Page 1


Review WELCOME 4

From Preview to Review David Clark

issue one

9

The death of politics Tom Murphy

8

The rights of Bill Alex Steer

10 Tony Blair Colin Hoad

26 Looking after the neighbourhood Ben Stimmler issue four

29 A war with Iraq

12 Political Communication -

30 Drop the dead donkey

Some basic rules David Bishop

14 Strange footprint Colin Hoad

issue two

17 Millennium Loan Ben Ellinger

18 Ideology: The next deus ex machina? Will Moy

19 A reflection: Kosovo Eris Duro 20 Loosing your voice Alex Steer

2

Lucy Uren

11 Just War

David Bishop

Cover by Heloise Morle. Drawings taken from previous editions of Preview. The editors would like to thank David Clark for his time and support throughout the production of this magazine. They would also like to say a heartfelt thank you to all Old Caterhamian contributors, both financial and intellectual.

25 Has Labour lost it’s soul?

issue three

24 The Liberal Democrats

Richard Lee-Kelland Edward Jackson

31 Ideology

Stephen Lax issue five

35 Keep the aims, change the name Rosanna Holt

36 Terrorism and beyond Fahrad Alizadeh

37 Digging deep for the Democrats Ansel Reed issue six

41 The poverty gap Alex Webster

Stephen Lax

review magazine | march 2012


Student protests, p89

The Queen, p65

43 Tory at heart Oliver Jones

44 Compassionate Conservatism Matthew Owen

46 Colour Revolution Alex Webster

48 Making human trafficking real Simon Walters

50 David Dimbleby Interview Simon Walters

issue seven

52 Euthanasia Nick Deayton

53 Imperialism Episode II Attack of the Clones Joe Ridge

54 The not so healthy Health Service Andrew Howe

55 Can the Conservative

Party win the next General Election? Ashwin Choolun

56 Youth in Asia

58 Hugh Robertson Interview Joe Ridge

issue eight

61 Can we fix it? Tom Howes

62 Assassination: A radical solution to anarchy? Catherine Hyatt

63 Rise of the monarchy James Barber

64 The West Wing Alex Parsons

issue nine

67 Cooking up a storm Marcus Bott

69 Don’t shoot the messengers Rebecca Michael

81 Testament to the truth Elizabeth Parrish

issue eleven

85 No longer the lady in the back seat Sophie Colman

86 Poverty: The harsh realisty Chris Toomey

87 Protesting: Is it worth shouting about? Samantha Moore

88 Riot Revelations Imogen Ware

issue eleven

92 Education: A classical reform

76 Marine Le Pen

93 Boris should ‘Lern’ about the

Alex Hurley

Samir Dwesar

and finally...

97 Lords A-Leaping Lord Howe

100 Austerity for all or for some? Michael Lesser

Eithne Webster

102 A view of over there Rick Mearkle

review magazine | march 2012

Dominic Damesick

74 #digitaldemocracy

99 EU

98 Local Politics

79 Politics in the Press

91 A democratic dilemma

Andrew Cole

96 Notes from a small Ireland Dick Spring

issue ten

72 A hidden foe

Nick Deayton

and finally...

Le Pen, p78

Nigel Farage

Charles Davies Adam Jones

future Jonathan Ham

and finally...

104 The Euro and the Tories John Bercow

3


From Preview to Review A reflection on the last twelve years david clark

I

t all started unexpectedly. I had recently been appointed as head of Politics and was conducting some mock interviews. In front of me was a rather worthy student who announced that he wanted to follow a career in journalism. I then asked him what he had written and what writing he’d had published. A rather bemused look crossed his face and he admitted that he’d never actually written anything for public consumption. To be fair to him however, other than the Caterhamian magazine, there were very few other outlets at school for students with journalistic aspirations. So the idea of a political magazine of sorts took shape – further encouraged when a certain Will Moy showed me a copy of an Economics journal that was produced at Dulwich College. He was quick to point out that he’d like to start a political version and in his typically understated and humble way – stressed that the Caterham magazine would be far superior. It didn’t take long to pitch the idea to Alex Steer, Colin Hoad and David Bishop – and before we knew it, Preview was born.

magazine was successfully cobbled together and was launched to great fanfare in the school library. Nothing like it had been seen before at Caterham and the feedback was excellent. The founding 4 were all in the lower 6th and the buzz that Preview Number 1 created was sufficient to encourage them to launch again the following year (to date, they are the only team to have produced 2 editions).

Nothing like it had been seen before at Caterham and the feedback was excellent.

The pioneering 4 did not just produce a journal – they also created an institution with its fair share of traditions. The main tradition established was that the magazine would be launched at some sort of event involving a guest speaker of note and wine! The trusted Maggs Library hosted the launch in the early days until Bulley, Bott & Hurley suggested that Preview was sufficiently established and prestigious that it needed a significantly grander location for future launch events. In the Moy traThose early days were rather daunt- dition – they thought big and decided ing but equally exciting. Moy kept coming up with grandiose plans, Bishop enjoyed being Mr. Contrarian and Steer and Hoad somehow managed to keep things on track. There was no lack of ambition and both branding and a website prototype took shape. The Preview ‘empire’ was emerging and Moy was adamant that on its pages he would build his first fortune! Fantasy aside – the Matthew Wright

4

that Portcullis House would be a suitable venue. What about a speaker? That wasn’t difficult to decide – it had to be Matthew Wright – TV personality and presenter of the Wright Stuff. After all, a good number of the team that year had become media ‘junkies’ appearing on TV with the regularity of a desperate C-list celebrity and had also become VIP members of the Wright Stuff audience! Since then, the Preview ‘roadshow’ has been unstoppable and launch venues have included Southwark Cathedral, the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Cathedral Hall and we have secured the likes of David Blunkett MP, John Bercow MP, Nigel Evans MP and Angus Deayton to act as guest speakers. The Preview brand is therefore becoming increasingly recognised and it was wonderful to have it endorsed recently by Boris Johnson who suggested that ‘Preview is a great read and, best of all; it comes in toilet sized chunks!’ Cartoons feature prominently in Preview. In fact, cartoons have dominated most of the recent front and back covers – many drawn by students and Old Caterhamians. The standard of cartooning was so high that an ‘accidental’ tradition took root when we launched at Southwark Cathedral – and the cartoons were auctioned to the highest bidder. At every launch since, the Preview auction has become an entertaining and amusing part of the evening. Long may it continue! The next convention (upon which the team insisted) was that the current team would interview candidates to take over the running of Preview the following year. Stories of obscure questions and CIA type interrogation methods have circulated ever since – but, in essence, the interviews have been key to the success of Preview for they ensured that a committed and creative team was selected to take on the magazine year by year. Equally important was the desire to create a magazine that was essentially run by, published by and launched by 6th form students. Ultimately though, review magazine | march 2012


the trail blazing editors were keen to produce something whereby students could share their opinions on a range of issues to a wider audience – and they were insistent that those opinions could be freely and openly aired. I am pleased to say that subsequent editors have been true to the aspirations of the founders and Preview continues to be a magazine that challenges its readers and champions free thinking and freedom of expression. The final tradition has remained intact too. For Preview to have any sort of gravitas – it needed to have high profile contributors and needed to be seen as a publication of note. It has certainly had many prominent figures (including a former Prime Minister, a Mayor of London, a serving Foreign Secretary) either write for it or launch it and that too has been something that teams have worked hard to maintain. Every year, each team puts its mark on the magazine – that could be in securing an article from a high profile political figure, by sourcing better cartoons, by producing a more professional journal or by creating a new design framework and better graphics. The production of the magazine has not however been without its hiccups. Late submissions were common and so too were guest speakers who kept us waiting to the very last minute or contacted me demanding a chauffeur driver car to pick them up! Technical difficulties were routine and there were years when only a miracle could ensure that we launch on time. How we sometimes managed to successful print the magazine also remains a mystery. I can well remember (in the early days) late nights of printing and photocopying and then long hours spent stapling the relevant pages. Finance too proved rather nerve racking especially when sponsors failed to materialise and then one year we managed to ‘lose’ the takings – only for Nigel to discover the stash of cash buried in the depths of one of his minibuses!

Memories Preview, from the very beginning, was always much more than a political magazine for me. It invoked camaraderie, a sense of accomplishment and, above all, was tremendous fun to be a part of. I am always gratified each year when I return for the annual launch to see it going from strength to strength. Long may it continue! - Colin Hoad Being part of the Preview Team taught me about teamwork, personal organisation and prioritising. Trying to outdo the previous year brought out my competitive spirit, as well as a sense of pride and ownership. It really isn’t like any other team in the School, and trying to show university friends how a simple school magazine can mean so much really has proved difficult! - Sam Moore Preview was certainly one of the highlights of my 12 years at Caterham School and even 3 years after leaving, the annual launch continues to be something I am proud to attend. During its 12 year history, Preview has established itself as an institution that aims to reach the heights of what can be achieved with the right support and enthusiasm. The resultant competition that has developed between the years has formed a kinship amongst the editors quite unlike any other school activity.

ment generally. Preview members have featured on the front page of the Sunday Telegraph (leading an anti EU protest march); have orchestrated an Amnesty protest at the Cuban embassy, have been ‘kettled’ on a student fees demonstration; have cross-examined the occupy London protesters; have campaigned to free Bulgarian nurses illegally detained in Libya; have appeared on BBC Question Time, The Wright Stuff, the Rory Bremner Show as well as on Have I Got News for You; have lobbied current and former Prime Ministers (Cameron and Blair); have met senators in the US Congress; have made highly professional political documentaries; have organised mock elections; have led wonderfully enterThe Preview spirit has permeated all taining school assemblies; have enjoyed that takes place in the Politics Depart- work experience in Westminster and review magazine | march 2012

- Alex Hurley Brussels – and the list goes on. The message then from Preview is ‘get stuck in, think big, make a mark on the political world, share your opinions and enjoy the fraternity that is the Preview network’. Preview has come a long way since the early days and it is something that Caterham students have been very proud to be associated with. I very much hope that the journal goes from strength to strength over the years and that future editors fly the Preview flag passionately and ambitiously. I am delighted that so many continue to support it and I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible for the Preview / Review launch 2012.

5


ISSUE ONE

Editors David Bishop Colin Hoad Will Moy Alex Steer 6

review magazine | march 2012


The death of politics

Focus Groups and ‘those of us who like our politics raw’ tom murphy

I

n the 1980s, both Britain and America moved significantly to the right with Reagan and Thatcher. Both fell from grace in spectacular style – Thatcher over the Poll Tax and Reagan over IranContra. Politics both sides of the Atlantic have pursued much more cautious polices in the 1990s. Bush, and then Clinton, abandoned all pretense of radicalism as soon as it became clear that this was a vote loser, and the untrained eye would struggle to detect much difference between the policies of major and Blair. The exception has been Newt Gingrich’s attempt to revive the Republican Right. This proved abortive, and he too endured a crashing fall. The worrying thing for those of us who like our politics raw is that Clinton and Blair’s blandness has proved so very successful. The key to the success of both Clinton and Blair in winning and retaining popularity has been the use of focus groups. Focus groups are hand-picked groups of voters representing different sections of the electorate based on age, sex, geography, occupation, ethnicity and so on. They are used as soundingboards for new policies, or for modifications of old ones. They are not new, either in Britain or the USA. Essentially, they are a refinement of the work of opinion pollsters. They are asked much more detailed questions than is possible in opinion polls, and they are used to try our promotional material. They represent further evidence that advertising campaigns (which have review magazine | march 2012

Al Gore and George Bush Jr. are shining examples, and they are the front-runners for the White House. Tony Blair believes passionately in getting his beliefs from focus groups – and he’s not doing badly. It is a depressing trend, but I am not wringing my hands in despair and sounding the death-knell of ‘real’ politics just yet. We can’t expect the electorate suddenly to rub their eyes and wake up to what is going on (Harry Truman’s adage that it I impossible to underestimate the intellect of the average voter still rings true), but they do get bored very easily. After a while we crave for something different, almost regardless of its quality. Look at some of the bizarre fashion crazes we have endured. When will William Hague wake up to the fact that it is a far worse crime to pretend to be trendy like Tony than to be old-fashioned and different? The electorate likes politicians who are different. Look at the astonishing success of John McCain in America. He has done unbelievably well with unfashionable policies and a drumbanging commitment to principle.

long used focus groups) and politics are coming closer together. Principle plays little part in advertising – we rarely buy things because we ought to! The imagemakers, who have increasingly come to the fore in politics, start from the question ‘what do people want?’ not ‘what do we believe right for the people?’ They derive their principles from the wishes of the electorate. Had Thatcher tested the poll-tax on a good focus group, she’d probably still be in No. 10! The art of persuasion and argument is neglected, and the hustings seem destined to become a thing of the past. Clinton’s image-makers tried various strategies on focus groups in the middle of the Lewinsky affair, with impeachIn summary, I have a sneaking susment looming. The result was a hast- picion our views on politics, rather like ily called prayer breakfast, where Clin- our views on fashions, go in cycles. ton confessed publicly ‘I have sinned’. Blandness and pragmatism were in and principle was out in the 90s, but who’s to The logical outcome in America now, say it wont be the other way around in and we may not be far behind, is that this decade? The one thing that we can the most money (to buy TV spots) and be sure of is that if the pendulum does the slickest image consultant will guar- swing, the focus groups will tell us first. antee success. The media certainly believe that this is the case in a democracy. 7


The rights of Bill

Will Bill be remembered for the man he truly was? alex steer

J

anuary 1998: A beleaguered President Clinton delivers his State of Union address to an America tired of hearing his voice. He is in the middle of an impeachment hearing by the US Senate, after serious allegations of perjury in the court case, which followed the Lewinsky scandal. The state of his political union is not looking good. By contrast, his other union seems stronger than ever. Hillary has pledged her total support to the man she loves, and the smiling couple grace endless photocalls, arms linked. The Clintons are testing the ‘behind every great man lies a great woman’ ideal to the limit. The American Dream, too, is being stretched. There is only so much muck-raking that the voters will take.

man who embodied the disorganisation of the SNAFU presidency; the man who lost the 1994 mid-term elections, and destroyed the Democrat Solid South forever; the man who got his country involved in Kosovo, a place he had to tell his people to look up on the map; and the man who, after six years, was impeached. Politically, a disaster; matrimonially, a disgrace; judicially, a liar. Two years on, his career should be dead and buried. But, somehow, Clinton has survived. If not politics, if not good, old-fashioned honesty, then how?

‘The economy, stupid’. That was the slogan put on the wall of Clinton’s campaign centre in 1992. The economy under Bush had seen no real change; Clinton promised improvement, and, to an extent, he delivThat was two years ago. The Senate ered. Certainly, he convinced Amerwas split disturbingly along party lines: ica enough to win. But how, six years the Republicans wanted him out, the later could the economy save him? Democrats, with few exceptions, stood for the rights of Bill. The hearing, like Because there are two sides to evClinton’s involvement with Ms. Le- ery politician - two faces, if you like. winsky, was a highly political affair. The image - constructed by creative His marital misdemeanours destroyed consultants and style managers; and his credibility in the puritanical Bible something else another quality — the Belt, and America was divided between strategist. Normally, image wins. The those who loved him, and those who media like images, people, ‘horserace’ wanted him burnt at the stake. But sex politics. But, just occasionally, when wasn’t the only thing on people’s minds. things are really bad, politicians — even presidents — must fall back on policy. Clinton will be remembered as the 8

Sprite advertisements make unusual economic indicators, but they share a fact which the American networks haven’t grasped. Image is nothing, thirst is everything. Under Clinton, America has grasped, and held, economic prosperity. The Far East market crash, which brought nearby Brazil’ to its knees for a while barely scratched the USA. By and large, things are going well. One reason for low voter turnout in US elections is that the people lie undisturbed in their American Dream. If they are still comfortable, they are safe: election fatigue has set in. But when something rocks the hammock, they wake up. A successful president’s career was in danger, they were in danger, and they supported him. Compared to Nixon, Clinton got off lightly. The American Dream, it seems, can even accommodate perjury. Ironically, it is Clinton’s marital union which is strained. It is likely that Hillary will divorce him after 2000, to seek a political career of her own. So, was she behind all the way, one hundred percent? Perhaps the maxim needs rewriting: Behind every great man, a great woman lies.

review magazine | march 2012


Bill Clinton


Tony Blair

Is he really an all-round good guy or an enemy of the people? colin hoad

T

he People’s Prime Minister, Champion of the Third Way, the Fresh Face of Politics. This is the unfortunately widespread opinion of our current Prime Minister, the man who brought us a new constitution, a new Parliament, and a New Labour party. But I’m here to, ask how, and why, has he received the reputation of being politics’ all-round good guy? Does he truly deserve it?

radical Left, dropped Clause 4, dragged the party into the centre of the political spectrum, and, unforgivably, gave us Mandelson. For Blair was King of Spin, and as the general election drew nearer, public understanding that New Labour really was something different was limited. Then he became Prime Minister. The grinning man had survived the Red Eyes Campaign, and had the whole of Britain at his command.

Born on May 6th, 1953, Anthony Blair grew up in a traditionally Conservative family. The law; not the Commons, was his early goal. Indeed, up until 1983, he was an acting barrister in Lord lrvine’s chambers. But then he chose to leave the bar and go into politics. Naturally, he joined the party which best served his interests and his beliefs, the Conservatives - didn’t he? Strangely, no. He signed himself up with the flagging Labour party, still recovering from Michael Foot’s manifesto: ‘the longest suicide note in history’. The bright young politician had entered the Kinnock ranks and right from the start began to rise up through the party. By 1994 he was the helmsman of a sinking ship. Virtually unknown to the public, Blair started a huge overhaul of a party now at his mercy. He purged the

Previously unheard-of pressure group Charter 38 suddenly became Blair’s foremost concern. Constitutional reform was his priority. The familiar Old maxim, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ springs to mind when considering what Blair has done. The Hereditary Peers who provided so much amusement on visits to the Lords, were axed in what the Earl of Burford called an ‘treason’ (before he was required to step off the woolsack). He has given Scotland and Wales devolution, not England. He has dithered over a Freedom of Information Act, which no one understands. He promised referendums on PR and EMU, which have yet to appear. He gave the Bank of England its independence with one hand, but with the other hopes to tie Britain to the much-loathed Euro. He has been the Prime Minis-

10

ter of firsts (which is just as well, since we’ve already executed one Monarch). He has attempted to modernise a country which really isn’t ‘Cool Britannia’. Blair came into office with the words ‘Education, education, education’ on his lips, but in a recent MORI poll ‘Schools’ ranked as the second most important issue in politics at the close of December 1999 (just beneath perennial old chestnut the NHS). In the Christmas political break, Alistair Campbell unleashed ‘bespectacled Blair’ upon us, no doubt another ploy to win more votes at the next election. This is the crux of my argument - is Blair, as the embodiment of New Labour, false beyond public comprehension? To my mind, at least, he is the image of a ‘true’ politician, armed with public relations nicks, aimed at increasing his party’s own, already swollen, electorate. He revels in the public’s love for him, but is it more than a pipe dream? I do not believe he is all he professes to be, and his party is no more than an election machine. William Hague said, at a conference held in Westminster on December 4th, that: ‘He governs in order to fight elections. I fight elections in order to govern.’ It is a message people should bear in mind with regard to New Labour. In conclusion, I would like to take the opportunity to make sure I am not being misunderstood. I would in no way dislike Blair as I do now were he to stand for the Old Labour party. Why? Because then, at least, there would be a clear-cut political spectrum: the Left could vote Labour, the Right Conservative (anything else has always been a wasted vote under our electoral system). Now; however, the parties overlap too much. I fear that the Left have been robbed of any real political representation, which makes a mockery of British democracy. This country has been nothing more to Blair than a new toy is to a child at Christmas And we all know what happens to that sort of toy sooner or later - it breaks. review magazine | march 2012


M

Just war

ere months ago, the West acted to end ethnic cleansing in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo. Yet, at the beginning of the The West should be doing more to dissuade Russia from 21st Century, the Russian Federation is becoming involved in Chechnya waging a war of annihilation in Chechnya. The people of this nation have been david bishop at the receiving end of Russian military might for months now, cities have been levelled and thousands of people have been dispossessed, force to flee the guns, shells and bombs of the Russian Army. Chechnya won its ‘independence’ in 1992, yet two years later the Russian Federation fought an abortive campaign to retake it, resulting in defeat, carnage and humiliation. Following a recent spate of terrorist attacks, allegedly carried out by Chechens, the Kremlin has decided to try its hand again at reconquering the country. There followed a massive military build-up, preceding The United Nations, committed go a long way towards preventing the a punitive bombing campaign and an to saving ‘future generations from the Russians from pursuing their new belall-out invasion of the fledgling nation. Scourge of war’, includes the Russian ligerent foreign policy, but it would Federation as an integral member, so not save the people of Grozny or any Now, as Russian troops encircle the it is unlikely to act to stop the situa- other Chechen town or village. The only capital Grozny, a leaflet campaign de- tion, and NATO, the world’s premiere proved way to stop a war is to fight it clared that all civilians must leave the defensive body, despite changing its to the end. Russia is not only ‘regaincapital or be massacred with any surviv- mandate to allow any action on its part ing control of a breakaway republic’, but ing fighters. In the Balkans this would in the European and Russian area, has also showing the West what it thinks of be called ethnic cleansing, and the West not even appeared to be concerned. the New World Order and Western valwould be condemning the action and Most worryingly, America, self-styled ues. We should not actively seek war, but threatening military force. Why not defender of the free world, has only of- neither should we shy away when war here? The criticism of the Milosevic re- fered to mediate. The Russians do not is necessary. Russia must be stopped. gime in Yugoslavia focused on the evil of appear to want to negotiate this one. the actions taking place in Kosovo, yet it appears that all the ‘civilised nations’ of What can the West - and by that I the West have done is to warn Russia mean the free nations of Europe and of the possibility of civilian casualties. North America - do, therefore, to halt the terrible action in Chechnya? I am Nor has the West taken any ac- neither a politician nor a general, but tion to dissuade or force the Rus- I do know right from wrong. What sians from their continuing barbar- Russia is doing is wrong and what the ity in Chechnya. European nations West must do is right. Wars in the and America have not frozen loans 20th Century have been portrayed as and they have not condemned the ac- being fought for ideology and liberty. tion anywhere near strongly enough: For this reason Britain and France isvery different from their reaction to sued an ultimatum to Germany in Serbia. Since the Kosovo crisis of early 1939; for this reason NATO bombed 1999 the West and Russia have en- Yugoslavia to save the Kosovars. joyed significantly worse relations than at any time since the end of ‘the Cold The West must at least penalise RusWar, yet is this any excuse for ignoring sia economically. Freezing the foreign “Vladimir Putin and his shadow” the actions of the former USSR now? loans that Russia depends upon would review magazine | march 2012

11


Political communication - some basic rules Follow these basic guidelines and watch your support rise says David Bishop

W pretty ary. (If by the it was

e all have bad days. Some of us have more than others. Ed Miliband had a awful December and Januhe is no longer Labour leader time this is published then even worse than I thought.)

Sunday: “I am the guy who took on Murdoch. That was a decisive thing to do. I am the guy that has said the rules of capitalism as played in the last 30 years have got to change.” Tuesday: The harshest of John Humphrys non-sequiturs: “are you too ugly to be Prime Minister?”

At the heart of Little Ed’s problem is a confused political communications If only he’d had some simple rules strategy. It’s not quite clear what he is on political communications to follow. trying to say, to whom, and for what purpose. In his mind he’s the bold de- Most of what you say and do DOES fender of the squeezed middle (topical, NOT MATTER. post-Christmas…) against predatory capitalists, naughty ex-members of the Yes, people go into politics to make Bullingdon club, and Rupert Murdoch. a difference. Sometimes they may make things better. But the people Sadly that’s not how it plays out who get on in politics do so because when he and his outriders start to com- they have a level of self-confidence that municate. In a single week, in Novem- makes Jordan look as shy as a mouse. ber 2011,Mini-Mili said that Labour should be more responsible about the The danger is, however, that said condeficit, but stated that the Government fidence can lead politicians to assume is cutting too far and too fast. He wants that everyone actually pays attention to start talking tough on welfare reform, to, and cares about, the things they say. yet he won’t countenance higher rate Which, let’s face it, we don’t. Untax payers losing out on Child Benefit. less you are a fully paid up mem12

ber of the Westminster bubble, the odds are that you have got better things to do than listen to a politician. So, 90% of what politicians say or do does not matter because no one is watching. Simple and consistent messages are all that will get through If you’ve only got a 10% chance of getting through to the people you want to influence (voters) then you need to make sure that your messages are simple, clear, consistent, and permeate everything you do. Team Cameron got this early in his leadership. Key message: ‘we are not the same old Tories’. Substantiation: hug a hoodie, hug a huskie, hug a… well, you get the idea. Every speech, every photograph, every activity was designed to advance the key message so that there was no way for the public to escape stories about how the Tory party was changing. You may have only picked up on 10% of what was bereview magazine | march 2012


was simple, it got significant media attention, and it asserted how the party was different to Labour. Political end, political means, marketing knowledge. So the feel good PR stuff (huskies) carried the same message as the hard-edged policy stuff (runways) and both things played into the key message: it’s ok to vote for us now. Don’t panic We all have bad days. Sometimes your message will get drowned out. It may seem that you aren’t reaching the ing broadcast, but that 10% got through. idea is described, and the policies that voters; that they aren’t interested in what are designed around it, are the focus of they have to say. That they don’t care. Choose the right messages to a lot of work to get the message right. communicate And when that happens, don’t panic. Embracing environmentalism was Keep your head. Avoid all talk of a reBy this stage you’ve probably worked a way for Team Cameron to show that launch, because as soon as that word is out that your communications strat- the Tories were electable (big idea = used you’ve lost the chance to get your egy is a big investment. You and your get elected). The husky photo op in message out there. No one will want team are busy giving speeches, turning the Arctic may have been laughed at, to talk about your new welfare policy up on Newsnight hoping not to get but it’s still remembered. It worked (‘benefit caps’ aka ‘squeezed middle’ aka destroyed by Jeremy Paxman, show- because marketing and PR knowl- ‘on the side of the strivers’ aka ‘middle ing grace under pressure whilst deal- edge meant that the Tories were able class votes’). You will lose the chance ing with the latest nutter to ask the to craft an image that cut through. to set the terms of trade, and thereQuestion Time panel about whatever. Political ends are reached by means fore the ability to influence voters. of marketing knowledge (aka spin). 90% of what you say is statHaving lost sight of your objectives ic- meaningless noise to anyone Policies are really just messages it’s time to redouble your efforts. You beyond planet politics. So you reneed a game changer. Something so ally need to make that 10% effecPolicies should also get this treat- big, it cannot be ignored; something to tive. You’ve got to say the right things. ment. Remember Heathrow runway regain the initiative. George Osborne But what are they? three? In a single policy announce- managed this with an inheritance tax ment, ‘no new runways in the South announcement that stopped Gordon This is where political strategy and East’, the Conservative party dem- Brown’s election plans in their tracks. the dark world of spin elide. In an ideal onstrated that they could be green, So, what could Ed Miliband do? world political leaders aren’t just after that they were different, and therefore power. They are after the power to en- electable. This achieved more than any He needs to look credible on the act their policy agenda. Generally they number of smaller, worthier policy an- economy. He needs to look decisive. will have a big idea. But the way that nouncements could. ‘No new runways’ He needs to sack Ed Balls. Ed Miliband

review magazine | march 2012

13


A strange footprint on the shores of the unknown The internet has not only changed the way we access our information, it has made us more willing to part with the most personal of data colin hoad

I

f I stopped you in the street and asked you to tell me your full name, your e-mail address, your profession, your nationality, where you were educated, what movies you like, who your friends are, whether you’re in a relationship – and if so with whom – how would you react? Let’s say I took out a camera and snapped a photo of you, then told you I was going to keep it – would you object? Now let’s imagine I ask you to give me your receipt from your last trip to the supermarket, supply me with your coffee preferences and provide me with a list of your most recent trips on the bus, train or tube – would you do so? The natural reaction would have been to walk away before I got even a third of the way through my list of questions; yet, strangely, most of us give away this information every day to organisations staffed by people we have never met. If you have a Facebook account, much of this data is stored in a server farm many miles away. Unless your privacy settings are sufficiently strict, that same data is available to anyone with a web browser. If you use a loyalty card when you shop, every transaction you’ve made is kept in one of thousands of databases growing at an exponential rate. The Oyster card system in London provides a quick, easy and cheap(er) way to pay for your travel throughout the capital, but every journey you make 14

is logged. And it doesn’t stop there. Technology is advancing at such a pace that companies – and governments – are developing new ways to track, collect and harvest information about all of us. Have you ever tried using Google to search for something and then asked a friend to do the same search on their computer? You might be surprised at how different the first ten results can be, particularly if that search has a political connotation. And how many of us ever venture beyond the first ten results of a web search, in any case? You’ve probably noticed too, the steady increase in the number of CCTV cameras in public (and private) spaces throughout the UK – but take a moment to consider how they take on a new dimension when combined with developments in facial recognition software. These are just a few examples of how we leave digital footprints wherever we go and whatever we do. Some of it is voluntary, of course; we don’t have to belong to Facebook, nor do we have to use loyalty or Oyster cards. These choices come with a price attached; not being on Facebook can make us feel left out; not having loyalty cards means we won’t get discounts on our shopping or targeted offers for things we might actually want. We can choose to make life more difficult, more expensive, if we object to having our in-

formation taken out of our hands and used for purposes we may not yet fully grasp. But unless we want to climb the nearest mountain (without our mobile phone or laptop) and become hermits, we cannot avoid being part of the grid.

These advances are as much for our benefit as for the companies who watch us. Why should this be of any concern to us? So what if companies track our purchases, who cares if Google knows I want to read about holidays when I search for “China” rather than a biography of Hu Jintao? These advances are as much for our benefit as for the companies who watch us. The queue for immigration at Heathrow moves a lot more quickly for those who’ve signed up to the iris recognition system and given away their biometric data. But pause for a moment, and reflect. Go back to when I stopped you on the street and asked you for your details. If you wouldn’t volunteer them to me, why do you feel confident in doing so when a company or the state asks you for the very same? Is it really just because you perceive benefits in handing over such data, or is it also because you trust them not to abuse this knowledge? Over the past few years we have seen an excess of stories concerning ministers review magazine | march 2012


and civil servants leaving USB sticks and laptops on the train, of respected global corporations like Sony having their networks hacked and thousands of user account details stolen. The founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, told a live audience in January 2010 that “people have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people. That social norm is just something that has evolved over time.” Does this social norm truly exist, do we no longer care about who knows the details of our lives, who we are, what we do and who we count as friends? Or is such a norm merely something that Facebook and other companies

would like to exist? I say “Facebook” rather than Zuckerberg himself because in December 2011 a technical glitch led to his own photographs becoming public; his reaction suggested he didn’t personally share in this norm. Before I close, I should declare a vested interest: I work in an industry that mines raw data to find trends and patterns in retail behaviour. Mine is the kind of job, which even ten years ago could not have existed. Data mining is both fascinating and, by its very nature, revealing. There are many ways in which both companies and consumers can benefit from sharing their information. But at all times this must be a voluntary

relationship, one which can be freely entered into and just as freely exited. Our data is increasingly a part of who we are, and we should guard it as fiercely as we do our own property. It took a historic shift in public perception to encourage people to deposit their money in banks rather than under the mattress; that shift was built on the concept of trust. Today we are being persuaded that it is OK to hand over our personal data to Facebook, Google and other corporations. If the past few years of financial meltdown have shown us anything, it is that trust can be a fleeting commodity.

Where are they now? Colin Hoad

Back in sixth form, Colin studied English, Politics, History and Philosophy, with aspirations to be a journalist. He was a former founding editor of Preview who now works as a manager for a digital marketing company in London. His interests include philosophy, politics and red wine.

David Bishop

In 1999, David’s original article mentioned that he was ‘an A-Level student at Caterham School, studying History, Politics, Maths and Physics. Being a warmonger, he wants to join the Royal Navy and serve in Nuclear Submarines.’ Today, however, things have turned out slightly differently. He is now head of public affairs for a quango, suggesting that is was probably ‘ a fitting punishment for being a founding editor of Preview.’

Alex Steer

Studying A-Level English, Politics, History and Latin at Caterham School back in 1999, Alex had hopes to go on to read English at university before pursuing a career in publishing or journalism. After reading English at Cambridge he was an editor on the Oxford English Dictionary before moving into advertising and marketing with the WPP group of companies. He is currently Senior Strategic Planner at Fabric Worldwide, a digital marketing company.

review magazine | march 2012

15


ISSUE TWO

Editors David Bishop Colin Hoad Will Moy Alex Steer 16

review magazine | march 2012


Millennium loan Is the Dome really all that special?

ben ellinger

I

t is now well-known that the Millennium Dome was a project dreamt up by the Conservatives. However, the Labour government continued with this dream, and despite pressure from his party Blair has remained steadfast in his support for the project. In theory, I believe the project to have been a good idea, ‘a unique celebration of the new Millennium’, perhaps an attempt at reproducing something like the success of the 1951 Festival of Britain. However, the Dome has been a failure in all of its objectives except of course one: visitor satisfaction. It is too readily forgotten that the vast majority of people who have visited it have enjoyed it. Although it is a matter of opinion whether or not the Millennium Dome in a true failure, one would struggle to argue the contrary. The Millennium Dome has had £628 million of public money. This is not inclusive of later subsidies, the most controversial being the latest hand-out in September, of £47 million. The Dome’s last hope of not being a complete financial disaster lay with a firm named Nomura, a Japanese finance company. The Economist said: “Though it specialises review magazine | march 2012

in turning a profit from waning businesses, [Nomura] decided otherwise.” It is thought they withdrew due to the blanket of secrecy surrounding the flattering Deloitte and Touché figures stating revenue, visitor numbers etc. However, we, the British public, are still short of many facts and we simply do not know whom to believe. One minute the NMEC claim visitor numbers are up, next that they are down. One day there are no monetary problems, the next day they receive yet another emergency hand-out from the National Lottery. As Peter Ainsworth, the Shadow Culture Secretary, has said “It is time for Dome bosses to make clear what is the true state of this millennium venture and specifically which of the comments are truth and which are fiction.” It is obvious that the general public is opposed to the Millennium Dome as a concept – primarily, I would argue, due to the negative impact of media campaigns. The money could and should have been redirected to more worthy causes. The Labour government should have forgotten their political vanity and it should have been closed after it asked for its first loan. Perhaps we as a na-

tion were unnecessarily negative about the Dome, our negativity fuelled by a callous and sceptical media. I personally feel that the projects greatest failure was having to ask for additional money. It was this that was the catalyst for the loss of public favour. In truth, the Dome was doomed. The mood of the nation was simply not with it after the Millennium had passed. The general public is apathetic. Attractions like this sadly do not bring in the numbers they would have during the post-war festivities of half a century ago. A day walking around a tent doesn’t excite people the way it once did, and a youth culture has emerged where young people are more independent and have interests that politicians fail to understand. What should have also been considered before the Dome was erected was how the hype was potentially going to be much greater than the actual event of the Millennium. Due to the general hyperbole concerning the year 2000, the Government decided to jump on the band wagon with perhaps undue confidence. Hence they thought they were able to make sweeping comments about their project, such as John Prescott’s in June 1997: “If we can’t make this work then we are not much of a Government.” Sadly for Labour, the Millennium has come and passed; as has the excitement surrounding it, yet the Dome is still lingering and it’s old news. Due to the general lack of interest, when we hear of money being consistently poured into the Dome, people get angry. The Dome is a wonderful exhibit, but sadly unlike other timeless museums, its era has passed too quickly. It needs to be privatised. It is thought that the Miss World competition will be staged here. Perhaps this will pose more of an incentive than giant internal organs in the Body Zone. We are tied and frustrated with the old ‘Millennium Loan’. Rid us of this burden, this out-dated failed project. In truth Tony, we would rather stay at home.

17


Ideology: The next deus ex machina? Is ideology significant in modern day politics? will moy

I

t might be thought that public power should depend on ability and integrity. Not so, for nowadays nationality and ‘divergent’ sexuality will suffice. The demise of these qualities corresponds to the dangerous rise of singleissue politics, along with the associated paraphernalia of focus groups, populism and ochlocracy. It is a deficiency perhaps most evident from looking at the party leaders of today: without exception, they cannot be considered to have sufficient stature to command the respect of those subject to their decrees. Indeed, it is only when faced by the overriding arrogance of these transient political non-entities, who are pleased to call themselves statesmen, that the wisdom of Plato’s call for philosophers to become rulers can be properly appreciated.

Pericles and Cleon in Ancient Athens. Periclean democracy provided a strong leadership (particularly in foreign affairs), whilst taking account of the views of people, and being dependent upon the approval that Pericles merited in the forum (the ‘Parliament’ of Athens, in which any citizen could take part). Cleon, by contrast, vacillated. Unable to provide leadership, he felt so dependent upon popular favour that he often chose the populist above the best course of action. It is no surprise that both Thucydides and Aristotle considered the former superior, and so should we. Neither Blair, nor Hague, nor indeed 90% of the Cleonites of Westminster could rise to the better kind of democracy, and there is a simple reason for this, of which single issue politics is a cause.

Modern politics, and the majority of the leadership of both main parties, seems entirely vacuous, swinging for policy to proposal with no regard for anything but the loudest voice, or the largest purse. Whilst we cannot know on what basis political decisions are made, there is clearly little morality involved on either side. The ethical foreign policy lacks a certain je ne sais quoi (that is to say, ethics), whilst the Tory fundraising methods have yet to pull themselves up to the level of the merely questionable. There is, of course, little point in bringing the Liberal Democrats into a discussion of modern British politics.

Whilst we cannot know on what basis political decisions are made, there is clearly little morality involved on either side.

For the first time in many years, it is impossible to accuse either the Tories or their opponents (the ‘other Tories’) of having an ideology. Neither Cabinet, nor Shadow Cabinet, seems to believe anything. And vacuity is an inevitable consequence of this. Mark G. Hanley once said, “Pragmatism is the convenient conclusion reached by those who lack the patience or intelligence to formulate a consistent ideology.” It would be unfair to accuse Blair or Hague of being This is not a new problem. Through- stupid: but both parties are institutionout history, there have been two types ally mindless. New Labour’s ‘Third War’ of democracy, epitomised by those of is in no sense ideological – it is simply 18

the rejection of the Old Labour ideology, with the primary aim of achieving electability. Hague’s variant might be described as ‘no way’, but, resisting the pun, suffice it to state that neither the Common Sense Revolution, nor Believing in Britain, are anything more than policy documents: the ethos of the party has not changed, and neither has its belief that somehow it just ought to get elected. With no ideology, no set of values, no core beliefs, nothing on which to fall back when the luxury of time to ‘focus group’ a problem is unavailable, what are our politicians to do? Well, we have seen. After the fuel crisis, Dome débâcle and the Ecclestone fiasco, Labour backstabbed and panicked (more specifically, ‘friends’ of X Minister briefed the press against Y Minister), whilst the Tories made random announcements of pseudo-policy to empty press conferences. The Tories missed a great opportunity to radically re-examine their position after 1997. No matter, after their defeat in 2002, and the resulting leadership contest, it will recur. Perhaps then they will choose to reform, should the right people be in the right place at the right time. New Labour is congenitally, and terminally, ill. The inanity of its position will become clear as the administrations face more serious challenges in the days ahead. The future of Britain will depend on a few good men, in the tradition of Pericles, and of the great British Prime Ministers, to bring these crippled parties off their knees.

review magazine | march 2012


A reflection: Kosovo Have events in Kosovo taught us anything?

eris duro

T

wo years ago the Kosovo crisis was the focus of the media, politicians and diplomats all over the world. It was in nearly every headline. What attracted attention the most was surely NATO’s bombing of Serbia. After one year, maybe we can judge things more clearly and from a more objective point of view. It generated many debates and controversies, but was it justified; morally or legally? Was it wise? And, most importantly, was it necessary? I lived in the situation and was involved more than most. Many people argue that war is always unjustified, despite the reasons and the noble purpose. The issue coming out is defining the accepted and applicable global rules of law and order, and how they apply in the case of Kosovo. There is a clear contradiction between the codes of conduct defined by the UN Charter and the rights articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights‘. Both of them are pillars in the world order. The threat of force is banned unless the Security Council has determined that peaceful means have failed. The UN charter bans force violating state sovereignty. The Universal Declaration guarantees the rights of individuals against oppressive states. It is from this tension that all the controversies come out. The Declaration can’t tolerate the infringereview magazine | march 2012

ment of fundamental rights in Kosovo, such as the right to Life, expression and equal treatment under the law — does a country which denies freedom of law or citizens deserve to have its ‘sovereignty’ preserved? It was very important that someone intervened. Serbia is [at the time of writing — Ed] the only communist country in Europe. Isn’t it much more important to protect the pillars of democracy and freedom? The necessity of the bombing has been debated. Was it the only option? Those who oppose NATO intervention often forget about the diplomatic efforts made to stop the insane killing and ethnic cleansing. 2,000,000 refugees were created, 2,200 villages destroyed. In the face of this abomination the International community decided to act.

ian, but had other hidden interests. On the other hand, if the main interest was protecting human rights then why let the situation deteriorate to this point? An appropriate peaceful intervention in time would have been far more efficient. By “in time” I mean several years ago. The problems in Kosovo did not appear by magic. Maybe it has nothing to do with being humanitarian, preserving and enhancing democracy, but with maintaining US and NATO credibility through the creation of a military instrument which Washington can use in Europe and beyond, free from any UN restraint. Being not very morally motivated undermines the image of NATO and its intervention. Was it wise? To use an analogy, if a terrorist is holding a hostage in the living room of a house and the police charge in wildly, they will be putting that hostage at risk. However, this is difficult to prove in this case. However many reasons we can find to blame the intervention or say it was not proper, it was the only thing to do at that time. The anti-interventionists were hidden behind rhetoric and rhetoric cannot save anybody.

Now the Serbian people have overthrown Milosevic — not, I think, because he was a dictator, but because he couldn’t hold Yugoslavia together. He lost the most prosperous regions: Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo; and now he is losing Montenegro and Vojvodina. I do not think the revolution Unfortunately, peaceful means were was motivated by the desire to destroy shown to be ineffective. Before the a dictator. I hope that I am wrong. bombing began, estimates of civilian casualties in Kosovo were in the range There are people who consider the of 3,500 and the number of refugees intervention unwise because nobody over three hundred thousand. The should care about Kosovo, nobody ‘strange’ thing is that there are atroci- should care about what is happening in ties around the world, hardly different other parts of the world.This shows ignofrom those in Kosovo — Rwanda, Gua- rance and lack of respect for democracy temala, Pakistan — but they still don’t and its values. Please remember that no‘deserve’ the humanitarian concern of body is free when others are oppressed. the Pentagon, Washington and Brussels. This leads to the argument that the intervention was not very humanitar19


Losing your voice

Does advertising hold hidden secrets for success in politics? alex steer

T

he last weeks of 2011 were marked by the deaths, of two very different men, from throat cancer. The first was the Labour political strategist Philip Gould, the second; journalist Christopher Hitchens. Gould was the Labour Party’s master pollster and political strategist during the 1980s and 1990s. Widely credited as the man who transformed the party’s relationship with the voting public, he made possible the 1997 general election victory and the years in power that followed. Though the most visible face of Labour’s political communications during the Smith and Blair years was Alastair Campbell, Philip Gould was the controlling presence behind the scenes. He provided the insights into the hopes and fears of the floating voters of Middle England that brought Labour in from the cold. When we imagine the shadowy figure of the spin doctor, it is Gould that we are picturing.

contrarian, one of the finest essayists (for style and content) of his generation, and a man who never tired of puncturing the self-importance and hypocrisy of those who claimed the right to rule. In his 1992 essay ‘Voting in the Passive Voice’ he turned his fire on the world of polling and political strategy. ‘Opinion polling,’ he wrote, ‘was born out of a struggle not to discover the public mind but to master it… Polling is not a benign, detached mapping of the political landscape but, rather, a powerful means of cultivating and reshaping it.’

Hitchens’ argument has become a commonplace in how we think about the role of political strategists and spin doctors. There is something seductive and fascinating about the idea that these people not only survey but manipulate the public, and that the messages (‘soundbites’) they push through mass media control how ordinary voters think, feel and act. Except, of course, for those of us wise enough to see through Hitchens, by contrast, was the arch them. It is a truth universally acknowl-

20

edged that the 1990s were the decade in which politics was taken over by those most sinister of creatures; the ad men.

There is something seductive and fascinating about the idea that these people not only survey but manipulate the public As I write this it is New Year’s Day. The turning of the year, preceded by the silencing of two powerful social and political voices, by a disease that quite literally takes the human voice away. Seems almost too appropriate a time to talk about how political communication is changing. Yet here we are, marking a moment of passing. Speaking as an ad man (a profession less glamorous and a good deal more human than certain TV drama series would suggest), I think that the age of political spin, as we have understood it, is ending. I say this because, just as the ‘age of the message’ in politics was reaching its heyday under the spin doctors, the review magazine | march 2012


power of the soundbite in commer- and political consultant George Lacial advertising was already in decline. koff, and has been widely discredited. People are surprisingly good at knowPolitical communications have ing when you’re trying to fool them. lagged behind advertising for many Despite this, for years it was possible years. For example, when the La- to pump out messages (commercial bour Party’s 1997 manifesto an- or political) through mass media and nounced that the party would be meet little resistance. When there ‘tough on crime, tough on the causes were five TV channels, a handful of of crime’, it was an unusually catchy radio stations and a few daily newspastatement for a political document to pers, it was a lot easier to set the memake. But if in 1997 a laundry deter- dia agenda, even if your audience wasn’t gent had run an ad with the strapline completely sold on your soundbites. ‘tough on stains, tough on the causes of stains’, it would have been laughed The last decade has seen a massive off the air as hopelessly old-fashioned. fragmentation and democratization of media, spearheaded by the growth of This sounds a bit odd – why should the web as the noisiest forum for public the state of the art in communications debate in history. Every dodgy soundbe used to sell fizzy drinks and soap bite can be received, checked, refuted powder, not social change? The simple and exposed online quicker than you answer is that selling soap powder is can say ‘superinjunction’. The masters harder. If you think all our political par- of the message are losing their voices, ties are the same, imagine how hard it drowned in the sound of a billion tweets. is to make one type of detergent more attractive to inattentive consumers than This makes it sound a little like the another. So marketers invest far more Internet has changed us from passive heavily in understanding their custom- receivers of marketing information into ers, and in trying to persuade them. sophisticated analysts of meaning, all in the course of a decade or so. Like The truth advertisers have learnt over many misleading ideas, there is a bit of the last decade, but that politics has truth to this, and a bit of falsehood. It been slow to pick up on, is that saying is obviously not true that, back when something doesn’t make it so; which we got our news (and our advertismakes sense, of course. To paraphrase ing) through mass television, radio and Jeremy Bullmore, one of advertising’s print, we accepted everything we heard sharpest commentators: if you go on a as gospel. Advertisers made spurious blind date and your date keeps telling claims; we took them in, chewed them you that he’s witty and attractive, you over, and spat them out. We just didn’t may not automatically believe him. Yet spit as far. If I took issue with a piece we tend to think that political language of marketing, I would probably menis somehow irresistibly influential. Nor- tion it to family, friends or colleagues. man Fairclough’s 2000 study New La- Now I can go online, and (if I’m inbour, New Language argued that ‘New teresting enough) reach an audience of Labour...calculatingly manipulates lan- millions. And all those opposing points guage… Part of this is governing by of view can snowball, reaching far more “media spin,” constantly monitoring and people than the original ad. Advertismanipulating how issues are presented ers once had the ability to broadcast, in the media. This is largely a matter of and members of the public didn’t. That making sure the right language is used.’ has changed in the last decade or so.

up exposed to large volumes of mass media advertising. This wasn’t the case a generation ago. The evidence is not entirely conclusive, but it seems we’re getting used to advertising’s old tricks. We are slightly less easily fooled by them and that has made us more cynical about advertising claims, whether they’re trying to influence our wallets or our ballots. Marketers and advertisers have had to find new ways to stand out and be interesting in ways that don’t require so much control. Ways that are more collaborative, more social, more honest, and above all more dependent on the kind of keen and constant listening that Philip Gould brought to Labour in the 90s. The best marketing is no longer about just pushing a single message; it’s about learning how to have many conversations, subtly and quietly. Politicians have begun to notice the importance of acknowledging other voices – dipping their toes into social media, or inviting online petitions from the public, for example – but they have not yet dealt with the implications of the changes that are taking place in how the world communicates. In the June before he died, Christopher Hitchens used the loss of his own voice to reflect on the art of communication, saying: ‘Deprivation of the ability to speak is more like an attack of impotence, or the amputation of part of the personality. To a great degree, in public and private, I “was” my voice.’ Fittingly, in the same month, Ed Miliband gave a TV interview on the public sector strikes, in which he repeated the same soundbite five times, to make sure it aired. The uncut footage leaked online and made him a laughing stock.

A generation of spin doctors, known for their mastery of the message, are struggling to know how to speak in a changing world. Whisper it quietly, but to find their voices This idea, that poor, stupid punters In the long term, we probably have again, they may need to turn once can’t see past the wily words politicians also got better at detecting spin. Most more to the lessons of the ad men. use, comes from the work of linguist people alive in Britain today have grown review magazine | march 2012

21


‘Go on, sick ‘em boy!’


ISSUE THREE

Editors Ben Ellinger Richard Mallinson Lucy Samy Ben Stimmler Lucy Uren review magazine | march 2012

23


The Liberal Democrats Is a vote for the Lib Dems a wasted one? stephen lax

“1.

We’re not Labour. 2. the Liberal Democrats if they have a We’re not Conservative. 3. greater chance of winning the seat, just We’re not going to win.” to keep the Tories out. This has helped to sway public opinion away from the This is how Private Eye described view of a vote for the Lib Dems being the Liberal Democrat manifesto in ‘a wasted vote’, to the opinion that the 1996 but now, five years since that was Liberal Democrat vote can be a useful published, the situation has changed tool to undermine the Conservatives. considerably. Not only do the Liberal Especially prevalent in the South-West Democrats have a new leader but also of England, the Lib Dems success has the Conservative Party has faced two been much attributed to tactical voting, crushing General Election defeats and with some people actively campaigning both John Major and William Hague on this principle. Those who claim that have been forced to resign as a result. a vote for the Lib Dems is wasted because they will never get into power, neIn the 2001 General Election the glect the fact that the MPs have a role in Liberals/Liberal Democrats won their their constituency, as well as in national greatest number of seats in Parliament issues, and it is more of a waste not to for seventy years, with fifty-two MPs vote than to vole for a “third party.” Fielected. It is important also to recog- nally on this issue, there is the psychonise the rate of growth in popularity of logical aspect of this debate. If people the party too since it was only formed believe that a vote for Liberal Demoin 1989 from the merger of the So- crats is wasted then few will vote for cial Democrat Party and the Liberal them and they will have little impact; Party. If this rate of growth continues leading to a downward spiral. Without they should be able to approximately this negative approach, voting will result equal the current number of Conser- in the subsequent growth of the Liberal vative Party’s current seats within the Democrat Party and, if circumstances next fifteen years. It could also be ar- allow, may lead to them achieving their gued that they support the views of aim of becoming Britain’s “second party.” former Labour voters who feel that the party has moved too far to the right. Currently, though, as most would agree, this is not realistically possible. The Liberal Democrat party has Unlike the Conservatives, who have the also benefited, especially recently, from Telegraph and the Daily Mall supporttactical voting. In seats where Labour ing them, and the Labour Party, who are highly likely to loose many of the have the support of the Mirror Group people who share their beliefs vote for newspapers, press coverage for the Lib24

eral Democrats press support is mostly neutral and they lack substantial coverage. Many of the important members are also unknown to a large proportion of the general electorate with Charles Kennedy and Paddy Ashdown being the only two to receive any considerable publicity. A lot of their support also depends on the future of the Conservative Party as should they regain popularity the Lib Dems may well lose seats gained through tactical voting. Despite this Iain Duncan Smith’s similarity in appearance to Hague has been noted by a lot of the media and he has faced some ridicule over this. His plans to reform the party have recently been somewhat drowned-out due to media focus on the issue of Afghanistan (At the time of going to print — ed.) It is not just the issue of media support, which will determine the possible future success of the Liberal Democrats but also party funding. They receive far less than the other two main political parties, with Labour receiving one million pounds from Bernie Ecclestone alone and the Conservatives receiving a considerable amount during the last parliament. As a result, at election time they have less money to spend on campaigns and advertising and so may receive fewer votes. These problems currently hamper the Liberal Democrat party but the situation could easily change. With growth in the number of votes and seats in Parliament and with fewer and fewer people believing that a vote for the Lib Dems is a wasted one, they can provide a more effective opposition. This will allow greater media coverage and support. Ultimately more funds would be available and the party would attract more high profile support and large donations. The Liberal Democrats can therefore change to become Britain’s “second” or even “first” party but only if British views on the viability of a Lib Dem government change.

review magazine | march 2012


Has Labour lost it’s soul?

Where does the Labour Party stand after ditching the infamous Clause Four? lucy uren

N

ew Labour has emerged like a phoenix from the political ashes and become a highly successful electoral force, as the general election results of 1997 and 2001 prove. The question we must ask, however, is at what cost has this electoral giant emerged? The gradual modernisation of the Labour Party began after the horrendous electoral defeat of 1983. Kinnock was the first to initiate change. He moved the party towards the centre claiming the left-wing agenda to be ‘Disneyland thinking’. Smith swiftly followed Kinnock and continued the programme of ‘de-centralising’ the party. However, none were more brutal in their quest for modernisation than Blair, who was merciless in his reform of the original ideology. It is important to attempt to establish what was the soul of “old Labour”. Most would probably claim that it was epitomised by Clause Four, in that the Labour party had a commitment to nationalisation, this being an original socialist value. Clause Four was the ‘Holy Grail‘ of ‘Old Labour‘ and thus supposedly ‘untouchable’. However, Blair dared to remove it in his thirst for electoral success. New Labour has no commitment to a socialist manifesto, and has now actually shifted to the right!

ground’, not socialism, nor conservatism but a comfortable medium. When Blair and New Labour came to office in 1997 he made no significant left-wing changes in the governance of the UK - quite the contrary in fact, as he openly embraced Thatcherite policies and did not revoke any Conservative measures. New Labour is also committed to the EU, which in the eyes of ‘Old Labour‘ was a ‘fat-cat capitalist club’. Blair also took a tremendous interest in the trivial area of constitutional reform, an area that was of little concern to ‘Old Labour’. The icing on the cake however, was the removal of Clause Four - this was the final nail in the coffin of ‘Old Labour‘.

New Labour has no commitment to a socialist manifesto, and has now shifted to the right!

Nevertheless, to make the Labour Party electable and to bring them out of the political wilderness these changes were probably necessary. Was Blair only doing what was needed to ‘save’ the party thus making him a messianic figure in the eyes of the faithful? Or was he fulfilling the dreams of Gastkell and making the party successful and electable? Blair has certainly breathed new life into a party that was decrepit and failing New Labour is essentially a creation and has perhaps even created a new soul. of Blair, Mandelson and Campbell, the product of their efforts being the inThere are, however, arguments to famous ‘third way‘. This is the ‘middle counter this view. For instance, the review magazine | march 2012

fact that there is an obvious lack of entrenched ideology suggests no ‘soul’ to this party at all. Blair is known as the ‘Woolworth’s’ politician, in that he likes to pick and mix. Some say New Labour isn’t about ideology; it is about spin and winning elections at all costs. Their central/right position on the political spectrum is such that they are a ‘catch-all‘ party, whose position is liable to change on a whim according to the political climate. The modernisation of the Labour party may have been an act of desperation. After 18 years in Opposition, Labour was prepared to compromise in order to match the Conservatives and if the removal of the original ethos of the party was a means to that end, then so be it. To keep the original Old Labour values would be far too close to a vision of an ideological utopia - Blair was merely a pragmatic realist who realised the necessity to modernise. Blair has made Labour into a ‘respectable institution’, but in my opinion at the loss of its soul. The ‘soul’ of Old Labour was laid to rest by Blair in 1997 when he no longer committed the party to Clause Four, the embodiment of this ‘soul’. New Labour has no strong ideological roots. This may not be such a bad thing, as they hopefully will do the best they can for the country according to the political circumstances. It seems clear, though, that New Labour may be a successful political party but victory has come at a considerable cost.

25


Looking after the neighbourhood Democracy is something worth sharing ben stimmler

L

iving as we do in the nicest neighbourhood of today’s Global Village, we are often unsettled, or perhaps irritated, by our neighbours’ persistence in such a variety of unseemly habits — “How terrible”, we say, “to have to live seemingly closer and closer to these nations with their barbarous armies, their endemic corruption, their suppression of free will...Someone should do something about it”. So what do we, with our vast energy consumption, our enormous GDPs and our enviable living standards, do to clean up our Village? Generally, very little. Oh, of course, when the UN come around we’ll put some change in the collection box and we always put something aside for the World Bank and the IMF; when it comes to anything more substantial than that, though... well, generally, it’s not our problem – we look after our patch, they can look after theirs. An exaggeration, of course, but it would seem that Western efforts to bring about universal democracy and self-determination have come consistently short of the mark. We can argue, quite fairly, that the onus of such a weighty responsibility should not be on Westerners alone. We are, however, undoubtedly the most democratic and wealthy states, and as such are surely in the best position to undertake, this task. Indeed, we should feel obliged to. There have, of course, been recent spells of improvement in the developed world’s “blind-eye syndrome”. These, though, have hardly been model exam26

ples of productive intervention. The case of Britain’s actions in the former Yugoslavia is a most divisive issue. Many on the right opposed it as an unnecessary use of the UK‘s resources, while many on the left considered the ‘precision’ bombing campaign to be a far cry from the gallant deeds of a righteous liberator. The latter view is one I can only agree with – I find it hard to defend the needless accidental deaths of innocent civilians as a means of ousting an amoral government and army. It is the methods, though, that need to be abandoned: not the principles, if indeed we have ever really upheld them. There is particular tragedy in the case of the Taliban of Afghanistan — not only in the nature of a ‘government’ that condemned education, the arts and the basic rights of women as unholy ideas worthy only of violent repression - but in the circumstances of its demise. An indefensible regime that has dominated nearly all of Afghanistan for five years has been near completely destroyed in two months. The will of just one of the Western powers (albeit the largest one) was enough to bring a nation of millions one-step closer to the basic human rights outlined by the United Nations. At last, a pang of conscience in the minds of we privileged few? Or did a certain attack in America’s ‘backyard’ have greater bearing in this new concern for the oppressed? Is there even any concern at all? Let us not forget, though I sometimes find it hard to believe, that the US has not once, to date, expanded on its

single goal in Afghanistan: the need for punishment of those responsible for the events of September 11th. An entirely justified aim, of course, but what of the myriad atrocities carried out daily upon the Afghan people in the past five years, for which the Taliban can take far greater, direct responsibility? ‘Their backyard, their problem’, it would seem. in Afghanistan, though, as in any undemocratic state, the creators of the problems are a small minority, who have an uncanny tendency to be the only ones who do not suffer the consequences. As I’m sure you have guessed, my solution is not a subtle one. Any state that does not respect and obey the will of its people should be worthy of special attention from those in a situation to make a positive difference. Each developed, democratic state should be obliged to put sufficient pressure on dictatorships of any form until they are dictatorships no more. This need not be military pressure, but if that is necessary, and it is those at fault who will be punished, then so be it. I make no claims of submitting some radical new theory when I write that there are millions upon millions of human beings suffering through no fault of their own; that so many of them could be helped through the actions of the more fortunate. Nor do I pretend that such an idealistic vision, while fine vision for any compassionate person, could be made reality without considerable costs to the ‘Samaritans’ themselves. Yes - there would be a degree of economic expense and yes - Western lives would be put at risk, were we to embark on a ‘crusade’ encompassing every nation where the masses are subdued by the minority. Most importantly, I do not believe in imposing the Western system ‘wholesale’ onto any country. What I feel is vital, is the imposition, forcibly if need be, of our culture’s greatest asset, democracy. If there is one luxury that the wealthiest people in the World must learn to share with the poorest, it is our freedom.

review magazine | march 2012


The Lame Duck


ISSUE FOUR

Editors Angela Bishop Jeremy Greening Edward Jackson Stephen Lax Richard Lee-Kelland 28

review magazine | march 2012


A war with Iraq... Not effective and not justified richard lee-kelland

F

ar away from the leafy valley of Caterham, a brutal regime equipped with weapons of mass destruction stands ready to plunge the world into nuclear Armageddon. Known to have had supported Osama Bin Laden‘, the government of this republic is led by a man who seized power undemocratically and has personally sentenced hundreds of his own countrymen to cruel deaths...But is he justified, in his proposed war against Iraq?

tion whereby he is likely to use them.

When considering the military disadvantages of a war on Iraq, maybe Bush should consider the wider impact on the war on terrorism; firstly an attack on Iraq would use up energy and funds that could be used to monitor terrorist activities. In addition it is unanimously agreed, both in the Bush administration and through political commentators that an attack on Iraq will increase the amount of terrorists, and worsen AmerNo, because the reason why he wants icas relationship with the Middle East. to attack Iraq was never about weapons of mass destruction or the awEqually, the Bush administration ful atrocities committed by Saddam. admits that there is no evidence of Underneath the layers of spiel about any link between Saddam and terrorthe threat to the US from weapons of ist organisations. In fact a CIA dosmass destruction, lies a far more grim sier reports that, Iraq has been actively reality. This war will be fought in or- isolating itself from countries supportder to fulfil domestic political aims and ing terrorists in order to decrease the to open up the Middle East for trade. likelihood of an American military attack on Iraq. The military case for We are constantly reminded by Bush a war on Iraq is weak. And when you that the threat of weapons of mass de- consider that UN inspectors have alstruction is real, and that an attack could ready been allowed into the country, happen tomorrow, surely this begs the with the ability to root out and destroy question why has he not already done any weapons, the case is weaker still. so? Well, because if there is one thing Saddam desires it is power. He has nev- Acting to force change simply er used weapons of mass destruction, because you dislike the regime because he knows that he will be deis an imperialist act stroyed it he does. However it America is to launch an attack then it is easy to imagine Saddam, in his death throes, The moral case for an attack on Iraq killing thousands through use of bio- also lacks substance. The Bush adminislogical weapons. It you think that a gun tration talks endlessly about the need to pointed at your back is loaded and held get rid of Saddam Hussein because of by an itchy trigger finger, then you’d his human rights abuses, what is not ofbest act to avoid being shot. If you fol- ten said is that he has been committing low this logic, those that think Saddam these for over ten years. Why only now is has weapons of mass destruction are America taking such a high moral stand best advised to not put him in a posi- point? It is interesting to note that Iraq review magazine | march 2012

originally acquired its biological weapons as gifts from the US for use in the Iran Iraq war. These are the same weapons that were subsequently used by Saddam to kill several thousand Iraqi citizens! Strange to see how the US didn’t seem to mind a dangerous dictator then. Also America has completely rejected the fact that the entirety of Europe and all of Iraq’s neighbours (even Kuwait) do not want America to invade. A situation that is very different from the 1991 Gulf War. Saddam Hussein is clearly a tyrant and a brutal person, but so are many government leaders; Mugabe for example. I have yet to see America make any move against Zimbabwe, and nor should she, the fact is that no country has a moral justification to force a regime change in a country that poses no military threat. Acting to force change simply because you dislike the regime is an imperialist act, and basically removes the right for that country to decide its own destiny. If the US wants to take action to take down Saddam, they should do it via non-militaristic methods i.e. supporting opposition groups and putting international pressure on Saddam. But I suspect military and moral arguments were never Bush’s reason for an attack on Iraq anyway. A U.S.-led ouster of Saddam Hussein could open a bonanza for American oil companies, long banished from Iraq. In addition his stance on Iraq has distracted attention from his poor handing of the economy and government debt, allowing the Republican Party to make amazing gains in the mid term elections. A war with Iraq is neither a justified nor effective way of remedying America’s problems in the Middle East. If America wants to end this conflict it must learn how to love its neighbours, not fight them.

29


Drop the dead donkey

Should we be writing the Democrats off this coming election?

edward jackson

D

uring the run up to the recent mid term elections I was on exchange in Ohio, a staunchly Republican state. It was no surprise to me therefore when I got home that the state had remained a strong hold of the Grand Old Party. In Ohio the Democrats had done very little compared to the Republican’s in the way of campaigning. The Democrats lost control of the Senate and furthermore failed to gain control of the House of Representatives.

er hand is a high brow intellectual who likes to believe he invented the Internet. The Democrats do not seem like ‘middle Americans‘, many like Daschle and Gephardt seem too liberal while some like Gore’s former running partner Lieberman are not getting any younger. Gephardt has now resigned as the House’s minority leader and his likely successor is Nancy Pelosi, a screaming San Francisco liberal congresswoman. Pelosi is likely to be the public face of the Democrat Party until the Democratic presidential candidate is elected. Pelosi may be a disaster for the Democrats as she is too liberal. This is America not Europe we are talking about and as I experienced on my recent exchange America is not ready for this brand of liberalism it is as a whole a conservative country. Liberalism is frequently viewed with suspicion as something un-American. In the short term Nancy Pelosi may be a success being far from dull but in the long term she may herald disaster.

At the present time the United States of America is languishing in a recession with things looking as if it will take a while to get better. According to the famous quote, “It’s the economy, stupid!” the Democrats should have gained a majority in both houses. The economy is generally the factor that sways the American mind when it comes to election time. The faltering economy was what caused George Bush Senior’s downfall to Clinton in 1992 but it failed to stop his son. Although economically America is floundering the Democrats seem According to that precise science of to be gaining little ground. What is go- demographics, the Democrats should ing wrong? Will they improve by 2004? be winning every election with their key supporters increasing in number, To understand the problems of the so therefore why is it that they seem to Democrats we must look at the leading be consummately failing to do so. The lights in their party. When compared problem with the Democrats may lie to the charismatic if not to say eccen- in the fact that they have been unable tric Republican Party the Democrats to get their supporters out to vote. The although well meaning seem dull and midterms in November were decided boring. Bush is someone who the ordi- by the white vote. The Democrats have nary American can relate to, he is the all traditionally relied on strong support American man who loves football (the form the black and Hispanic populaAmerican variety) and who is rather tions and in the recent mid terms the fond of his snacks, as his incident with turnout for both these ethnic groups the pretzel showed us. Gore on the oth- fell while white turnout increased. 30

This may teach the Democrats a lesson that they should have made sure that their key supporters went out to vote. Though the Republicans do have prominent blacks in their ranks such as Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice they are unlikely to all of a sudden receive support from black Americans so that is one fear the Democrats will not have to face at least for a while. Do the Democrats have anything going for them? In the mid terms it was not all gloom. When it came to state government the economy was more of a deciding factor. In the governors mansions across the states there was cause for the popping of Democratic champagne corks. They gained the governorships of Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Arizona. The proportion of Americans living in states governed by Republicans has fallen from 70% in 1994 to 46% presently. This success in the governorships may have paved the way for the party’s revival. The governorship campaigning should also have taught the Democrats not to be led away from the matters of the economy as happened in the midterms. Is it possible for the Democrats revive or is the donkey on its last legs? I would like to be optimistic; the Republicans took over a country that was in its longest uninterrupted boom of for a century to such an extent it was on course to pay off all its debts. To look at America now you would not - know this it is in the depths of recession and is on the brink of war. In spite of this Bush has the highest approval rating any president has ever had. Approval ratings can change as they did for his father; George Bush Senior was at a 91% approval in 1991 following the Gulf War. Just one year later Bush was out of office replaced by the charismatic Bill Clinton. Can history repeat itself ? If it is to happen the Democrats will have to do much soul searching and changing but stranger things have happened in the world of American politics so don’t drop that donkey yet. review magazine | march 2012


T

o what extent has ideology become an obsolete word in modern politics? Since the fall of Thatcher and the rise of New Labour, is politics merely being driven by spin and cynicism and leading to a politically apathetic country with benign politicians lacking in conviction, motivated by votes rather than deep and profound causes? Well it really depends on what extent you can appreciate the inevitable movement of politics with time. The political arena has changed since the 1980s when the right and left wing was a strictly Conservative and Labour stronghold, with an SDP Liberal Democrat sphere occupying the central ground. In 1997 Labour struck a chord of approval with the British people through their somewhat ruthless modernisation programme, abandoning Clause Four and adopting more “Conservative” spending policies. The Party would therefore appear to be competent and command a strong economy with a less ruthless and aggressive approach than that the Conservatives had appeared to adopt in the previous eighteen years. A party had emerged that could both appease people’s consciences and bank balances. Following the 1997 general election the Tories seemed to be creeping further into the political wilderness with a failure to modernise policy and the “mummy returns” to an electorate who did not want to return to the 1980’s. For all Hague’s internal party reform with OMOV etc. and his jumping on the political bandwagon towards what was perceived as unpalatably right wing policies at times but his approach was not going to win the party many more new votes than had been received in 1997, and it didn’t. Following William Hague’s resignation, the election of Iain Duncan Smith, of whom Norman Tebbitt said “if you think I’m right wing wait till you see this person” when Iain Duncan Smith had taken over his seat in 1992, initial political changes in this direction seemed unwelcome to an electorate who did not want to turn back the clock a review magazine | march 2012

Ideology

Is ideology still relevant for modern political parties? stephen lax

decade, and it seemed as if the choice was perhaps, at first unwise. What has been surprising though is that instead of trending in the footsteps of his predecessors, he has set about trying to find his own “third way”, with a Tory, Euro Sceptic influence, looking not only to the USA for ideas but also going on fact finding missions to Europe. Perhaps the most significant sign of change is that, Michael Howard the shadow chancellor has claimed that the party will not put tax cuts ahead of public services, which is a big step for the party which has promised tax cuts for the past 20 years. Ideology though has not died in the party or any of the others. Instead it has evolved like with New Labour and the Liberal Democrats into a less stark choice than was presented under Thatcher.

crats pursue their end goal has changed.

It is Labour though, that was arguably the first of the major parties accused of selling its soul with the abandonment of Clause Four, aligning the party progressively to the right. The pledge of nationalisation has gone and the word ‘equality’ has been carefully removed from many speeches. The Kilfoyle Factor (opposition from those on the left of the party) was epitomised earlier this summer when left wing MPs and Union leaders staged the “Alternative Party Conference”. One member, John Edmonds of the GMB Union, said he came “not to praise new Labour but to bury it”. In spite of the Council strike earlier this summer and the proposed Fireman’s strike in autumn, the Labour Party has managed to remain fairly strong, In a recent Newsnight interview, amidst fears of division within the Party. Charles Kennedy claimed, when asked whether he felt that his party should be For an electorate that is ever changright or left of Labour, that the party ing; 88% of the public now classify “should be ahead of Labour”, not feel- themselves as being working class coming that these classifications were rel- pared with just 52% in 1994 according evant in politics today. This political to Ipsos Mori, political parties must hopscotch has led him to be the first continue to change too. Socialism and opposition leader to speak at the TUC Neo-liberalism are still represented by this year, saying, “Our instinctive call- the likes of Tony Benn and Norman ing card would be the European so- Tebbitt, even though the public has cial model”. However, according to the showed its departure from these forms Guardian, not having an “ideological of thinking in recent elections. The very hang up” about “the private sector deliv- fact that parties have to change to surering public services” was more of an is- vive does not indicate the death of idesue. The fact he does not have ideologi- ology; rather that society now holds difcal hang ups does not mean he lacks an ferent beliefs that now require a change ideology, rather that he does not want of approach from political parties. to be tied to a socialist doctrine when bringing about change. The result is that the way in which the Liberal Demo31


Caterham Advertiser, 2010


2001

1999


ISSUE FIVE

Editors Farhad Alizadeh Holly Harding Chris Hickmott Rosanna Holt Sophie Leedham Lucy Palmer 34

review magazine | march 2012


Keep the aims, change the name How can the names of political groups provide so much influence? rosanna holt

N

owadays, the two branches of political thought do not exist because the two sides have entirely divergent ideals; rather it is their methods of reaching those ideals that distinguish the left from the right and the right from the left. So I want to make it clear that I am not damning the ideals of the left wing, but I do think it is time for their methods and tactics to be discussed, and indeed, destroyed. My political affiliation has been influenced primarily by frustration, and personal offence. Peace, for example, is presented as a concept which only those with socialist views have the right to defend, indeed it seems as liberals have bought the exclusive rights to certain concepts. In past years, we have seen the rise and rise of more and more ‘peace’ groups. ‘United in Peace and Justice’ ‘Tavistock Peace action group’ ‘People for Peace’ to name but a few. It is not their alleged aims that I find objectionable, rather it is their names. review magazine | march 2012

I was offended that those in high places resorted to lassoing my vote using words that weren’t intrinsically linked to their cause. Did they really think the public could be duped into membership by using buzzwords that just so happened to be in vogue? Even it (which I doubt), each member of every such group joined because they assessed the merits of the particular campaign, it is wholly undemocratic to hijack emotive words and encompass them in the title of a campaign, because it diverts attention from fact, stirs baseless membership, and most importantly, it makes it impossible to criticise the actions of a group. How could anyone in the eighties object to ‘The Peace Movement’, without sounding like a war mongerer? How can Americans object to the Democratic Party without sounding antidemocratic? People believed that those objecting to the peace movement were objecting to peace itself - a groundless accusation, which is both simplistic and naive. All these tactics promote is a shift from democracy to a state that

encourages particular groups to gag an entire nation by making it impossible to have a healthy debate about their cause. However, people have joined such groups; in their thousands. So maybe it’s time for the right wing to take note, and stop being such idealists. Clearly, the puppeteers of the liberal movement are succeeding by capitalising on the gullibility of the nation, and the great capability we have of responding to political issues emotively. Yet it is important to note that some liberal groups aren’t merely using fashionable, poignant words in their title to push people into joining and stop people objecting. Some genuinely believe that the left wing have an inherent right to the ownership of such words. This arrogance is entirely irritating (again, I am avoiding comment on the validity of such a claim) it seems that no one is discussing it, and that always concerns me.

35


Terrorism and beyond Is terrorism changing the world we live in? fahrad alizadeh

S

ome are still expecting something from terrorism. And even though they have learned many bitter lessons through misfortunes, why is it that those heads stand still, without any change whatsoever? Terrorism does not only result in the loss of human lives but also in the loss of life, personality, balance and unity. These cannot be considered with numbers. Whoever backs terrorism by heart or act will sooner or later lose his/her balance. It completely shatters one’s wisdom, logic and heart, as well as the society’s. “Of course, these happen as a result of desperation.” So, what is terrorism a remedy for? If you are desperate, seek help! Terrorism thickens the desperation even more and nothing else. Terrorism is inherently divisive; it divides and shatters one’s inner unity. Then, the division begins to fade away and unity improves itself. Terrorism never correlates with the criteria or values that will make the conditions of humans or humanity improve. These seem to be simple truths, but at the same time, very fundamental and easily forgotten truths.

36

such that they could easily deceive themselves as well as others; it is an optimum point. The most important actors of a scenario never ask for that scenario to be changed; neither do they seek developments that would end their roles. [Former Turkish Prime Minister and President Suleyman] Demirel always used to ask: “How did the terrorism on September 11 end on September 12?” What he means is crystal clear, yet he forgets something: The terror market, like a monetary market, was shattered on September 12. Terrorism escaped somewhere, just like people running helter-skelter during an earthquake. It withdrew into solitude in order to find a proper time and condition for the new scenarios. Everything is being globalised, so is terrorism that was universal before. A kind of “super-superior” story it is. Humans are universal in their selfvalues, or universal beyond the universe.

The shadow of the notions is more effective and acceptable than the roots. If “humans” are well advised, I would become happy and live under any condition in any age. Despite the difficulties, I would be pleased. Happiness refers not only to fun, delight or butter—honey relations. If I could manage to live responsibly, conscientiously and with faith, if I were not shattered into pieces and were not unbalanced, I wouldn’t care about anything. I have a source of consolation: I walk away by adding my lamentations to my smiles, if “mankind” and “humanity” are to be considered. The terrorist has left his humanity behind and enjoys acting behind the notions shadows. As far as I know, all revolutionists are conformists, the conformists of the ego profession. In fact, there is nothing that terrorism wants to change. It has fallen in love with its own slogans. It cannot change anything “in exile”. The fastest actor on the left or right, I mean capitalism and its adverse attempts, have been modified by the zero will. But they have nothing in hand to change. Finally, terrorism is one of the most The point on which they stand is important clinch bolts in this regard.

Every method of thought is exposed to these simple truths to be considered and remembered. Terror is the work of two things: a) Terror money b) Terror of thought... On the other side, the terrorist is the last hole of the flute, one who works behind the scenes. Who are those who possess the terror of thought and those who supply the “terror money”? If they spend their money on charity, it means they have righteous minds, then no issue would remain unsolved. However, those who feed terrorism through fatwas or through their utterances, and illuminate its path, do exist. You can see these people in every kind of terrorist activity. They don’t care about the so-called war against terrorism. They are comfortable and possess the status to live impressively and benefit from the opportunity of recognizing terror conditions as a rule. They are conformists to the sorrowful picture, which they are unwilling to change in spite of accepting it as “a tool, desperation or as legal”. Life going on is all what they wish. They have no destination.

review magazine | march 2012


Digging deep for the Democrats What must the Democrats do to produce the next President? ansel reed

T

he weekend after the elections; I went on a camping trip to a local cave, and was really excited about it - it was a perfect opportunity to crawl under a rock and die. As a supporter of the ideals of the Democratic Party, I yearned with every fibre in my body to see the Bush defeated this year at the polls. The hardest part for me in the election was my firm belief that Kerry would win by the narrowest of margins. The right decision is rarely made resoundingly in America— Kennedy, won by one of the closest margins in History. As hard as the British media may have tried, it is nearly impossible for someone outside of the nation to fully understand how incredibly divided this nation was for the past six months. Wide rifts have developed within local communities, organizations, and even formerly close knit families. One exceptional story tells of a man in Florida who threatened to kill his girlfriend if she were to vote for Kerry. The woman was fortunately smart enough to leave the relationship and report her ex to the police; charges were filed. As much as people hated Bush for being an idiotic, mega-rich, cowboy diplomat, there were apparently a few more people who loved him for being a straight talking, firm standing, born-again Christian who would support “moral” values. They saw review magazine | march 2012

him as someone who led them as ‘God, Flag, and Family‘ folks. When John Kerry conceded defeat on Wednesday morning in Boston a key element to his speech was the danger of this division and the need for it to end. Not surprisingly, Bush reiterated this topic in his victory speech as well. But I find it hard to believe that he will do it. Immediately after 9/11 our nation was more united than it has ever been, but it was the presence of Bush who created the division that now exists. I think that nearly any other leader, Democrat or Republican, would not have created such division. And so I firmly supported Kerry because I believed that his party would promote “liberty and justice for all” as asserted in our pledge of allegiance.

I supported Kerry because he was going to protect the environment far better than Bush ever would.

clares a separation between church and state. A Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage would be the first lasting amendment to take away rights from citizens, as opposed to every other one, which has increased them. I supported Kerry because I believed he would “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” Bush has not done this. I don’t see how liberty will be available to my grandchildren when they are saddled with trillions of dollars of national debt. I supported Kerry because he was going to protect the environment far better than Bush ever would. This includes the aforementioned cave, which proved so useful. Despite all of these reasons, this defeat for the Democrats has been much longer in the coming than one would think. While Clinton served a full two terms, he was in essence a largely ineffective president, who was often pushed around by a Republican dominated Congress. Had Ross Perot not entered and campaigned so strongly in 1992, (taking votes mostly from voters who would have otherwise voted Republican) it is definitely questionable whether or not we would have seen a White House held by the Republicans from 1980 to the present day.

Bush would not do this. He supports taking away the civil rights of homosexuals in America. One of the most painful defeats for me in this election was the fact that 11 states voted to define marriage as “between a man and a woman” It is fine for any religious organisation to declare that, but the state has no right to go there, especially when So how will the Democrats get their this nation’s constitution explicitly de- rears in gear after being so weak for 37


so long, but not able to totally realize the gravity of their situation? Firstly, they need to keep going. In Boston, Edwards gave a very rousing speech reminding us that the Democrats will “keep fighting for every vote” and that we “can be disappointed, but we cannot walk away” We need to recognize that they still fought a very strong race, and in the process many networks were put in to place for grassroots support and networking communication amongst Democrats. Secondly, the Democrats are going to need to find themselves a leader, and this is obviously no easy task. Barak Obama (a recently elected Senator) excited everyone very much at the Democratic convention this summer, but he doesn’t have nearly enough experience to give the kind of leadership needed. I personally have strong doubts about Hillary Clinton as well. One of the ways in which Kerry was hardest hit in the ‘04 campaign was Bush’s strong attack focus on what he voted for in the Senate. A Senator votes on far too much legislation to be trouble free, and so what is in order is for a Democratic Governor to rise up. Senators appear to be unable to win, regardless of

whether they are Rep or Dem. Every single President since Carter has either been a former Governor or the VicePresident. This is part of the Democrats current weakness - a clear lack of strong, Gubernatorial candidates.

Jew. God may bless America, but he blesses every other nation too. To help these churches get started, I’ve even got a name lined up for them-COEURChristian Outreach Existing to Unite through Radio. And it’s the Democrats who will ultimately be able to carry the Another major battle which needs message of compassion and kindnessto be won is that of Christian voters. these are qualities which should be adEvangelical, Conservative Churches ministered liberally, not conservatively. have been helping the Republicans to run away with the ballot box for the last These are many difficult tasks, but I decade. Not only are they collected and ultimately believe that the Democrats continually working, they are most im- will emerge again triumphant. It is portantly reaching out to new members key to remember that those American through visible, well run programs both presidents who have been looked upon on television and radio. The response of the most fondly have been essentially more moderate, intellectual Christians liberals, who have worked for change such as Presbyterians, Episcopalians and progress. May the Democrats in (Anglicans) and Congregationalists the future be granted the creativity and has been virtually nil. They have fought compassion of Roosevelt, the vision and some battles for issues, but they have not voice of Kennedy, the morality, tenacfought for voters and members. So these ity, and image of Lincoln and the wisChurches need to get together radio dom and intelligence of Franklin. We and television networks to preach what must remind ourselves that to be able I believe to be a much more rounded, to best fully appreciate that which is much more correct, non-fundamentalist good in life, we must also experience the message. Contrary to popular thought bad to contrast it, and to give us somein America, Jesus DOES NOT vote thing to strive, dream, and hope for. Republican—he was actually a liberal

Ansel Reed Ansel Reed sadly passed away shortly after leaving Caterham. He is remembered with great fondness by Old Caterhamians and Staff alike. It would not be fitting to publish a journal like Review without remembering Ansel’s continuous insistence on promoting the most liberal of agendas at a school that often leaned to the right. Ansel made Politics seem more approachable to students of all years. Old Cats who were with Ansel in 2003 may well remember him parading around the School with a megaphone during first break, announcing that we were all going to have a ‘mass debate’ in the Eothen Courtyard over the Iraq War!

Ansel’s memory lives on through the Ansel Reed Children’s Enrichment Trust, which works to improve the life of underprivileged children in any way it can. Any Old Cats that may be interested in donating to the foundation can get in contact through Mr. Clark or the School.

38

review magazine | march 2012


Gordon Brown


ISSUE SIX

Editors Ismael Hamadi Oliver Jackson Oliver Jones Matthew Owen Simon Walters Alex Webster 40

review magazine | march 2012


The poverty gap Why is globalisation so bad? alex webster

F

or the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.1 Timothy 6:10. On the 10th September 2003, a poor Korean farmer by the name of Lee Kyoung-Hae stabbed himself outside the World Trade Organisation talks in Cancun, Mexico. What could have brought someone to take their own life in such a conspicuous way? His reasons were not religious; he did not have any links to any extremist groups. No, his qualm was with the World Trade Organisation, a puppet of big business and hostile faceless corporations. However, to understand why Mr Kyoung-Hae killed himself we must first understand why he saw global trade as such a malignant evil? Surely trade is good; it favours moderation and increases the living standards for all involved. Right? Wrong. There is a cancer on this planet, and everyday we, the West, feed it, and as people are dying, getting poorer, we feel our wallets swell and carry on with our daily lives blissfully unaware that the Starbucks Cappuccino could do anybody any wrong. I’ll start with some facts about trade. The price of coffee has fallen 50% in review magazine | march 2012

the region of $2000 a year, while the average Ethiopian earns about $300 a year. Farmers in the first world receive prices about 31% greater than world prices for their goods. The most shocking fact is that the farming subsidies tend only to go to the richest farmers and fraudsters; they make a killing while other farmers struggle to put food on the table. So, we’ve already discovered how the subsidies are cheating the third world out of their rightful earnings, but where could the billions spent in subsidies go if not to lining rich farmers’ pockets. After all, the worldwide value of subsidies is worth as much as the entire GNP of Africa. The EU spends $86.6 billion a year subsidising its farmers. With that money we could cancel 10% of foreign debt to all African countries (cost: £30 billion), reduce worldwide infant mortality by two thirds (cost: $20 billion), achieve universal education (cost: $10 billion), fund HIV/Aids prevention, treatment and support for a year in low and middle income countries (cost: $7 billion), remove all landmines from severely affected areas of south-east Asia (cost: $5.5 billion), provide universal access to water and sanitation (cost: $5 billion), buy one long lasting insecticide net for every sub-Saharan African (cost: $3.4 billion), doubling the annual Foreign Direct investment into the fortynine least developed countries in the world (cost:$2.7 billion), eradicate polio (cost $1 billion), fund the international committee of the Red cross for a year (cost: 0.6 billion), pay for TB control in the 22 high burden countries ($0.5 billion) leaving $1.1 billion change.

the last three years and has reached a 30-year low; however, we haven’t seen a drop in coffee prices in the shops. While many coffee farmers are forced to sell coffee beans for much less than they cost to produce, the major coffee companies make profits ranging from 17% to 26%. Poor countries hold 40% of the world’s population but gain a meagre 3% of income from trade. Meanwhile the richest 14% of the population holds a 75% share in world income. The import taxes imposed on goods from developing countries are on average four to five times higher than tariffs applied between rich nations. A shirt made by a worker in Bangladesh attracts twenty times the import tax in the States than a British shirt. Vietnam, a country where 81 million people live in poverty attracts trade tariffs of around 8%, it doesn’t sound high but when compared to the 1% rate that the Netherlands pays, Vietnamese workers can’t support themselves. How can the “developing How many lives would that save? countries” ever make the transition to Not just now, but in the future. If the “developed” if they can’t even sell their EU got together and for just 1 year goods overseas for such massive taxes? agreed to spend “only” $1.1 billion on subsidies, how much better shape the It is the rich who subsidise the rich, world would be left in. In 1964, the and while it would be moral to sacrifice World Health Organisation met and such massive profits to enable members decided to eradicate smallpox. This of the world to finally stand on their decision was phenomenal, the world own feet, the West will not allow it. A pulled down its barriers whether they Japanese cow is subsidised for around were political or economic and decided 41


to rid the world of a deadly virus. What a wonderful, benevolent, expertly organised endeavour this was. Frankly, I can’t believe this anything like this would ever happen today. It is inconceivable to foresee how such a task could occur today. If the World Health Organisation were to undertake a similar venture, the economic superpowers would probably put a stop to it. The World Bank and the WTO have made starving Africans pay for their Healthcare, their water, the right to use a toilet and other things we take for granted. When a country wants to borrow money or adhere to a WTO or World Bank condition, it must “open” itself up. This generally means, privatis-

ing the infrastructure, assigning everything a price (water, medicine, education, the right to use the toilet) and then getting rid of any subsidies (meanwhile, the West piles on its own subsidies). Once that has been achieved, natural resources are sold off to Western companies, which employ Western workers and take the earnings out of the original countries, and into Western bank accounts. So now, the people in that country can’t work (because the subsidies have been removed), can’t afford to drink a cup of clean water (because the water company has been sold off to a Western company) and are forced to buy more expensive, Western-subsidised goods.

The hypocrisy that surrounds world trade is phenomenal. The black hearts of the Western economic powers gets darker every day. I honestly wonder how these people sleep at night. Their policies are ruining innocent people’s lives, eagerly helped by Western governments who would be willing to use force (and have done in the past) to support vile dictatorships, which at least pay well in trade revenue. If this article has helped sway your mind, please don’t remain idle any longer. Join Amnesty international, visit Kick-AAS (Kick Agricultural Subsidies), read up on Globalisation, and take to the streets to protest. Act Your Rage!

Before inflation...

42

review magazine | march 2012


Tory at heart

A dirty little secret to be proud of ? oliver jones

T

This time last year I believed I was a devout Liberal Democrat and a true Liberal at heart, but no! I have come to realise that we are all Tory at heart. At sixteen with my life ahead of me I wanted to be a creator of a new world, with a Liberal regime of freedom and tolerance to all which I believed were two main aspects of the Liberal ethos, if there is such a thing? So with this in mind I joined the nearest thing I could find which was the Liberal Democrats (a truly fantastic party, just look at their leader) and I learned to love all their policies, pro-legalisation of marijuana (as if a person my age would complain about that), higher taxes, pro euro, changing the voting system and numerous others I won’t bore you with. So, following these policies and believing in equal opportunities and tolerance to, and of, all, I felt as if I was living up to my part of the Liberal ethos. Here is where the cracks began to show and unknown to me my Tory heart would shine through. I have mentioned this “Liberal ethos”, and the question arises about what indeed it actually is. I shall not bore you with an in depth and philosophical answer as to its origins, and whether or not there can be a true “liberal” in today’s society. I shall simply explain it as giving freedom and showing tolerance to all and be able to adjust to a changing world basing policies on these review magazine | march 2012

ideals. Now with the “science bit” out of the way I can carry on with my fall from grace, and how I have become.....a Tory! The first time I saw my true blue colours shine through was after an assembly on tolerance. I arrived in a lesson at school absolutely slating the Daily Mail (for obvious reasons) and its readers who are unable to see through the opinion and paper selling articles and follow them blindly. At this point I realised as a Liberal I should be able to tolerate them and allow them to have their own opinion but I simply could not. The downfall had begun, not so much Tory views but definitely not Liberal ones. Then I begun to realise that many of the Lib Dem policies I had followed were, in fact, short sighted, merely vote catchers and had no real substance. Cannabis legislation and pro-Euro all have their obvious problems, but I shall not spark a debate on those fronts, as we will be here for years. At this point I could not face opening the mail from the Lib Dems as I felt I was betraying them and their barn dances and disco nights in local villages. So dirty I felt at my actions and also that I had no real political leanings anymore, I had fallen into a political abyss and the only light ahead was the Tory beacon. Virtual revelation occurred when discussing what grounds people should have passports. I advo-

cated the idea that only W.A.S.P.M. (White Anglo-Saxon-Protestant Males) should have them, even though this was indeed a joke, I was aghast I put forward the idea. Some of the blame must be allocated to a few of my good friends poisoning my mind with these ideas because they are well, let’s put it like this, further right than Vlad the Impaler (yes, the man who inspired Dracula and impaled people on spikes). Judgement day was when I realised I had been a Tory at heart for a long time. This was when, during the summer I got a job, an F.S.A (food serving assistant) at a local school (to those of you who don’t now that’s the post name for a dinner lady), I began to be taxed! Which I shall claim back, but then there is this “National Insurance” and the Liberal Democrats reckon they are going to increase this…!!!!! Well not if I have anything to do with it! At this moment I turned into a young fogey and was old before my years and became a full blooded Tory. So now we can see that I am indeed a Tory a heart and my fall from grace is now complete. However, the final nail in the coffin was when I realised that “the” William Hague would make a simply brilliant Prime Minister….Oh won’t someone shoot me and put me out of my misery, QUICK! 43


Compassionate Conservatism Why is compassion so important in politics? matthew owen

B

ritain has sent many things across the pond in America’s brief history: the English language, free-market capitalism, ideas regarding the abolition of slavery, Christianity, freedom and various other minor items. And, in fairness, they have returned the favour with “The Simpsons”, burgers, the pestilential grey squirrel and some epistles from Alastair Cook. But one recent immigrant from the US has had a profound impact on the philosophy of the Conservative Party, perhaps even more than “The Simpsons” has. George W. Bush’s highly successful ‘Compassionate Conservatism’ campaigns and policies in America have been eagerly embraced by the Tories, especially by think-tanks such as ‘Renewing One—Nation’. But is it possible for the two words to appear together without incurring derision and scepticism at their contradictory natures? Can the Tories, the party who brought about Mrs. Thatcher, the Poll Tax, Enoch Powell and the prohibition of school milk, become the champions of the needy and the vulnerable? Actually, far from being an oxymoron, Compassionate Conservatism is a tautology. By their nature, the ideology and policies of the Tories are better for the disadvantaged in our society. 44

Indeed, Labour, who have long held an undeserved monopoly on compassion, who are damaging the weaker in our communities; the Red Rose’s compassionate flower of spin hides the damaging thorns which lie beneath. The new era of British Conservatism under new leadership was signalled by The Glorious Leader’s historic and emotional address about a year ago, in which he highlighted the ‘five giants’ of our society in a most original manner! Whilst his Beveridgian spoof may have lacked the rhetorical excellence of the five giants’ original father, Mr. Duncan Smith had a message of value and sense in the give issues he highlighted and he showed how Labour’s apparent compassion was in fact greatly to the detriment of society. Firstly, he examined “failing schools”. It is clear that this government has instituted more red tape and paperwork for teachers than any other. One fifth of teacher’s time is now spent on paperwork, which reduces the education time of the children and further harasses the staff. Centralised edicts mean that discipline is a taboo word in education and three times as many teachers are likely to be assaulted than five years ago. Most schoolmasters and mistresses leave their

jobs within three years; is it any wonder with the pressures they face from a distant font of hubristic educational policy in Whitehall? At the very core of the Conservative ethos, on the other hand, is decentralisation and independence. Not only do the Tories promise to free the schools from Whitehall’s meddling fingers, but also from Local Education Authorities (LEAs); politics must be out of education. David Willets MP makes the point with clarity in his paper “Civic Conservatism”; “A detailed and overprescriptive national curriculum might be a less effective device….than giving local headmasters/mistresses greater power in the running of their own schools”. The failure of Labour’s schools means that there is less social mobility than in the 1950s, tell a working class child bound to his low socio-economic group from birth that Labour is compassionate. Free up education and returning choice to the parents and decisions to the staff is the only way to ensure that children received the education, which is their birth right as a British subject.

Far from being an oxymoron, Compassionate Conservatism is a tautology Crime was personified as the second giant, and again one with which the government seems incapable of dealing. A crime is committed every five seconds, a fact to which Labour responds by reducing police presence on the street. Added to the increasingly dysfunctional criminal justice process, which, by its lengthy duration, enables criminals to forget what crime they committed before they are sentenced, create Labour’s defence of the law-abiding citizens. Every instinct of the Labour Party is to increase spending without reform, to centralise without improving. The promises of the Conservative Party are the policies of a party genuinely concerned about the protection and regeneration of society: it has promised to put forty thousand extra Bobbies on the streets of Britain and to strengthen the family. The former review magazine | march 2012


is a necessary step to show a visible presence in the fight against violent crime, and the latter is a key value of conservatism. For Conservatives recognise that the gangs of the street offer substitutes of the ‘friendship, identity and purpose’ which strong families should give (forty-three percent of young people would speak to their friends about problems before family); thus Tories back families as the hidden weapon in the war for our streets and our safety. The third great ogre was that of ‘substandard healthcare’. For the first time in its long history, this organisation has more Pythonesque ‘administrators’ than it has beds! This incredible statistic is endemic of the Labour approach to the public services, and the bureaucracy and state interference which are the mottos of the Party. People who have worked all their lives and paid their taxes are rewarded by monstrous waiting lists and inadequate treatment; where on earth is the compassion or mercy here? It is only by withdrawing the talons of the state from the struggling heart of the

health service, by returning choice and freedom to the patients (for that is what they are) that this nation can achieve the medical safety net which behoves one of the world’s richest powers. The last two giants are those of child poverty and security in old age. These two areas are excellent yardsticks of the compassion of a system, and a yardstick on which Labour measure up to very little. The main problem with the former is that Mr. Blair’s policy on child poverty is myopic and simplistic. It sees child poverty as merely an economic phenomenon, not recognising that the emotional needs of children are not always met. However, the Tory belief in the family and the parent as the pillar in the life of a child is the one and only way to get youths off the streets and into jobs or education. Old people are surely the most deserving of our support; those who have paid their taxes, have worked throughout their lives and in many cases have put their lives of the line foe their King and Country and for our freedom. Where is the compassion, the mercy in

labour, who have shut down two thousand care homes in six years (that’s one a day) and in many cases condemned their patients to painful or ignominious deaths? The pensions crisis is salt in the wound of society which our inability to help our aged creates. We must support the charities financially, but allow them to run themselves, to help the people in need as only they know how. The compassion of Great Britain has long been her hallmark; the world over, we are renowned for our care and tolerance. It is the Conservatives who wish to conserve this. Do not believe that these new policies are the Emperor’s New Clothes; there has been a genuine and tangible change in the outlook of the Conservative Party and the author is thoroughly convinced that the life-blood of conservative values is the only cure for the ailments of our society. The Tories recognise now that there is such a thing as society, and they wish to infuse it with the Christian principles that fill their party and their country.

Iain Duncan Smith

review magazine | march 2012

45


Colour revolution

How did revolution in Egypt really pan out? alex webster

O

ne year on, the revolution that gripped Egypt, which played out on television screens across the world, has largely been deemed a disappointment by those who were a part of it. Throughout the summer, Tahrir Square was graced by a series of “millionia” (million man protests), each forcing home the same point; the revolution is not over yet.

ing military council for colluding with the Islamists, on the other, they criticise them for not giving up enough power to the parliament (which is now dominated by the Islamists). The recent surge in protests in November 2011 didn’t quite have the same single driving aim as those we saw in spring. The largest single rallying point was for the ruling military council to step down. There was less mention of what Though, as one walks through such exactly would be replacing them, nor a millionia, one wonders what exactly it what the democratic mandate might be. is they are after. This new political force in the country, labelled the “Tahrirists” Even popular support for the Tahis just one among many in a country rirists is suspect. At the height of the which boasts large numbers of Islamists, revolution, during the protests in TahSalafists, Nasserists, even Mubarakists. rir square, the Al Jazeera English corHowever, unlike the Islamists, and in respondent, Sherine Tadros, tweeted particular the Muslim Brotherhood, the that there were two million protesters Tahrirists have not organised themselves in the square. Many newspapers and into a coherent political unit. Their calls broadcasters around the world likewise for democracy will not serve to benefit quoted figures upwards of a million. No themselves, as they cannot muster any- thought was ever given to how these where near the levels of support that the figures were arrived at. The Egyptian Brotherhood can. In any case, they are army worked out, using maths, that the scattered into dozens of political par- maximum that Tahrir and surrounding ties that pepper the political landscape; streets can hold is somewhere in the refew of which anyone has ever heard of. gion of 400,000, which roughly equates to a density of 6 people per square meOn one hand, they criticise the rul- tre; a figure totally mad. A more conser46

vative guesstimate would put the protest numbers between 200-300,000. The millionia marches, one of which I was lucky enough to see, certainly did not produce the million that my enthusiastic Egyptian companions had promised. In fact, I would say I saw more people when I went to see Muse play Wembley Stadium, though the millionia was slightly more entertaining. While it did not boast Lilly Allen as a support act, it was hard not to get carried away with the emotion on the streets. I even let one protester paint an Egyptian flag on my hand. I was less enthused when he turned round and demanded I pay him 10 Egyptian pounds for the pleasure. I didn’t see any effigies hanging from lampposts at Wembley stadium either, though, come to think of it, it would certainly make the encores more interesting.

The unveiled women of Egypt frequently suffer abuse and sexual harassment on the street for choosing to show their hair. Greater Cairo alone has a population of 11 million; the place is vast. So even at the height of the revolution, less than review magazine | march 2012


5% of the city’s population was in and around Tahrir, and Egypt as a whole has a population of 80 million. In spite of what we would have read in Western papers and news channels, Egypt is not populated by young English speaking, Twitter-savvy revolutionaries. It just isn’t. There is poverty, there is anger and there is illiteracy. There are also rural communities where religious tensions run high. Most importantly for the new Egypt, there is politically charged Islamic popular movement that has been growing for decades. They broadly split into two groups, the Muslim Brothers and the Salafists. As difficult as it may seem in the West, the Muslim Brotherhood is very much a moderate sector of the Islamist landscape. The Salafis present something more of a challenge. Salafists believe in a strict interpretation of the Qur’an and Sharia law as a basis for society and government. Winning 24% of the recent parliamentary vote, the Salafist Al Nour party plans to phase out non-Islamic banking, revealing swimwear and alcohol sales. A reintroduction of the pre-medieval Jizya tax has been suggested, charging non-Muslims a special tax to live in Egypt, something of a concern for the country’s eight million Coptic Christians. During their campaign, Al Nour caused a stir by refusing to picture their legally mandated female candidates on their pamphlets, instead showing either a picture of a flower or the woman’s husband. During a rally in Alexandria, the party covered up the shapely mermaids that adorn the beautiful fountain of Zeus in Alexandia. So, why does any of this matter? Well, there are a few reasons. Egypt has historically been the cultural and economic powerhouse of the Middle East. It’s the region’s most populous country, situated right in the centre and unlike most of the Arab world, is a frontline state with Israel. In some aspects, Egypt is fast being superseded by some of its neighbours. Its cultural dominance has been challenged in recent years with the ascendency of Lebanese media, and Qareview magazine | march 2012

tar has actively been seeking to position Baathism, Arab Nationalism, Liberalitself at the heart of Arab political life. ism, Nasserism, Communism, Marxism have all been unsuccessful in raising Egypt still wields a massive influence living standards and achieving tactical in region. Though it can no longer hope advantage over Israel. When all other to punch above its weight as it did in forms of government fall by the wayside, the days of Colonel Nasser, events there the ordinary people turn to the Qur’an, have a habit of affecting the rest of the and hope to find the answers to the difregion. Though the Arab Spring started ficult questions of government there. in Tunisia, people only started paying attention when Egypt got involved. Egypt is a microcosm of the region. Where Egypt goes, others will follow. In order the wield influence on Egypt, Though it started in Egypt, every counthe tiny gulf state of Qatar, enriched by try in the region has its own branch trillions of dollars through the sale of its of the Muslim Brotherhood, the most natural Gas, has been blowing hot air notable being Hamas, which started across its borders. Rich Qatari benefac- off as the Gaza offshoot of the group. tors have funded the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist organisations. There is always a worry that many Likewise, the TV channel Al Jazeera, Islamist parties ultimately seek an Isvery much a driving force in the Arab lamic state. They often feel the Koran, Spring, has been funded and run since its not the electorate, should be the basis foundation by the Qatari government. for the government’s legitimacy. As a result, there is a palpable fear that new Thanks to the influence of the Gulf, Islamic dictatorships will simply replace popular Islamists have gained consider- the one party states that used to stand able social power in Egypt. In decades in their way. A similar state of affairs past, it was rare to see a woman in a played out when Africa was decoloheadscarf in the streets of Cairo and Al- nised. One is reminded of former forexandria. Now, it is more rare to see an eign secretary Lord Carrington’s quip unveiled woman. The unveiled women of describing Robert Mugabe’s democratic Egypt frequently suffer abuse and sexual pretensions upon independence, now harassment on the street for choosing to applicable to the electoral ambitions of show their hair. A beautiful, unveiled, the region’s Islamist parties: “One man, Egyptian girl once confided in me that one vote....once.” Such a state of afmany women would rather go about fairs played out in Iran thirty years ago. their business without veils in their hair but simply can’t muster the effort. InNobody really knows how the new creasingly, conservative social stances, paradigm will play out. Anybody who such as the banning of alcohol and gen- says they do is lying. After all, nobody der segregation in education are being saw the Arab Spring coming. Howdiscussed openly, something that could ever, there must be cause for concern, not be imagined thirty or forty years ago. as democratisation is a process that took centuries in the West, with more than a few hiccups along the way. It is During their campaign, unfair to label Islamist parties as the Al Nour caused a stir by root of future problems. Had the Arab refusing to picture their legally Spring taken place 40 years ago, those mandated female candidates on countries would be under the pressure of secular dictatorships. That’s their pamphlets how those nasty autocrats took power In the latter half of the twentieth cen- in the Middle East in the first place. tury various forms of government have been tried in the Middle East, and failed. 47


Making human trafficking real by Simon Walters

W

hen you start reading this piece, I want you to put a piece of paper on your head. Do not just look at this and continue reading, it is important that you actually do it. Now, with the paper on your head, start to draw on it a picture of a boy or a girl. Start with the head, the hair, and the facial features; eyes, nose, mouth, and ears. Then, move down the body, drawing the neck, torso, arms and hands, legs and feet, and finally the genitals. Once you have your drawing, without looking at it, place it face down next to you. We will come back to it at the end.

greatly feared, as he regularly beat her if she did not sell enough at the market. He raped her once on her thirteenth birthday when she did not sell anything at the market. She had been to the fairground with some friends instead.

gested to Jennifer that they go to meet his parents. He told her he would meet her in a bar a few kilometres outside the city centre, and that he would come with his parents. He told her to dress up for the occasion. Jennifer arrived at the bar. There was something strange about the place; it had a peculiar smell. Antonio arrived a while later although his parents were nowhere to be seen. Jennifer was still pleased to see him. She rose to greet him, he raised his arm and instead of greeting her, punched her in the face and stomach She fell to the ground.

One day whilst working under the blazing sun, a man came to buy shoes at the market. He introduced himself as Antonio. He was 29 and very goodlooking. Jennifer was now 15, and very attractive. He invited her out for dinner that same evening. She was nervous, but seeing as her stepfather was already incapacitated by alcohol, she decided When Jennifer regained consciousSince the age of six Jennifer has spent to accept the invitation. She knew that ness she was in a tiny bedroom, alher days selling shoes at a market to this would be worth being beaten for. though from the smell, she knew she support her family. She had never been was in the same bar. Two men stood beJennifer continued to go out with side her. She knew from the blood and able to complete a full academic year at school. She has three brothers and four Antonio; although her Mum was appre- extraordinary pain that she had been sisters, although only two shared the hensive about their relationship, and her raped. A few whacks around the head same father. She has no idea who her stepfather continued to beat her, Jennifer from these men stopped her objections. real father was, although she has a step- was happy. They took photos together, Antonio came into the room. He sat father who lives with them in their one along with her family, and life seemed to be getting better. One day, Antonio sugnext to her on the bed and produced the bedroom house. He was someone she 48

review magazine | march 2012


photos he had taken of her mother and siblings. As if he had never known Jennifer he said to her, “This is your new life. You owe us for bringing you here, and for giving you this bedroom. As well as for all the things I bought you. You owe us $100,000. You will now need to have sex with at least 15 men every day, and do exactly what they ask, to start paying off your debts. If you ever think about escaping, we will get to your family first.” Jennifer was the victim of human trafficking, through poverty and necessity. She was deceived and tricked in the most inhumane way, and was forced to work as a sex worker for three years in various different brothels. Her story

is completely real, and I have personally worked with Jennifer as a 19 year old in the protection centre where we cared for her. We help her look after her own baby boy, and support her as she tries to tackle the enormous trauma she has faced. Cases such as this are not a one-off; they are happening all over the world, and much greater action needs to be taken to prevent and protect. In the first place, we must stop viewing human trafficking as an abstract concept. It is a very real thing, affecting thousands of boys and girls worldwide in the most horrendous ways. There are a number of steps that we can take and the first one is to provide

as much education as possible about the nature of human trafficking, and just how real it is. The more people who know what is going on, the better chance we have of fighting these crimes. Now let’s go back to your drawing. Turn over the page and take a moment or two to analyse your piece. I am guessing it is not a work of art. I am guessing it is a mutilated and unattractive image. Take another look. Why is this drawing so important? Because it shows clearly the damage that is done to a boy or girl who is the victim of human trafficking or sexual abuse and violence. It is time to stop these crimes.

Where are they now? Alex Webster

At school Alex studied History, Economics and Politics, with hopes to study Politics further at University. He originally wrote in Preview that people referred to him as a liberal; though he preferred the phrase ‘random radical’. ‘One day he’ll clean up the world and try to leave it in a better shape when he departs, but at the moment, he is here to have a good time’.

Simon Walters

Simon’s highlights when working on the 2004 Preview included ‘getting the chance to interview David Dimbleby and appearing on Question Time’. Back then he planned to take a gap year and study Theology at Cambridge. Now, he holds a first class MA in History from the University of Edinburgh, and an MA in International Law and Human Rights. For the past year and a half he has been working as a specialist member of staff for Casa Alianza Nicaragua, an NGO which works to protect, support and rehabilitate children in situations of extraordinary risk, including homelessness, abandonment, drug addiction, problems with the law, victims of various types of abuse, sexual exploitation and human trafficking. You can find more about his work via his blog, www.simonmarkwalters.blogspot.com

review magazine | march 2012

49


david dimbleby the interview

In 2003 one intrepid editor, Walters, took it upon himself terview the legend that is, Dimbleby. Here’s what we

Simon to inDavid learnt.

David Dimbleby is one of the bestknown figures in TV political journalism. Presenter and chairman of BBC One’s Question Time since 1994, David Dimbleby is the son of the doyen of British TV presenters, Richard Dimbleby. David’s documentaries have won many awards including the Royal Television Society Supreme Award for The White Tribe of Africa. SW. As a journalist yourself do you believe that journalism reflects or forms public opinion? DD. Both. In deciding what to publicise, however, newspapers aand newsprogrammes can create an agenda of 50

their own and this can affect that way SW. Are you pleased by the way in which people see things. Choice of in which the face of reporting has what to cover can often be very differ- changed over the past 25 years? ent to what is going on in the world. DD. I am not at all convinced that SW. Do you understand peo- the attempts to polarise news reple’s frustrations with politics? ports through the personality of the reporter is a good thing. DD. Yes, it is very frustrating for people when politicians do not give a clear SW. The generations of 18-25 year answer. However, I do understand why olds is seen to be the most apathetic they can’t give a direct answer as this in the country. How do you think would be to commit to a cause that politics can be made to be more apthey may not be able to get out of, es- pealing to the younger generations? pecially if it has not been properly discussed beforehand. For my part, if DD. Westminster politics bores peopoliticians always answered a ques- ple, there is no getting away from that. tion with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ then there would But subjects of policies such as health, be no reason to be an interviewer. transport and foreign affairs do interest people it is just the way it is talked SW. Your father, Richard Dimble- about in Parliament that doesn’t. The by, famously reported from Belsen BBC is starting a School’s Question after World War Two. For you, Time. Hopefully this will get man what has been the most emotion- more people interested in politics. ally difficult thing to report on? SW. Finally, do you agree with DD. I reported from Bangladesh im- Machiavelli who said that ‘polimediately after the cyclone and tidal tics bears no relations to morals?’ wave there. That was hard. There were bodies everywhere and people dying DD. That might have been the case in from the drinking water in the wells Machiavelli’s day but it is certainly not as it was filled with salt. I was also in the case now. Politics is deeply emSouth Africa during the late 1970s/ bedded in morals. Politics would not early 80s, which at that time was the be worth considering if it were not. height of violence. Families were be- Cases like trying to help the elderly or ing tortured in their homes, children the sick through politics shows the inkilled on the streets. It was awful to volvement of morals. If politics did not see and not let emotion get in the way. bear any relations to morals then we would not live in a civilised democracy. review magazine | march 2012


ISSUE SEVEN

Editors Jo Buckland Nick Deayton Andrew Littlejohns Ben McClean Felicity Russell Zoe Walkinshaw review magazine | march 2012

51


Euthanasia

Is it really fair to remove people’s choice to die? nick deayton

T

he term ‘Euthanasia’ comes from the Greek word ‘easy death’. It is one of the most prominent social issues being debated today. Formally called ‘mercy killing’, euthanasia is the act of purposely making, or helping someone to die, instead of allowing nature to take it’s course. Basically, euthanasia means killing in the name of compassion. Euthanasia can be ‘voluntary’, ‘passive’, or ‘positive’. ‘Voluntary’ involves a request by the dying patient or their legal representative. ‘Passive’ involves doing nothing to prevent death – allowing someone to die, while ‘positive’ involves taking deliberate action to cause death.

People should not be left lingering in pain. They should not have to suffer when death is inevitable. People do have the right to commit suicide, although it is a tragic and individual act. However euthanasia is not suicide. It is not a private act. You have the support of family and friends. Euthanasia is about letting a person assist another’s death to save them from further pain and suffering. Many people argue, however, that a person who is terminally ill may make a miraculous recovery - it has happened in the past. Most terminally ill people whose pain and sufferings are relieved by excellent care, given by hospices are not faced with issues regarding euthanasia. It is only needed for those whose pain is not relieved with any form of care or whose bodily disintegration is beyond bearing. Medical advances in recent years have made it possible to keep terminally ill people alive for a significant length of time, without any hope of recovery or improvement. For this reason the ‘living wills ‘ policy has come into use in the UK as part of the right-todie principle. The will defines a patient’s ability to refuse treatment or refuse life-support measures in hopeless cases.

Euthanasia, at the moment is illegal throughout most of the world. However in the State of Oregon in America, there is a law specifically allowing doctors to prescribe lethal drugs for the purpose of euthanasia. In the Netherlands it is practised widely, although it remains illegal. I believe that everyone has the right to choose how they live and die. Everyone deserves respect, freedom and the power to control their own destiny. Not everybody will have an easy death. Some terminal pain cannot be controlled, even with the best of care and the strongest of drugs. Other distressing symptoms, which come with diseases, such as sickness, immobility, On the other hand, people believe incontinence, breathlessness and fever that no one has the right to play God. cannot always be relieved. Pain is not Christians believe that we are made in always the issue – quality of life is too. the image of God and therefore human 52

life is God’s gift to us and is uniquely precious - we are not the owners of life, but it’s minders’, we belong to God because he made us. For me this provokes questions regarding how an individual’s independence and freedom is reduced by religion. Many religions follow this belief and so do not believe in suicide and assisted dying. Obviously, the pain of losing a close relative or loved one is indescribable. The person is gone and many people come to terms with it, but often a larger trauma, which causes more grief, is having to watch that person suffer while you look on helplessly with no chance of easing their pain. When finally that person dies, their relatives’ good memories may be overrun by the memories of that person’s last few days of agony and misery, when all they could do was watch them suffer and lose dignity. I witnessed the slow deterioration of my grandmother and in fact felt only relief on the day of her death. With regret I struggle to remember the chirpy, helpful and lively Nan that I had grown up with but instead I am fixated with the image of the distant women that forgot who I was. Legally, euthanasia is against the law. Simply put, it is murder. The law is established by the religious and moral arguments, remembering that one of the Ten Commandments is ‘thou shalt not kill‘. I believe that as society has evolved, people begin to question such rulings and create grey areas. This ancient black and white concept of ‘thou shalt not kill’ is out-dated and in my opinion must be addressed. If a dog or cat is suffering, the vet is called upon and the animal is put to sleep. The owner is upset over the loss but they feel that they have done the right thing, by putting the pet out its misery. It is hard to compare the life of an animal with a human but the concept remains that a life filled with constant suffering for me is really not a life at all.

review magazine | march 2012


Imperialism Episode II - Attack of the Clones The patriotism you often find in America isn’t quite what it seems joe ridge

I

recently returned from a visit to the wealthy city of Hudson, situated in the north of Ohio, USA. I would first like to point out what a unique and valuable experience it was for me. The people of Hudson, as with much of the US, are some of the friendliest a Brit from suburbia could expect to meet in a lifetime. The students and teachers of the Western Reserve Academy are a breath of fresh air compared to the majority of passers-by one would expect on a trip to the cesspit known as Croydon. It took me a while to get used to not being asked how and who I am every two minutes on arrival back in England, but I looked forward to some real conversation. And what is real conversation? That which isn’t forced, isn’t taught and hasn’t been said a thousand times before defines conversation in my eyes. Though polite and well intended, the superficial interactions I had with the people of Hudson failed to have an affect on my character. However, the lack of any substance in the every day American perhaps has helped me to express my findings to whomever wishes to read them. I’ve always wondered whether there are as many American flags covering the Streets of the US as perceived by many a film director. Well I can assure you that there are; a trip down Main St in Hudson for example has the surreal qualities of a scene from the Truman Show. A majority of shops and houses appear proudly hanging the stars and review magazine | march 2012

stripes from the front, each seemingly bigger than the next. Yet I saw no true patriotism during the two weeks I spent in the US. Not a single person offered a reason in any detail for the love of their country, yet I know many of these people hang flags from their shops or houses. Patriotism for me constitutes of a love for one’s country and a feeling of overwhelming pride for its achievements, an innate feeling, certainly within myself. Not a word of description on any news reel, television programme or in any conservation as to why there are so many flags hanging everywhere, they just are. There is no pure patriotism in the US, or certainly not in Hudson, just blind, trained flag bearing.

Not a single person offered a reason in any detail for the love of their country In my View the US are suffering the curse of imperialism designed and first imposed by the English. Being descended mostly from Europeans and being such a young country has allowed jingoism not seen in the UK for almost a century to become increasingly inherent in post—WW2 US. The imperialistic way in which the UK was ruled for centuries originally allowed for complacency, arrogance and ignorance. However, I feel the evolution of the UK has meant any such feelings have been surpassed with the eventual realisation of the injustices of imperialism.

Slowly such characteristics in British attitudes have, broadly speaking, been extinguished. I am not saying the UK is perfect, in fact, far from it. We are merely at a different stage in the development of our nation. We have learned that perfection is impossible, and it is often those who strive to achieve it that become the least perfect, a fact that the US may yet find out the hard way. I failed to see a single piece of litter on the streets of Hudson, nor a single policeman or a single local newspaper headline reporting on anything worth reading. It is the sheltered life many Americans are brought up with that creates a character moulded only by happy memories, and hidden from chances of mistakes, though it is mistakes and bad memories which also help to determine one’s character and beliefs. Unfortunately the success of the US economically has fuelled the greed of the politicians to launch a religious and ideological crusade since WW2, one that has blinkered many citizens from the harsh realities many have to face every day and lessened the opportunity for the development of the individual. Instead all that has developed is a needless saga I like to call, ‘Imperialism Episode II - Attack of the Clones.‘ This is written with all due respect to the millions of fascinating and well-rounded individuals living in United States, including many at Western Reserve Academy. 53


The not so healthy Health Service Are the problems with the National Health Service terminal? andrew howe

W

hen Aneurin Bevan organised the National Health Service (NHS) for the Labour Government in 1948 to give everyone in Britain free medical care, his personal satisfaction must have been high. The hospitals were taken over by the Government and free dentistry and spectacles were available for all. Would he have guessed that the charges for prescriptions that he was forced to introduce only three years later would have escalated into the complex system that we have today not only within different primary care trusts but also between England, Scotland and Wales? Worse than this, the country you live in can influence how much you have to pay for health care e.g. in Scotland personal care for the elderly is free but not in England. A far cry from equal treatment for all!

ing kidneys and intensive care for very premature babies. Better and more effective drugs will be produced. The quality of care given to most people, together with improved diets and better working conditions, has meant an increased life expectancy for all. Therefore, care of the elderly has become a major cost to the NHS. Whichever party is in power, the struggle to provide a National Health Service as originally designed will not be met through the taxes The NHS today has developed paid. A two-tier health system of priinto a massive paper machine churn- vate and national care seems inevitable. ing out evidence that the health of the nation is better by achieving naI believe that the one way forward tionally set targets. However, most to make the NHS more financially efpeople are dissatisfied with the ser- ficient is for the Government to reward vice the NHS provides, and even the people for looking after their health health professionals cannot understand and so preventing the need for care. A why they have so much paperwork. prime example of preventative medicine has been the successful vaccinaBut what is the solution? The Con- tion programme against small pox and servatives suggest removal of a whole screening for breast cancer. However, layer of bureaucracy that will save mon- my thoughts are more radical. We all ey. However, medical research will con- know that regular exercise improves tinue to produce more advance treat- heart function and reduces obesity. ments and procedures that are costly as The latter is predicted to be the main well as life saving, for example intricate cause of ill health in the 21st century. heart bypass operations which are alOne of the consequences of obesity most routine, dialysis machines replac- is late onset diabetes, a chronic illness 54

that means a constant series of appointments in many different areas of the NHS. Smoking raises similar issues. If people were charged for health treatment on a sliding scale dependant on their proven commitment to good health, perhaps the health of the nation would improve and more money would be available for those who become ill through no fault of their own. Ethically difficult but possibly representing a long term financial saving is the screening of embryos for known cancer genes and chronic diseases (such as multiple sclerosis) and only selecting embryos without these genes for development into full term babies. Would any Government manage to carry such a policy through? I doubt it. One thing is certain; the present system is not working. Long queues in Accident and Emergency, long waiting lists for heart surgery, patients having to sue primary care trusts to get the drugs they need such as Herceptin for breast cancer. When the treatment is given, most patients agree that it is first class, except those who fall foul to hospitalacquired infections, (an area which the Conservatives have pledge to improve). It is noticeable that most politicians have private health care. You have to ask the question: if the NHS is great, why do people need to pay twice for health care? Perhaps leaving the care of people in poor health to the patients and the medical professionals would result in a more efficient NHS without the need for massive data collecting exercises and employment of numerous administrative personnel. Does anyone really read it all? Change is the only future for the NHS.

review magazine | march 2012


Can the Conservative Party win the next General Election?

Is there any chance of a break in Labour’s domination?

ashwin choolun

Tory party to reconnect, not only with the Tory faithful but to the silent majority in the country who are undecided voters on public services like the NHS. The Tories have to convince the public that the NHS will not be privatised. They have to give a guaranteed commitment to university students whether to accept or abolish tuition fees. Either the Conservative Party support it by making a good case for it or advocate its demise by giving the reason why. In the last General Election, while the polls indicated that the Conservatives were neck and neck with Labour amongst male voters, amongst female voters they lost a great deal of support. Labour’s focus on childcare, health and education seemed to appeal more to female voters. Here is where the Conservatives need to readdress their efforts.

T

he short answer to this question is a big ‘no’ at the present time. However, in order for the Conservative party to win the next General Election, it has to undertake a number of major cultural and political reforms. Today the Conservative party looks like an old fashioned, out of date, party, which is out of touch with Modern Britain. It has been called the “nasty party”, intolerant, and also regarded by many voters as a party that wants to help the rich of our society. At the moment, the Conservative Party being elected as the next government seems like a faraway dream, which can only be realised if the party can convey to the voters that it is a vibrant, modern thinking party, whose objective is to create a “just society in which no one is deprived of opportunity and no one is excluded” as was said by Sir Winston Churchill, former Tory Prime Minister many years ago.

servative Party has a huge task to accomplish in order to win back the confidence and the trust of the British voters. To do so it has to embark on genuine long-term reforms and adjustments to its overall policies. The Conservative Party needs to focus on a number of significant developments in order to achieve its overall objectives. This might take a long time. However, if this is not done, then there is no guarantee that it will survive in the future. So the Tory party has to act between now and the next General Election, to convince and persuade the British electorate across the country that it is ready for government.

First of all the Tory party has to analyse why so few people voted Conservative at the last three General Elections. It is wrong for the Tories to assume that maybe one day the pendulum will swing in its favour and by sheer luck they will win the next General Election. It is vital to emphasise that the Con- This will not work. It is vital for the

review magazine | march 2012

The election of a new leader for the Conservative Party will give them a chance to reposition themselves. However, it is vital to indicate that John Major, William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard have not succeeded in improving the Conservatives chance at all. They have not delivered any clarity about what the Party is about. A new Tory leader must create a moderate, reformed Party. This could help damage New Labour. They have to decide whether they should be a party of the right or the centre, a party of low taxes or high spending. Their leader needs to give a clear message to the electorate and to sell party ideals in a convincing way to the British people. If not it will remain in opposition forever. The leader cannot make the Conservative Party either a right wing party or a modern party. The new leader will have to balance his party’s position properly. The General Election of 2005 saw the death of Thatcherism. The new Conservative Party must modernise and also learn from previous mistakes otherwise British voters will look elsewhere for leadership. 55


Youth in Asia

Is South Korea’s economic dream masking a social nightmare?

nick deayton

S

outh Korea’s adoption of free market capitalism and its embrace of consumerist culture has propelled the country into modernity. So much so, that South Korea is seen as the template that other emerging Asian economies should aspire towards. However, despite this emergence of wealth and prosperity, South Korea has some of the highest suicide rates in the world. The number of young people committing suicide in Korea is the highest of any country in the OECD. So, why are so many young people taking the ultimate action to escape Asia’s ‘land of opportunity’? As with most social problems, the answers to such questions are rarely clean cut. This article aims to set the scene for modern day Korea, the life of a young person in South Korean and expose some of the inconvenient truths that hide behind this country’s cloak of affluence. Recent Korean history is plagued by stories of invasion, occupation, division and war. The Japanese occupied the 56

tion system, compared to 5.4% in the UK. Consequently, more and more young people in Korea have access to a reputable standard of free education. The aim for the majority of young people in modern day Korea is to attend University. The expectation is that once a student gets a space on the ‘University Highway’ they will speed straight into a well-paid job. Parents are then able to brag that their son or daughter is a doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc. This creates huge amounts of pressure for young people, particularly in a country where status is everything and a young person’s successes, or failures, reflect heavily on their parents. Subsequently, South Korean parents are demanding and the average middle school student (aged 13 to 15) spends 16 hours a day studying. The little spare time young people have in South Korea is often spent immersed in an online fantasy world. Korean child psychologist, Kim Sun Jang, believes that many young people in Korea are addicted to their online lives and use the Internet as a means of escape. Whilst the online world provides short-term relief for these young people, it is clearly not an adequate support mechanism. In March 2010, a young Korean couple allowed their 3 month old baby to starve to death whilst they were in an internet cafe playing a computer game that involved raising a young girl!

country and practically enslaved its people from 1910 up until the end of the Second World War in 1945. After the war, the country was divided along the 38th parallel with Soviet troops occupying the north and American troops occupying the south. The relationship between the two regions grew increasingly hostile and a civil war erupted in 1950. The result was a complete polarization of the Korean peninsula. The north formed the communist ‘Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’ whilst the south beThe volatility of the situation is came the capitalist ‘Republic of Korea’. magnified by South Korea’s soaring rates of youth unemployment. Today, While the North Korean economy young people between the ages of 18 to crumbled, the South Korean econo- 29, represent 46% of the country’s unmy experienced unprecedented levels employed. Students are getting to the of growth. Vast sums of money have end of the University rainbow only to been pumped into this bustling state find that there isn’t enough gold to go and the government has been commit- around. For young Korean men, not ted to investing heavily in the coun- having a well-paid job means they do try’s future. The education system in not have the capacity to be a good proSouth Korea is exceptional. The coun- vider. A man who is unable to provide, try boasts literacy rates of 100% and in is less likely to marry and will eventu2005 the government allocated 17.8% ally become a burden on his family. Figof the country’s GDP to the educa- ures collected in 2006 show that suicide review magazine | march 2012


was the second biggest killer of young males in Korea. The most cited reason for young men committing suicide in South Korea was a ‘perceived inadequacy of economic worth’. It seems as if the pressure young men accumulate from a young age, erupts when they realise the Promised Land is out of reach. South Korea’s economic boom has been fuelled by an ability to export high quality goods, such as cars and electronics, at globally competitive prices. However, Korea’s latest export is not a tangible commodity but a cultural phenomenon. K-Pop is the latest craze in Korea and it is spreading across Asia and beyond. It primarily involves stick thin girls with beautifully polished faces, performing irritatingly catchy songs. Stars of K-Pop are brandished everywhere, advertising anything from

McDonalds

to

washing

machines. Koreans are starving because of famine, South Korean women are starving beThe proliferation of these images cause of fashion. The leading cause of has caused many young people to idol- death for young women in Korea is suiise these K-Pop stars. In 1983 a poll cide. The most commonly cited reason showed that with 23%, the most popular for these suicides is ‘sexual insecurity’. career aspiration for a young woman in South Korea was to become a scientist. The Korean government has taken In 2003, the same poll showed 41.6% measures in an attempt to address this of young women wanted to become K- unfortunate reality. In 1999 the state Pop stars. These young women yearn to ordered the construction of 153 Youth have ‘Ul jjang’ which translates as ‘the Counselling Centres. In 2005, the Youth best face’. Ul jjang found on the heads Policy Law was passed, which aimed to of K-Pop stars is never natural but in- ‘improve employment opportunities’ stead stitched on by cosmetic surgeons. and ‘create a healthy media environment’ for young people. However, KoreIn 2009, 76% of women in Korea an people are traditionally very reserved between the ages 20-30 had undergone and seeking external help with perplastic surgery. At the same time Seoul, sonal issues is not within their psyche. the nation’s capital, is experiencing an ep- Equally, as the global economy shrinks, idemic of young women suffering from an improvement in employment opanorexia. While 30 miles north, North portunities for young people is unlikely.

K-Pop Band ‘Girls Generation’

review magazine | march 2012

57


joe ridge interviews hugh robertson mp

With hype around the London 2012 Olympics growing as the opening ceremony draws ever-nearer, I caught up with the Government’s Minister for Sport and Olympics, Hugh Robertson MP. I wanted to find out what impact the government thinks the Olympic Games is currently having and will have on the country in years to come. Here’s how our chat went… JR. What sort of a social impact will the Olympics have on the country? Will people think ‹why are we wasting money on this?› or will it create a feel good factor? HR. The Olympic and Paralympic Games will be fantastic for the whole of the UK.  From the Torch Relay travelling around the country, to the Opening Ceremony, the start of competition and watching our athletes win medals on home soil – the Olympics will bring a real excitement to the whole country.  There is nothing quite as powerful as 58

sport, especially an Olympic Games, to bring people together and I think that London 2012 will be no exception. JR. Has anyone in government expressed any regret at any stage that we have the Olympics coming up - as the bid was obviously made in better financial times - or is there a strong feeling that it can only be a positive thing?   HR. No. Hosting the Games gives us huge economic, social and sporting opportunities we would never have had and has regenerated the east end of London.   JR. Has the prospect of the Olympics started to impact on the economy already? If not, when do you expect that to start?   HR. The Games have already had an impact. Businesses across the country have won £6bn worth of contracts. A number of British firms have also won contracts in Rio thanks to the Host to Host initiative which connects businesses from host cities. In addition more than 40,000 people have worked on the Olympic Park with thousands more trained in construction and other skills. 25,000 temporary jobs were created in construction of the Westfield, which now has 10,000 permanent employees.   JR. What sort of an economic impact do you think the

Games will have on Britain?   HR. The £6bn worth of contracts won from the Olympic Delivery Authority have provided additional contracts and jobs through the supply chains. We are also ensuring that we maximise the international exposure that the UK will receive though the GREAT Campaign. This aims to generate more than £1bn in tourist spending and global trade and investment through a programme of international marketing and business engagement. 
 JR. Do you envisage the country making a net profit in the long run from the Olympics?   HR. Over the next 20 years, the Olympic Park will be developed into a new economic, social and sporting hub with five new neighbourhoods and supporting infrastructure. This will bring significant benefits in the UK and ultimately bring a considerable return for our investment. JR. The word ‘legacy’ is often mentioned in conjunction with London 2012? What sort of a legacy are you hoping to see in the forthcoming years and in the longer run?   HR. Our legacy ambitions are focused around sporting, economic and social benefits from the Games. We want the Games to lead to a sustained increase in sports participation across ages, but review magazine | march 2012


especially young people helping to create a sporting habit for life. This will be helped by the physical legacy of world class sporting venues on the Olympic Park and at other non-London venues. Economically, we want the Games to boost the economy – which it has already done through business and job creation – but also by encouraging investment from business and tourism. Socially, the Games has already seen the massive regeneration of one of the most deprived part of the UK. East London has received an improved transport infrastructure, employment and training opportunities through the

construction programme and Westfield and will go on to receive new housing, education and health facilities once the Park is developed after the Games. JR. Much has been made of the high level of obesity in Britain - do you hope that the Olympics will help bring this down? HR. We want to use the power of the Games to get more people involved in sport.  We have strong legacy plans in place to ensure that sport is at the heart of every community with programmes like Places People Play and the Sains-

bury’s School Games, which is championing competitive sport in schools. JR. What three things would you like to see happen at the Olympics?   HR. I would like, Team GB to come fourth or better in the medal table and win more medals more sports. I would like London to stage fantastic Games that are memorable for athletes and spectators alike. And finally, I would like London 2012 to help lift the nation and the world.

Where are they now? Nick Deayton

Nick was involved with Preview in 2006. He is glad to see the magazine is still going strong and says, ‘Every year the standard of articles and other contributions is a real credit to those involved’. Nick currently lives in South Korea and is working as an English teacher. His first article for the magazine was on ‘Euthanasia’, so he thought writing an article on the ‘Youth In Asia’ would be suitably fitting. ‘It was a real privilege to have been asked to contribute to this very special edition and I hope everybody involved with the school enjoys the remainder of the bicentenary celebrations.’

Joe Ridge

Joe was in sixth form at Caterham for the 2006 launch of Preview. Back then, he didn’t ‘position himself on either side of the political spectrum’ but defined himself as a libertarian, co-running the school’s Amnesty group. Today, he is a freelance sports journalist for the Daily Mail newspaper. review magazine | march 2012

59


ISSUE EIGHT

Editors James Barber Catherine Hyatt Tom Howes Heloise Morle Alex Parsons 60

review magazine | march 2012


Can we fix it?

It went well in 1948, so why not 2012? tom howes

O

n Wednesday 6th July 2005 the Olympic committee announced that the 2012 Olympics would be staged in London, beating Paris the final. The plans that followed proposed a redevelopment of parts of East London to include the Olympic village as well as using existing locations for all sporting activities. This is the first time London will have hosted the Olympics since 1948. Europe was still in tatters from the Second World War. Rationing was still in place and some athletes’ vests were made from silk from recycled parachutes, but the games still passed by without incident. The total cost for the games then was £750,000. Almost 60 years on and the new budget laid down is far more than 60 times that amount, the last estimate being around £9 billion. This seems a phenomenal figure even if the critics have deemed the games to be the best London can ever achieve. But looking under the surface, there is more than meets the eye. Let us choose an example of a construction currently over budget, and missing its schedule by over a year. Wembley was supposed to host the 2006 F.A. cup final, but the stadium was nowhere near completion by then, and the budget overspent by £75 million.

review magazine | march 2012

So how can we learn from this and continue to plan the Games? The Games have blown the budget, but in the race to complete the Games, one hurdle after another has posed problems. These have appeared in the form of security and construction. The day after the announcement was made, London was rocked by a series of terrorist attacks on the Tube and bus routes, both essential should the Olympics go ahead. It as then announced soon after, that the budget set down for the security of the games was £200 million, less than half of the Athens Games. Owing to the fact that only one minor incident occurred in Athens during the marathon, should the level of security be much higher or do we risk facing another terrorist incident?

have to be used – preferably ones which stay up. Construction companies have come under the spot light in the past few years due to collapsing cranes on major building sites, resulting in a number of deaths to construction workers and members of the public. These incidents took place on relatively small construction sites around the country, but should the incident be replayed on a larger scale, namely the Olympic village, the results could be costly in both financial and bad publicity terms. Wembley itself was hit by another delay when a 50 tonne section of roof collapsed during construction meaning the site had to be evacuated including all 3500 workers, until the problem was resolved.

However this is 2007 and the Olympics are five years away, leaving plenty of time for any forthcoming problems to be resolved, construction to begin and for London to host what many, including myself. Hope to be the greatest spectacle London can put on. The redevelopment of East London will serve for years after the Games have moved on and may well set a benchmark for other countries in the future, fortunate enough to host the Games. Until then, Bob the Builder’s battle cry of “Can We Secondly in order to construct the fix it?” may go unanswered for a while. arenas and facilities needed, cranes will 61


Assassination: A radical solution to anarchy? Should radical dictators be assassinated during peacetime? catherine hyatt

I

t was St. Thomas Aquinas who said, “He who kills a tyrant to free his country is praised and rewarded “in reference to his ideology behind just war and capital punishment. In the past century, dictatorship has been as prevalent throughout the world from Germany to Russia to the Middle East as the assassination attempts on these dictators, be it Hitler, Stalin, Castro or Hussein. According to article 24 of the UN Charter as well as various other conventions, the assassination of a dictator in peacetime is illegal. However, this ultimately prompts the question, is executing the executioner the ultimate form of retribution or a contradiction of principles? In 2002, Bob Woodward (a writer with the Washington Post) uncovered a presidential directive from Bush to the CIA to use all available resources to help remove Hussein from power. Woodward stated, “Such forces would be authorized to kill Hussein if they were acting in self-defence”. Although hardly an executive order for assassination, this statement could not be misconstrued; the removal of the dictator would be advocated, if not actively encouraged, by Bush. However, this provokes the question of who should be granted this licence to kill. This, almost kamikaze, approach of policing the world has been tried out, be it surreptitiously, with dismal results. During the Cold War, President Kennedy and Attorney General Kennedy put out contracts on Fidel Castro. Who was assassinated? Not Castro, but the Kennedys. Furthermore, Lee Harvey, the assassin, was allegedly seen going into the Cuban Mission in Mexico City 62

days before he killed President Kennedy. Whether this happened or not is, in many ways, superfluous; the Kennedys attempt to assassinate the dictator led to their own assassination and the dictator’s survival. So, in a world armed with nuclear weapons, where does this leave us? According to the utilitarian argument, one single act of evil, killing the dictator can be justified by the potential results. Essentially, the end justifies the means. One cannot help but muse what would have happened if Hitler had been killed in 1933 before the “cumulative radicalisation” descried by Broszat led to a terrifying, murderous momentum in Nazi Germany. However, the moral undertones of this approach cannot be ignored. By assassinating a dictator, a country or an individual are effectively stooping to the dictator’s level, undermining the legal system and reducing their own legitimacy, illustrated by the long civil war in Rome after the assassination of Julius Caesar.

ernment. However, adopting such a simplistic stance is perhaps naïve. Dictators are one part of a complex ruling apparatus of like-minded individuals, one of whom would inevitably replace the previous dictator, perpetrating the same autocratic values as his predecessor and antagonised by his assassination.

In an increasingly democratised world, the removal of dictators seems to be the natural progression with no other feasible alternative to eliminating dictatorships. The other option, allowing the dictator to remain in power, has dire connotations as illustrated by Iraq under the leadership of Saddam Hussein and the aftermath, a country ravaged by division and lack of cohesive vision for the future. By not removing Hussein, the situation has effectively been exacerbated, making the process of rebuilding even harder. However, other approaches have been adopted and been successful including constructive engagement and economic sanctions. Afghanistan in 2002 and Iraq in 2003 are The nature of dictatorships is highly both examples of popular action resultSo, in a world armed with ing in the destruction of a dictatorship.

nuclear weapons, where does this leave us?

personalised. The idiosyncratic work ethic of Hitler characterised the decision making process of the Third Reich as the paranoia of Stalin manifested itself in the purges. Therefore, following this line of thought, the assassination of a dictator would remove the energy source behind the dictatorship, destabilising the regime, hence provoking its inevitable collapse and leaving a vacuum for a legitimate gov-

So, should dictators be assassinated? The debated will continue to rage with moral, political and logistical factors being considered including when to attack (should there be a pre-emptive strike on all potential dictators?) and who has the right to decide. After all, is giving all international leaders this licence to kill the only solution for preventing future genocides, or is it best saved for James Bond films?

review magazine | march 2012


Rise of the monarchy

Has the Royal Wedding reinvigorated an old monarchy? james barber

E

ver since Charles Montagu first took up the post of First Lord of the Treasury in 1714, the British Monarchy has seen a steady decline in both power and influence. Elements of control, from military engagements to taxation, have ebbed away and the title of Head of State has been left slightly ambiguous. With so many important decisions gradually being passed off and taken out of their jurisdiction, over time the Monarchy has been left with an ageing image, out of touch and stagnant. On 29 April 2011, however, that all changed. A certain William Mountbatten-Windsor married one Catherine Middleton and the rest, as they say is history, or at least it has been for the last six months or so. The current Commonwealth Realm consists of 16 nations, each with Queen Elizabeth II as their Monarch and Head of State. Counties from Antigua to Australia are members and each (besides Papua New Guinea and the UK) was a former British Colony. The possibility of these nations remaining part of the Commonwealth had begun to dwindle. Their rule by the Commonwealth was seen as more and more unsuitable and inhabitants review magazine | march 2012

have seemed reluctant to be ruled by maica. Their new Prime Minister, Portia such a distant and far-reaching leader. Simpson Miller, has said she intends to make the island a republic, removing With the introduction of Wills and Queen Elizabeth as the Head of State. Kate into the British limelight that soon In her inaugural address, Ms Simpson changed. The other realms began to be- Miller said the time had come for Jacome more interested in both the British maica to break with the British MonRoyal Family and the Monarchy itself. archy and have its own President. The This popularity could be explained by announcement comes ahead of celebrathe sense of belonging held by the other tions to mark 50 years’ of Jamaican innations; making them feel as if they dependence from Britain; celebrations were part of something bigger. A more which Prince Harry is due to attend on likely possibility is simply that they see the island. Ms. Miller complimented the Royals as quaint and charming. By the Queen but simply stated that the having an element of this British ‘charm’ time had come for independence. She they are perceived by other countries has not been the first Jamaican leader as being more refined and ultimately to promise a move towards a repubprotected by the Realm as a whole. lic. In the early 1990s, Prime Minister PJ Patterson also said it was time William and Kate recently embarked for the island to have its own Head on a tour of Canada in the summer of of State, and set 2007 as the deadline. 2011. This was hugely popular, with widespread admiration, perhaps unUltimately, the Monarchy and Comparalleled to that seen since Charles monwealth is the strongest it has been and Diana’s trip in 1983. They caused a for decades. The simple act of marhuge stir and it could be said that their riage has not only secured the future marriage re-united the commonwealth of the Monarchy (for a few generaand secured its future. More recently, tions at least) but has created a resurhowever, there has been a tiny fly in gence in its popularity. The celebrations the Commonwealth’s ointment coming will no doubt continue well into 2012 from the small Caribbean island of Ja- with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. 63


The West Wing

the only one in the room who matters - their power base is only one among many. In the Parliamentary system many of the key positions of governWhy isn’t there a British equivalent? ment are staffed by MPs with their own electoral mandate and their own overalex parsons lapping and shared (but also unique) agendas. Prime Ministers live with the constant knowledge that the party as much as the electorate will be the eventual decider of their fate. If a British n Andrew Rawnsley’s The End of the ducer John Wells said at this year’s TCA Bartlet had concealed their MS, their Party there’s a telling remark from that he wouldn’t be able to sell it to net- decision to seek a second term would be Gordon Brown during a time when work TV today) and common portray- likely to be far less of a personal decision. a Lib-Lab coalition was a possibility: als of politicians in the US often skew For a UK government with closer to the cynical. Not to say there’s ‘He felt his legacy could be a progres- nothing to the idea of national tastes but a majority there are few sive coalition. Brown imagined a final I think that there are specific structural effectual external opponents six months at Number 10 as the sort of problems with crafting a positive show benign, presidential ‘father of the nation’ about the machinery of government Conflict is the bread and butter of figure he had often dreamed of being. Talk- that make it easier to achieve in the US drama and while the check-and-balance ing to Tom Fletcher that evening, Brown than the UK. A clue as to why is Abigail heavy US system is filled with potential said: “If we somehow pull this off, you’ll Nussbaum’s take that the West Wing is external opponents for the team (it’s find I’ll turn into President Bartlet.’” essentially a show about the royal court not a coincidence that there’s a Reof a more politically acceptable medieval publican Congress for the entire run) That Brown with his long-standing monarchy. Interestingly she points out meaning that while there are conflicts affinity for America would reach for The one of the most obvious example of within the team, they remain low key West Wing as a model for a national leader this interpretation is from the same and amicable. For a UK government perhaps isn’t that surprising but the ��� in- episode that Miliband›s advisors are with a majority there are few effectual fluence of the show is a recurring pres- drawing from, “Let Bartlet be Bartlet”: external opponents – the primary anence in British politics,  from rumours tagonisms are then within the party, Leo turns to each of the staff as they within the government and within the that George Osborne was basing a No. 10 floor plan around the West Wing recite “I serve at the pleasure of the Presi- main cast. The West Wing transplantto a ‘West Wing plot in 2006’  leading dent of the United States.” He isn’t lead- ed to the New Labour era would have to a government defeat and, more ing a pep rally; he’s reminding them the PM with the ability to do pretty recently, Ed Miliband’s advisors ending of their oaths of fealty, and reminding much anything he wanted, unless it was meetings declaring “Let Bartlet be Bart- Bartlet, who is standing just outside blocked by the second-billed character, let”. Biblical allusions might now past the room, of the courage and devotion a long-term friend turned antagonist. us by, but everyone knows who Josh is. of the men and women he commands. Bartlet’s troubled relationship with his Vice President is ultimately harmless In his blog, the Labour MP Tom Put in this context it’s quite clear why because the Vice Presidency isn’t necHarris takes the lack of a British West something with the tone of the West essarily  powerful (hence it’s unsurprisWing with an optimistic and positive Wing would be quite hard to achieve in ing that Iannucci’s US version of  The portrayal of politicians partly as a failure the UK – while the US political system Thick Of It is based around the VP), the of the nation’s  appetite (which he sees sanitised the trappings of monarchy, the nearest analogy would be if Bartlet and as being incapable of digesting a show UK instead moved power into different Leo were at each other›s throats – it that earnest if the accents were closer arenas. The characters in the West Wing would be very hard for the West Wing to home), but also the  nation’s writers are all attempting to  implement  the to be an optimistic show in this context. – unable to write politicians as anything agenda of one man while also trying other than cynical or corrupt. I think to shape that agenda – the show’s uniBecause the institution of the Prime this oversells the case, British television verse revolves around the President and Minster is relatively flexible, depending may not have produced the West Wing his staff ’s loyalty to him.   In the Brit- on the circumstances of their election but American television only barely did, ish situation, the Prime Minister is not and the style of the leader (the Major producing it just once (Executive Proera very different from Blair, very differ-

I

64

review magazine | march 2012


ent to Cameron, etc) there’s no equivalent  to the status of the Presidency (except, of course, the Monarchy). The positive feelings and glorification of the  institution›s  history as well as the status-quo bias of the US policy process justifies a kind of mythic stasis – big projects of the staff like Sam’s Manhattan project for beating cancer, Josh and Toby’s tax-deductible  tuition are ultimately stories  about  why these things didn›t happen.  There are battles, some of which are won and some of which aren’t, but the status quo of the West Wing mostly remains the same – there have always been kings and knights on horses defending the realm and there always will be, they will be fighting

about gun control, gay rights, religion in government, today and tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow. That the characters take sides in this eternal conflict without scoring any lasting successes (this only really applies to the Sorkin era, once he leaves they quickly bring peace to the Middle East) is arguably realistic in the context of a political system where paralysis is envisioned as a positive feature and so even failure can glorify the system. The ability of a British government to achieve change (and the expectation that they will which stigmatizes  failure) combined with a lack of a long-term, static institution of the Prime Minister would make it difficult for a British West Wing to find the

same amicable atmosphere where characters sit around and talk about timeless issues in a consequence-free way. While none of this completely rules out the possibility of an optimistic and earnest show about British politics, it does make it easier to understand why  The West Wing has only happened once in the US and not at all in the UK.  The ‘royal court’ take on the West Wing would actually suggest we’ve had several films in the previous decade that had optimistic and positive portrayals of the British system, they were just all about the monarchy.

Where are they now? James Barber

James was an editor for Preview in 2007. Currently he is working as a trainee chartered accountant after graduating from the University of Bath last year.

Alex Parsons

‘A minimal-government liberal (admittedly with higher standards of ‘necessary government’ than most)’, Alex studied Politics, History and Physics at A-Level. He is currently a Masters student studying democracy and democratization at UCL. Alex writes for his own blog at www.smokefilledroom.co.uk

review magazine | march 2012

65


ISSUE NINE

Editors Marcus Bott Jim Bulley Felix Bungay Alex Hurley Matthew Lunn Rebecca Michael Seb Raaff 66

review magazine | march 2012


Cooking up a storm

What effect are humans really having on the planet? marcus bott

W

e are all sick of hearing about the disappointing weather we experienced this summer, right? Well, if scientists are correct in their predictions then it would appear that wetter summers and warmer winters are on the menu. So get used to it. On the other hand, what if scientists were not correct for once? What if we look to historians for the answers to our confusing climate questions? The issue of global warming has gained a great deal of attention recently with the aim of nearly every company in the world, trying to cut down their Carbon emissions in a bid to stabilise our ‘erratic’ climate. However, what if the problem was not with the levels of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere yet purely a natural development impervious to change? The Earth’s atmosphere is comprised of many different gasses such as Argon, Nitrogen and Oxygen. The term, ‘greenhouse gases’ refers to six gases hat are found in the upper atmosphere of Earth, which include Carbon Dioxide and Methane. What many people fail to realise is that Carbon Dioxide only makes up a relatively minor fracreview magazine | march 2012

tion of greenhouse gases, while water vapour makes up around 95%. Additionally, greenhouse gases only make up a very small portion of all the gases found in the atmosphere, which means the amount of Carbon Dioxide present is miniscule, only 0.054% to be exact. If we continue to break it down, the amount humans contribute becomes so minute in the grand scheme of things that it certainly makes one winder whether humans can actually have that much of an impact on the environment.

The fault with climate models is that they are easily abused Turning our focus to the arts rather than science for a moment, we can see that in the history of the planet there have been periods where the levels of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere have been three times and even up to ten times greater than they are today. Clearly the world has not melted itself out of existence. In last year’s Preview Magazine (2007), an article was published, which claimed that if we did not cut our Carbon Di-

oxide emissions by 70 to 80 per cent, then the temperatures on Earth in the future would be “unbearably hot”. This view is shared by many today, and whilst many seem to adopt the idea because it sounds so dramatic, the truth is that the levels of Carbon Dioxide, however much we try and decrease them, will not cause the temperature of the Earth to decrease significantly and certainly not in a time frame that most people expect. Now for the science. If the theory of man-made global warming was correct then the science behind it would prove it, surely? Well, the key link, which the whole theory relies on, contradicts the notion and therefore proves that manmade global warming does not affect the climate, making any effort to try and change the climate a waste of time. The beginning of the Earth’s atmosphere is known as the Troposphere and the theory, produced by climate models and some scientists state that as you go up through the atmosphere, except in the Polar Regions, the rate of warming should increase. Nevertheless, it has become apparent from data collected by both satellites and weather balloons that this change is not seen and in fact the surface temperatures are warming more than the upper air temperatures. The fault with climate models is that they are easily abused. When scientists put reasonable numbers in to the models they produce boring and expected results. However, when scientists change the amount of Carbon Dioxide produced by man to unrealistic values, unrealistic results are then created, which quite obviously, are more likely to be covered by the media. The fact of the matter is, the disastrous consequences that we all believe are going to happen as a result of global warming are a fabrication, often expanded out of all proportion by the media. The origins of this theory can be traced back to one man who claimed that, during the 1970s, when the world was going through a cool period, if the amount of man-made Carbon Dioxide was increased by burning fossil fuels, 67


there was the possibility that the world would heat up by a few degrees. This man was Bert Bolin. His views were merely an idea to combat the previous four decades of cooling, which many thought, paradoxically, would cause catastrophic affects if it were to continue. The real cause of global warming lies the with the Sun. Naturally the Sun is the driving force behind almost all life on Earth and therefore it is not surprising that something so powerful can dictate the Earth’s climate and weather. In the early part of the twentieth century, scientists discovered the Earth was being showered by particles, now known as cosmic rays, from the depths of space by exploding supernovae. When these particles entered the Earth’s atmosphere they would fuse with the water particles rising from the evaporating sea

68

and form clouds. As we all know, clouds have a powerful cooling effect on the planet by reflecting most of the Sun’s rays, which heat up the Earth’s surface, thus, it can be said that the more cosmic rays entering the Earth’s atmosphere the colder the temperatures on the Earth’s surface. So if this is the case, why aren’t all our summers cold? On the Sun there are areas of intense magnetic fields that occur during times of increased solar activity, known as Sunspots. During these times the solar wind, a stream of charged particles given off by the Sun, almost ‘blows’ away the stream of cosmic rays showering the Earth and simply causes less clouds to be formed. Going back in history, British astronomer Edward Maunder observed that in between 1670—1680, during the height of the Little Ice Age, there

were no spots on the Sun, thus showing that the Sun’s activity caused a direct change in the climate of the Earth. It is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of the media, believing the unscientific theories of man-made global warming. However, when you really start to think about the reality of man having serious adverse affects on the climate, it only takes enough common sense to realise the whole prospect simply cannot stand up to the facts of science. The reason the theory has become so popular is due to the politicians and other leading figures hijacking the idea and convincing people we need to do something, when history has proved to us that it would simply be inconsequential.

review magazine | march 2012


Don’t shoot the messengers by Rebecca Michael

T

he 21st Century has seen a rise in extremist Muslims with more joining Bin Laden’s campaign against the West causing an increase in his personal militia. The Western World is quick to condemn these individuals but they are merely souls like you or I enslaved by a higher authority. This higher authority is contained in 114 chapters and goes back to the time of the Umayyad. There are thee issues, which need to be raised when discussing the danger and indoctrination caused by the Qur’an. The first of these being the content of the holy book and its references to jihad and secondly, the schools that exist to educated the young Muslims on the Qur’an and the effects of these. Lastly, investigations into the origins of the book reveal its lack of historical author and thus its uncorroborated attempts to indoctrinate. By exploring the first two of these issues it can be discovreview magazine | march 2012

ered that the route of terrorism is not a result of evil manifestations inside a few young Muslims and an innate desire for war but instead is the result of a Holy nook, which if misinterpreted can and has become extremely powerful. “And we will try you with something of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives and fruits; but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere.” (CH. 2 PT. 156) Muslims should be prepared o lay down their lives in the cause of Islam and to suffer all sorts of afflictions, which will be imposed on them as a trial. This is similar to the teachings of jihad in Al-Hajj (CH.22). “Surely, Allah defends those who believe. Surely, Allah loves not anyone who is perfidious, ungrateful.” Verse 39 here shows that jihad is fighting in defence of truth. Verse 41 subsequently mentions that the object and purpose of the wars of Islam is to

fight in self-defence, to save Islam from extermination, to establish freedom of conscience and liberty of thought and to defend places of worship. The Qur’an makes continuous reference to the disbelievers and the punishment that they will endure and warns Muslims not to associate with them, as hey will be tainted by their wrongdoings. It instead encourages Muslims to fight against the disbelievers. Al-Nahl (CH. 16) instructs Muslims to protect the Qur’an and talks about the war that must be waged against the disbelievers. It can therefore be surmised that the actions of some terrorist is as a result of reading into these parts of the Qur’an which tell them to wage war against the enemy and to protect the Qur’an from its enemies, which they may perceive in the current circumstances to be the Western World. The Qur’an uses two tactics to influ69


ence readers and gain their allegiance. It uses both the carrot and the stick methods simultaneously. Simply put, the Qur’an entices them to follow and obey it by promising them that they will become the most powerful nation on earth (the exalted ones). However at the same time the Holy Book threatens and scares them into allegiance by continuously referring to the punishment and downfall of the disbelievers. Al-Ra’d (CH.13) is a good example of this as, in summary, it says that those who draw the sword against Islam shall perish by the sword and those who owe allegiance to it shall sit on the thrones of power and glory. This allegiance, it is believed, is primarily expressed through the learning and understanding of the Qur’an. This is why many specialist schools exist around the world; to teach Muslims Arabic s they can, in turn, study the Qur’an. Taking Indonesia as an example: 95% of its population is Muslim and the country has many schools for teaching the Qur’an, the most influential of these being a boarding school called Pondok Peasentren. The most famous twentieth century pondok is situated at Gontor in East Java. It has nearly two thousand boys aged from eight to mid twenties; the boys are only permitted to speak Arabic and English. Violations of this rule results in punishment. The idea of punishment for what many would call a trivial example of rule breaking reflects the attitude being taken towards the Qur’an, this revealing its dangerously powerful influence. One pondok on East Java’s north coast is for small children aged between five and seven. Here, several hundred youngsters are taught elementary Arabic and recitation. There is a difference of opinion between Indonesian educators about the effects of attending a pondok at such an early age and some argue that it takes the children away from their family and parents too early. This opinion can be corroborated bu the experience of Semasa Kecil di Kamping who recalled his experience of studying the Qur’an in West Central Sumatra at the age of twelve. He ex70

plained how he was made to recite the Qur’an seven times without any idea that if it were translated into his own tongue it would become something ‘meaningful’. He says, although he was told that it was the word of God, “God never said anything which I was able to understand.” Despite this, he and his friends were made to recite the Qur’an several times as well as they could in rote fashion, as their teacher apparently made it clear to them that if anyone mispronounced an Arabic Letter, he had slight chance of entering heaven. It is very worrying that such institutions with these values still exist and in such numbers. Semasa’s experience clearly shows the misunderstanding and even indoctrination that can occur in these institutions as children do not understand what they are being made to recite. Furthermore, it is worrying that children are being told that mispronouncing one letter out of all 114 chapters of the Qur’an could result in severe punishment. Thus we go back to the carrot and stick suggestion of how the Qur’an can enslave these few extremists. An interesting assertion that can be made here is that the Qur’an does not deserve the vast amounts of power and influence it has due to the inconsistencies in its authenticity. In the time of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, the writings he received still needed exegesis and thus he added his own interpretations to the meaning and implications of the Quaranic passages. This seems above board as he was the prophet of Islam and this supposedly directly connected with God himself. However the problem arises from the fact that his interpretations were then transmitted and complemented by the next generation to be registered in writing by the following generation in the time of the dynastic change from the Umayyad to the Abbasid. It is impossible therefore, that Muhammad’s exact interpretations were recorded two generations later following a dynastic change. Such became the case that the more the Qur’an be-

came obscure over time, the more of it became provided by an explanation. As no papyri from the earlier times have been found, the authority of the Qur’an as a true document rests on the assumption that the claims that the authors pass on the material of older authorities are correct; it is not possible to prove due to the lack of evidence.

It is worrying that children are being told that mispronouncing one letter could result in severe punishment. It is therefore possible to conclude two things. The first being that modern day terrorists cannot be blamed for their actions as they have interpreted their Holy book differently to the vast majority of practicing Muslims around the world today. This misinterpretation cannot be their fault since they would not be able to interpret the book in such a violent manner if it did not allude to such things originally. Some individuals have also been subjected to specialist schools such as the pondoks in Indonesia, from an age as early as five, where in extreme circumstances they have been made o learn and recite something they simply do not understand. These highly influential educating institutions would not exist had the Qur’an not based so much emphasis on the need for obedience to and recitation of the said book. The power this Holy Book has over these individuals is not only morally wrong, but it is also greatly unjustified due to the highlighted inconsistences in the history of its creation. Essentially however the book can be interpreted in many ways and thus is only as powerful as one makes it. If it is read and understood but the violence is overlooked it becomes a harmless religious book however if it is read and misunderstood, for example by influencing extremists and the violence is acted upon, most commonly in the form of terrorism, then this Holy book becomes a weapon of war!

review magazine | march 2012


‘Living Prime Ministers’

review magazine | march 2012

71


A hidden foe

People should be welcoming development in their area, not pushing it away andrew cole

B

ritain is in trouble. By trouble I mean, ‘man the ramparts, the enemy is upon us’. There is a terrible menace roaming around our towns and countryside. What is it and what will it do to us? Firstly, it threatens to delay almost every attempt at modernising our society through the construction of better infrastructure and technological advance. Even worse it doesn’t just threaten to block social advancement or empowerment, it has begun turning the minds of well-educated people into senseless, hysterical and compromised human beings on a scale that the world has not seen since the boy band JLS rocked up to turn on the Christmas lights in Birmingham City Centre back in 2009. We all know what happened there… By now, I’m hoping to have you on the edge of your seat, wondering what this destructive, yet hidden force is. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… ‘Nimbyism’! The response I tend to receive is probably very similar to what you are thinking now. After the expected silence comes a sort of murmuring sound as though the other participant is trying to say “wait, what…? Huh?” What is ‘Nimbyism’ and where does the term come from? Well, believe it or not this word can be found in most dictionaries and is the plural of the acronym ‘NIMBY’ which stands for ‘not in my back yard’. To me a Nimby is “a person who objects to the siting of something perceived as unpleasant or hazardous in their own neighbourhood, especially 72

while raising no such objections to similar developments elsewhere”. The term allegedly dates back to the 1980’s in the age of Thatcher’s radical social re-development where the out-dated dockyards of London’s East End were turned into the financial powerhouse that helped drive our nation into the 21st century. For the purposes of political neutrality however, I must inform you that for every state of the art building or motorway she built there was at least one or more buildings being torn down, creating other negative effects for the people of the United Kingdom.

ate a third runway were the brainchild of the last Labour government. Even with a pro-expansion government in place, it was clear that proponents of a third runway had a tough fight on their hands. Now, with a more ‘Nimby friendly’ government in place, plans for a third runway have been shelved. How was a move that would have created more jobs, reduced airplane journey times and boosted the British Economy, defeated? Well, while environmental campaigners raised their usual points about the negative effects of greenhouse gases on the environment, their opposition was expected and in most cases proponents were able to defeat them, assuming they had support from neutral parties’. Surprisingly, the killer blow was not landed by the likes of Plane Stupid or Greenpeace but by the residents around Heathrow. If these residents had decided to spend a lazy Sunday in the back garden reading the third runway proposal as opposed to the latest Dan Brown novel, they would have realised that not only would they be taking one for the rest of the UK but they would actually receive a net benefit from living next to one of the largest airports in the world; with better transport links, more jobs and increased house prices.

So who are these Nimbys and what do they want from us? Well, referring to them as though they are uncontrollable zombies is hardly going to do my case any favours so I shall come straight to the point. They could be any one of us and it’s likely that you are a Nimby too. Now despite the large disdain I will now hold for myself, I feel the best comparison to make is to contrast Nimbys to the Na’vi from the film Avatar. You could build a state-ofthe-art monorail system linking their tribes together but they would hate you for it and continue to ride around on banshees all day long. In many ways I wish society could be so simple and say nothing needs improving, however I understand though. Blocking a vital it would inevitably lead to social, tech- investment in Britain’s trade future on nological and economic stagnation. the basis that the increased noise and pollution may cause a drop in the amount It is well documented that London of Red Admiral butterflies in your typirequires more runway capacity. At- cal Surrey garden, is perfectly justifiable. tempts to expand Heathrow and cre- I mean Heathrow doesn’t need it after review magazine | march 2012


all? Why not just build another runway over hundreds of acres of woodland at Gatwick? Even better, go one further and construct an entire island in the middle of the Thames Estuary, on top of a wildlife sanctuary. Everyone knows that airplanes and birds get on well; just ask those of US Airways flight 1549. I feel my sarcastic bitterness is perfectly justified, especially when people think that by opposing change they are protecting their own interests. In reality they are only self-harming. Take Coventry Airport, in June 2007 the airport was on its last legs as a result of poor flight selection and terminal facilities putting future passengers off. In a last ditch attempt to save their airport from the administrators, the owners decided to invest in a new terminal which would allow the people of Coventry to bathe in luxury as they waited for their Monarch Airways flight to the Mediterranean. However, what happened in reality was the people of Stoneleigh got together and shot the whole campaign down on the grounds of conservation. The fact that the very people Coventry airport was trying to benefit turned around and started chanting the Nimby line, meant that the airport was only going one way, towards bankruptcy, leaving the people of Coventry with no airport at all. The final cherry on the top of the sickening fudge sundae that is Nimbyism is no matter how much transport planners try to compromise and look for alternative solutions, Nimbys still feel they are being victimised. A transport planner is only trying to help people by reducing waste, congestion and delay, yet is often demonised by residents no matter what they do. With regards to Heathrow, it has been established that despite the clear economic benefits, new developments were not going to happen any time soon. The government listened and accepted that if we were going to compete with the rest of Europe, we would need to increase our infrastructure in other review magazine | march 2012

ways. How about High Speed Rail? Brilliant! If we can lure people onto the trains with faster and more efficient domestic train journeys then this could, in theory, free up vital runway capacity at London’s airports. Surely everyone will be happy? No additional runways and a train system that actually works. Right…? Wrong! The government proposed High Speed 2 (HS2) in the hope of appeasing its critics, however some still aren’t happy, despite total victory at Heathrow. It’s the Nimbys this time coming from a town or village in Buckinghamshire. Although High Speed Rail would benefit just under ten million people, it is simply too unacceptable to the people of the Chilterns as the thought of having to cross over Britain’s fastest rail line while out on a weekend bike ride just doesn’t bear thinking about. All of the above examples are forgivable and despite their misguidance, some residents do have cause for concern. Every so often however, a case of Nimbyism comes along that is just so incredible that it would have comfortably made Noel’s HQ and warranted a hysterical article from the Sun newspaper. Back in 2007, in the sleepy village of Ashtead, the charity known as, SSAFA Forces Help, asked for permission to redevelop an empty house, worth £1.7m, into a support centre to help wounded British service personnel. The charity were shocked to see that their application was turned down due to local residents concerns over increased levels of pollution and traffic. Despite national outcry and the attempt to auction off ‘The Self Respect of Ashtead’ on eBay (priced at £48 until being removed by the site), the charity did not attempt a second application and to this day there is still no support centre in Ashtead.

Stripping down the government to a minimum created a movement of power away from government, which was reinforced during the Blair years. When new developments are suggested and people feel they are unable to control it directly, we get activism and protest in the form of Nimbyism. Nimbyism is a creation of the government by decentralising power from Westminster and giving it to local people in the hope that they run things better. Giving developers and transport planners the powers to deliberate and block vital local developments would yield a similar public reaction to putting Nick Griffin back on Question Time. It just seems absurd. So how can the problem be fixed? Firstly, the government and the private sector need to stop doing things ‘on the cheap’. Do it properly or don’t do it at all, and by that I mean don’t offer a lower-middle class family 90% of what their house is worth at market value just so you can knock it down and lay tarmac over it, offer them 110% instead. People should be rewarded for being open minded to development not punished by government or corporate incompetence and arrogance. Lastly why not speak to people; a by-product of Nimbyism is often ignorance. People have always opposed what they fail to understand. By talking to them as human beings reduces the ‘them and us’ attitude that can be vital to getting local residents approval on an up and coming development project. It also satisfies their delusion of power.

I leave you with the request to consider at least both sides of the argument the next time a flyer comes through the door, bringing you news of how the government wants to build sewage works in your local area. I, for one, have gone a step further and joined a small but growing group of people called Yimbys. By trying to empower people in a I will let you work out what it stands for. financial manner that was both effective and cheap, Thatcher wrenched away many levels of central government and started building ordinary peoples financial self-esteem from the bottom up. 73


#digitaldemocracy

The difference between having a voice and being heard alex hurley

W

hen thinking about the influence the Internet has had on our daily lives it is difficult to believe that the technology has been with us for little over 15 years. Even in the early days it was argued that the Internet would revolutionise the way we socialise, shop and entertain ourselves. As I glance along my open tabs and see the iPlayer, Amazon & Facebook logos staring back at me, it would be a braver man than I to argue against such a contention. However, there was another argument made about the power of the Internet; an idea which fifteen years on is employed more often as a fact than a theory. It is the suggestion the Internet has an almost utopian power when it comes to strengthening democracy. The evidence for such an idea is very clear and emanates largely from the Internet’s power to mobilise groups into political action. This time last year the world had already witnessed two successful protest movements in the Middle East, movements that largely began on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The speed with which organisers mobilised their supporters was staggering and quite unlike anything the world had seen before. The vast numbers of people that can be contacted in a short space 74

of time substantially reduces the costs of organisation for political groups and the results were clear to see. With protestors continually tweeting, arranging further group events and posting videos of state violence online, international support snowballed and the numbers of those involved rose day by day. Though this mobilising force is not merely about the speed of communication, there is also a significant difference in the content of online media. In established democracies, independent political opinion online (free from the traditional gatekeepers of political information) tends to be emotionally richer and more ideologically extreme than the opinion expressed in traditional media. In nondemocratic states the news and opinion available online might be the only viewpoint expressed that is not subject to strict state control. The result of this exposure is that the previously ambivalent are considerably more likely to become fiery political animals and when such a metamorphism does occur (as with Caterham’s very own @Littlemisswilde) the reduced costs of association make it considerably easier to get involved.

mocracy that also sees inclusiveness, control of the agenda and meaningful understanding amongst the population as prerequisites. In essence, whilst the Internet is demonstrably powerful in mobilising and, amongst certain quarters, improving understanding the Internet needs to achieve significantly more to be worthy of the apotheosis some like to give it. Unfortunately, there are some rather hard truths that dictate, in the areas of inclusiveness and agenda setting in particular; the internet is found wanting as the modern vanguard of a healthy democracy.

To begin with inclusiveness, it has long been a worry that a ‘digital divide’ exists amongst citizens, a divide that can be constructed by factors of geography, wealth, age and education. Whilst over time many of these access problems have been negated by better infrastructure, cheaper cost of access and the unfortunate reality of the young getting older; it has not been true to say the same for the consumption of online politics. Much of the research in this area has found that online politics tends to remain the preserve of the However, effective and meaning- well-educated and the previously enful participation is just one part of gaged, largely because in the same way a fairly established definition of de- that multi-channel television provides review magazine | march 2012


the opportunity to watch for a week and not see a programme made in the 21st century, the only news that the internet may serve to some consumers will be that of a friends’ choice of breakfast. Personally, I don’t see it as a coincidence that both the Arab Spring and Student Protests, two events often cited as only being possible because of social media, had the well educated as a fundamental core. What both online politics and 24 hours news provide is an instant access to vast quantities of diverse information and opinion for the interested and technologically able. The key issue is that the inimitably diverse politics the Internet has to offer needs to be found, and for that to occur one needs the salient interest to actually go and look. It would seem that one unfortunate by-product of the information age is the growth of the gap between the information rich and the information poor. However, such a view paints a particularly pessimistic picture of the median voter and in particular their capacity to be both interested in politics and have the skills

review magazine | march 2012

to effectively consume political information. This is an image that doesn’t sit entirely comfortably with this author, so let us therefore imagine what would occur when this median voter, attempts to seek out the diversity the internet has to offer through a simple Google search. My own anecdotal evidence finds Guido Fawkes Blog, Guardian Politics, BBC Nick Robinson, Iain Dale’s Diary and Boulton & Co (Sky News) amongst the top results. The appearance of these common names can be explained by the infrastructure of how the Internet works in reality and the so-called winner takes all effect of online search. Search engines are not organised on egalitarian principles, instead they favour the popular, wealthy and powerful sites through reinforcing relevance algorithms and the selling of the top result as an expensive advertising tool. The economic forces that, in traditional media, prevented the production of alternative political information are now responsible for filtering it out, and it

has been the traditional media organisations that have been best placed to take advantage. It is very seldom that independents like Guido Fawkes make it to the dizzy heights of the blogosphere and for those that don’t search beyond the first page of links it is unlikely they will be exposed to anything more than the traditional news outlets. For the majority, politics online has come to mirror politics offline, with the traditional actors of the Westminster bubble hyperlinking amongst a tight knit group of a very similar demographic to those who are successful offline. Even with Twitter allowing direct communication to politicians, it tends to be true that the politician needs to make a mistake for that viewpoint to be made available to the masses. For the most part, many of the thousands of political blogs and tweeters will struggle to get even a single reader, the Internet may have given everyone a voice, but there still remains a significant difference between having a voice and being heard.

75


Marine Le Pen

for a place in the second round of the election. Her party also performed well in the cantonal (local) elections last year. In Reims where I spent my year abroad, A serious threat to France? there were many pro-Front National signs and in one constituency, the party samir dwesar came first in the first round of the election and in a handful of other constituencies came second. However, of the many locals I spoke with about politics, I never met a single Front National supporter. Nevertheless, Le Pen is slowly winning the hearts and the minds of many French voters, predominantly the working-class and the unemployed; two groups extremely disappointed by the failures of their government and Sarkozy’s presidency. Opinion polls are suggesting that around one-in-three n just a few weeks’ time, France a humiliating third place finish. Ma- working-class voters will opt for Mme goes to the polls elect their presi- rine succeeded her father as the Front Le Pen next month and this could dent. Polls are suggesting that in- National’s party president in 2011 and certainly increase come Election Day. cumbent President Sarkozy faces an has transformed the party. No longer is Yet it’s almost certain that Mauphill struggle to win re-election and the Front National seen to be the racthat François Hollande; the Social- ist party with xenophobic ideas that her rine Le Pen will never become presiist Party candidate will win, becoming father embraced. Marine has given the dent, even if she does end up being in the first socialist president since Fran- party a more friendly face and this has the second round. Although she has çois Mitterrand retired in 1995. Despite been demonstrated through her deci- made some much-needed changes to massive discontent with President Sar- sion to embrace traditional left-wing the party, even attracting support from kozy and a strong desire to boot him positions, such as protection of the wel- some Arab, Jewish and black voters, her out of office, there seems to be little fare state, support for an increase in the party remains the racist, anti-immigraenthusiasm for Hollande, whom most minimum wage and standing against tion and hugely Islamophobic party it people view as uncharismatic (he has Sarkozy’s reforms to increase the retire- always has been. Since she has begun been compared to vanilla ice cream) ment age from 60 to 62. She has also campaigning for the presidency, Marine and inexperienced to be president (he become a staunch defender of French has vowed to stop the “Islamisisation” has never held a ministerial post). As a republican values such as democracy of France comparing Muslim prayer to result of this lack of enthusiasm for ei- and secularism. Whilst the Front Na- Nazi Occupation and calling for a ban ther of the main two candidates, many tional’s old platform used to pledge on mosque building. Ignoring the milvoters are turning to Marine Le Pen support for traditional family values lions of French Muslims who are proud and her party, the Front National. Ma- and Roman Catholicism, the new one to be French and happy to embrace both rine is the daughter of Jean-Marie Le doesn’t, with Marine Le Pen being a French and Islamic traditions, Le Pen arPen, the racist, holocaust-denying, xe- twice-divorced mother of three chil- gues that they are unwilling to conform nophobic, far-right politician who fa- dren. She has, however, retained right- to French values and are attempting to mously came second in the first round wing positions on immigration, law and introduce Sharia Law to the country. of the 2002 presidential election, earn- order and the role of Islam in France. Although Marine Le Pen will never ing himself a spot in the second round against incumbent, Jacques Chirac. Since becoming the leader of the be president, her breakthrough in the Front National, Marine has tried to polls is alarming and means that she Polls are placing Marine Le Pen present herself as the candidate most could continue to be influential, parin a strong third place although many likely to stand up for the values of the ticularly if President Sarkozy somehow believe she could come second or even French Republic and to a certain degree wins re-election. Sarkozy has already first in the first round of the presidential its working, for many opinion polls tak- moved further right on issues such as election, with some even predicting that en in the past year place her in the top immigration in a desperate bid to stop she could push Nicolas Sarkozy into two candidates, therefore qualifying her undecided voters from supporting Le

I

76

review magazine | march 2012


Pen. He has banned the burka in public places, proposed a referendum on immigration and the banning of prayer on the streets and has held a debate on the role of Islam and secularism within the country. In a bid to gain the support of traditional Catholic voters who may have voted Front National in the past, President Sarkozy has come out against same-sex marriage, gay adoption and euthanasia, issues that Marine Le Pen hasn’t really touched on during the campaign. It is likely that should he win re-election in May, his second administration will be considerably tougher on immigration and on the rights of ethnic minorities than ever before. Furthermore, a strong election result from Marine Le Pen in the presidential election

could ensure gains for the Front National and perhaps parliamentary seats in the legislative elections which are due to be held this June. This could therefore further solidify her influence. And even if François Hollande becomes the next president of France, he will have to listen to Marine’s ideas and consider them for she could potentially capture the support of a large number of people and not just traditional Front National supporters. Alienating such voters would certainly prove problematic for the newly elected, President Hollande.

Le Pen remains the leader of a xenophobic political party and has simply given fascism a friendly face. Neither she nor her party represent the true French republican values of liberty, equality and fraternity. Unfortunately, President Sarkozy is adopting her ideas for France’s future and I strongly hold the view that a second Sarkozy administration would see the further marginalisation of French Muslims, stricter immigration policies and a return to traditional values, ideas that the Front National has championed for decades.

Despite the improbability of Marine Le Pen becoming France’s first female president, she is and will remain a serious threat to France’s future. Marine

Where are they now? Andrew Cole

Andrew did not write for the 2008 edition of Preview, however on hearing about the special bicentenary edition, felt compelled to put pen to paper. Currently, Andrew is in his last year at Loughborough University studying Air Transport Management having completed a year in industry. He very much enjoys upsetting whole swathes of society at a time in a manor that would make Jeremy Clarkson proud. He hopes to graduate this summer and intends to go travelling after.

Alex Hurley

Alex was a former editor of Preview in 2008. In his 2008 biography, Alex wrote that he was a member of the Conservative party though ‘was sceptical about some issues on ‘green aspects’’. Having graduated last summer with a degree in Politics, Alex is currently working as a Television Buyer for an advertising agency. He maintains a healthy interest in politics and is making the most of how the two appear to overlap.

Samir Dwesar

Like Andrew, Samir did not write for the 2008 edition of Preview. Samir is a fourth year Politics and French student at the University of Bristol. He spent his year abroad working as a teaching assistant in Reims, the capital of champagne! It was there he gained an insight into the failures of the Sarkozy presidency as well as the fear that French voters have about Marine Le Pen and the Front National. Samir feels that the three main candidates for the French presidency are entirely unsuitable for the job and that for the next five years, France’s future is bleak. review magazine | march 2012

77


ISSUE TEN Editors Matthew Amlot Sophie Bailey Dominic Damesick Rebecca Gocher James Hopkins Ben Horne Natalie Morle Florence Nalson Elizabeth Parrish 78

review magazine | march 2012


Politics in the Press

It’s always been a complicated and troubling relationship between the two

dominic damesick

D

o politicians like the media Do they need the media? Do they abuse the media in order to gain, to further themselves, to make themselves look good? I could answer these questions with a simple yes or no, but in keeping with the method in which politicians answer questions in the medium of media, I will answer these questions in a long-winded, convoluted manner that bores and irritates. That last comment, while cynical and sarcastic, also holds some hard, plain truths. Anyone who follows politics through the media, which would surely include all who have contributed to or are reading this magazine, will have no doubt been frustrated to the point of eruption at the way in which a politician wriggles out of a simple answer to a simple question. A prime example of this is the now infamous episode of Newsnight, where Presenter Jeremy Paxman asked Tory Michael Howard the same question twelve times, requesting a yes or no response. Each time Howard plunged into a barrage of waffle that would have been sufficient enough to supply Sunday morning breakfast to the whole of America, avoiding the question with confused and long answers. By the time the segment was over even the staunchest Conservative supporter must have wanted to slap Howard stiffly, and shout; ‘Just answer the question Michael, just answer the bloody question!’

tend to try to avoid the question, and give a vague answer, as the truth would be political suicide. However, the way in which they are pressurised to give answers, and are never just allowed to give these vague answers, to shirk their responsibility, to escape accountability for their actions, must mean politicians hate the media. It catches their every gaffe, it reports every party scandal and it never lets them get off lightly. The cameras were there to capture John Redwood miming, farcically badly, to the Welsh national anthem. The press were present to capture John Prescott landing one on some abusive heckler; it was an inspirational display of courage by the bulimic bruiser, who officially rule this nation for two and a half hours while Blair had a minor heart operation (an event that subsequently caused heart failure for just over half the nation). It was the media who revealed the expenses scandals, naming and shaming those politicians who abused their allowances to spend public money for their own comfort. The media publicised the discrepancies surrounding party donations, in recent times, forcing Peter Hain and Wendy Alexander to resign.

Yet, politics needs the media; it thrives off the media, it abuses the media and it adores the media. Without the media politics would not exist. Politics need the media to connect to the electorate, to win votes and to push for election, which is, at the end of the say, The scene I have described above is what it is all about. It is, however, a true not uncommon when following politics ‘love hate’ relationship between polithrough the media. Politicians often tics and the media; they are a turbulent review magazine | march 2012

couple betrothed in a marriage filled with happiness and despair, compassion and abuse, sympathy and brutality. Gordon Brown must resent the fact that Parliament is filmed, meaning he is publicly embarrassed in front of the nation weekly. Parliament was not on the telly box where he was a lad in the cold expanse known as Scotland (although it is very possible that the young Brown had no television, and occupied himself with plastic trains or toy soldiers or perhaps organising money). Gordon must wish for a return to those simple times at every PMQs, as he orates uneasily and awkwardly, his jaw jerking in spasm in between sentences as if on verge of a stroke, whilst sweat slowly seeps from every pore. He moves his clunking arms stiffly, layers of paper covered in his scrawled handwriting floating around before him, in a chaotic mass of primitive ideas and forgotten facts. The only time Brown breaks this mechanical cycle is to enter a whirlwind of fury at the snide mocking of David Cameron, where he dons the appearance of an oversized Ribena berry about to embark on a killing spree. Brown must loathe the fact that whether he is emotionless or passionate, passive or active, the media mock, scorns, belittles and teases. Poor Gordon needs a good holiday away from the pointing figures and taxing questions; West Lothian is probably not a good destination then. On the other hand, during the Brown boom (oh that seems like a distant dream now), old Gord relied on the media to achieve his favourable image; publicising his early return from holiday to deal with foot and mouth; responding publicly to the terrorist attacks on our nation with strength and courage; and reacting, in front of TV cameras, with the calmness and sincerity in reaction to the flooding of Britain. As the farmer feared for his livestock, as the public feared for their lives and homes, the calm reassuring presence of Gordon laid our fears to rest, put our worries to bed. He was a barrier to disease, bombs 79


and destruction. The media depicted him as perfect, untouchable; he was all the public could have wanted after that filthy liar Blair had finally gone. Nevertheless, the media also brought about the fast decline of Brown, pushing for an early election, and then slaughtering him mercilessly when he declined to deliver, for the innocent reason that he wanted to continue governing Britain; although perhaps after this debacle it would have been more appropriate if he had governed in a giant chicken suit. Bring back Blair the people cried, bring in Cameron the public howled, don’t vote Brown the electorate snarled. The media went along with the feeling, whipping up these emotions, forgetting their cruel words about Blair, their doubts towards Cameron and their respect for Brown. Oh what a fickle world the press inhabit; a world that fills Brown with loathing

80

and annoyance, a world he wishes would vanish. Yet, Brown knows as well as anyone that if he is to ever regain popularity he would have to improve his image through the world of the media. For Brown to be able to overcome the obstacles hindering his support he requires the newspapers to report his policies favourably, he needs to how confidence and charisma on television and would have to avoid constant ridicule in the technological world. For success at the next election Gordon needs to appear confident, composed, intelligent and consistent in the public eye, rising above the playground banter of the Tories and delivering inspirational speeches, consistent attitudes and popular policies. Gordon’s fate will not be decided by Cameron or the global economic crisis, and certainly not by Nick Clegg, but it will be decided by the attitude the media takes to him come election time; a

strong, involved leader perfect for these turbulent times, or a confused, lost control-freak who lost all market value. Every successful or unsuccessful politician is that way partly because of the media. However, the popular ones know they need to keep appealing to the media to stay on top, while the failures know they require a change of approach, a makeover if you will, before they throw themselves back in amongst the media circus, and risk being mauled, all in a desperate fight for popularity. What is clear is that for politicians, the world of the media is like their mother; they may love it or resent it, they may abuse it or be abused by it, they may embrace it or avoid it, but they ultimately exist because of it, and won’t get far unless they rely on it.

review magazine | march 2012


Testament to the truth

Is there really a place for the teaching of creationism in today’s classrooms? elizabeth parrish

A

s Charles Darwin celebrates his 200th birthday this year, it seems appropriate to see where his theories fit into our society today. He would be pleased to know that his theory of evolution and natural selection is now taught in most biology departs in schools and universities across the globe. Its principles are basic to most biology textbooks, and its implications spread into many sub disciplines. So why is there still on-going controversy over what should be taught to children in science lessons? Surely there are not still calls for creationism to be taught alongside or instead of the principles of evolution as a viable scientific alternative? Well sadly for Mr. Darwin, there is. A poll published in the Public Library of Science Biology this year found that one In eight American high school teachers present creationism as a valid alternative to evolution, and devote lesson time to teaching it. In the UK last summer every national newspaper covered a story that found at least 40 schools in the UK taught creationism in science lessons, and in November of 2008 a poll came to light showing that 29% of UK teachers felt that creationism should be taught in schools. Whilst these figures are not alarming, the certainly are disappointing. The fact that others believe that creationism, or intelligent design, as well as Darwinism should be taught in schools so that review magazine | march 2012

children can understand both sides of the debate, makes me raise the question of whether rabbles of misinformed children leaving biology labs, full of unanswered question and confused minds, is good for their educational stature?

The damage of teaching creationism goes deeper than the specific subject matter Many would also argue that excluding discussion of creationism and intelligent design from science lessons could put some children off science completely. However, by damaging children’s knowledge of evolution, you will undermine the ability to integrate biology with geology and astronomy, promoting serious misunderstandings in other scientific and mathematical areas and also create confusion about the nature of scientific research. The damage of teaching creationism goes deeper than the specific subject matter, and makes it harder for students to understand new scientific ideas throughout their lives. With a background in creationism these children surely will never become employed as biological scientists. They will never become doctors, researchers, or teachers, because their education will have been stunted by the unwarranted promotion of religious ideas into our schools.

Science departments are places of learning and discovery, not a place to put wild ideas into children’s minds over the creation of the universe. It is a science teacher’s job to teach fact and give the real answer to such inquisitive questions, and not to teach theism. That should be down to Sunday Schools and to parents at their own discretion. The only appropriate place to discuss these types of ideas in school should be Religious Education lessons. Teaching creationism also privileges a single religious viewpoint, something we surely cannot do in the multi-cultural society in which we live in today. Teaching creationism is a basic denial of evolution as a whole – it is just as bad as teaching alternative theories to that of the Holocaust or on diseases such as AIDS. Denial of these issues would not be tolerated by schools and parents alike, and so why is it OK to deny and disregard evolution by teaching creationism? In conclusion it seems that although biology departments will always have the theories of Darwinism on their curriculums, these pro-creationists will stop at nothing to make sure that religious ideas are incorporated into our children’s learning, warping their outlook in the basic scientific principles. Looks like it may not be a very happy birthday for Mr. Darwin after all…

81


Nigel Evans MP, 2011

Boris Johnson MP, 2004


Ann Widdecombe MP, 2000


ISSUE ELEVEN

Editors Sophie Colman Alex Gordon Matthew Grant James Hutchings Joe McLaren Samantha Moore Imogen Ware 84

review magazine | march 2012


No longer the lady in the back seat by Sophie Colman

W

hen thinking of the First Ladies of the past, the traditional image of Jacqueline Kennedy immediately comes to mind. This is the image of a woman dedicated to organising school affairs, idolised for her fashion sense, and devoted to her powerful husband. As with Kennedy, traditionally the role of the First Lady has been as the country’s social hostess, working to organise White House functions and diplomatic events. However, over the last few decades this typical role has been challenged by some strong-willed women, and many have begun to take a more public role in pursing their own initiatives. The first time that the traditional role of the First Lady became most obviously challenged was with Hilary Clinton, and it was clear right from the offset that she was not the usual run of the mill First Lady. Not only was she the first First Lady to hold a postgraduate degree, but she was also the only one who had her own professional career up to the time of entering the White House. Then, in 1994, Hilary was appointed, by her husband, to head and chairwoman the Task Force on National Health Care Reform. Hilary then launched herself review magazine | march 2012

into attempting to organise these reforms, completely obliterating the preconceived image that people had of the role of the First Lady, in the process. However, after a brief lull, it seems as if this new image of the First Lady as been met once again; this time by Michelle Obama. Despite being a lawyer, the expectations that surround Michelle after she began her new role were relatively low, especially as she spent her summer on the sofas of daytime television programmes and on the covers of glossy magazines. Furthermore, there were several obvious similarities seen between her and Jackie Kennedy, with Time magazine calling her “America’s Next Top Model”; and the Washington Post calling her the “Leader of the Fashionable World”. However, over the past year, it has become clear that there is much more to Michelle Obama than was originally thought. As well as plans to take a lead on issues relating to military families and work-life balance for women, Michelle Obama has launched a nationwide campaign called ‘Let’s Move’ to tackle child-obesity. The ‘Let’s Move’ campaign will seek to raise the nutritional level of school meals and improve access to healthier

food in deprived areas. The ambitious campaign, which Michelle hopes will be seen as her legacy, is aimed at solving the childhood obesity problem in a single generation, so that children born today can reach adulthood at a healthy weight. In fact, in his budget proposal, President Barack Obama called for an additional $1bn to fund child nutrition programmes, so that the campaign can make a real difference. Overall, Michelle Obama’s actions so far have show great potential for the future. Who knows, perhaps she may follow in Hilary’s footsteps in another resect as well, and attempt to take the job her husband fought so determinedly to win. Since this new role for the President’s wife has been established, it is clear that from now on, The First Lady of the United States will no longer take a back seat in issues concerning politics. In fact, the role of the First Lady has arguably become the most powerful and influential, non-elected position in the White House. It is therefore possibly the role of the First Lady that the people should be most worried about, because they are the power behind the throne, with access to everything and anything they want. 85


Poverty: The harsh reality

Did Darwin get it wrong? Does it really have to be survival of the fittest? chris toomey

L

et us not beat about the bush. The truth of it is that poverty and suffering has existed as a fundamental and cruel necessity in the mechanism of humanity since man breathed his first indomitable breath on this earth. The strongest, fastest hunter took all for himself, leaving the weak to scavenge and struggle for survival. Animals in the wild must fight for their livelihood too. They have to kill and maim in order to satisfy their hunger. Individuals have the power of mind to be able to overcome the voice of greed and to show compassion. Yet humanity has still not shaken itself free of the animalistic fiend, which ravages society. One has only to look at globalisation and the world economic model to see that our multinational companies are still strikingly dependent on the exploitation of the under-privileged for cheap labour. Governments are still riddled with corruption; African infants starve whilst those in power choke on their tainted luxuries. And what’s more alarming is that income inequality in Britain of all places, is the highest it has been in years; or so Ms Harman’s embarrassing report (Equalities Minister) would have us believe. What is the world coming to? A recent government report ( January 2010) by the National Equality Panel highlighted that the income inequality in Britain is higher now than at any time since the Second World War. The statistic is a deeply visceral one. I 86

nearly choked on my skinny latte! That bygone era was one characterised by hardship and suffering, synonymous with destruction, pain and rationing. It is a frightening thought therefore that almost 70 years on, we might find ourselves in a deeper hole economically and socially. It’s disturbing, but what does it really mean for Britain? My initial reaction to the report was one of Shock-laced apprehension, which is natural of course, the statistic is one engineered as such. But if one analyses the figures it is clear to see that although the rich may be getting richer, the poor certainly aren’t getting poorer here. Like Sherlock, one has to look for what is not there. The fact that income inequality is manifest as a larger figure than that of 60 or so years ago, tells us nothing of the base levels of healthcare, human rights, national gross of base levels of wealth in this country. Whilst the statistic may seem alarming at first, there is infinitely more to it than meets the eye. What about social mobility? The report failed to mention social change. The fear mongering writers of the report may claim that we are in a worse state than 1940s Britain, but this is simply not the case. The reality is that 60-70 years ago, only a handful would have succeeded in climbing the economic ladder to the very top, starting out with nothing. In Britain today, with free education, the economic fall-back

of state benefits or ‘allowances’, improved levels of tolerance and acceptance of ethnic minorities, an understanding of troubled backgrounds (and of course let us not forget the double edged sword that is political correctness), it has become possible for one to enter the world with very little and leave it, a king in stature. In short we have a capitalist democracy, and a very successful one which means that poverty cannot really exist to any great lengths and where it does, it is not inescapable. It is clear that the writers of the report were criticising the government, criticising the state of the country and the state of the economy. But one has only to visit regimes such as Cuba to realise that equal equality can only mean equal poverty. It is natural that some sort of inequality should exist, otherwise what is there to aspire to? It is harsh and hard to swallow, but poverty to some extent is perhaps sometimes a necessity, Sometimes, poverty works. What is abominable is that for some, poverty is an inescapable entity, a vicious circle of pain, hunger and often tyranny. The poor are exploited and although poverty may serve to perpetuate the mechanism of a society, across the world many are slaves to the class into which they are born. The tragedy lies not solely in the existence of poverty but that for some it is a prison from which they cannot hope to free themselves. Whilst corruption and greed exist in the world so will the shackles of poverty. Inequality is an incontrovertible reality because individuals are endowed with different gifts and talents. The responsibility of society therefore is to evolve away from the Darwinian concept of survival of the fittest but to acknowledge the responsibility of the powerful to defend the weak and to arm the poor with the tools to escape poverty. Education and equality legislation must be at the heart of on-going campaign to bring about a more just society for all.

review magazine | march 2012


Protesting: Is it worth shouting about? Student’s didn’t much like the government’s tuition fee reforms

N

ovember 2011 marked the first anniversary of one of the biggest student demonstrations London has seen in the history of student protesting. At the time, the British public labeled these students a whole host of different things. Some students were intellectual and politically minded, some were just there for fun and others were violent anarchists, who didn’t know or care what they were actually rioting about. Writing as one of the 50,000 protestors who was present that day, I agree that I certainly didn’t know what I was shouting about. Don’t get me wrong, I believe the protest was for a good cause and I whole-heartedly disagree with the rise in the tuition fees. However, did I read up on the situation before I went? No. Did I know why tuition fees were rising? No. Did I see review magazine | march 2012

samantha moore

an opportunity to go to London for the day, free of charge, miss some university lectures, decorate a t-shirt, and let out my ‘rebellious’ side with what I thought was going to be a peaceful protest? Yes I did and I unashamedly grabbed this opportunity with both hands. Marching with thousands of others my age, chanting slogans (my favorite being “No ifs, No buts, No education cuts”), watching amazing drum demonstrations, and generally celebrating my youth, I felt a freedom I had never quite had before. Anyone who knows me knows I am a peaceful person, and I’m sure they would vouch that I didn’t throw any eggs or rotten fruit. Nor do I agree with how such a peaceful march changed into a tension fuelled standoff between student and police, especially as the mood within the group changed in simply a matter of minutes. Though I

must admit, it was exciting and intimidating. It gave me a unique adrenaline rush knowing that people all around the country would be talking about this march and I could say to everyone “I was there, I saw it, I was a part of it”. To be honest, I don’t see the point in protesting. I don’t think protests, peaceful or otherwise, accurately represent the number of people who care about the topic of protest, and I don’t believe that everyone who protests truly understands what they are talking about. But I do believe that if any student ever gets the chance to protest about something, they should miss those lectures, decorate that t-shirt, let out their ‘rebellious’ side and unashamedly grab the opportunity with both hands, because we do have freedom of speech in our country and we should take advantage of it, whilst having a little bit of fun on the way. 87


Riot revelations

More should be done to prevent young people from taking to the streets and destroying local communities says Imogen Ware

T

he UK riots of Summer 2011 left hundreds of innocent citizens fleeing their homes, abandoning their possessions and fearing for their lives. Many watched their streets turn into a war zone, with adults and children, some as young as 11, looting, vandalising and ultimately destroying their cities. Five people were killed and historic buildings such as Croydon’s House of Reeves furniture store were burnt to the ground. To date, there have been over 3,000 arrests and nearly 1,000 people have been charged and given tough sentences, causing the prison population to rise by more than 100 every day. The riots began in Tottenham after 29-year-old Mark Duggan was shot by police. Public reaction soon escalated to five days of violence throughout the UK. The riots were co-ordinated quickly and targets identified within hours, suggesting that social networking sites and BlackBerry Messenger had a significant part in the organisation of gang violence. However it is clear that excitable teenagers were led astray by the chaos. Their immoral and uncontrollable be88

haviour stemmed from boredom, enabled by a lack of positive influence and no fear of the law. Although some parents reported their own children to the police, many appear to have taken no interest, with one 14-year-old girl turning up to her court hearing unaccompanied by a parent or guardian.

towards their punishments; however as there seems to be no true consensus apart from exploiting an opportunity to cause trouble, I am in full support of the courts’ decision to send a “tough message”. The aftermath of these horrific events called for a drastic re-education of respect and common decency. Five months on, there have been numerous enquiries about the rioters’ motivation. A collaborative report by the Guardian and the London School of Economics interviewed 270 people who rioted in London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham and Manchester, proposed a number of justifications.

Regardless of these horrors, which left my 80 year old grandparents too scared to leave their home in Croydon, there have been many complaints that the rioters’ sentences have been too harsh. Have we forgotten those who lost their homes, their businesses and livelihoods? Liberal Democrat peer Lord Carlile claimed some deDespite initially blaming Britain’s cisions by the court were “questioninfamous gang culture for mastermindable.” Perhaps if his home had been ing the riots, the report actually showed set alight he would think differently. that gang members only played a marTo date, there have been over ginal role. A large number of rioters 3,000 arrests and nearly 1,000 were simply opportunists who described the riots as a chance to obtain ‘free stuff ’ people have been charged and justify their thieving. Secondly, a ubiquitous sense of economic and social If there were a strong accord over injustice, such as the lack of money, jobs what the rioters were fighting for we and opportunities was deemed a possiwould possibly be more sympathetic review magazine | march 2012


ble cause for the frustrated and chaotic outburst, with, 59% of those interviewed being of working age, yet not employed or in higher education. Along with the increase of tuition fees, interviewees also mentioned the scrapping of the education maintenance allowance; somewhat surprising as less than half were students.

timately found that “where young lawabiding people are repeatedly targeted there is a very real danger that stop and search will have a corrosive effect on their relationship with the police.” In spite of the report’s findings, there is still much frustration over the riots’ handling. Many criticise the authorities for displaying a lack of leadership and strategy to end the rioting. Why was BlackBerry Messenger not shut down? Where was the police’s authority in upholding the law? The extremity of these riots could have been prevented.

The most significant cause has been established as widespread anger and frustration at the way the police engage with communities. Some even described the events as ‘anti-police riots’, sparked by the shooting of Mark Duggan. Frustration over those subjected to police I’m sure a question that many would ‘Stop and Search’ is a further factor, as many believe the scheme targets black like answered is where were these chiland Asian communities. The report ul- dren’s parents during these ungovern-

able days? Many parents work full time and it is unlikely a babysitter would be hired for a teenager, but nevertheless, what happened to morality and consideration for the community? One could argue that these riots were ultimately a result of negligent parenting, for despite the deep-rooted grievances about police procedure, violence and disregard for the law is unacceptable. A re-evaluation of policing is obviously in great need, as is a renewed reverence for respect, morality, community and the law.

Where are they now? Samantha Moore

Samantha played a vital role in organising the 2009 Preview launch. In her final year of Caterham School, Samantha studied History, Psychology and Maths with the view to continue further education at Oxford Brookes University, eventually realising her ambition of ‘one day owning her own chain of boutique hotels’.

Imogen Ware

Imogen was the Editor of Preview 2010. Back then, her goal was ‘to study Politics and International Relations at Bath University’. ‘The plan is then to become a world famous actress and use her celebrity status to lobby tirelessly for a variety of radical feminist causes!’

review magazine | march 2012

89


ISSUE TWELVE Editors Megan Armitage Adam Blackwell Charles Davies Tom Leatherby Jo Odling Dan Tiernan Chris Toomey Gareth Tuckett 90

review magazine | march 2012


A democratic dilemma In search of stability in the Middle East charles davies

I

t would not normally be wise to quote President George Bush but his words on the Middle East seem uncharacteristically wise. He was dead right when he said ’60 years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe, because in the long run stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty’ he added ‘as long as the Middle East remains a place were freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment and violence ready to export.’ Whilst America and the West failed to heed Bush’s most erudite of statements, the citizens of these Middle Eastern nations have seized the chalice themselves. The West’s dominant aim in the Middle East has been the pursuit of stability for fear of extreme Islam. It is embarrassing that the dictators of the region were, until the protests started, known as our ‘strategic allies’. The West has fundamentally failed to marry two guiding principles – our opposition to Muslim extremism and our belief in representative government. As a result its response has been incoherent, laced review magazine | march 2012

with contradiction and, often, hypocrisy. We have promoted democracy yet supported regimes that are patently undemocratic. We have invested in armed forces of Egypt, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to help fight Al-Qaeda; yet this has strengthened the ability of these regimes to repress their own people and prevent the very political evolution that might, in the long term, counter the extreme Islamist message. The result was state suppression of dissent, the use of torture on opponents and meaningless elections. The politically impotent populations of such states have recently shown that they have had enough. I have been excited and exhilarated by the recent scenes in the Tunisian and Egyptian capitals; their populations have got the changes they demanded, whilst the West looks on. However it seems my, perhaps boyish, sentiments are not shared by Western governments. With unavoidable comparisons to Iran, their fears are well grounded, but I am convinced that democracy should be encouraged to prevail, not only because it is right, but because it is prudent. The falling dictator Mubarak has been seen as key to the resolution of the Arab/

Israeli conflict. However for Mubarak, as with Sadat, peace with Israel was a manoeuvre to shore up his regime. The people of Israel and Egypt didn’t make peace. Some Israelis regard Egypt as the most anti-Semitic country in the entire Middle East. Peace with Mubarak and Sadat could only ever be temporary, for as long as they lasted and their interests remained the same. Real peace can only come once liberty and democracy are enjoyed by Egyptians. The elections of Egypt will prove extremely pivotal, but even the Muslim Brotherhood have promised to uphold the peace treaties and I am positive that whatever the outcome Israel should welcome them as a democratic neighbour. The West must accept that our preference for strategic stability over political evolution and for supporting repressive governments is no longer credible. In the short term, political instability can be very uncomfortable. But the long term prize in the region could be states representative of their peoples and nations more at one with themselves and each other. This would be a prize worth waiting for. 91


Education: A classical reform Back in my day, things were different

result that there is the potential for the UK also to tumble down the economic league tables, in conjunction with a fall in the international league tables.

adam jones

I

am overjoyed to hear that the Education Secretary Michael Gove has proposed a review of the national curriculum with the sole purpose of reversing a calamitous decline in British educational standards. The striking amendments to the national curriculum will hopefully abolish decades of dumbing down of standards in the classroom. One cannot deny that a child’s mind does become immensely underdeveloped when subjected to the national curriculum. Two fundamental elements that have contributed to this downfall in educational standards are without a shadow of a doubt the lack of both academic toughness and quality teaching. Introducing subjects such as Latin to the curriculum will not only toughen up the failing education system, but will also instill a sense of accuracy, discipline, and understanding into the pupils’ minds. After all, if one studies Latin, one experiences a far more precise representation of society than if one suffers the somewhat meaningless social engineering involved with cushy subjects. Indeed, life in Caesar’s time does reflect the harsh realities of modern society: conflict, crime, and overpopulation, to name but a few. Moreover, there can be no hiding from the fact that one develops a mental toughness and discipline having studied Latin, two qualities that are sadly lacking in many 21st century pupils. Hence, instead of raising 92

This is undoubtedly a prime example of the depths to which education has plummeted in recent years. Under the last Labour government Britain toppled down the international league tables: 7th to 25th place in Literacy; 4th to 16th in Science; 8th to 28th in Maths. Due to these appalling statistics, it is imperative that the government scraps the soft curriculum and focuses more on academic matters and what is in fact being standards to match the more capable taught in schools in order to resurrect pupils’ abilities, and encouraging the the dire state of the education system. less able students to content with the The renowned philosopher Plato acmore able students, standards are being centuated that the substance of what dragged down so that the more able puis being taught is paramount, not the pils are held back and prevented from means by which it is taught. That is obtaining their true academic potential. so far as to say, teachers seem to have However, obstacles such as Left- forgotten that it is the subject content wing educationalists and the fact that which has the most profound effect on British children are exposed to a re- pupils and certainly not whether the markably easy ride during their school- material has been presented on a Powing provide a hindrance to Mr. Gove’s erPoint presentation, or whether the strategies. Furthermore, it was decreed teach has worn an assortment of counder the jurisdiction of the former loured hats. According to this Platonic government that any form of intellec- view, the great teacher knows what to tual or artistic practice must be deemed teach, why he is teaching it, and how to ‘relevant’ before being taught to pu- put it across most effectively. The govpils, which subsequently led to the in- ernment is missing a trick in attempting clusion of ostensible ‘relevant’ issues to make subjects more ‘relevant’ when loosely based on quality, bullying and in fact all that is required of teachers parenthood. One could easily discuss is to teach the subject as it is, without all these social problems in the context doctoring it to suit current social trends. of the Roman world, yet simultaneChildren will respond to the deously one would be further developmands made upon them. If they are ing one’s mental capacity and ability to not adequately stimulated by challengdeal with a more challenging subject. ing material, and consequently face yet Subjects such as Media Studies and more lessons of non-subjects, then the Citizenship just simply do not chal- educational standards of this country lenge the intellect and I believe it is al- will inescapably hit rock bottom. Thus most an insult to a child’s potential if the question for Mr. Gove is clearly still these non-subjects are included in the one of educational reform. Neverthenational curriculum. Having been ex- less, it is not only the national curricuposed to such flabby subjects, children lum that is in desperate need of a total are not encouraged to acquire even a transformation, but also teaching itself modicum of mental dexterity, with the is in need of a thorough renovation. review magazine | march 2012


“T

he car is just like our mother-in-law. We have to have good relationships with our mother-in-laws but we cannot have them leading our lives, living our lives, so if the only woman in your life is your mother-in-law you have a problem.” Jaime Lerner, underestimated revolutionist, dreamer and May of Curitiba, Brazil. When we think of Brazil we visualise extravagant carnivals, vast rainforests and the massive divide between rich and poor. It may, therefore, come as a shock to find out that Brazil is far more advanced in a certain area of life. In one specific area Brazil is leagues ahead of all the other politically democratic, economically rich nations of the world. Brazil holds the Globe Award for the first sustainable city. A sustainable city is a city designed with full consideration of any environmental impact, dedicated to the minimisation of required outputs of energy, water, food, waste and pollution. Brazil holds one of very such cities, which over the past decade has been developed into the famous sustainable city, Curitiba. One man caused this industrial city to develop into the bustling, architectural dream it is today; his name is Jamie Lerner. Lerner transformed Curitiba through a number of cheap eco-friendly methods, many of which could be adopted by Boris Johnson in London today.

Curitiba is one of the most advanced cities in the world and boasts many environmentally beneficial lifestyles. Becoming mayor, Lerner had the aim of “building a city for the people, not for the car”’ contrary to most city planners nowadays. He began this almost instantly as mayor, pedestrianizing the main central shopping street in 1972, in a weekend. This sparked protest from many truck drivers who threatened to drive down the high street thoroughfare. In a revolutionary move, Lerner retaliated: enlisted hundreds of children, review magazine | march 2012

Boris should ‘Lern’ about the future Perhaps Boris should take a short weekend in Brazil and see how it’s done there? jonathan ham

armed them with paintbrushes and pa- undertook a Thatcherite view of security per, and set them to play in the streets. of tenure to improve slum conditions. Strangely the protest never occurred. Boris should take note of Lerner’s This, the starting point of Lerner’s reforms as it comes as something of an popular career, was the beginning of embarrassment that we are decades behis dream. With a tight budget, Lerner hind what used to be one of the poorest was careful how to use the limited an- countries in the world. Eco-cities are nual money. He realised eco-friendly the answer to the future, in a world of triple bendy buses would be the ulti- limited resources. London could take mate alternative to the underground up easily adapted and cheap measures carry 2 million people daily. The cost from its £3bn annual budget. For exper kilometre was astoundingly cheap ample: two years worth of this budget to run at $1 million per km2 com- would buy 3000 wind turbines enough pared to the London underground, to generate 1.17*10^(10)bn kilowatts of which costs $255 million per km2. power (assuming the turbines work at Curitiba is, however, not like many 45% capacity); enough to power every other advanced cities. It is still blighted household in London. London would by something that all Brazilian cities become energy sustainable. Curitiba is encounter: the préfieria and favela slum one of the most advanced cities in the housing. This possibly leads to Lern- world and boasts many environmentally er’s most radical reform of all. In 1989 beneficial lifestyles. Surrounding the residents in surrounding favelas were city are parks which account for 4 times dumping rubbish in the environmen- the recommended green space area per tally untouched fields and parks. Lerner resident. It comes as no surprise, therearranged for weekly trucks to pick up fore, to find that 99% of residents who the rubbish, sorted into types by the res- live there say they are happy with the idents, ready for recycling. In exchange city they live in and would never live for the rycycled goods Lerner offered anywhere else, shocking compared to free bus passes, food and even children’s London were 63% of residents want toys. Within a few weeks poor families to leave! “You get creative when you were out cleaning rivers, streets and take two zeros from your budget. Many neighbourhoods in exhancge for basic other mayors tell me their budget is living items. Lerner’s link with the poor small. For many things, we had no budcontinued; he relocated over 10,000 get.” – Jamie Lerner; from who Britpeople into permanent “eco-houses” ain could learn something incredible. custom built to their specific needs, under a low interest loan scheme. He 93


GUEST

WRITERS

review magazine | march 2012

95


Notes from a small Ireland What does the future hold for the island of Ireland? dick spring

UK to find a resolution to these problems that would be acceptable to the majority of people on all sides. Many attempts were made, including the Sunningdale Agreement in 1974 and the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985, but unfortunately these did not end the conflict. Serious efforts began again in the 1990s to bring all the parties to the negotiation table. Invaluable assistance was also forthcoming from Washington, and President Bill Clinton played a crucial role in bringing about the Good Friday Agreement. Despite the frailties of this Agreement, I believe it does hold the best prospect for establishing peace on this island. It is time now to put all of the historic difficulties behind us and to provide the good will necessary to ensure that we all, Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter, can live in peace on the island.

O

ver the last twenty years I have been involved in politics at local, national and international levels. There were two major agenda items to the forefront of my political involvement over those years — namely, the scourge of unemployment and the troubles in Northern Ireland. Though these are very different phenomena, both had to be dealt with and it is useful to assess what has happened to each. It now seems difficult to recall that the Republic of Ireland had almost 20% unemployment as the norm in the 1970s and 803. We were producing high class graduates who were jumping on the boat for England and on the planes for the USA the day after graduating. There were no jobs or opportunities for them at home. One senior politician even defended the situation by claiming that the island of Ireland was too small to employ its population and immigration should be regarded as acceptable. To further depress the situation, high interest rates and high inflation were also the norm.

that W.B. Yeats meant in the early days after the foundation of the State. Now we have one of the fastest growing economies in the world — we are the number one software producer in the world, ahead of the USA and Israel. We are now reaching the other end of the economic spectre — a labour shortage; it is estimated that we will need 200,000 people to come into Ireland in the coming years. This is a big challenge for all of us, but I am sure that we will rise to it, just as we have overcome problems in the past.

This article originally featured in the second edition of Preview, in 2000.

The other major agenda item on this island has been the quest for peace in Northern Ireland. History has left a difficult and challenging legacy for the divided people of Northern Ireland. After the settlement of the 1920s, and the partition of the island, difficulties were never far from the surface. From 1969 through to the 1990s, Northern Ireland was the stage for horrific turbulence and loss of life on both sides of the divide. It How all has changed – changed became the major challenge for all poliutterly and not in the negative way ticians on the islands of Ireland and the 96

review magazine | march 2012


Lords A-Leaping

Would changing the structure of the Second Chamber really prove beneficial? lord howe

T

he House of Lords has been in the news a lot lately. Just why has that happened? And is it a good thing? The answer to that is quite a long story.

until then. The few who remained have played a valuable role in maintaining the civilised and constructive procedures of the old House. Beyond this, Blair established a Commission to select for appointment, from all classes, a The Lords (or Barons, as they were wide and varied range of new Life Peers. then) first acquired power as long ago as 1215 AD, when they compelled This growing group of non-political King John to sign the Magna Carta diversity – now nicknamed “Peoples’ (Britain’s first charter of human rights). Peers” – has intensified the wide exThen, when Parliament was created pertise, experience and, above all, the (by Simon de Montford in 1265) the independence of the Lords. This modHouse of Commons (with members ernised House is thus able to revise, elected by the people) came into exis- and improve, every Bill going through tence, alongside the House of Lords Parliament. But it is for the “demo– whose membership was almost en- cratic” House of Commons to decide tirely hereditary. And both House whether of not to accept the more came to enjoy almost equal power. expert advice of the Lords. It is the Centuries later that had clearly become elected House, which has the last word. an unbalanced arrangement, because – unsurprisingly perhaps, when one looks Very strangely, however, all three back on it – the hereditaries had estab- Party leaders in the last election delished an almost built-in Conservative clared themselves in favour of transmajority in the Lords. But the Commons forming the Lords – by requiring most, were able – with support o the Monarch if not all, of its Members, to be elected – to secure the two Parliament Acts just like those in the Commons. But of 1911 and 1949, which ensured that not one of them, no one, has suggested their decisions were over-riding, leaving that this change would improve the dithe Lords with only the right to delay verse, independent, and largely expert, Commons decisions for just one year. composition of the Lords as it now is. Nor can they point to a single fault There have since been big chang- that would be corrected by this change. es, which have greatly diversified and strengthened the membership of the Only a few years ago the ComLords. First came the “intervention” mons Committee on Public Adminby Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, istration concluded that “the principle in 1958, of non-hereditary “Life Peers. cause of today’s widespread public disNext came the changes made by Tony illusionment with our political system” Blair. Most sweeping of these was the is “the virtually untrammelled conremoval of all but 92 of the 750 heredi- trolled by the Executive” of the elected taries, who had largely filled the House House of Commons. The Commitreview magazine | march 2012

tee therefore reached two conclusions: First, that there is a need “to ensure that the dominance of Parliament by the Executive, including the political party machines, is reduced not increased”. And secondly, that the Second Chamber must be “neither a rival nor a replica of but genuinely complementary to the Commons” and, therefore, “as different as possible”. On that basis, it surely cannot make sense that the most fundamental change proposed for the Second Chamber – the introduction of elected Members – is the one most likely to extend the influence of “the elective dictatorship” that so plainly provokes disenchantment with the presently elected House. Let me conclude with once decisive set of facts. A typical NHS debate in the Lords featured two Deans of Medical Schools, a dentist, a former GP, two Consultants, a Professor of Nursing, the President of Mencap and former Director of Age Concern. Almost any other topic raised in the Lords would probably attract a comparably qualified cast. There would be no chance of persuading experienced experts of that kind to stand for election to the Lords. Of course, there is need for some change in the present system but surely not in making the Lords a carbon copy of the Commons. This article originally featured in the twelfth edition of Preview, in 2011.

97


Local politics

Has it become a minority interest? eithne webster

I

frequently meet people who have never voted in local elections. Some aren’t even registered to vote, even though this is technically against the law! As a District Councillor I am constantly made aware that many people believe nothing is achieved in local politics. In May 2011’s local elections, the highest turnout was 57%. Many wards had turnouts below 50%. This is part of a decline in voter engagement which is apparent in all types of elections. In 1950 some 83% of the electorate voted in the General Election, in 2001 it was down to 59%, though it rose slightly to 65% in 2010.

be because local government is divided. Surrey County Council is responsible for, amongst other things, schools, libraries and roads. Tandridge District Council oversees housing, planning, rubbish collection, parks and playgrounds. We also have parish councils who organise some local initiatives and have to be consulted on planning issues.

An example of the developing disenchantment and even disenfranchisement in my area concerns a group of residents who objected to an application to install a mobile telephone mast near their homes. They organised a letter writing campaign, the council supported their view and the application Why is this? Why do increasing was refused. The applicant took their numbers of voters feel disengaged from case to appeal and the planning inspecthe political process? One reason may tor overrode the council’s decision, so 98

the mast was installed. Is it surprising that people are cynical about the influence of local politics and politicians? However, they shouldn’t be. As a local councillor I have been able to help people in such matters as disputes with utility companies or sorting out housing problems. Some of my successes have been small; a gate fixed on a block of flats so the foxes can’t get to the rubbish bags, leaving litter strewn across the gardens, a new road sign where one has been worn almost to illegibility. During the snow, I was able to harness the fantastic enthusiasm of Caterham School’s boarders to clear the drive of a care home so the district nurse could reach a patient more easily. Working as a District Councillor won’t create world peace but it does make a difference to people’s lives. review magazine | march 2012


EU

Undemocratic, Bureaucratic and Unnecessary nigel farage

T

hursday (4th June) brought the five-yearly elections to the EU’s consultative assembly. This assembly refers to itself as “The European Parliament”, although it is neither European, in any comprehensive sense, nor a parliament, as this term is generally understood. The EU has spent billions of euros, of taxpayer’s money, on conditioning electorates to regard the assembly as democratically elected and as the source of the vast amounts of EUlegislation, which are making national parliaments redundant; but this assembly is not the source of that legislation, nor is it democratically elected. EU-legislation is generated solely by the bureaucrats and appointees of the EU-Commission and authoritatively adopted solely by the bureaucrats and appointees of the EU-Council. Such legislation is then adopted automatically by EU-governments. Add to this the fact that four-fifths of the legislative, or quasi-legislative, instruments uttered by the Commission and Council, are never placed before the assembly at all, and you get some idea of its functional irrelevance. The principal, valuable function of the assembly is derived from the fact that legislation, proposed to it, but the Commission, thereby enters the public domain, and thus cannot be kept secret; but the pro-EU mass-media are very careful to report this disclosure only insofar as it does not seriously discredit the EU or review magazine | march 2012

the political parties, which support it. The assembly can reject Commission-proposals, but, in the last session, it rejected only two such proposals, out of eight thousand, so this is not a significant power either.

Nevertheless, as I said at first, last June’s elections were important, because they allowed the UK Independence Party – which is Britain’s only unequivocal critic and opponent of the EU – to state its view of the EU in a context, in which its view could not be wholly ignored by the mass-media, as has always been the case in elections to (the real) Parliament. Moreover, given its sufficient triumph (2nd place) in these elections, it is possible that UKIP’s view will have to be considered, by the mass-media, for the first time, in the coming General Election. If this happens, it will no longer be possible for Westminster’s incumbent parties to pretend that their manifestos are either substantially different from one another, or capable of expressing the will of a sovereign electorate.

In addition, the assembly can issue “written declarations”, “resolutions” and “own-initative-reports”, the authors of which use them to advertise themIt will be clear to all, at last, that it selves, the assembly and the Eu, as reis the incumbents, who represent “onesponsible and democratic; but these issue-parties” – dedicated to obeying instruments have no legislative force the EU, whatever it does – and that only and function purely as EU-propaganda. UKIP has a full range of policies, dedicated to serving the national interest. In short, the assembly functions as a propaganda-agency, and as camouflage. It is at Westminster, in Parliament, For a highly dangerous, and entirely aualone, that the power exists to impletocratic, system-of-government, which – ment these policies, and then, only after through its constitution Lisbon-Treaty – the repeal of the European Communihas effectively become a sovereign state. ties Act of 1972 (ECA) from which the EU derives all its authority, in Britain. Each national delegation, to the assembly, is democratically elected, but The declarations of intent, so beloved the assembly, as a whole, is not. This by the Conservative Party to “prevent is because the EU’s dozens of elecfurther loss of sovereignty”, “to repatritorates – each isolated linguistically, ate powers to Parliament” or “to re-newithin its own media-circus, from all gotiate the terms of Britain’s EU-accesthe others – cannot engage together sion treaty”, are so much hypocrisy and in general debate, nor exert common deception – insubstantial prevarications scrutiny of the assembly’s proceedings. to avoid the repeal of the ECA – and will be revealed as such at the General ElecThis mans that the pro-EU parties, tion, if the media respond with a shred of and mass-media, in each of these isolated honesty to the results of last June’s vote. electorates, can tell voters only what they want them to hear. Consequently, while This article originally featured in the preaching democracy, transparency and eleventh edition of Preview, in 2010. “togetherness”, the EU rules by diktat, obfuscation and division; and the assembly is a mere pawn in this great game. 99


Austerity for all or for some? Is it right to penalise those who can’t afford to be austere? michael lesser

W

e have been seeing over the last couple of years governments preparing the population of the UK, and indeed for much of the Western World especially in Europe, for a change in economic culture. Some will argue for a shift from a binge of debt to a more responsible and balanced approach to economic management. Whilst one can accept the general philosophy and strategy of such an approach one has to question the way it is being developed, managed and operated. In essence we have been told by the present government and in particular the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, that we are “in this together”. However the reality seems to suggest otherwise. Certain sections of the community are being forced to take a disproportionate burden of the so called pain. This is demonstrated in the UK by a number of government initiatives and policies and indeed within Europe where we are seeing the sovereign debt crisis being played out so painfully in front of us. Unemployment levels throughout Europe and indeed the industrial world have significantly increased over the last two to three years. UK employment is at 8.5% and still rising, hurtling its way back towards the three million which we last saw under a Conservative administration during the Thatcher 100

years. In the UK we also have youth unemployment at 22% (significantly higher for minority groups), casting a spell and perhaps scarring a whole generation of 16 – 24 year olds. The evidence is that once you have been unemployed for six months or more it makes securing employment that much harder in the future with a rump or a core of unemployment that will not shift over the years ahead. Similar scenarios, but on a worse scale, are being evidenced in various European economies with Spain at a general unemployment level of over 20%, and Greece over 22%, with youth unemployment in both countries significantly higher. Government policy in this country is to deliver a so called re-balance of the economy, with one third tax increases and two thirds public spending cuts to deliver a change in UK debt. Many economists would argue that pulling further demand out of an economy that is already in decline and which has shown significant contraction during 2011, in particular, can only make the situation worse. What is so worrying in the UK context is as per the Independent Resolution Foundation Report, which clearly states that wages of people in the middle and those below will stagnate over the next few years, and gains will flow primarily to higher income households and particularly to those

at the very top. This further illustrates the challenge to the concept of the current austerity plan where everybody will carry weight equally. Evidence suggests that is patently untrue. We have already seen real wages falling something like 4% over the last year, and we still have yet to really see the public spending cuts bite into the economy. Evidence suggests here that certain areas of the country, particularly Central London, will see a significant shift due the housing benefit cuts out of the central areas with significant knock on social affects. It seems as if political leaders, particularly European leaders, have learnt precious little from the 1930’s Great Depression. What we have is an economic orthodoxy driven from Berlin and elsewhere, including economists and politicians in the UK who believe the debt levels need to be dramatically reduced, and their prism like strategy is to cut spending dramatically just when economies are very vulnerable given the recent recession. As a result we have Euro zone lemming like policies, which clobber government spending during a time of low demand. Surely a more sensible route would be to underpin demand and stimulate economies for some activity and then gradually reduced government support and government spending. Instead we see policies that dramatically reduce demand which will in the short and medium term significantly increase unemployment to the levels beyond what we are already seeing in Greece and Spain, with frightening social implications. The Greeks are being forced to further cut spending during a time when the economy has contracted by over 7%. Is austerity going to hit all Greeks in an equal way? – of course not. It is those who forfeit their employment and those who are dependent on public sector wages, or indeed pensions or on benefits which are going to be cut between 20 and 30%. All this must do is further push a very vulnerable economy into the abyss. We have a similar economic orthoreview magazine | march 2012


doxy being applied here in the UK. The economy that had been growing up until 2010, which has contracted in 2011 and will probably further contract even with the optimistic interpretation by Mervin King, which suggests the UK economy will have marginal growth this year, the government is proceeding with taking further demand out of the economy by reducing government spending in all sectors. This will fall particularly on the most vulnerable sectors of all in the UK, which will further increase levels of poverty and particularly child poverty. It will add to the growth in youth unemployment and we have already possibly seen some of the consequences of that high level of youth unemployment with the riots in August. All the indications from police forces in the UK and government departments is that they are preparing for further riots and expressions of social discontent as government policy continues on its one dimensional

review magazine | march 2012

track. One would have thought that the best way to stimulate an economy is to improve levels of employment, rather than further contract the economy and increase unemployment. People in employment is preferable to people without employment and as the economy improves then the re-balance can be undertaken at a more measured pace than the hysterical speed which is being undertaken at the moment.

cause those who are in tears either do not vote at all, or certainly do not vote for the current government. So in political/electoral terms the government has nothing to lose. My real worry is that we as a society have much to lose as the social cohesion will be put under strain, and the ‘have nots’ will express their discontent as they have little, if any, stake in the current system. History has shown us too many times the consequence of such a policy and clearly politicians Whilst all this is taking place we have not learnt much from History. are still seeing the farcical debate about reward for those at the other end, and In the end I go back to the original questioning the wisdom of people on £1 title of this piece – Austerity for all? million plus bonuses. How can a society Sadly we have governments pursuing sustain that level of reward when those austerity packages for those who are the at the other end are being clobbered by most vulnerable and a desire to protect an austerity programme that is imbal- those who have. History has much to anced, unfair, socially divisive and a so- teach us all, and yet many of us have cial time bomb? In the end the policy failed to listen or learn from History. can only end in tears. The cynic in me suggests those in power do not care be-

101


A view of over there from over here by Rick Mearkle

T

he longer I live in England the more it feels like the Presidential campaign of my native land is staged purely for the entertainment and amusement of the rest of the world. Of course, I am referring to the 2012 campaign for the Presidency of the United States of America. It would be difficult to imagine a system that was more drawn out, more expensive or full of more unusual candidates for what is commonly considered to be the most powerful position in the free world. If the United States did not play such an important part in the stability and economy of the world it might be tempting not to take it seriously at all. However, the stakes are too high to ignore what is going on across the pond. You know you are in for something unusual when the two leading Republican candidates are named ‘Mitt’ and ‘Newt’; names that would not sound out of place at a traditional American frog jumping contest. As amusing as the Republican primary race has been, it is no laughing matter. Due to the worrying state of the US economy, the eventual Republican nominee does have some chance of defeating President Obama in the November election. ‘It’s the economy, stupid’ is the phrase used by one of Bill Clinton’s strategists to explain how Clinton used the recession to successfully defeat George H. W. Bush in the election of 1992; the main threat to the current incumbent. As a lifelong Democrat and sup102

porter of President Obama, I find the campaign really begins in September. Republican candidates uninspiring at best and frightening at the worst. As I write these reflections it is still a long way to the Republican National The front runner Mitt Romney Convention in Tampa, Florida at the doesn’t seem to know what he stands for end of August. American politics is unor believes. It seems clear that he is rath- predictable and a lot will happen before er liberal. Indeed Romney is very liberal the convention. If Romney becomes for a Republican, but he knows he could the clear front runner it could be posnever be put forward as the nominee of sible that the Tea Party could convince the GOP while continuing the policies Sarah Palin to make a Presidential bid he has supported in the past, such as as a third party candidate. At the moincreased state provision for health care ment it seems that the ultra-conservaand a pro-choice stance on abortion, to tive former Senator from Pennsylvania mention a few. Whenever I hear Rom- Rick Santorum could be giving Romney speak I can’t help but remember a ney a new challenge from the right. Eiquote from Groucho Marx, “Those are ther way, by the end of the convention my principles. If you don’t like them the Republicans will have to patch up I have others.” One of the problems their differences and unite behind their Romney has with American voters, in candidate in an effort to oust Presiaddition to his Mormon religion and dent Obama from the White House. tremendous wealth, is an uncertainty that he really believes what he is saying. I anticipate that the main Republican campaign theme in the autumn Newt Gingrich brings his own set will be ‘Anyone But Obama!’. They of baggage to the campaign trail. He will try to portray the President as a also has a creditability problem when it liberal who wants to increase taxes and comes to what he says and how he has lead America into European socialism. lived his life. He fancies himself as a If the economy continues to improve Washington outsider who has spent I suspect the Republicans will fail and most of life and political career inside Obama will win another term. The sucthe DC beltway. He is running as a cess of a second Presidential term for social and deeply Christian conserva- Obama will not depend upon the martive who has a rather long history of gin of his victory but rather on elections cheating on his wives and divorcing in another branch of government – who them. It is difficult to understand how will control the House and the Senate. the religious right wing of the Repub- There are many races in 2012 to keep lican Party will be able to generate real an eye on. Let the entertainment begin! enthusiasm for Gingrich when the review magazine | march 2012


Barack Obama


The Euro and the Tories

Would a single currency ever be adopted by the Conservatives? john bercow

T

he biggest attempted confidence trick of British politics today is Mr. Blair’s claim to be openminded about British entry into the Euro. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. He decided long ago that he wanted to scrap the pound and join the Euro. What he has done now is to erect an elaborate smoke screen to conceal his real plans. Spurious economic tests, contradictory ministerial statements, perplexing front organizations, misleading Government advertising, deceitful lobby briefing and divisionary attacks on alleged xenophobes are all part of the game plan to close down any serious debate on the most important issue with which this country has been confronted since our accession to the EEC in 1973. Some of you might be saying to yourselves “well, if it is a confidence trick it’s not very effective because it hasn’t conned me.” The answer to that is simple. Conservative activists, political journalists and hardened sceptics are not the intended victims of the con. The British people are. That is why we hear so much of the five economic tests which Britain is supposed to pass before she can join the Euro. None of those tests is objective, none of them is measurable and none of them is capable of independent assessment. In truth, there are not five economic tests at all. There is one electoral test. That is whether a majority of the British people can be bamboozled and brainwashed into ditching the pound. Do not underestimate the determination of Mr. Blair and Mr. 104

Brown ultimately to get their own way. be determined by people whom we do not elect and cannot remove, and whom They are hell-bent on dragging Brit- it would be illegal to seek to persuade ain into the Single Currency with a of our point of view. That is not decost they will not calculate for a benefit mocracy. It is an affront to democracy. they cannot qualify at a risk to the British people which they dare not admit. Yet, why should we be concerned by the Secondly, EMU threatens to bring threat of the abolition of the pound? As wholesale tax harmonization in its wake. I see it, there are three good reasons. Currency zones, to function successfully, First, joining the Euro involves a mas- require a combination of labour mobilsive transfer of sovereignty from this ity and fiscal transfers. Already the EU country to the European Central Bank. has a role in indirect taxation, and it is Its Governing Council comprises three now taking an interest in business and Germans, two Dutchmen, two Finns, savings taxation and it can surely only two Frenchmen, two Italians, two be a matter of time before it turns its Spaniards, one Belgian, one Irishman, sights to direct, personal taxation. Inone Luxembourger and one Portuguese. deed the European Parliament, seekThey all have one thing in common. ing to move from bantam weight to They have no responsibility whatso- heavy weight, has already called for a ever for the British economy. Rather, direct relationship between the EU their duty is to promote the interests of and the European tax-payer. Many of Euroland, from which we so diverge, as us would be concerned about further they see it. In pursuing that interest, the tax harmonization in principle, but our Bank has enormous power for which it is anxiety is reinforced by the knowledge unaccountable. You do not need to look that harmonized taxes would be higher, into the crystal ball when you can read not lower, because other EU Member the book. Article 108A of the Treaty of States resent Britain’s competitive tax Amsterdam, formerly the Maastricht advantage and yearn to eliminate it. Treaty, declares that the Bank shall not seek or take instruction from any outThe third reason we should be conside body about its conduct of monetary cerned with, and which if anything supolicy. It then goes on to add “Govern- persedes the other two, is the political ments of the Member States undertake agenda underlying an economic one. In to respect this principle and not to seek the words of Wim Duisenberg, Presito influence the members of the decision dent of the European Central Bank, making bodies of the ECB or of the na- “EMU is, and always was meant to be, tional central banks in the performance a stepping stone on the way to a United of their tasks.” If we joined the Euro, Europe.” Closer to home, the former the cost of mortgages and the price of Irish Prime Minister, John Bruton, business borrowings would thereafter said, “we must recognize that politireview magazine | march 2012


cal unity of purpose will be vital if the Euro is to work…countries will not be able to dine at la carte at the European table any more. Europe needs to develop political institutions which have sufficient democratic legitimacy to demand sacrifices of Europe’s peoples and to mobilize them in a common cause.” That statement should send a chill through every one of us. Can Britain go it alone and keep the pound? My answer is unequivocal — yes we can. Britain is currently the fourth largest economy in the world. We are the second biggest overseas investor, with £1,666 billion worth of assets invested abroad, 78% of which is outside the EU. Britain is the third most attractive location for inward investment after the United States and China. Even after the damage inflicted by this Labour Government, many of our industries are thriving. From oil to telecommunications, from civil engineering to financial services, we are pace setters —- winning markets, making profits and seizing the opportunities which new technology offers. A successful single currency requires that its members share a common identity, a common purpose and a common willingness to make sacrifices to achieve that purpose. None of those conditions currently applies to this country in relation to Euroland. That is why the verdict of Winston Churchill, so often misrepresented in the debate about Britain and European integration, was right. As he put it, “we are with Europe, but not of it; we are linked, but not comprised; we are interested and associated, but not absorbed; and if European statesmen should address us in the words which were used of old ‘Shall we speak for thee?’ to the king or captain of the host, we should reply ‘nay, sir, for we dwell among our own people. This article originally featured in the second edition of Preview, in 2000.

review magazine | march 2012

105


Review

Review Magazine  

Review Politics magazine designed and published by Marcus Bott

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you