loved and hated by millions. He presides over a church viewed by many as authoritarian, dogmatic, male-dominated and absolutist (particularly in its ethics). Nowadays many ask: is there a place for such a hierarchical male church institution in an age where religion (in Europe anyway) is dwindling, women are nearing equality with men (and even become priests!) and moral relativism seems to be winning the day? Sex abuse scandals have certainly not helped the Church’s reputation with stories of coverup, complacency, and accusations of moral hypocrisy. Has Papal Catholicism a future in the modern age? Does Christianity need a pope? In this article I want to argue yes, for a number of reasons. Firstly, the Traditionalist might argue that this is the way the Christian Church should be; the argument goes that the Bible states that the church is built on the rock of St Peter on which the Pope now resides: “That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven”. If you believe that the Pope has authority over his Church as the Vicar of Christ, then such a Christian institution led by the Pope, the ‘true’ church, remains for all time, sanctioned by God. By implication, all other forms of ‘Church’ remain in error.

Pope Francis

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Pope Francis washing the feet of the poor

econdly, for some, a more liberal understanding of ‘church’ (but still in the Roman Catholic sense) might be more helpful here in establishing a more social role for the Pope, particularly emphasising social justice. For me, this is the most crucial role of the Pope in the modern age: he undertakes a practical function in presenting the teaching and social mission of the Church to a troubled world. Pope John Paul II defined social justice in the following terms: "Social justice can be obtained only in respecting the transcendent dignity of man. The person represents the ultimate end of society, which is ordered to him: What is at stake is the dignity of the human person, whose defence and promotion have been entrusted to us by the Creator, and to whom the men and women at every moment of history are strictly and responsibly in debt.” The social teaching of the Catholic Church, then, deals extensively with questions concerning social and economic problems in the modern world. To illustrate how relevant this is for the modern age, let us take the example of the economy. Catholic ethics upholds the right of strict justice for a worker to receive a just and living wage, it supports the natural right of the worker to unionize, it calls for more cooperation between owners and workers, it defines the role of the government in the economy, condemning both those who want a state-run economy and those who wish to eliminate the role of government from economic affairs. And, by extension, it challenges the role of bankers who take ever bigger risks with other people’s money in order to make big, risky gains. Also, the poor in society have special protection: "Those who shut their ears to the cry of the poor will themselves call and not be heard." (Proverbs 21:13). It is the Pope’s role to define and clarify our social mission to others. We find such clarification in the wonderful papal encyclical Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth, 2009). Here, the Church forcefully maintains this link between life ethics and social ethics, fully aware that "a society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values

such as the dignity of the person, justice and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or marginalized." So, for example, chronic hunger and lack of access to water are seen as a devaluation of life; it is not all about condemning abortion. The Pope, more than any other Christian leader, can give one central and powerful message that challenges unacceptable and deeply immoral situations. The worldwide public wants to hear and see him and therefore the media give them want they want: whether it is on prime time news bulletins or in the front section of a broadsheet newspaper! And, lastly, papal Christianity protects the Christian faith from too much dissension ("I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who create dissensions and obstacles, in opposition to the teaching that you learned; avoid them" Romans 16:17), too much personal interpretation of, frankly, dogmatic truths that form the absolute foundation of what it means to be a Christian. I cannot imagine a Catholic Bishop standing up and doubting the reality of Christ’s resurrection or the Virgin Birth. Jesus said, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age" (Mt 28:19-20). Such dissension over the centuries has created much confusion for Christians and non-Christians alike. What are people to think when Christians can't agree on the most basic elements of the faith? For instance, is Christ truly present in the Eucharist or not? The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus is truly present whole and entire--Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity--in the Eucharist, that the bread and wine are changed through a process called transubstantiation, and that this change can only be effected by a man who has been ordained as a priest by a bishop in the line of apostolic succession. It is theology at its clearest and has historically stood the test of time for over a billion Catholics. In order to do the right thing, we need to know who is correct and which teachings are right. How do we do that? We first need to ask ourselves, how do we reasonably fulfil Christ's teaching command in the real world? Clearly, we need an authoritative body, a recognizable institution like the Catholic Church. And that institution needs a leader, the Pope.

THE POPE PRESENTS THE TEACHING AND SOCIAL MISSION OF THE CHURCH.

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the theological and cultural legacy of

Catholicism

Left: The Last Judgement Below: Kerouac (on the left)

The last JudgEment:

Catholicism’s new cultural legacy Benjamin J. Schofield year 12

C

atholicism has always surrounded itself with power and money; it is no coincidence that the infamous Medici family provided four popes, far more than your average dynasty. Much like the Medici, the Catholic Church was one of the few major patrons of the arts during the flourishing of the Renaissance. As such, the Vatican corridors are now crowded with excellent art of all kind. It seems now that one cannot think about Catholicism without being reminded of the opulence afforded by centuries of collection baskets. However the patronage of arts has undoubtedly made the world a better place; it is one of the central arguments made in defence of the Church. Yet Catholicism has stirred the pond; it has bankrolled art in other, subtler ways. Instead of providing the gold leaf or the roof to be painted, schools have been funded, children indoctrinated (in the most innocent use of the word). It could be claimed that Catholicism’s greatest impact on art in the twentieth century was upon literature. It has been argued by some critics, for example William T. Noon and Robert Boyle, that Finnegans Wake and Ulysses are essentially Catholic expressions. Indeed, the characters of the book find themselves coming up against their religion in many forms; Leopold Bloom’s fragile conversion to the religion vacillates in the face of the modern world. It is important, however, that Joyce found it a rich enough well to draw from; much as Odysseus faced the beasts and demons of the Greek religions, Bloom is confronted with the ever-present Catholic ghost of death at Paddy Dignam’s funeral.1 Joyce, Jesuit-educated, rejected the religion in his early life, writing in a letter to Nora Barnacle: “My mind rejects the whole present social order and Christianity [...] Six years ago I left the Catholic church, hating it most fervently.” 2. However, by rejecting Catholicism

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and then returning to it as a common theme throughout his work, Joyce suggests a central importance of the religion to his literary life and furthermore his theological outlook. If we are to judge the empirical value of art over art, could the works of Joyce be comparable to, or even greater than, the paintings of Michelangelo, each novel a fresco, with Catholicism at its core, if not its surface? Should we then see Ulysses as The Creation of Adam, Finnegans Wake as The Last Judgement (which, incidentally was commissioned by Pope Clement VII, born Giulio di Giuliano de' Medici)? While Jack Kerouac is often seen as a major proponent of Buddhism, particularly its Western rise in conjunction with that of the Beats, he was at heart a Catholic. Each of his books addresses religion in their own way, yet even Kerouac’s musings on Buddhism, Some of the Dharma, ring with the essence of his mother religion (as well as his birth mother). For Kerouac, Catholicism has links with purity and the innocence of childhood: “Go back to childhood, just eat apples and read your Catechism -- sit

on curbstones, the hell with the hot lights of Hollywood.” 3. In his words, Christianity finds a simplicity, lying alongside something as evocative as an apple, which in the Church is often depicted as the fruit which brought about the fall of man. Here its role is reallocated, subverted by Kerouac to instead represent a “beatific” childhood. Like Joyce, Kerouac plays with the themes of death; he became obsessed with death as he grew older and his liver grew weaker. His book, Visions of Gerard, while being one of those written later in his life, is of the very beginning; it tracks the story of his childhood, recounting the memories of his brother Gerard who died when Kerouac was four, leaving a memory fixed in Kerouac’s memory of a holy nine year old whom he would always look up to. Kerouac fixes the subject of the book in a direct manner: “I am writing this book because we're all going to die”; he goes on, “In the loneliness of my own life, my father dead, my brother dead, my mother faraway, my sister and my wife far away, nothing here but my own tragic hands that once were guarded by a world, a sweet attention,

that now are left to guide and disappear their own way into the common dark of all our death, sleeping in my raw bed, alone and stupid: with just this one pride and consolation: my heart broke in the general despair and opened up inwards to the Lord, I made a supplication in this dream.” 4 Obsessed with a past that seems irretrievable, farther away than any relative now, Kerouac details the late-in-the-day melancholy through the tale of a tragic and typically American childhood. It is one of Kerouac’s most moving books, delving into his Catholic education and the effect it had on him as a young child. He writes of how, when he took his first Sacrament of Confession at a mere six years old, God spoke to him in a vision. Kerouac writes that he was told he would suffer through life and die in pain and horror, but in the end would have salvation. This further fits into Kerouac’s ultimately fatalistic view of life, informing his self-elected family motto: “Love, Suffer, and Work.” 5 While the gold rings, crosses, thuribles, icons, postcards clogging gift shops, toilet-roll holders, thrones and gilded ceilings hint as to the physical wealth of the Church, perhaps their greatest asset is the millions of children passing through their education systems. While the frescoes degrade over time (resulting in some controversial restorations, see left), works of literature are eternally durable. Perhaps, as we move further into the twenty-first century, the cultural legacy of the Catholic Church will slowly shift from Michelangelo to Joyce and Proust, maybe even the beatific vision of Kerouac.

1 2 3 4 5

(Segall, Joyce in America: Cultural Politics and the Trials of Ulysses) p. 140 (Joyce, ‘Letter to Nora Barnacle’. 29 August 1904) p. 25-26 (Kerouac, Big Sur) chap. 6 (Kerouac, Visions of Gerard) (Kerouac, Desolation Angels)

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how great a threat is

climate change?

The catastrophic consequences of Global Warming

... rising temperatures, rising sea levels...

John Wiggins

year 13

Melting ice caps

T

here are numerous possible causes and effects of global warming, both natural and human, but their validity is still a highly controversial topic. Arguably, the main human cause of the phenomenon is the production of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, as a result of industry and the production of energy in a rapidly technologically advancing civilisation. In Less Economically Developed Countries, such as those of Sub-Saharan Africa especially, the combined growth of population and advancements in technology are creating a new strain on the planet’s resources, as well as the current needs of More Economically Developed Countries, such as China and the USA (which is responsible for 30.3% of all contributions to global warming). These greenhouse gases trap some of the long-wave radiation given off by the Earth and re-radiate it back towards the surface, resulting in a planetary rise of temperatures. Although the level of responsibility for global warming of humans is still unclear, it is undeniable that the population of the world is rapidly expanding at an unsustainable rate – in 1945, the global population was 2.3 billion, in 2012 it reached 7 billion and by 2050 it is due to reach 9.1 billion – and this increasing population will place greater and greater demands on the natural resources of the planet.

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As well as the production of greenhouse gases, other human causes of global warming include deforestation and the destruction of natural habitats and wildernesses. Forest fires, including the slash and burn tactics used in areas such as the Amazon rainforest, as well as arson in many Mediterranean countries such as Spain, are responsible for almost 30% of all annual carbon dioxide emissions. At present, the Amazon Rainforest produces 20% of the world’s oxygen and absorbs 35% of the world’s annual carbon dioxide emissions. However, forest die-back as a result of vegetation succession and fire is likely to actually result in the area becoming a net source of carbon dioxide instead of a carbon sink by 2050. If the planet loses its most valuable carbon sinks, including the rainforests and the oceans, this will drastically increase the rate of global warming, as the emissions will no longer be absorbed, but will add to the existing layer in the Upper Atmosphere. There are, however, also numerous natural causes, which have been argued to be more important according to scientists such as Patrick Moore (co-founder of Greenpeace) and Richard Lindzensuch (Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), who publicly made their case on the controversial film The Great Global Warming Swindle. They hold the view that global warming is a result of numerous natural factors including oceanic circulation, Milankovitch cycles, sunspots, tectonic plate movement and

natural changes to the atmospheric composition resulting from volcanoes, rotting vegetation, cattle and peat bogs. Many of these are, of course, likely to alter the global climate, and there is a range of evidence that supports this, however, the real question is whether these factors are more important than the human ones. A number of these factors, including sunspots, volcanic activity and Milankovitch cycles, affect solar radiation and the amount of the sun’s energy that reaches Earth in specific areas, and there exist convincing data and graphs showing a coinciding of a large number of sunspots in the Middle Ages and the Medieval Warm Period. The rise of sea levels could also likely be as a result of the thermal expansion of the sea water after the previous Ice Age, which takes hundreds of years to take place, and it is likely that the effects we are seeing today in our climate can only be from previous changes, due to their long lag time. The main effects from these changes include rising temperatures, rising sea levels and an increase in the number of extreme events. With a rise in temperature of only 1.5 to 2.5 degrees Celsius, twenty per cent of animal and plant species will become extinct, reducing biodiversity and the adaptability of other species. Due to the production of desertlike conditions in many areas which are presently highly populated and important for agriculture, such as Spain and other Mediterranean regions, the global population rise

will become even more of a problem, as room to live in and to grow crops will become more sparse. The rise in sea levels will also exacerbate this problem, with a reduction of inhabitable and fertile land due to severe flooding. This will include many of the financial centres and highly populated areas of the world, such as Shanghai and Manhattan, as well as many low-lying countries such as India and Holland. As well as the enormous costs of replacing and rebuilding damaged property and infrastructure, and the loss of human life, the consequences from the loss of huge areas of land of such high importance may include another economic downturn, causing unemployment and homelessness for thousands of displaced people. The effects from these changes, whether the causes are man-made or natural, are still extensive, and even if they are part of a cycle and the natural world may be able to recover from them, they pose a serious threat to civilisation: with 40 million people in Shanghai alone in serious danger from flooding, and the increase in extreme events resulting in areas becoming too dangerous to live in and too expensive to insure, as well as causing an unacceptable loss of life.

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what can we do about

climate change? Lewis Garland

year 13

Forest fire in the Amazon

S

ince the late nineteenth century, the view that global climate change is directly influenced by human behaviour has become increasingly accepted as scientists have provided better evidence for the relationship between the level of global carbon dioxide concentrations and global temperatures. A large number of natural phenomena and processes are affected by climate change, and these in turn can have a negative impact on groups of people living around the world, from Bangladesh to the Sudan. The magnitude of the number of countries affected means that climate change is not just applicable to one nation; it is of international importance. Therefore, a number of international organisations have been formed to monitor and to try to reverse global climate change. However, such action is expensive, and for certain less economically developed countries (LEDCs) it would be unreasonable to insist that they should prioritise tackling climate change over some of their national problems, such as lowering the infant mortality rate and establishing a good healthcare system. Furthermore, international efforts to tackle climate change also face problems from the disparity of natural resources, which means that different solutions have to be used in different countries. Cities are ideally placed to influence climate change, as they consume over two-thirds of the world’s energy and are responsible for around 70% of global carbon dioxide emissions. The C40 Group was formed in 2005 to give

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support to mayors hoping to cut greenhouse gas emissions in their own individual cities. The group is extremely effective, as increased discussions and communications between the leaders of a network of cities mean that the best and most effective ways of cutting greenhouse gas emissions can be copied from city to city. The group aims to ‘use collaboration, knowledge sharing and metrics to drive meaningful, measurable and sustainable action’. So far the group have put in place a range of policies such as using more efficient lighting and building codes, and capturing methane from landfill sites; these initiatives should cut 248 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. In addition, as these cities grow and develop, so too does their capacity to tackle climate change, with the New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg claiming that they have the capacity to cut their carbon output by one gigaton (a billion tons) by 2030 in relation to the current predicted levels of carbon output for 2030. The achievements of the C40 group are in stark contrast to the results of international negotiations between countries, the majority of which have failed to reach binding targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and thus tackling global warming. In addition to the C40 group, a number of other international organisations work with cities to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. EMBARQ (The World Resources Institutes Centre for Sustainable Transport) has worked with Rio de Janeiro (a C40 cities member) to develop a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor. This public transport system will not

only reduce pollution, but is also expected to help hundreds of thousands of Rio’s residents, providing them with safer transport and shorter commutes, encouraging more of them to use public transport, thereby reducing the number of vehicles on the road and further cutting greenhouse gas emissions and energy use. The city has plans for another 3 corridors, thus continuing to tackle climate change. The BRT scheme in Rio de Janeiro was a local idea, completely funded by the city council, but it had international advice in how to set up and manage the system. One of the reasons why the scheme was put into place so quickly and effectively was because the international organisation it dealt with was a non-governmental organisation (N.G.OEMBARQ) which specializes in sustainable transport, and much like the C40 cities group, EMBARQ was able to take ideas which had previously been applied in other countries and reproduce them in Rio de Janeiro. As an international cooperation between two organisations which were reasonably small (as opposed to two countries), the target set was much more specific: reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption through improving the public transport. However, when a number of countries meet, such as at the RIO+20 conference (the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development), outcomes from discussions are vague, and whilst some ideas may start to be formed, very few actual schemes emerge from such discussions. For example, the primary outcome from the Rio+20 was the document -‘The

Future We Want’, in which the heads of governments attending the conference simply renewed their political commitment to sustainable development. The document re-affirms their commitment to Agenda 21 and other action plans for sustainable development, which were agreed 20 years ago in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. This lack of action and inefficiency compares poorly against the effectiveness of collaboration between EMBARQ and Rio de Janeiro’s city council. Although the majority of international summits and discussions fail to result in collaboration amongst countries with regard to tackling climate change, a large number of national schemes have been formed due to Agenda 21 and other such documents. An example of this is the ‘Carbon Action Plan’ introduced by the UK government in December 2011, ‘reducing emissions from business and industry’ and ‘saving energy in homes and communities’. By breaking down the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions sustainably into achievable stages, the UK government can focus on specific targets which, once achieved, will result in them achieving their end objective. The Carbon Plan takes into account a large range of solutions, which will be implemented gradually. This, like the step by step approach for the Bus Rapid Transit system in Rio de Janeiro, means that progress can constantly be reviewed to make sure that the carbon plan is on track, and that they are going about cutting greenhouse gas emissions the most sustainable way. Furthermore, the research done into preparing the carbon plan has also generated a number of other initiatives, such as the Green Investment Bank (GIB), a funding scheme initiated by the UK government to attract private funds ‘for the financing of the private sector’s investments related to environmental preservation and improvement’. In short, they intend to set up a fund financed by major banks which will make investments in environmental technology, such as offshore wind farms; this will help the UK government meet its target for reducing carbon emissions, and yet will be funded not by the UK, but by a collection of banks, who will hope to make a long-term gain in their investment in environmental technology. However, the effectiveness of this scheme has been debated, with the World Development Movement claiming the GIB would be too small to attract the kind of investment needed to generate green jobs and industry in vthe UK. In conclusion, the effectiveness of national and international efforts to tackle global climate change strongly depends on whether the solution used is realistic, well planned and appropriate to the context. Where the solution is all of the above, such as the BRT system and the Carbon Plan, they can be extremely effective. Unfortunately, despite incorporating a larger number of people, international programs tend to be less effective. Nevertheless, some international co-operation has been shown to produce results, and the international aspect of tackling climate change shows governments and N.G.Os that they are working alongside a larger body of people to achieve the same end goal, therefore providing a framework upon which national schemes are shaped.

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V e rdi v W agn e r : B ic e nt e nary B attl e

Wagner's

Verdi Wagner Why

music it's better than it sounds

is Better than

Aladdin Benali

T

year 12

I

n late nineteenth century Germany, where industry was growing ever more powerful and scientific and technological advances were following one after another at a dizzying rate, man seemed to be near to taming the forces of nature. And yet, under the confident surface, lay a deep layer of pessimism. With new Darwinian explanations of the world’s mysteries of life and Karl Marx preaching revolution, many philosophers, artists and musicians alike thought mankind to be adrift in a Godless, brutal, meaningless world. Amongst this sense of nihilism and revolution was born the music of Richard Wagner. Wagner totally redrew the map of nineteenth century music and has possibly been one of the most influential Western composers, but there was a dark undercurrent of German nationalism to his work. He remains one of the most controversial figures in the history of music. Wagner was perhaps one of the first divas in music; with his love of scented baths, satin undergarments and Venetian tapestries, he was certainly very extravagant. In his later years, much of Wagner’s opera was based on the works of the philosopher Schopenhauer, with Wagner’s themes of desire and passion, based on the theory that humans are essentially irrational and emotional animals and all efforts to reform or control them are futile because our sexuality, cravings and longing can never be satisfied. In Tristan and Isolde, the two lovers are forbidden to be together in life and can only be united in death, where they can finally end their unbearable suffering. Misery is the human condition and death is the only solution. So what makes Wagner’s music so special? He remains one of the most revolutionary composers in Western music. His music was at the forefront of the Romantic Movement but, unlike many of his contemporaries, Wagner systematically dismantled conventional structures and expectations, replacing them with a new music in accordance with his Schopenhauerean philosophy. Of course, one cannot talk about Wagner’s music without first of all mentioning his creative use of harmony. Perhaps the most famous example appears right from the beginning, from the opera Tristan and Isolde: the

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2013 is the bicentenary of the births of German composer Richard Wagner and Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi.

Richard Wagner

Tristan Chord. Its fame is because of the unusual relationship to the implied key of its surroundings. When it was first heard in 1865, the chord was considered innovative, disorienting, and daring. Musicians of the twentieth century often identify the chord as a starting point for the modernist disintegration of tonality. In addition, Wagner refuses to conform to the conventional ideas of musical resolution (G-C or E-Am), leaving us in a constant state of longing and tension to reflect his pessimistic philosophy on human nature. By this refusal, Wagner left the safe Romantic Mediterranean world of Verdi and Rossini behind, ushering in a music not only more overtly erotic than ever before but also more psychologically disturbed. However, many of Wagner’s ideas, far from shattering music into pieces for future generations to pick up, sparked the beginning of modern film music. Almost everybody had a favourite movie theme, perhaps the brass introduction to Indiana Jones by John Williams or Hans Zimmer’s fast-paced violin theme for Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean. This is actually a Wagnerian technique, using small nuggets of tunes, called leitmotifs, to represent each character, idea or establishment, the most famous of these leitmotifs being ‘The Ride of the Valkyries’. Wagner was undoubtedly a musical genius, but there still remains a great deal of uneasiness associated with his work. He was a vicious anti-site and regarded as one of the cultural progenitors of the Nazi nightmare. But does this mean we should condemn his music? Wagner’s music ought to remain something detached from the man, and seen for what it is: inspired and exhilarating.

Tim MacBain year 13

his article will have two sections. The first is about Verdi. The second is a good old bit of Wagner-bashing. Sorry to all you Wagnerians; it’s my opinion, I won’t try and dress it up as fact. Now, I am not particularly fond of opera. I find it a bit stodgy, the singers are very skilled but sing in a manner that seems a little over the top (although I know it’s because they have to, to be heard over the orchestra), and utterly unrealistic. Why I hold this view I will try to answer later. However, I do like the synthesis of the arts it represents: the combination of music, literature and the many visual arts does provide an amazing spectacle. I therefore have Mr Verdi to thank for the utterly supreme sight that was presented to me part-way through the first opera I ever saw: Aida. Many in my year and Miss Heath still remember my almost fanatical joy at the entrance of the GIANT BLUE ELEPHANT. Believe me, I don’t remember being more excited by anything on a stage. My mind almost imploded. Verdi also composes pretty good music too. I can’t claim to be a great musician, but I do enjoy listening to his music. I am biased, but his use of brass is fantastic, at one moment subtle and almost beautiful, like the beginning of the overture to Nabucco, the next brash and slightly regal, like the beginning of Gli Arredi Festivi. My last point with regard to Verdi is the ‘hummability’ of his music: La Donna è Mobile, Libiamo Ne’lieti Calici, and Marcia Trionfale to name but a few. Don’t believe me? Listen to a lot of Verdi’s music and you will be surprised at just how much of it you can hum along with. I am more of a historian (untrained, of course) than a musician; thus, I often see music through the veil of what was going on in history at the time it was composed, the composer as a person, and, most crucially, how it was used subsequent to being composed. When Wagner was writing, not an enormous amount of world-changing history was going on (if you discount the various Industrial Revolutions). Wagner was not a nice man, vociferously anti-Semitic. The use of Wagner’s music, basically, as a theme tune to Nazism is less than pleasant, and, although Wagner had no control of the use of his music, it does colour my perception of it.

However, there is a criticism I have of Wagner’s music that actually has some proper grounding. His overuse of elements that were not his, like the leitmotif (quite frankly a rip- off of Berlioz’s idée fixe) makes me begin to question his originality, and the intense textures, timbres and harmonies that he uses means that I find it enormously difficult to listen to more than 5-10 minutes of his music. So, overall, I would contend that Verdi is better than Wagner. He may not be as well known as his German counterpart, but I prefer his music, both heart-wrenchingly beautiful and triumphal, all with an air of crispness to it, far superior to Wagner’s mire of chromaticism and unresolved dissonances.

Guiseppe Verdi

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S hould D rugs B e L e galis e d ?

why we should maintain the status quo Christian Davison YEAR 13

W

hy should an offence be characterised as criminal? The simple answer is a balance between two factors: autonomy, which is the free will of an individual to act as they want (from the Greek αὐτο meaning 'self ' and νόμος meaning 'law') and the welfare principle, whereby the state intervenes in situations in which the needs of a society must prevail over an individual’s interests (similar to utilitarianism). There must clearly be restraints placed on both of these principles, for the extreme of autonomy within a state would see anarchy ensue, while the opposite could cause a totalitarian state to develop. Thus a point of equivalence must be found. This theory can be applied to the legalisation of drugs. Criminalisation of something means that an individual’s autonomy is limited for the benefit of the state and the protection of others. Some might argue for the legalisation of drugs, citing that the use of illicit substances is personal and only affects the individual who uses them. They are wrong. Substance abuse most certainly affects the friends and relatives of the addict, as well as others who are entirely unrelated but have their lives influenced. Possible results at a family level include: • domestic abuse while under the influence of drugs; a positive correlation may be seen with the use of illegal drugs, just as there is with alcohol • the primary earner in a family squandering all of the money necessary for their wellbeing on illegal substances; one in nine children in America lived with at least one drug dependent parent in 2007 • an addiction to drugs may also render the primary earner for a family unable to provide, thus harming the family; an overdose, resulting in their death, will entirely remove sustenance for the family

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• •

other crimes are resorted to in order to finance an addiction, such as theft and mugging, prostitution and murder, all of which can harm families by one of them either being the victim of these crimes or having a member of the family prosecuted for them drugged driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving, if not more so under the influence of hallucinogens; the innocent victims of these accidents are harmed by this dangerous practice. In the UK, in 2008, there were 2,645 deaths caused by traffic accidents, of which 880

A

ll economic systems – from the smallest individual markets to the vast Eurozone – rest at a point of equilibrium where the quantity of goods demanded is exactly equal to the quantity supplied. That’s the theory, anyway, and would likely be the case without (unwelcome) intervention from Parliament and other external sources. Governments often think that they act in the public interest, when in fact their actions have adverse effects for the population. The textbook example of this would be minimum wage legislation; increasing the base wage rate increases the supply of labour but reduces firms’ demand for workers. The result? Excess supply of labour (colloquially, unemployment), which I’d personally argue is a more pressing social issue than an increase in workers’ pay by 12p per hour. Similarly, any sort of legislation restricting the consumption of drugs inevitably leads to market disequilibrium. Allocative efficiency is the point at which resources are used by firms to manufacture the exact kind and quantity of products demanded by consumers. Logically, this is the case at equilibrium point, and (as illustrated below) represents the quantity of output corresponding to the socially optimal point at which a given market can operate, without any government legislation to reduce the consumption of a given good.

drug legalisation makes economic sense were alcohol-related, and 60 were drug-related, though this is thought to be an underestimate by the charity CADD. Similarly, complete strangers can be affected by the use of drugs. Much terrorism around the world is funded by the production and sale of illegal drugs. For example, over 90% of the world’s non-pharmaceutical opiates are produced in Afghanistan (equivalent to $4 billion), the location of three decades of warfare and bases for terrorist groups such as the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Drug trafficking and the production of drugs cause deaths. In the Mexican city of Juarez, with a population of a million, there were 3,100 deaths resulting from drug cartel violence in 2010. Therefore, it is necessary for the intervention of the state – the welfare principle – in order to prevent these entirely unnecessary effects. It is essential to maintain the illegal status of certain drugs. After all, the only positives of taking drugs are a momentary release from reality; if this is what is being sought, there is a legalised alternative in the form of alcohol.

George Chapman YEAR 13 Area A represents the utility derived by consumers in purchasing equilibrium quantity at equilibrium price (consumer surplus), whereas Area B represents the utility derived by firms at this point (producer surplus). The consumer and producer surpluses combined give us the community surplus – the utility derived by everyone within society. For there to be any community surplus (or benefit to society) derived from drug markets, there must be some consumption (legal or illegal). Furthermore, this is maximised at equilibrium, i.e. within an entirely legalised drugs market. Hence, economics argues that the consumption of currently illegal drugs is of overall benefit to society where, according to such theory, legalisation would in fact support Utilitarian ideology. Sorry, Christian. Other aspects of economics may also support liberalised drug

markets. It is currently estimated that 77% of the Nigerian economy is generated through economic activity hidden from the government – a lot of which will naturally involve the trade of illegal goods and services (e.g. prostitution, untaxed cigarettes and – of course – drugs). Without wishing to pick holes in Christian’s inspiring morality and vision to see it upheld within international legal systems, this statistic

immediately strikes me as one which suggests the inefficacy of criminalising certain markets if nearly four fifths of one economy’s total output constitutes black market (and very likely illegal) activity. Considering the time and financial capital required to establish and maintain infrastructures to combat illegal drug use, their evidently limited impact would likely lead any pragmatist to question anti-drug measures. Additionally, extensive investment in this singular area would incur opportunity costs in other areas of society – such as education and health care, for instance – which concern the majority of the population (unlike drugs). Therefore, decriminalising drug markets would once more be the utilitarian decision. Apologies again, Christian. Finally, a large black economy caused by illegal drug markets represents a significant loss to a country’s recorded GDP (Gross Domestic Product) figures – a measure of that country’s economic performance. If embraced, this segment of the economy could increase the level of authorised income circulating within the country that is available for investment. Under the Harrod-Domar model, this can be used to raise levels of education and health care in under-developed regions, aiding their path to MEDC status. Also, indirect taxation could be placed upon all drug sales, thereby increasing the government’s total taxation revenue. When spent, this further enhances the level of income within the economy, offering certain regions an additional helping hand out of under-development commonly characterised by poverty and low productivity. To wrap up, I must make it clear that I do not advocate drug use, nor do I personally support drug legalisation. Instead, I simply argue that clichéd time-old arguments in support of criminalisation are less robust than we tend to assume, and would appear to meet stiff competition from economic reason. We must truly consider all pros and cons to make a reasoned judgement of any social issue, regardless of how controversial the topic in hand may be.

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the toughest question of all:

What’s Your Favourite 500 Days of Summer

500 Days of Summer Katherine Tobin YEAR 11 500 Days of Summer is an untraditional romantic comedy which follows a young greeting-card writer, Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon Levitt) and the semi-titular Summer Finn (Zooey Deschannel) through the course of their relationship. Despite immediately sounding like your classic rom-com, this is a film which sets out to completely reinvent the audience’s perceptions of love and the generalised beliefs associated with it; it has become one of my all-time favourite films, one of very few which effectively balance comedy and drama and I enjoy watching it today as much as I did the first time. It is important to note that that this film takes some adjusting to; there is no traditional chronological sequence to be seen here, rather we see scenes from earlier and later in their relationship side by side. Creating an air of mystery, this fresh directorial choice is one that really defines a style for the film and often juxtaposes hugely positive and negative moments against each other seamlessly. I also enjoy the casting of this film, how well the actors fit into their roles. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Tom with apparent ease, particularly aiding the humorous aspect of the film. Zooey Deschannel as Summer was also perfectly cast, as only she could bring the streak of childishness that so defines her character, which is essential as we see her mature throughout the film. As these actors were relatively unknown at the time, the casting also added to the ‘kookiness’ of the film, making it truly a piece of indie cinema. I cannot talk about this film without bringing up the soundtrack; not only does it hugely enhance the film, but plays a significant part in the overall experience. Shortly after seeing this film around the fourth time, I bought the

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soundtrack and can honestly say it’s grown on me to the point where it’s one of my favourite albums. The eclectic mix of anything from Garfunkel to The Smiths suits the creative and original nature of the film perfectly. Personally I believe this film is really, genuinely great, as it has the perfect balance of excellent acting, great music and a truly ground-breaking storyline and film structure.

Inception Alex Quarrie-Jones YEAR 12 There are movies that make you laugh, there are movies that make you cry, there are movies that make you jump and movies that just plain confuse you; Inception does all of this. Admittedly it may not be humour that you belt out laughter to, like Dodgeball, or the heart-wrenching moments in Up, but the combination of cinematic aspects added to an intriguing and original premise along with fantastic, compelling and stellar acting from a world cast and currently the best producer and director around ( in my opinion), Christopher Nolan, makes Inception my favourite movie of all time. The basic premise, if you can call it ‘basic’, follows Dom Cobb (played superbly by Leonardo DiCaprio) who is a master at “extraction”, a form of corporate espionage which requires everyone involved to be in a state of dreaming, or “under” as it’s referred to in the movie. Once the mark is under, Cobb can then extract the necessary information from his or her subconscious and use it in whichever way. However, Cobb is plagued by a projection, a subconscious figment of a person, of his ex-wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard). He is assisted by Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who functions primarily as a sidekick and the voice of reason for the majority of the movie. Cobb attempts to go in to hiding but is found by the mark of

Inception

the failed extraction, Saito (Ken Watanabe), who offers Cobb an opportunity to go home if he performs “inception”, which is effectively the opposite of extraction; instead of taking ideas away, you plant them in the subconscious, via dreams. To undertake inception, Cobb recruits a team composed of Ariadne (Ellen Page), who serves as an architect for the dreams, Eames (Tom Hardy), who can metamorphose within the dreams and Yusuf (Dileep Rao), who creates sedatives and compounds to stabilise the subconscious states. Added to these is Saito, who Eames refers to as “a tourist”, and the actual mark Fischer (Cillian Murphy), who is Saito’s main corporate competitor. There are two key reasons why Inception is the best film I’ve ever seen: its subtle blend of different cinematic aspects, along with a totally credible and original idea and, finally, its soundtrack, which was composed by the master of movie music, Hans Zimmer. Inception does what many other movies fail to do; it is technically indefinable when it comes to genre. This is not only because it includes aspects from different genres but because it delivers a cinematic experience that it is hard to compare to other movies, except of course to other Nolan movies. Rarely is there a movie that every human can relate to but Inception does this, for we all sleep and therefore we all dream. Every time dreaming is brought up, the concepts that are talked about sound so plausible that you believe truly in these ideas. For example, the line “Dreams feel real when we’re in them, it’s only when we wake up that something actually seems strange” perfectly describes any dream we experience. In conclusion, Nolan is already very well known for his Dark Knight trilogy, but I would argue that he has another trilogy, of mind-bending but totally engaging films: Memento, The Prestige and, finally, the pinnacle, Inception.

An American in Paris

An American in Paris Alice MacBain YEAR 11 Well I have to say it wasn’t easy to choose. But then I was listening to Gershwin, and heard something which left me in no doubt. Jerry Mulligan is a struggling painter who spends a lot of his time in Montmartre, trying to sell his paintings. His “very good friend in Paris”, Adam Cook (Oscar Levant), is a concert pianist and used to work for successful music-hall star entertainer Henri Baurel (Georges Guétary). Henri shows him the photograph of his 19 year old girlfriend/fiancée Lise Bouvier (Leslie Caron). One day, Milo Roberts (Nina Foch), a wealthy, attractive, American patroness, buys two of Jerry’s paintings. She wants to help him make his way, but he believes that she is only interested in him, not his paintings, and tries to leave. She, however, manages to convince him that this is not the case At a nightclub later that night, he catches sight of Lise and is instantly captivated by her. He then spends the night and the next day attempting to get her to accept a date with him. Finally she accepts, and they walk along the bank of the Seine and dance until she finally confesses her feelings, as they sing ‘Our Love is Here to Stay’. What Jerry does not know is that Lise is engaged to Henri, and, in one of the most wonderful songs in the film, the two men sing of their love for someone in ‘S’Wonderful’, unaware of the connection. Only Adam is aware when Jerry tells him of Lise. At a ball one night, with a black and white theme to contrast with the final scene, Jerry, Milo, Henri and Lise are all together. Lise and Jerry manage to take a moment to say goodbye, as she is leaving to get married to Henri. As he stands on the balcony and watches her leave, the scene

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develops into the most beautiful dream sequence that has ever been made. To the music ‘An American in Paris’ by George Gershwin, the ballet is in six sections, with the famous fountain featuring at the beginning and the end. The single connection in each section is a red rose that symbolises Lise. At the end of the 17-minute dream sequence, Jerry is left standing, again, on the balcony, with only the rose left. Of course, there must be a happy ending, and so Jerry looks down to the street where he sees Lise giving Henri a grateful farewell kiss. Henri, who had discovered that Lise loves Jerry, releases Lise from her engagement to him and steps aside. Lise returns to Jerry, running up a long flight of stairs into his arms, blissfully reunited in a loving embrace. This film is a flawless combination of dance, music and acting. I love the score, written by Gershwin, I love the ballet that is more expressive than words, and I love the range of acting styles and emotions throughout. Although the plotline is mildly predictable, the film is not about what happens in terms of the story; it is about the joi de vivre and determination of the characters. And finally, possibly the key feature that makes me love this film so much, is the fact that, despite the last scene being twenty minutes of no speech, there is nothing dull or unimaginative. The lack of need for dialogue is an achievement in itself; not many films have ever been able to replicate it.

Skyfall Tom Harper YEAR 12 Following the disastrous release of Quantum of Solace, I must admit that, when I first heard its sequel was in production, my hopes weren’t high. However, then Sam Mendes came along, the movie was released across the globe to the rapturous applause of even previously anti-Bond critics and Skyfall is now not only my favourite Bond film, but, in my opinion, one of the best films of all time. It has not only become a sequel that betters its predecessors, but it has also been able to pull a supposedly doomed franchise out of the gutter on its merits alone (an action which I firmly believe Stephanie Meyer will be unable to repeat with the upcoming release of The Host). The second reason that I adore it: the exceptional acting. Ever since Casino Royale, Daniel Craig has sparked the intrigue of film buffs like myself with his darker and more serious adaptation of Bond, and Skyfall was no exception. Throughout the film, Craig is able to keep the momentum going, with the agent starting to question his authority, with some lighthearted moments and typical Bond one-liners thrown in to keep things interesting. We also see Bond’s character being beautifully complemented by Judi Dench’s M, who at long last rises up to meet the prominent role we have all been waiting for. However, it is clear that the greatest credit must be given to Javier Bardem’s unforgettable portrayal of villain Raoul Silva, whose perversely eccentric personality constantly keeps the audience on its toes from start to finish. The witty banter (whereas really I should say flirtations) that pass between good

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the toughest question of all:

What’s Your Favourite

Skyfall

Star Wars

and evil spell some real highlights, and, when combined with the mind-blowing soundtrack from Adele as well as the breathtaking locations and stunts, this film deserves its reputation as the epitome of what 007 should be. However, this is not all that Skyfall deserves recognition for; it also brings Bond into the twenty-first century. As well as introducing a younger Q sharply played by Ben Winshaw, Mendes manages to take the conventionally dull setting of the London Underground and turn it into the scene of an actionpacked chase scene that still has me reeling many months later. Furthermore, the concept of cyber-terrorism being the plot’s focal point helps to modernise traditional Bond conflicts and adapt them to more current global circumstances. Conversely, the message that this movie really hits home is (as both Moneypenny and Kincade put it) “Sometimes the old ways are best”. On one level, this refers to the fantastic and seamless inclusion of both cut-throat razors and flintlock pistols (which I would have never thought possible for a film set in our era), but on another level it summarises the purpose of the movie as a whole: to bring Bond back to his roots. Not only are we finally given some insight into Bond’s troubled past but we also see the return of the Aston Martin db5 as well as Bond’s knife-throwing skills, which were only brought to light in the Ian Fleming novels. Thus, Skyfall offers us a break from the more recent complicated plot developments and confusing storylines such as that of Quantum of Solace and, instead, gives us the mere backbone of 007: Bond and his eccentric nemesis in a fight to the finish. Having said this, along with these conventions a true 007 fan would also expect the traditions of gadgets, guns and girls; and yet one finds these barely play a role in the film at all. As Bond rather disdainfully puts it after receiving his armoury, “It’s not exactly Christmas, is it?”, and, although some may argue that this detracts from the franchise, I would counter that Skyfall does not miss out these conventions but, in fact, subverts them. Bond does indeed receive the quirky gadget of a gun attuned solely to his fingerprints which most Bond-viewers would immediately expect to be the key item in defeating the film’s main villain; and yet he loses it relatively early on to a mere henchman to signify how he must defeat Silva with his own skills.

The only love interests of the film take the form of Moneypenny and Severine, which again might cause traditional fans to roll their eyes at the predictable image of more women desperately falling head over heels in love with MI6’s best agent. However, whilst one disappears for the majority of the film the other is killed within minutes of Bond having met her, and so audiences are shown that something much more interesting and subversive is transpiring: the true Bond-girl of Skyfall is M. The film really gets to grips with the turbulent relationship between 007 and his cynical boss, and rather than the majority of the movie being spent with Bond and his companion ready to display their passionate love for one other they are instead ready to tear each other’s eyes out! Therefore, it is not only the tragic death of M at the end of the film that signifies that the Bond franchise will never quite be the same again, as one finds that, under Sam Mendes’ expert direction, the entire movie drops hints towards a new species of 007 evolving, one that contains inspiring new stunts, actors and concepts whilst still keeping to the basics. This is why Skyfall is my favourite film of all time: it takes the great and subverts it to the even greater.

Star Wars Charlie Albuery YEAR 11 Wow, what a list we’ve got here, we’ve spanned brain-bending Inception through to bar-battling Bond, and covered two polar opposites of the begrudging boyfriend genre, but we’ve stayed decidedly earthbound. I’m about to launch this list interstellar. There’s only one film I could pick: STAR WARS! This has been my favourite film for as long as I can remember, and it’s unique in that it has unparalleled universality; children love the Ewoks and the Jawas, adults can be hugely nostalgic and, of course, it’s simply a brilliant film for those in-between. For those of you who claim to not know Star Wars, you’re just wrong, you cannot possibly go through life without picking up a basic working knowledge of the entire Star Wars universe. Seriously, familiar with Yoda you are, I’m willing to bet.

Now for all those of you who’ve just gone ‘Sci-Fi, ick, that sounds lame’, I get that reaction, honestly I do, but Star Wars, bizarrely, plays more like a fantasy film set in space. There are no dystopian futures and all powerful hive-minds, it’s all awesome laser-swords and magic energy crossbows (that nobody really understands), and that is why I love Star Wars; it keeps what most Science Fiction lacks, a sense of adventure, a sense of childish wonderment, a sense of FUN. Just to clarify, I’m talking about the first film in the original Star Wars trilogy: A New Hope. The short plot summary is incredibly formulaic; good and bad are in a constant battle where neither side can gain the upper hand. Then ‘A New Hope’ is born (‘he’s Luke Skywalker, and he is here to rescue you’), along with a small group of rag-tag rebels made up of Han Solo (‘he’s a scruffy looking nerf-herder, but he’s cute’), his loyal co-pilot Chewbacca (who is basically a bear) and Luke’s sister (though he doesn’t know it yet), Princess Leia, who take down the Empire and save the Universe. What makes Star Wars special is that it isn’t the first telling of the story, but the best, which is why so much modern entertainment draws from it to this day, a prime example being JJ Abram’s new series Revolution, which is literally Star Wars with regular swords (it’s even referenced by the inclusion of a vintage The Empire Strikes Back lunchbox in the pilot. Even beyond Sci-Fi, the two leads in the ABC series Suits draw heavily from Han Solo and Luke Skywalker if, y’know, the Force was being a lawyer. Beyond all of this, what makes Star Wars great is not what I’ve said, it’s what I haven’t said; I have spent hundreds of words discussing a 90-minute film and not mentioned Darth Vader, the most iconic movie villain of all time, or the bizarre range of eccentric alien species featured or even C3P0, the campest protocol droid ever to exist. So, if you haven’t seen Star Wars, or even if you haven’t seen it in a long time, go and watch it and experience the magic. And, until you do, may the Force be with you. But remember, if anyone tries to make you watch the original trilogy, IT’S A TRAP! (That was funny if you know Star Wars, I promise).

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should

ABORTION

remain legal? Grace Gawn YEAR 12

A

bortion, the termination of a pregnancy, is an issue that continues to spark emotive debate as to its morality, even 46 years after it was made legal in England following the Abortion Act of 1967. Unless the mother’s life is at risk or there is danger of permanent injury to the mother or child, an abortion can only be carried out up to 24 weeks of pregnancy under current UK law. There are a number of reasons why people decide they are against abortions, for example religious belief, and those who advocate full legal protection of embryos and foetuses describe themselves as ‘pro-life’. However, despite the many arguments against it, I strongly believe that women should have the right to decide for themselves whether an abortion is right for them. There are many reasons that a woman could decide to have an abortion; alongside their physical and mental wellbeing there are many other social, economic and emotional factors to take in to account. It is an unfortunate truth that not every woman who falls pregnant feels as though they are in the right circumstances to raise a child, be it on an emotional or financial level. The reality is that having a child will affect every aspect of a parent’s life; the dedication and time required from a parent is essential to raising a happy and healthy baby, and, if they do not have that dedication to give at a certain time in their life, then it would be unfair on both the child and the parents to disallow the option of abortion. According to a 2013 study, it costs, on average, £222,458 to raise a child, not taking in to account the commitment and sacrifices that also need to be made by any thoughtful parent. In light of these responsibilities, a mother should not be made to feel guilty about wanting to wait until she can provide a good quality of life for her child, and she should certainly not have the choice to wait taken away from her by legislation against abortion. In the words of Sister Joan Chittister, Benedictine nun and cochair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women: “I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born, but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth.” Aside from social factors, there are many health issues that could cause a woman to seek an abortion in the best interests of all concerned. For example, the physical and mental burden of raising a child could cause a relapse in a woman with a mental disorder. Also, cancer therapies such as radiation and chemotherapy may adversely affect the growing foetus.

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Alcoholism can cause Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, potentially leading to deafness, speech defects (including being mute), and vision impairment. Another circumstantial case in which many women feel the option of abortion should remain available to them is after rape; if a woman falls pregnant after sexual assault, it is extremely likely that she will want to terminate the pregnancy. Aside from not knowing the father’s history, mental or otherwise, the psychological damage that comes with being raped can often leave victims in a state in which they would feel unable to care for a child. History has shown that, if abortions are made illegal, then this would not necessarily stop them from being carried out. Those that truly believe it is in their best interests to terminate a pregnancy might resort to ‘backstreet’ clinics, forcing them to break the law and, in some cases, undergo a potentially unsafe abortion. Legalised abortions eliminate the risk this poses and ensures that all pregnancies are terminated in a safe and clinical environment. Many pro-life believers offer the alternative of adoption instead of abortion. However, very often part of the reason why an abortion is felt necessary is because of the unwanted physical and mental stresses that pregnancy puts on a woman’s body. Although putting a child up for adoption is a solution for those who have decided not to raise the baby when it is born, it does not change the fact that for nine months a woman will have to share her body with a foetus. Pregnancy is stressful on any woman’s body, causing morning sickness and back pains for example, and there are significant risks in carrying a child, such as hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, which are common and associated with increased risk of both adverse maternal and foetal outcomes. Pregnancy is a hard enough experience even when the mother is rewarded with a son or daughter at the end of it, let alone for them to then give away the baby. This is further complicated by psychological issues that can be caused by having to give away a child after carrying it for the full term. Adoption can, in many cases, be as difficult a decision to make as deciding to terminate a pregnancy, and especially if the reason a woman is looking to abort is because she is not mentally ready to care for a child then she equally may not be in an emotional position to give away a child either. Overall, I strongly believe that abortions remaining legal in the UK is in the best interest of women. For those who are against abortion, the law should not affect their lives; they are not being forced to terminate their pregnancy just because it is legal. It would be wrong to impose the views of just some people on the entire population, who are all entitled to their own beliefs. Allowing abortions legally means that those on both sides of the debate can personally choose which course of action to take upon falling pregnant; individuals are entitled to the right to decide what is best for them. Pregnancy is not always expected; as human beings we are prone to making mistakes, and methods of contraception are not 100% reliable. A woman should not be made to follow through an accidental pregnancy by being forced to have a child when she does not wish to. However, despite my belief that every woman should be able to choose to terminate a pregnancy if she wishes, I am not advocating abortion itself, but the freedom of choice.

Daniel Rollins YEAR 12

A

bortion is bad. This should be the start of any discussion about this sensitive issue. How, then, has abortion changed from a last resort for mothers whose health is in danger or are unable to look after a baby to a considered option for many pregnancies? The idea that abortions do, in fact, have moral or ethical weight has been suppressed in this culture. However, every so often our buried objection to the practice is exposed. The widespread objection to pro-life protesters showing pictures of the remains of aborted foetuses, insensitive though it is, is evidence that there is an ethical element to the debate, not just on the side of the mother but for the protection of the foetus. If a woman’s “right” to have sex without having to take responsibility for any babies produced is valued more than any baby’s right to exist then something is very much amiss. Conversely, much of the opposition to the pro-life movement focuses on its apparent misogyny, favouring the life of the baby over the woman. While the mother is at least as important as the baby she is carrying, it must be recognised that an abortion is not a positive result for either. Many women suffer emotional pain or psychological harm during and after undergoing an abortion, as well as the small risk (admittedly much smaller than the risks from a “backstreet abortion” common before the practice was legalised) of complications such as infertility and haemorrhage. The real misogyny in this debate does not come from either the pro-life or pro-choice factions but from society’s general neglect of mothers. “Pro-choicers” often illustrate their arguments with examples of young or poor women who are unable to support or raise their child or whose lives would be adversely affected by having a baby. Abortion is presented as the only ethical solution to the situation. Surely the real scandal of the situation is not that woman’s lack of access to an abortion but the fact that the woman must consider finances when weighing up a foetus’ life or that she must choose between her future and her baby’s? There must be a better way to deal with these cases, alternatives to abortion. The only way the pro-life movement can have any credibility in this debate is by providing these alternatives. Instead of just protesting and condemning women who have abortions, they must provide practical alternatives in which both the life of the baby and the life of the mother are considered. There are many shocking statistics that have come out of China: 500,000 people in prison without trial, thousands of executions, but perhaps the most shocking statistic of all is that 330 million abortions take place in China each year (over 900,000 per day on average). Many, if not most, of these abortions are forced, either directly by officials upholding the country’s one-child policy or indirectly by the financial burden of a second child when state support is lifted. While women in the West are thankfully freer in their decision whether to have an abortion, the concept of a financially forced abortion is still a problem for many women with low incomes. The cost of raising a baby, providing food and finding childcare may push both

the mother and baby into poverty, forcing a woman to choose between feeding herself and having an abortion. The obvious way to save a woman in this situation from having to make that decision is by giving her money, funding programs that provide food and affordable housing for pregnant women and new mothers in poverty. This funding could come from either government or charity (maybe even those protesting abortion clinics), whichever corporate expression of compassion your political position prefers. Promoting adoption as an alternative to an abortion and providing women who choose to keep their baby with jobs with flexible hours and attached childcare, although difficult to provide in the currently depressed labour market, would also prevent mothers having to choose to have an abortion out of financial fears. Another fear that can force women to make a choice about abortion is how having a baby could affect their future. When discussing this issue, several young women expressed fears about how an unplanned pregnancy would affect their future education and opportunities. Although the life of a foetus may be considered more valuable than any of these opportunities, it is still a tragedy that young women who fall pregnant must choose between their future and that of their baby. Girls who become pregnant while in education should be given support by their school, college or university, which would allow them to keep studying for as long as possible and, after giving birth, they should be given further support if they choose to not give their baby up for adoption so that their education is affected as little as possible by their pregnancy. This would allow them to gain knowledge and training to find a job to support their baby and also provide them with personal opportunities to fulfil their own potential. However the most effective way to prevent women having to make a pressured decision about abortion is through preventing unplanned pregnancy in the first place. When asked on Twitter, a feminist blogger suggested three ways to provide alternatives to abortion: combating poverty and lack of support for women; creating better awareness and use of contraception; and providing better Sex and Relationships Education (SRE). Modern contraception gives people almost complete control over their fertility, therefore better use of it should prevent many unwanted pregnancies and abortions. This is why women (and, importantly, men too) need to take responsibility for any pregnancies both in prevention and in the case of conception, whether planned or unplanned. In the case of an unwanted pregnancy, women should not be forced into having an abortion by financial or social factors but, equally, should not use abortion as an escape from the shock of an unwanted pregnancy but take responsibility for the life inside and seek to look after the child, whether that involves giving him or her up for adoption or not. Abortions do have a negative moral weight and consequences, but they should not be needed.

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greatest Who Is The

William Pitt

British Politician? William Wilberforce

Josh Rampton YEAR 12

When asked to list the greatest politicians that this nation of empire builders and pioneers has ever seen, the average person would reel off a similar, albeit worthy, list: Pitt, Lloyd George, Churchill, Thatcher, all worthy, all lauded time and time again. If, however, we were to base the title of greatest British politician in history upon the sheer amount of good he or she had done, another candidate emerges: William Wilberforce, the man largely responsible for the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire. He led what was arguably the first grassroots human rights campaign in history, setting a precedent that would allow for the torch to be passed to the movements for the rights of women, ethnic minorities, the LGBT community and many more. At a time when Britain led the world and the eyes of an empire upon which the sun never set rested upon this wet, windy island, William Wilberforce led the way in Britain to a brighter, more equal future. William Wilberforce’s portrait will not be found on the staircase of Number 10 Downing Street; he was never prime minister, nor even a minister. A lowly, independent backbencher from Hull, he was often criticised for inconsistency because he supported both Tory and Whig governments according to his conscience, working closely with the party in power, voting on legislation according to its merits. He was an epitome of the non-partisan co-operation needed to affect real change and progress that we have seen more recently with events like the overwhelming victory of the Equal Marriage Bill in February 2013. In spite of the fact that he was a close friend of William Pitt, there is no evidence to suggest that Wilberforce was ever offered a ministerial office. This is the first time in history we see a relatively ordinary person affect great change without the use of force but by democratic means. After twenty six years of tireless campaigning, Wilberforce finally achieved his great dream. In 1807, the Slave Trade Act was passed, abolishing the slave trade forever. Wilberforce and his followers had never wavered, facing open hostility and powerful opponents determined to undermine them. It was not only this great achievement in itself for which Wilberforce

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should be held in such high regard, but the precedents he set and the methods he pioneered, which have, since then, not only changed Britain but arguably the world. While other leaders such as Winston Churchill led this nation to defend itself and its ideals in times of crisis, their words echoing down the decades (“We shall never surrender”), it was William Wilberforce who began the process of establishing the ideals of equality and liberty that Britain would come to so treasure that they would fight two wars with staggering loss of life to defend and fulfil them. It could be argued that Wilberforce laid the foundations of the tolerant, multicultural society we know and love today. Wilberforce was driven by his strength of belief in the Christian ideals of love, acceptance and compassion, unlike today, where there are those driven by religion who try desperately to hold society back, clinging to archaic values to the point of flying planes into buildings or bombing buses and trains. Although he remained conservative on many issues unpalatable to us today, Wilberforce drove this country forward by his faith, not backwards.

The abolition society Wilberforce led had unprecedented success in gathering widespread support, and local chapters sprang up throughout Britain. His friend Thomas Clarkson travelled the country collecting first-hand testimonies and statistics. The movement pioneered techniques such as lobbying, writing pamphlets, holding public meetings, gaining press attention, organising boycotts and even using a campaign logo: the image of a kneeling slave with the motto “Am I not a Man and a Brother?” designed by the renowned potterymaker Josiah Wedgwood. These methods are now recognised as the common ways in which pressure groups and campaigns promote their agenda, from Amnesty International to charities such as the NSPCC. His was the first campaign in which men and women from all backgrounds united to end the injustice inflicted on others. It is when considering the amount of change that has been brought about using the methods pioneered by Wilberforce that we realise his true significance. In a speech to the House of Common on the 18th of April 1791, Wilberforce said this: Let us not despair; it is a blessed cause, and success, ere long, will crown our exertions. Already we have gained one victory; we have obtained, for these poor creatures, the recognition of their human nature, which, for a while was most shamefully denied. This is the first fruits of our efforts; let us persevere and our triumph will be complete. Never, never will we desist till we have wiped away this scandal from the Christian name, released ourselves from the load of guilt, under which we at present labour, and extinguished every trace of this bloody traffic, of which our posterity, looking back to the history of these enlightened times, will scarce believe that it has been suffered to exist so long a disgrace and dishonour to this country. William Wilberforce died on the 29th July, 1833, three days after the campaign of which he remained a part had succeeded in eradicating slavery in nearly all of the British Empire. At the urging of both Houses of Parliament, he was laid to rest among the great and the good of this country, next to his lifelong friend William Pitt in Westminster Abbey. It is because of a sickly, apparently unremarkable man from Hull that each of us knows that we can fight for and achieve a better, brighter future if we avail ourselves of the right to do as he did, and others did after him. If this does not get him on the average person’s list then the average person should contemplate where they would be if it wasn’t for this man.

Sam Collings-Wells YEAR 12

William Pitt, just four years after becoming an MP for the humble borough of Appleby, took the helm of a country that was in financial, constitutional and political turmoil at the age of 24. ‘A Kingdom trusted to a school-boy’s care’, ‘a mince Pie administration’ were just two of the mockeries aimed at Pitt as he attempted to forge a government against a formidable Commons majority. However, the following 10 years would see the nation’s finances restored and Britain’s isolation in Europe rectified. Later, during the 17-year Tory administration, as revolution spread relentlessly across France, Britain remained stable and without revolutions within or invasion from without. William Pitt attended Cambridge aged just 14. In an age in which sharp intellect and meticulous attention to detail gained merit in politics rather than TV charisma and socio-economic background, it was clear that a boy of Pitt’s immense intelligence was destined for greatness. Whether it was giving speeches in his garden to trees pretending they were members of the House of Commons or intently viewing his father (William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, also Prime Minister) in parliamentary proceedings from the galleries of Westminster, Pitt’s enthusiasm for politics meant that the fact he was surrounded by it all his life was something he relished. He received a comprehensive education from his father in areas which would become his greatest assets: oratory, quick wit and a stubbornly logical mind for solving the most complex of problems. Upon taking office in 1783, following the recklessly unconstitutional actions of George III, William Pitt did not just face the problems of a majority against him of nearly 100. The national debt stood at £238 million, with the government running a deficit of £10 million. In a pre-Keynesian era, a government deficit this large was an economic disaster, exacerbated by the fact that almost a quarter of expenditure was merely being spent paying interest on the debt. William Pitt acted with characteristic brilliance. He firstly ended the ridiculous sale of government loans at artificially high rates as a device to increase government support, and instead sold them at far lower rates to the best bidder. He reduced the obscene duties on tea, spirits and wines and introduced more restrictive legislation on smuggling. Both of these combined dramatically increased government revenue from imports, which actually doubled between 1783 and 1792. He paid for the shortfall generated by the reduction in duties by increasing indirect taxes in a range of different areas. The taxes levied on gloves, hats, powders and horses interestingly reflected William Pitt’s commendable philosophy that the poor should not be overburdened by taxes. In tackling the national debt, Pitt’s problem-solving mind was at work again, harnessing

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the wonders of compound interest in order to pay off the debt through the entrenchment of the sinking fund whereby one million pounds from the surplus was paid in each year. The figures speak for themselves: in just ten years Pitt had a surplus of £1.7 million, had knocked £10 million off the national debt and trade was revived to unprecedented new levels. It has often been assumed that William Pitt fits nicely into the cliché of a great peacetime leader, yet unable to continue this into periods of war. This is a gross misinterpretation of Pitt’s handling of affairs during the war with France, which began in 1793, and completely ignores the nature of the war as well as the unhelpful behaviour of the other European powers. France was the first country in the modern world to wage total war, calling up 1½ million men for compulsory military service. The contrast between the French people fighting bitterly for the survival of the newly found republic and the Prussians, Russians and the Spanish, who all had other more pressing concerns during the war, was stark. It was only because of the vast amounts of subsidies which were paid to Britain’s allies as a result of Pitt’s sound finances that any kind of resistance to the French was possible in continental Europe. Even more impressively, it was Pitt’s increased spending on the navy during the years of peace which meant that, even though Britain was isolated against the mass of the French land army by 1797, the British still maintained immense naval superiority which prevented any kind of land invasion. This dominance of the sea culminated with the victory at Trafalgar, and continued well into the 20th century. Not only did William Pitt prevent an external invasion, he also handled domestic radical threat brilliantly. Pitt, through repressive legislation nipped any sort of revolutionary fever in the form of seditious writings and meetings, in the bud. This quelled the political unrest in Britain and, in contrast to the anarchy and chaos in France which culminated in 60,000 people being executed in 1793, Britain only saw 200 arrests in the 1790s. Pitt was able to crush any signs of tyranny by the mob which threatened to undermine the British constitutional arrangements, but paradoxically eroded the monarchy’s power through administrative reforms, reducing the awarding of political and royal offices in exchange for support, meaning subsequent governments could not enjoy long periods of office by delving into the nation’s finances. This last point, I think, highlights what makes Pitt such an incredible politician. While defending the established order (king, church, monarchy), he simultaneously eroded the monarchy’s power for the benefit of the country through judicious administrative reforms. He prevented an irrational constitutional change as he knew the timing was completely wrong for such a seismic shift in politics. All of this was made possible by his incredible intellect, restoration of the nation’s finances and the revival of trade during his prime ministership. He was in office during some of the most difficult situations in the modern era and yet he came out on the other side with a reputation that would challenge that of any British politician.

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greatest Who Is The

British Politician?

Robert Peel

Dominic Wood YEAR 12

Sir Robert Peel was undoubtedly our greatest and most important leader. His financial reforms of the economy set Britain for its mid-Victorian era of prosperity. He successfully dealt with the radicals who threatened to send Britain into a state of revolution, which would have been just as bloody and costly as in France fifty years before. His pragmatism, statesman-like character and unfaltering conviction in all of his actions helped make him our greatest leader. Peel has often been described as a man of great talent when it came to business because of his ability during the 1842 budget to turn a deficit of £2.3 million from a total expenditure of £50 million into a surplus of £1.2 million within two years; such an economic mind would certainly be well received in today’s dire economic situation. Peel accomplished this remarkable turnaround - during a hostile downturn known as the “Hungry Forties”- by “removing the burdens that press upon the springs of industry” (Peel's House of Commons 1842 budget speech) which essentially meant cutting tariffs and duties on exports and raw materials to stimulate trading and manufacturing. Through these financial reforms, Peel transformed Britain’s economy and laid the foundations of a free market and free trade which fostered Britain’s economic dominance for over fifty years. Peel wasn’t only an economic genius, but arguably a political one too. He managed to skilfully suppress a genuine radical threat which came from all sides: the Irish, the middle class and the working class. He dealt with this threat by getting rid of proven abuses, thus depriving opponents of their best arguments. For example, to handle the middle class radicals, Peel accepted their demands to do away with agricultural protectionism by repealing the Corn Laws. He did this because the industrialists claimed the landed gentry were using government for their own means by protecting the farmers paying rent on their land. This once again shows how Peel wanted to do what was in the best interests for the

Clement Attlee

country because by getting rid of protection on farms more food could be imported. This would mean the price of food would be reduced and, as a consequence, factory owners wouldn’t have to pay workers as much while still leaving them with more disposable income to spend on products, thus stimulating the economy further. Peel’s placating of the middle class radicals had an alternate political motive for Peel because he was able to bring the industrialists on to the side of the landed gentry to oppose the popular radicals of the artisans and working class. This was particularly important because, if both the middle and working class radicals joined together against the government, revolution would surely have followed. Instead, Peel set Britain on the path of judicious reform. One of Peel’s best qualities was arguably his statesmanlike character; Peel was never afraid of the consequences of his actions on a personal level, and instead was more preoccupied with the well-being of the nation, even to the extent of ruining his own political career over the repeal of the Corn Laws. Such commitment to our nation deserves a lot of respect and would be a welcome sight in modern politics where we often see politicians fighting for every last vote and, as a consequence, neglecting unpopular issues, one example being the demographic time bomb which no politician dare go near for fear of losing the all-important “grey vote”. Therefore, without a doubt, Peel was our greatest leader, saving the nation from the radicals and beginning the economic boom. This is best illustrated today, when a shrewd economist and statesman-like leader is surely missed.

Henry Cunnison YEAR 12

Clement Attlee was the first Labour prime minster to serve a full term, the first to command a majority in the House of Commons and the longest serving Labour Party leader, serving from 1935 to 1955. His ministry, from 1945 to 1951, more or less created the modern welfare state, decolonised much of the Empire and built the post-war consensus. Despite Thatcher’s attempts to reverse many of his legacies, the Britain of today is still very much Attlee’s Britain. Following Winston Churchill’s appointment as Prime Minister in 1940, Attlee served as his deputy in the wartime coalition. He proved a loyal ally to Churchill throughout and, after the French surrender, gave him the crucial support to carry on the war, creating a majority in the war coalition. After the War, Attlee actually favoured a continuation of the coalition, but the Labour Party made it clear this was unacceptable, leading Churchill to call the 1945 election, which Labour won with a massive majority of 146 seats and just under 50% of the popular vote. As Prime Minister, Attlee was truly revolutionary. Along with his Health Minister, Aneurin Bevan, he created the National Health Service, despite disapproval from the medical establishment; the NHS greatly reduced the death rates from diphtheria, pneumonia, and TB, particularly among the working class. From 1945-51, Attlee increased spending on health from a woefully inadequate £6 bn to £11bn. To this day, no serious politician has tried to undo the health care reforms of Attlee, not even Thatcher. Whenever we are ill, we can thank Attlee and his ministry for the world class, and free, health care we receive. His ministry also set about creating the “cradle to grave” welfare state, as proposed by economist William Beveridge. The 1946 National Insurance Act introduced a flat rate of national insurance contribution in return for a flat-rate pension, sickness, funeral and unemployment benefit. He also created child benefit and allowed quality

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Margaret Thatcher

greatest Who Is The

British Politician? housing projects, such as his support for New Towns. Over a million new homes were built, giving affordable housing to many low-income families for the first time. The Labour Government’s welfare and health reforms were so successful that every index of health showed signs of improvement. The ministry was so successful in reducing poverty that the harshness of the 1930s seemed like a different century. Among Attlee’s more controversial policies was nationalisation. By 1951, 20% of the economy was under government ownership, including the railways, coal mines and the steel industry. Although nationalisation failed to provide a greater say for workers in the running of industry, it provided higher wages, reduced working hours, and resulted in better working conditions. The nationalised industries under Atlee performed admirably, with the electrical and gas suppliers “impressive models of public enterprise” , in the words of historian Eric Shaw, with the National Coal Board profitable and committed to progressive reform such as the banning of under-16 year olds working underground. Whatever criticism of nationalisation emerged in the late 1970’s, during Attlee’s tenure at number 10, it worked. It is also important to consider the economy more generally. After the War, the country was more or less bankrupt, far more indebted than it is today. Rationing was used to deliberately reduce consumption and imports, so that the country could better its position on the balance of trades. The Government would be forced into a devaluation of the pound by another balance of payments crisis in 1949. Britain benefited from American loans, first in late 1945 and then in 1948 under the Marshall Plan. Despite these difficulties, unemployment was kept below 3% for the vast majority of this period, while inflation was also restricted, a stunning achievement of two conflicting objectives. Production and productivity were increased, while the working week was shortened. The period saw a massive increase in living standards, which grew by 10% a year, while the economy grew by 3% per year and by 1951 was outperforming Europe and the US in terms of

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growth. Demilitarisation was handled carefully, so as to have as small an effect on the economy as possible, while the number of cars in Britain nearly doubled. Attlee’s domestic policies were clearly transformative, but so was his foreign policy. His Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, was a committed anti-communist, but did not automatically side with the US as the Cold War developed. In fact, many in the Labour government would have preferred to see Europe as a third power, neutral with regard to both the USSR and the US. However, dependence on the Marshall Aid and fears of Soviet expansion persuaded the Attlee government to become a key player in NATO and to create a nuclear deterrent. Although it is easy to criticise this last point with hindsight, at the time a nuclear arsenal was seen as a necessary defence. Decolonisation remains his most important legacy on the international stage, negotiating independence for India and a separate Muslim state of Pakistan, with independence also given to Burma, Ceylon and other nations at this time, as the Empire started to become the Commonwealth, bringing selfdetermination to millions. Attlee’s government fell in the 1951 election, an attempt to gain a greater majority after a close election in 1950. Despite receiving more votes than in 1945 and more than the Conservatives polled, Attlee’s Labour Party lost. Attlee remained as Labour leader until 1955 and was replaced by Hugh Gaitskell upon his resignation. He died in 1967, leaving behind a modest legacy in his will. He was buried in Westminster Abby, close to two political allies, Ernest Bevin and Sidney Webb, founder of the London School of Economics. Attlee’s reforms are still felt today. Although Margaret Thatcher sought to destroy the post-war consensus which he created, she dared not challenge the most important parts of his legacy. Numerous rankings, from both academics and the public, have rated Attlee as the greatest prime minster of the twentieth century: he created the Welfare State, while maintaining full employment and achieving impressive economic growth; he created the NHS and vastly increased spending on education, despite being faced by an unprecedented debt crisis; he raised living and working conditions for millions. Outside Britain, he changed the world far more than any other peace time Prime Minster, bringing freedom to millions more around the globe.

Charlie Scutts YEAR 12

Margaret Thatcher was our most successful Prime Minister, and yet, in the minds of many, has become our most hated. She is hated for one simple reason – she tried (successfully) to change the country for the better. After the war, a consensus had grown in politics, characterised by Keynesian economics, which led to rampant inflation (coming to a head in 1975), nationalisation of key industries, the establishment of the welfare state and the NHS, all things that in my opinion led to the dire straits we find ourselves in today, helping the poor but showing a complete disregard for the rich. Public sector and union workers were stealing from the private sector taxpayer, believing in their right to higher wages regardless of the economic consequences, Britain was an international embarrassment – the sick man of Europe – after a record £2.4 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund. And then there was the Winter of Discontent. Having ... rejected Callaghan’s calls to curb public sector pay rises to only 5%, the unions insisted that their workers actually deserved these pay raises, even with the economy in disarray. Bodies began to pile up, as did rubbish, as the unions selfishly abandoned their posts in the hope that collective bargaining could inflate their already disproportionately high wages - and the Left calls Thatcher’s ‘society’ selfish. A vote of no confidence saw the grocer’s daughter from Grantham win the 1979 election. Influenced at university by political works such as Friedrich von Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, which condemned economic intervention by government as a precursor to an authoritarian state, she led the country into a series of privatising, deregulating and modernising projects introduced under the dictum of ‘first the pain and then the gain’. Certainly this was true, with her policies initially seeing the country gripped by even higher unemployment, peaking at 3.3 million in 1984 and an increased income inequality, which saw the number of people in poverty double to 20%. This scared the children of the Keynesian era to death, disgusted by the harsh realities that confronted them. Indeed, had it not been for the Falklands War, Thatcher would have lost the 1983 general election. Had another Prime Minister been confronted by the aggressive military junta operating in Argentina, I believe that they would have conceded the islands to them. However, Thatcher realised that this was about the right of the islanders to selfdetermination and freedom to choose their own future. The ‘Iron Lady’ returned to office in 1983 to oversee the greatest-ever transformation of Britain. Shutting down the failing and unproductive mines in the mid-1980s, she transformed the country from the outdated notion that it could be the workshop of the world, something that was no longer applicable for a first-world country, replacing it with a more efficient, effective and profitable service industry,

which saw the UK’s GDP rise by 23.2% in ten years. Again, she carried on in the face of fierce opposition, announcing that “the Lady’s not for turning”, trusting in her own judgement. She sought to discredit socialism as an ideology (‘the trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money’), winning two consecutive 100+ seat majorities against the Labour Party. Her transformational premiership was finally destroyed by the negative response to the Poll Tax, including rioting; she was replaced by the underwhelming John Major at the helm of a weakened Conservative party, who took us back to the dark days of consensus. However, Thatcher had changed the country forever, transforming attitudes, replacing failure with economic growth, fiscal discipline and market competition and efficiency, one able to prosper in the modern world. However, she was never the ultimate privatiser, leaving the NHS and education mostly untouched, and the domineering façade created for her by her critics was hugely over-emphasised. Her death on April 8 led to praise and admiration from the Right and bile and vitriol from some on the Left. However, all agreed that she had been a significant British Prime Minister, the only one to have a political and economic theory --- Thatcherism --- named after her. The ultimate tribute, however, probably came many years before her death, from a Labour politician, Peter Mandelson, when he said, ‘We are all Thatcherites now’. Her greatest triumph might have been that so many of her policies were continued by Tony Blair’s Labour government; she had indeed vanquished socialism as an ideology. In fact, the entire mainstream political spectrum now accepted the need for free markets, supply-side policies and even welfare reform. She summed up her own doctrine with a quote from St. Paul: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat”. Certainly, we will never again find a politician brave enough to say that, and yet she did, knowing that it was in the nation’s best interests. If only we could have her back now.

Thatcher had changed the country forever...

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should greatest Who Is The

British Politician? Tony Blair

yes : a victory for progress

William Wallace YEAR 12

I am in two minds about Tony Blair. It would be all too easy to agree with the majority of people and argue that Blair was a disastrous and divisive Prime Minister - of course, there is a long list of reasons to justify that view. However, to suggest that Britain would be better off without the existence of this man is absolute tosh. I would never say that Tony Blair was a good Prime Minister, but I do believe that his ten years in Downing Street were essential to a new chapter in the story of our nation. I do hold Blair’s predecessor John Major in high esteem, but one of the things that he failed to do was to recognize that society’s attitudes had progressed during the 1990s to become more socially liberal. His ‘Back to Basics’ campaign wasn’t just ironic, given that it seemed that every week a new Tory MP would make headlines with his pants around his ankles, but it was also poor timing. When Tony Blair was elected leader of the Labour Party in 1994, there was something fresh about the ideas that the man with the Cheshire Cat grin stood for. He saw that the post-industrial free market economy was the future for the country and that efforts to renationalize industry would hand the Conservatives another stick to beat Labour with for the fifth time since 1979. But he also understood that, as society had become more progressive, so should his stance on social policy. There was so much hope pinned on Tony Blair; even a small number of Conservatives were secretly elated when, after eighteen years of Tory government, Blair was elected with a whopping landslide. People believed that change was on the way. Blair’s words at a victory rally were, “A new dawn has broken, has is not?” It certainly had. Tony Blair really did embody a shift in attitudes: a more liberal and compassionate Britain – and, despite my admiration, for Major, I struggle to believe that he’d have made Britain into the forward-thinking one that has emerged thanks to Blair. Blair introduced the minimum wage,

Miss Jo Kirby HEAD OF pastoral curriculum

transferred new powers to Scotland and Wales, made huge steps towards tackling institutionalised homophobia, invested heavily in education, reinvigorated the Northern Ireland peace process, banned the cruel sport of fox hunting and made the country a fairer place to live. Of course, this view of Blair ignores his attempts to replace the Pound with the Euro, his allowing the seeds to be sown for the banking crisis, the selling of Britain’s gold reserve at an all-time market low, his efforts to extinguish the concept of Habeas Corpus and the remarkably high amount of importance he placed on the media and “spin”, not to mention the illegal invasion of another sovereign nation. But what is undeniable is that the country we live in today would not be the same without Tony Blair – and, whether you think that that is for better or for worse, he remains one of the most important Prime Ministers of the last century.

A MORE LIBERAL AND COMPASSIONATE BRITAIN.

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uesday, May 21st was a landmark victory for progress and equality. Despite fierce opposition from many and claims that allowing equal marriage equates to supporting incest, bestiality, paedophilia and polygamy, MPs voted 375 to 70 to legalise same-sex marriage. All that now remains is for this to be passed by the House of Lords.

So what was all the fuss about? Responses from those who opposed the bill varied from outright disgust to claiming that such unions are ‘unnatural’ or ‘sinful’. As Britain's former most senior Catholic Cardinal Keith O’Brien* put it, equal marriage is “A grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”. However, the very nature of a human right is that it is available to all humans. Marriage is a right which should be available to everyone regardless of their gender or sexuality. The bigotry of those who oppose same-sex marriage must be challenged and exposed as hypocritical and unjust. Equal marriage is already available in 8 out of the 10 European countries surrounding Britain. This bill should not be seen as controversial but as a rational next step in implementing legislation which protects the human rights and equality of every member of our society. Many Tory MPs and religious opponents of the bill base their case on the claim that marriage is a sacred institution. As David Simpson MP so eloquently put it “This is an ordained constitution of God. In the Garden of Eden it was… Adam and Eve. It wasn’t Adam and Steve”. Regardless of the fact that Simpson seems unaware that science has superseded mythological narratives, especially in the 150 years since Darwin, the argument that marriage is sacred seems somewhat outdated. Marriage is not owned by religion. Over 60% of marriages in the UK today are conducted in secular ceremonies. It seems that for the majority of British people the religious aspect of marriage is losing its significance. Sir Roger Gale MP opposed equal marriage for failing to protect the sanctity of marriage. He’s on his third wife. Other MPs object to equal marriage on the grounds that it breaks tradition. However, the nature of marriage has always adapted to the times. If this was not the case, interracial marriages would be prohibited, wedlock of children would be permissible and parents could arrange the marriages of their children from birth to suit their financial needs. The exclusively heterosexual nature of marriage has not always been the tradition. More than one Roman Emperor married a man until same-sex marriages were outlawed in 342CE. Marriage has changed in the past. It is time for it to change again.

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Many MPs raised particular concern over the potential for adultery in same-sex marriages. Nadine Dorries MP for example, refused to support the bill because, according to her, same-sex marriage does not require faithfulness. Mrs Dorries makes this claim despite having conducted an affair with a married man herself. Some straight people are unfaithful but we don't respond to this by banning them all from marrying. Why are LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) people any different? One of the most incoherent arguments against same-sex marriage is that it is immoral because it does not allow for the possibility of children. Should we, therefore, ban heterosexual couples from marrying because they don't want children? Or, perhaps we should conduct fertility tests on couples after their engagement, banning anyone infertile from the opportunity to marry. Clearly this would be ridiculous. It also fails to recognise the many LGBT couples who do have children and who provide them with loving and safe homes. Same-sex couples are biologically incapable of procreating with each other but so are many straight couples - this is not a good enough reason to exclude them from the right to marry. Thankfully, it now appears that such bigotry is becoming increasingly unacceptable. However, some people fail to see why partial equality is inadequate. LGBT people can already enter civil partnerships in the UK. Why do they have to fight for full marriage rights as well? The fact is, a civil partnership is not a marriage. As Lord Tebbit declared in 2010, "We should be utterly, completely and absolutely clear that a civil partnership is not a marriage, cannot be a marriage, never will be a marriage and should be treated entirely separately from marriage." This separation clearly shows the lack of equality and perpetuates discrimination against same-sex couples. Civil partnerships were a great step towards equality but it is time for this ideal to be fully realised. The progress made in Parliament towards introducing equal marriage must be celebrated, not condemned. Let's not forget that marriage is about love. It creates a strong union based on commitment, stability and trust which benefits the couple, families and society. These benefits are just the same for samesex marriages. The people who will be practically affected by this bill are couples who want to celebrate their love by having their union recognised formally. Shouldn't we welcome such commitments as beautiful and hopeful? No one is asking religious institutions to conduct these ceremonies against their will. No one is trying to reinterpret marriage for straight people. All that is being asked is that same-sex couples who love each other and who want to spend the rest of their lives together are able to have an equal opportunity to marry. Same-sex marriage must be welcomed as progress that will strengthen the bond between same-sex couples. It will enhance, not compromise, the institution of marriage. Yes, this may seem a romanticised ideal but isn't that what marriage is all about? * Unfortunately, there is not space here to explore the irony of Keith O’Brien’s subsequent exposure as a homosexual man unable to deal healthily with his sexuality. This resulted in his forced resignation. Poignantly, his situation could have been so different had the equality which this bill offers been in existence when he was a young man.

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no : coming out against gay marriage

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Mr Simon Lemieux HEAD OF HISTORY AND POLITICS

f you are anticipating (or dreading) a piece full of vitriol and quotes from various sacred texts condemning homosexuality, then you will be disappointed with what follows. The case I want to make against gay marriage here is not based upon any particular faith perspective nor, I hope, on unfounded prejudice. A strong and I believe persuasive argument can, I think, be made on the basis of reason, equity and democratic principles alone. At first glance, the argument in favour of gay marriage looks persuasive and engaging. Roughly put, the case runs along the lines of the traditional argument over anti-discrimination and injustice. Like the rights of women, racial minorities and the disabled before, gay marriage is about promoting equality and opposing discrimination. But here we hit the first flaw in the argument. There is a fundamental difference between the rights of the groups just listed and the gay community. For all those in the first group, their status is imposed not chosen; the situation with sexuality is altogether more complex. There is not space here to go into a proper discussion of gay genes, and whether or not someone is ‘born gay’. Suffice to say, there are no finite conclusions and the accepted position is to view sexuality as a sliding scale rather than a black or white distinction, and that there are a number of factors that determine one’s position on that scale. A significant proportion of it is down to environment and even choice, rather than purely accident of birth. In short, people are born male, mixed race or with disabilities in a way that they are not born straight or gay. Why does this matter? Simply because it means the debate from the start is slightly different to the ones about full equality for other groups who have been discriminated against so wrongly. Yet by itself that is hardly a clinching argument against gay marriage. Surely discrimination even against a lifestyle choice is to be opposed? Here we enter interesting territory, and the ‘separate but equal ‘argument. The key point is that we already have ample laws that protect the rights and interests of homosexuals. There is legislative equality in areas of employment, property rights, inheritance law and, more controversially, child adoption. A civil partnership, for example, confers equal legal rights to both partners, as marriage does to a husband and wife. Will homosexual couples be better protected legally by gay marriage? Equally, since heterosexual couples cannot enter civil partnerships, arguably it is discrimination against them to allow homosexuals alone a choice between marriage or civil partnership. In a modern liberal democracy, why not maintain different but equal categories for partnerships of intimacy? And, unlike the pre-civil rights USA, separate-but-equal in this case would actually be truth rather than fiction. Yet what is it about the ancient institution of marriage that makes it so special, and best reserved for the two genders?

should

After all, surely it has evolved and altered its nature radically over time. No longer can husbands beat their wives with impunity or even vice versa. Women no longer have to hand over all their financial resources to their husband upon marriage. Yet, crucially, although marriage, even its permanence, has evolved considerably in the last hundred years, gay marriage will do something significant: it will fundamentally re-define it. For centuries, civilisations have able to refuse to teach it or will they be forced out of a job? recognised the importance and value to society of having What about parental choice in the matter? Currently, and an enduring and exclusive union between one man and quite rightly, parents have the ability to have their children one woman. Its uniqueness is that it embodies and reflects withdrawn from sex education and RE lessons. Will this the distinctiveness of men and women; therefore, removing extend to teaching about marriage and the family? Will the that complementarity from the definition of marriage is to freedom to advocate traditional marriage be construed as a remove any widely recognised social institution where gender homophobic hate crime? What about council registrars who difference is acknowledged. The distinctiveness of marriage have a conscientious objections to same-sex marriage – will will be lost forever. If gay, and thus ungendered, marriage their rights be protected? Probably not, given that in a recent becomes legal, make no mistake, we cannot treat it as a case the European Court confirmed that a public authority social experiment to ’see how it works out’. The change will can force employees to act against their beliefs and sack those be permanent, the consequences everlasting. We need to be who resist. The case involved an Islington registrar who absolutely certain that this is a move for the benefit of society wished not to perform same-sex civil partnerships. The proas a whole, and the clear will of a significant majority of the gay lobby often speaks the language of liberalism, freedom population. This leads on neatly to another point: the absence and respect. The reality is that scant tolerance is shown to of a democratic mandate. those who agree to disagree with them. The dangers of an Marriage is an institution ‘owned’ (if that is the right word) intolerant liberalism loom large. There is also by us all, not by politicians. Yet a pledge the danger of sleepwalking into even more to introduce gay marriage was not in the radical re-definitions of marriage. If same-sex, manifestoes of any of the main political SAME-SEX why not multiple unions? Sounds absurd and parties in 2010. The public consultation MARRIAGE WILL Daily Mail alarmist? In the Netherlands, threewas largely a sham, beginning with a ‘how’ way partnerships have already been given rather than ‘whether’ question, which LEAD TO legal recognition through a ‘co-habitation’ was only changed half way through the UNINTENDED agreement. In Mexico City, two-year fixedconsultation. The online response was CONSEQUENCES term marriages have been introduced. anonymous and open to people anywhere No need for divorce, just don’t renew the in the world as often as they liked. The marriage, a bit like a magazine or club membership description final ‘result’ of 53%-46% in favour was only achieved by really. Yes, once the Rubicon has been crossed, don’t expect ignoring half a million names who very clearly said ‘no’. By same-sex to be the final destination in the overhaul of contrast, a YouGov poll in March 2012 found 47% opposing marriage. It might well become an institution devoid of any and 43% supporting gay marriage. Even allowing for the fact expectations of permanence or exclusivity. Finally on this that opinion polls and online consultations are not precise point, same-sex marriage advocates argue it will strengthen not barometers of public opinion, I think everyone can agree there weaken the institution. Experience in other countries suggests is currently no overwhelming support for this re-definition of otherwise. In Spain, overall marriage rates fell by 20% in the marriage. It is arguably more about the current PM’s desperate six years following the introduction of same-sex marriage, and attempt to modernise his own party’s image, and prove that a significant fall was also reported in Holland. it is not led by public-school-educated toffs out of touch with There is not space in this short piece to discuss the ordinary voters. The surge by UKIP (who incidentally oppose undoubted benefits to society of our existing definition of gay marriage while supporting civil partnerships) at the local marriage, scarred and fragile as it is, or to mention the elections recently, while undoubtedly part of a wider protest second-order issues of the proposed legislation, such as what vote, is suggestive that Cameron’s tactic has backfired. Yet, it says about adultery and non-consummation which will in the end, does it really matter, can the consequences of enshrine inequality between opposite and same-sex marriage. re-defining marriage really be all that problematic? What is In summary, though, same-sex marriage is unnecessary, wrong with the ‘live and let live' approach? unwanted by the majority and will doubtless lead to Here we encounter the matter of unintended consequences. unintended consequences. Be careful of what you wish for. Firstly, how will those who continue to believe in traditional As they frequently say in Dragons Den, ‘I’m out!’ marriage be protected? Presumably, state-funded schools will be required to teach both marriage options as part of the National Curriculum. What about teachers for whom that conflicts with their moral or religious beliefs? Will they be

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styles investigating modern portraiture

Sophie Tobin YEAR 13

Seurat

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artists with distinctive styles and techniques that I could interpret into my own versions.

or my PGS Extend project, I wanted to do something art-related that would allow me to work in a wide range of materials and encourage me to research the topic I chose, using well-known artists as inspiration. After a lot of consideration, I decided that the best way to do this would be to take one photograph and draw/paint it in the styles of different artists, to demonstrate how different their styles and techniques are and to develop my own drawing ability and flexibility. I decided that the subject of my main photograph would be my sister and that I would use the same image to ensure that the different styles would be obvious, also allowing the viewer to see how the same image could be interpreted. As I would be using the same photograph, I thought it would be sensible to use a template of an outline of the main features of my sister’s face that would ensure that I would be using exactly the same image for each piece. I then did an initial sketch in pencil to get used to the image I would be drawing, allowing the viewer the opportunity to compare the simple, realistic drawing with those in the style of more abstract artists, for example Picasso. It was necessary for me to choose artists with distinctive styles and techniques that I could interpret into my own versions: Picasso, Freud, Modigliani and Seurat, as well as the more general “chiaroscuro” style. This project has given me the opportunity to learn new skills and work with new materials, such as oil pastels. In addition, it has allowed me to experiment with different styles which I believe have greatly improved my drawing abilities. I have found it really interesting to study the artists’ work carefully in order to create my own interpretation effectively. I found that my interpretation of Seurat’s work has been most successful, as, although it is not entirely in his style, I discovered a new way of interpreting an image. I have not previously worked in oil pastels before and found them very appropriate for this drawing, especially since the colours are so vibrant and they create an interesting texture. It is a very different style of drawing to the others and I like the way I have created the smooth texture of the face by using lines. Overall, I have really enjoyed working outside my comfort zone to create these pieces and feel that I have achieved far more than I anticipated when I started. I also have the opportunity to carry this forward and create more interpretations to add to this collection.

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should

bull fighting be banned?

In Defence of Bullfighting

Above: Bullfight by Fernando Botero Below: Bullfighters by Fernando Botero

En Defensa de las Corridas de Toros Tom Harper YEAR 12

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urante las últimas décadas ha habido mucha polémica sobre la tauromaquia y si es aceptable, especialmente en la sociedad moderna debido a ‘la masacre bárbara de los animales inocentes’. Sin embargo, mientras mucha gente está centrándose en los peligros y la unilateralidad, creo firmemente que se deben considerar los aspectos positivos más importantes del tema antes de sacar una conclusión. Primero, las multitudes que los toros atraen pagan alrededor de quinientos millones de euros para ver las corridas

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cada año, y por lo tanto el toreo es un gran contribuyente a la economía española. Si esta actividad fuera eliminada, siguiendo el ejemplo de Barcelona, España perdería una fuente muy importante de ingresos. Además, no hay que olvidar que ser matador, picador, banderillero o aún médico es una faena como cualquier otra, y por eso la corrida ofrece trabajo también. Claro, es muy difícil alcanzar el nivel profesional en el que los toreros como ‘El Juli’ ganan 160.000 euros por sólo dos apariciones. En segundo lugar, ilegalizar la tauromaquia sería destruir una parte central de la cultura española. ¿Acaso hay alguien

que no lo haya pensado al pensar en España? El nacimiento de esta práctica fue a mediados del siglo dieciocho, y desde entonces el toreo se ha convertido incrustado en la tradición del país, no importa la sangre que es derramada. No sólo esto, sino que también si se decidiera prohibir las corridas, esto implicaría eliminar varios otros aspectos de la tradición española: no sería tan fácil como simplemente ‘poner fin a un sangriento deporte’. Tomamos, por ejemplo, el caso del traje de luces: su historia es que en el pasado (al principio del toreo) los toreros se vestían de ropa normal excepto para las decoraciones que las mujeres les ponían para encontrar a sus novios en las plazas ruidosas. Por lo tanto, no se trata simplemente de una exhibición impresionante de la creatividad española en el campo de la moda que sería destruida junto con la corrida, sino también un hábito integral del paso de los siglos. Finalmente, a mi parecer y contrariamente a la opinión pública, una muerte en la plaza de toros es mejor que otras maneras para los toros. En la plaza, un toro se convierte en una criatura noble y ya no es una bestia instintiva y sin sentido. Además, como escribió Robert Elms en un diario británico en el año 2010: “La vida de un animal de pura raza que vive a una edad mínima de cuatro años corriendo libre, comiendo los mejores pastos de España, ni siquiera viendo los hombres a pie es más bueno que los miles de toros británicos cuyas vidas mucho más cortas se pasan por completo en las condiciones de fábricas y mueren en los mataderos tristes para que podamos comer las hamburguesas.” ¡Por consiguiente me da rabia que mucha gente afirme que la corrida es ‘inhumana’ porque todo lo que haríamos a través de su prohibición sería garantizar que los toros mueran en las condiciones de ‘una edad moderna’, que en mi opinión fuerte es peor!

Over the course of the last few years, there has been considerable debate about the art of bullfighting and whether it is acceptable, especially in modern times, due to the inherent "terrible slaughter of innocent animals". However, while many people are focusing on the negatives, I believe strongly that the positives of bullfighting should be explored before drawing any conclusion. Firstly, the huge crowds that bullfighting attracts pay around 500 million euros a year to watch the corridas; for this reason, bullfighting is a huge net contributor to the Spanish economy. If bullfighting were to be banned, as it has been in Barcelona already, Spain would lose an important source of income generation. Moreover, we should not forget that the profession of torero, picador or banderillero is as worthy as any other, and the bullfighting industry generates huge employment. Not all can reach the elevated status such as that attained by the former teenage sensation "El Juli", who now commands a fee of 160,000 euros for just two appearances. Secondly, to render bullfighting illegal in Spain would be to destroy a central part of Spanish culture. Is there anyone who has not thought of bullfighting when asked to think of Spanish culture? Bullfighting came into being in the middle of the 18th Century and since then has become rooted in Spanish tradition despite the blood spilled. If bullfighting were to be prohibited, many other aspects of Spanish culture would be eliminated at the same time. It would not be simply a matter of putting an end to a bloody sport. Take the case of the bullfighter's outfit, the suit of lights, the traje de luces. With the invention of bullfighting came the creation of the traje de luces; bullfighters traditionally wore basic clothing but the women used to adorn their clothes with decorations. The modern traje de luces is a master- work of fashion design and execution that would also be lost should bullfighting be banned. Finally, in my view, which appears contrary to public opinion, the death of a bull in a bull ring is preferable to other possibilities for the same bulls. In the bull ring, the bull becomes a noble animal and is no longer a meaningless beast of instinct alone. As Robert Elms wrote in 2010, "the life of an animal of pure breed that lives to at least 4 years old, running free, eating from the best grazing land available, away from man, is much better than being granted a short life in inhumane conditions to end up in the slaughterhouse and, then, to become fast food." (The Independent). Therefore, to describe the act of bullfighting as "inhumane" is to enrage supporters of an art form that, should it be banned, would condemn bulls to die in less favourable circumstances than those of the bull ring.

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the Victorian representation of

Women Lottie Kent YEAR 11

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he Victorian Era is very often characterised by its relationship with the idea of morality. The breed of moral code that permeated the class system and all aspects of Victorian society during the nineteenth century was a dogma based on emphatic puritanical ideals and sexual repression. Sexual attitudes, in particular, had become far more conservative than those of the Regency period that came before, and were heavily influenced by a patriarchal culture that commonly projected its sexual anxieties onto its subordinates: women. In Victorian England, as Caroline Norton wrote, ‘the faults of women are visited as sins, the sins of men are not even visited as faults' (quoted in Lambourne, p.374). In the mid-1800s, the style of art was typically Classical and unadorned, with many pieces taking the form of narrative art (that which tells a story.) Within the Victorian epoch, narrative art was popularly used to convey a message about the dangerousness of behaviour seen to be morally condemnable by contemporary society. Thus, in an age synonymous with the emphasis it placed on the female’s role as being chaste, homely and submissive, much of the artistic output was overrun by the image of the fallen woman. The fallen woman was relentlessly troubling for Victorian society. Opposite the idealisation of the female virgin, she represented those who had strayed from the convention of married life into illicit affairs (that often produced illegitimate children) and, consequently, into familial dishonour and ostracism. Yet, the nature of the fallen woman and her representation was, and is, not always so clear-cut. As such, she was commonly felt to be distinct from the threateningly independent figure of the prostitute – whose public manifestations of licentious behaviour were anathematised at the time and seen to betoken female freedom from social control. Instead, the fallen woman was often portrayed as, though shameful, vulnerable and victimised. In this way, Victorian art rendered her both as a warning to others and as an object for pity. For instance, it is interesting to observe Richard Redgrave’s The Outcast, 1851. In this melodramatic piece, an unyielding patriarch of puritanical morality casts out his daughter – a fallen woman – and her illegitimate baby from his household. Snow is visible beyond the threshold, yet the father is obdurate; his physical stance and pointing gesture clearly show his pitiless refusal to compromise. The mother comforts a weeping brother, whilst various sisters are depicted crying, beseeching the father to no avail. On the floor there lies what appears to be an incriminating letter, and on the wall a biblical painting that serves to mirror the drama

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Above: Past and Present, No.1 by Augustus Leopold Egg, 1858 Right: The Outcast by Richard Redgrave, 1851

taking place. It is uncertain exactly what the religious print last seen on Friday last near the Strand, evidently without a place to lay portrays, but it is most likely Abraham casting out Hagal and her head. What a fall hers has been!’ Ishmael or, perhaps, Christ and the woman taken in adultery. Thus, the artist’s intended interpretation is very much However, it is noteworthy that neither Christian narrative apparent: deviant female desire has destructed the middle class corresponds exactly to the scene taking place in the room. home, splitting the family to cause distress for all affected. When Abraham expels Hagal and Ishmael, it is at the Egg uses various symbols within his work to convey this insistence of a woman: his wife. Conversely, the parable of implication accordingly. Christ and the woman taken in adultery is seen to represent The first scene of the Past and Present triptych shows the clemency and Christian forgiveness. In this way, Redgrave’s wife lying prostrate in despair at her husband's feet, as he work is ambiguous, for the viewer cannot ascertain whether sits, morose, at the table. Their two children play cards in the painter approves of the father’s action and the background. The husband is holding a hence is warning other women to avoid the letter, evidence of his wife's adultery, and same fate, or is critical of the heartlessness simultaneously crushes a miniature of her lover A DOGMA shown towards the fallen woman and intends under his foot. Although the setting appears, BASED ON to evoke sympathy for her plight. initially, to be an ordinary bourgeois interior, PURITANICAL Whilst it is unclear in Richard Redgrave’s on closer observation it is laden with latent aforementioned work where the artist’s emblems of feminine lust. Firstly, the room IDEALS. sympathies lie, the fallen woman he depicts is contains fashionable furnishings, ornaments unquestionably reduced to a powerless victim and two well-dressed children. This confirms – a representation of the sexualised female that was widely that the mother was not compelled to stray through poverty or exhibited in the Victorian era. It is unusual of the time, then, neglect. Furthermore, an absence of any male seducer implies that the fallen woman in Augustus Leopold Egg’s narrative that the wife willingly partook in an illicit affair. Another triptych, Past and Present (1858), appears to have engendered notable symbol is the halved apple: one half has fallen to the her own downfall through a will to engage in an illicit affair. floor, representing the wife’s fall, the other has been stabbed The work portrays the discovery of the woman’s infidelity to the core and represents the husband - a symbolism that and its consequences. Originally displaying it with no title at is interesting because it presents the male as the rejected the 1858 Royal Academy, Egg broke all rules to present the and despairing figure, forsaken by the woman’s adultery. adulteress as the subject of high art. The artist included the This overturns Victorian stereotypes of the woman as the following subtitle to aid the viewer in deciphering the purpose abandoned and helpless character (as a result of infidelity). and message of his work: Moreover, feminine weakness is consistently represented by the ‘August 4th. Have just heard that B- has been dead more than a archetypal fallen woman, Eve. In this way, the halved apple is fortnight, so his poor children have now lost both parents. I hear she was evocative of the forbidden fruit and Eve’s weakness in the face

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Below: Past and Present, No.2 by Augustus Leopold Egg, 1858 Right: Past and Present, No.3 by Augustus Leopold Egg, 1858

of temptation. As a parallel, a picture of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden (labelled The Fall) hangs above a miniature of the wife. Above the husband’s miniature is a shipwreck by Clarkson Stanfield (labelled Abandoned) which further reinforces the idea that it is the husband here whose life has been ravaged by adultery. Also, the house of cards that the children play with is collapsing, signifying the breakdown of the marriage and the family. The cards are supported by a novel by Balzac - a specialist in the theme of adultery. The woman’s slanting form diagonally splits the painting to physically divide the family and in the background of the picture the mirror reflects an open door, indicating the woman's imminent departure from the home. Furthermore, the position of her arms and the bracelets round her wrists give the impression that she is shackled, guilty. The notion of her guilt is bolstered by the begging that her clasped hands invoke. In this way, the reason why the woman fell seems clear; her guilt is fixed as the narrative devices within the work point to her abnormal sexual desire and its effects. Past and Present No.2 depicts a dimly lit garret, five years later. The room is sparsely furnished (in direct contrast to the drawing room of the previous family home) and the few decorations include two portraits of the absent mother and father. The father has recently died, as referenced in the work’s

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subtitle and indicated by the girls’ mourning attire, and the mother has been driven out of her home, a fallen woman. The two orphaned girls comfort each other, the elder gazing, melancholy, over the rooftops towards the moon. When the set of pictures was first shown at the Royal Academy in 1858, the drawing-room scene was hung between the other two. The writer and art critic John Ruskin described the three works in his Academy Notes: ‘In the central piece the husband discovers his wife's infidelity; he dies five years afterwards. The two lateral pictures represent the same moment of night a fortnight after his death. The same little cloud is under the moon. The two children see it from the chamber in which they are praying for their lost mother, and their mother, from behind a boat under a vault on the river shore.’ Hence, in the third painting in the series, whilst the two girls lament, at the same time the fallen wife, now destitute, is shown huddled under one of the Adelphi arches, described by the Art Journal as 'the lowest of all the profound deeps of human abandonment in this metropolis' (quoted in Wood, p.53). Under her shawl she shelters a baby, evidently the product of her illicit affair, which has now ended. Directly behind her a poster advertises two plays at the Haymarket Theatre: Victims and The Cure for Love; another announces 'Pleasure Excursions to Paris'. These advertisements reveal her sexual existence and immoral environment. Additionally, the inclusion of the River Thames is used as an allusion to traditional representations of the drowned prostitute, perhaps hinting at the adulteress’s inevitable fate. It is interesting to note that Egg’s work provoked critical condemnation (that possibly hindered its sale.) The Illustrated London News declared that ‘we are at a loss what to say about A. L Egg’s three-part picture... except this, that we wish he had never painted it’ (8 May 1858,). Also, a similarly objecting critic for The Atheneum wrote ‘there must be a line drawn as to where the horrors

that should not be painted for public and innocent sight begin, and... Mr. Egg has put one foot at least beyond this line’ (1 May 1858). It is evident that critics worried that the adulteress, permitted to exist through art, might corrupt the viewer with her deviancy. Egg controversially defied masculine attempts to confine the fallen woman in her portrayal as sexless and impressionable; despite his triptych evoking a slight note of sympathy for the sexualised female, his purpose is to depict her as being partially, if not The Awakening Conscience fully, responsible for her own illicit behaviour and, in turn, her by William Holman-Hunt, 1853 expulsion. In truth, each of the aforementioned works presents which the woman is entrapped. Indeed, as was written in The the culpability of the fallen woman on different scales. Times on 25 May 1854, 'the very hem of the poor girl's dress, at which Nevertheless, the common denominator in these depictions of the painter has laboured so closely, thread by thread, has story in it, if we the fallen woman is clear: once she has fallen from grace, she think how soon its pure whiteness may be soiled with is irredeemable. It is this definitive factor, dust and rain, her outcast feet failing in the street'. evident in many Victorian moral works, Additionally, the frame, designed by Hunt, that makes William Holman-Hunt’s The HUNT also contains various symbolic emblems; Awakening Conscience (1853) so worthy of note; PORTRAYS THE bells and marigolds stand for warning he, instead, chooses to portray the fallen FALLEN WOMAN the and sorrow and the star a sign of spiritual woman as capable of redemption. AS CAPABLE OF revelation. Installed by a gentleman in a newly REDEMPTION. Interestingly, the woman wears her hair decorated interior, Hunt’s protagonist at first loose. In George Ferguson’s book Signs and appears to be an archetypal young mistress, Symbols in Christian Art, loose hair is ‘a symbol of penitence.’ whose fate as a fallen woman is foreshadowed by her licentious According to the author ‘its origin is closely allied to the episode behaviour. Her position as a mistress is shown to be such by related in Luke 7: 37-38, ‘And behold, a woman in the city, which was the absence of a wedding ring and the fact that she is partially a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house … undressed in the presence of a clothed man. stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, However, as the couple play and sing together to Thomas and did wipe them with the hairs of her head …’ This is especially Moore's 'Oft in the Stilly Night', the young woman incurs a relevant as Hunt was a deeply religious man. He was committed sudden revelation of spirituality. As she rises from her lover's to the principles of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and lap, she gazes out of the open window into the sunlit garden particularly believed that everyone was capable of salvation. below, which is reflected in the mirror behind her. The mirror For him, the moral of the story was an important element image symbolises the loss of the woman’s innocence, but the in any of his subjects, and in this painting Hunt offers the ray of light in the foreground that illuminates her, almost spectator hope that the young woman is truly repentant and a halo, indicates that redemption is still possible. Hunt, a can ultimately reclaim her life. His work challenged the widely member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (despite focusing, believed notion that a fallen woman, once a sinner, was indelibly unusually, on a contemporary subject) employs a style in this tainted, yet it still upheld the patriarchal desire to contain painting that maintains the group’s traditional approach of and define the sexuality of the Victorian woman – to marry truth to nature and meticulous attention to detail. However, righteousness with a sexless life. intricately laced within the literal content of this work are many symbolic elements. The cat trapping the broken-winged bird under the table mirrors the relationship between the woman and her seducer, and symbolises the woman's plight. This notion is furthered by a tangled skein of yarn on the floor that signifies the web in

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