Articles of a political nature

Sheffield Students Speak Out on Education Cuts


Sheffield Socialists and Students Speak out

Sheffield Students from both Hallam and University joined together and spoke out against the cuts to higher education. The group totaled some thirty students mainly from the socialist parties of both colleges and included  megaphones and drums in what was a loud and passionate protest.

The group made their way down through the cities main streets and past the town hall just after midday escorted by mounted and walking police.

Today’s events across the UK are part of the “come clean” campaign which has followed on from previous student protests. This time  young people of Britain want answers as to why tuition fees were trebled to 9,000 pounds and also why the private sector have been given new degree awarding powers.

It is expected local MP Nick Clegg we be lobbied by both of the Universities unions as the push for change moves forward in 2012.

2011-MMXI: Bin Laden to Bieber

2011 A Year in Review

It’s hard to write about the past twelve months without emotions and nostalgia creeping in. It is hard to give all equal weight and coverage.

This year three men died who collectively are responsible for 1000’s of deaths, Osama Bin Laden, Muammar Gaddafi and Kim Jong il. To many this year may be seen as a year of liberation but for those on the ground it is seen as the beginning of instability and corruption.

The Arab Spring showed the world the strength of human will power and also the advances in media. From Tunisia to Saudia Arabia, ordinary people stood up for what they felt was just and right. The wave of camera fones, tweets, facebook and youtube clips showed a wider world audience the struggle and desires of oppressed masses who felt there was more to life than being held back.

The phone hacking scandal Britain sent shockwaves that have led further distrust and hatred for a Media that focused more on Strictly Come Dancing and the X Factor than it did on the Brazilian mudslides, Mexican gun war, the nobel peace prize and the Chilean uprising combined.

Japan’s disaster and the Eurozone meltdown have deservedly shown those of us in the past twelve months the frailty of our existence and the dangers that exist from both ourselves and mother nature. The London riots, Wall Street protest and the Norwegian massacre showed  discontent in the western world as much as the Arab world and displays global discontent and upset at those in power and at social and economic restrictions.

Middleton, Leveson, Strauss-Kahn, Bauchmann and Bieber are all names that are now known to many while OMG, Sexting and Mankini joined the English Language.

The world’s population hit 7 billion while many wonderful and talented people passed away among them  Steve Jobs, Joe Frazier, Amy Winehouse, Dr Kervorkian, Liz Taylor, Christopher Hitchens, Clarence Clemons, Bubba Smith, Gary Speed, Peter Falk, Betty Ford, Vaclav Havel and Socrates.

This year like all was full of trials and tribulations, successes and disasters, births and deaths. When those who look back  at the annals of history and view 2011 they will see a year when so many of the world’s nations and it’s people said enough is enough and stood up for what they felt was just, right and equal. From Bin Laden to Bieber , MMXI is a year when a lot happened and a lot more is yet to come. Bring on 2012, End of the World or not life moves on and so must we.

Review of the year on Forge Radio with British Journalist Marcus Liddell and I.


Catholic Vs Protestant: European Debt Crisis?

EU Crisis

Is there a connection between religion and the current European Debt crisis?

With the majority of Europe’s financial powerhouse being Protestant based such as Germany, Sweden and Finland and those in debt commonly recognised as Catholic; Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Italy maybe a case might exist.

When one analyses the true state of Protestant ethos which in the past has led to moderation and thrift such as Calvinist and Lutheran principles of no gambling or a life with few excessiveness then a valid case may be presented. One also must consider that Protestants in the past focused on both genders learning the bible from an early age enabling literacy levels to rise and furthering chances of social, political and financial success.

“Thou shalt redeem the time because the days are evil” is often connected with the point that family and career should be prioritised accordingly yet we are looking at a situation where both family and career values are slipping across western Europe and a change needs to be taken with divorce rates rising and many western Europeans looking to social welfare or emigration as more serious options.

God helps those who help themselves” is an often quoted saying but if you look at the corruption that existed in the Italian and Irish governments over the last years this seems to imply that the politicians who helped themselves to large pensions will be aided by god not the common european citizen who is facing up to the fact that Brussels is having to make some serious decisions in order to stabilise our once powerful common currency.

Some critics say the Catholic attitude of “If we mess up, its ok, god will fix it” and “God Will Supply” is embedded in the societies of Europe’s weaker economic states due to centuries of religious impact while the nations with the work hard and make provision attitude such as Switzerland with Jean Calvin and Martin Luther in Germany are left to pick up the pieces. The richest areas in German are the Catholic regions such as Bavaria so is the argument valid at all?

Yet  in Turkey where the “Islamic Calvinist” is seen as a rich man and the astute business dealer. With Europe’s economy waning the point must be raised that one of the richest institutions in the world, The Catholic church is not playing a role in assisting the nations affected or interjecting visibly in European affairs.

With Croatia set to join the EU next July only time will tell where the future of the EU, Euro, and European community lies. Until then the connection between faith and debt crisis is of little significance as we all need a miracle.

Smokeless Fire,

image, Thisislondon.co.uk

“In order to tackle the nuisance and criminality associated with coffee shops and drug trafficking, the open-door policy of coffee shops will end,”

These words were stated issued by the Dutch health and Justice Ministers in a joint strongly worded letter to Parliament four months ago. The Laws are coming into force tighter than anyone ever expected after a spate of serious fines and imprisonments most notably a 10million euro fine to a cafe owner who was also sentenced to sixteen weeks in prison. No longer the land of hookers, drugs, cheese and dykes but a country battling to restore its image as Europe’s economies slide and falter. A government committee has declared that cannabis with higher than 15% THC be declared Hard Drugs. Only the district of Maastrict has obeyed the rules of abstaining from selling cannabis to tourists and one wonders that regardless traveling masses will find a way to get what they truly desire.

From 2012 onwards it may be that each cafe of between 1000-1500  adult dutch citizens inclusively will operate similar to a nightclub with members only allowed. The issue of these new laws has put the spot light on the producers of cannabis for commercial use whose status is still illegal, loopholes do exist with a dutch citizen entitled to grow up to five grams for personal use but when it comes to the issue of wide scale distribution and production the authorities have yet to clamp down.

The drug tourism worth 100s of millions of euro to the Dutch economy may go up in smoke or possibly lead to an underground black market of dutch cannabis cafe club members selling their memberships or drugs for inflated prices or for the use of their passports.

Whatever happens over the next five to six months one thing is sure the sex trade in the Netherlands is either braced for a surge in revenue from disgruntled cannabis consumers or a slide from drug tourists who make the pilgrimage to a new more lax nation that is waiting in the wings to take up the mantle.

State of Affairs, Irish Presidency 2011.

Irish Presidency

Seven contenders, four independents, three political parties, one goal, the highest office in the land. With under four weeks to go until polling day the media is awash with rants and raves, polls and plaudits and above all else a desire to sell stories and dig into the past.

Mary Davis’s recent earnings have really thrown to light the lack of either real experience or credibilty the woman has as a contender. Her connection to Bertie Ahern and complete inability to mention anything other than the Special Olympics leaves her clutching at straws. One must commend her accomplishment with the Special Olympics which was a fantastic occasion but asides from that she is truly lacking in political weight and experience.

Gay Mitchell, without a shadow of a doubt, seems a decent enough man albeit lacking in any form of inspiration or energy. He comes across as  a gentleman mildly disillusioned with this campaign and often left wondering as  to why he is truly here. His reference to his working class childhood and background on the Late Late Show debates was a poignant moment and an attempt at moving beyond the comfortable middle class political image to a man more in touch with modern Ireland. He will struggle to find true support outside of Dublin.

Michael d Higgins is without a shadow of a doubt a true contender in this election, his vast experience both in academia and politics and global affairs makes him a worthy candidate and a man who has true support from a party in power. Higgins’s core vote will come from elderly and rural areas and he is not afraid of saying what’s on his on mind. His political machine and financial clout will keep him in this race until the end, coupled with his strong advisory team and clean record,

Martin Mc Guinness really blows this election into the world media in a way Norris almost accomplished. His terrorist past and inability to answer the tough questions leaves him lacking in so many areas. He is an accomplished politician and a talented speaker and a man who should never be under estimated, a master stroke by an ever growing and astute  Sinn Fein who have tapped into the unease in modern 21st century Ireland.

Sean Gallagher, the farmer, the politician, the tv star, the social worker, is there nothing this man can’t do? The answer seems to be run and inspire a presidential campaign, Gallagher has  a vast amount of ability yet leaves the ordinary neutral voter unphased. His work and career in this country is impressive and he deserves to be in the running but unfortunately he lacks the final gloss or quirky trait to push him into the true dog fight.

Dana Scallon is both a controversial and mildly inspiring figure who does not know when to give up, whether this is commendable fighting spirit or plain ignorance is up to the voter. Her resolute catholic views and staunch traditional approach make her appealing to the older generation and the rural vote of which she is battling it out with Higgins. This looks like another failed attempt by Dana but none the less she deserves credit for throwing her hat in again and again.

David Norris, the peoples choice, the Irish Rocky, call him what you will he is still the stand out candidate in this election. With or without controversy he is the most talented speaker and one of the most experienced politicians in the field. His habit of waffling and being overly out spoken at times needs to be reigned in. These letters have overshadowed first his campaign and now his comeback but he needs to keep pushing through and it looks like a two horse race for the Aras between himself and Higgins.

As a conclusion, the men with the most experience will be the contenders, Norris, Higgins and Mc Guinness, all three bring something different to the table, my heart tells me Norris but the intelligence and political know-how of both Higgins and Mc Guinness will make this a vastly intriguing race till the bitter end. Good Luck to all.

Summer in the USA, Wanderings

As the United States loses an A in its credit rating and hurricane Irene is declared a category three the United States still stands and braces itself in the face of adversity and the ordinary everyday American remains optimistic.

From the sheltered Ivy League existence of Dartmouth College and its Frat and Sorority lifestyle to the dangers of Gary Indiana with its astronomical gun crime issue American people are carrying on with their lives. A recent interview with a  US Navy marine opened my eyes to true optimism in America as unemployment drops slightly to 9.1 million, The marine in question engaged at 20 after six months of a relationship with his fiancee stationed in San Diego spoke excitedly about true love and living for now as America was built on dreams and optimism so why wallow in misery and self pity.

As one in six Americans wake up hungry, one in four children remain under nourished while 30 per cent of the population are deemed over-weight,  Obama’s job becomes harder and harder as Bauchmann and Palin’s Tea party members climb and climb. A nation of extremes boasting three of the worlds five richest men yet has 43.6  million people living in poverty.  A country where the middle class is being lost to college loan debts and banks while many more enjoy lives of extreme excess in country clubs dotted all over the east and west coasts; positivity must stand face to face with these  major issues threatening modern 21st century America.

As the emblem of the Eagle sits surrounded by the phrase E Pluribus Unum, America must draw on Heraclitus’s words, “Out of Many One”,

Sex and a City

Sex and A City

A culture built on men being answered to by women, with one in two marriages ending in divorce and a culture where women feel empowered by prostituting their bodies to drunk men in the hope they will find someone to financially take care of them.

Is this a completely wrong view of New York city? unfortunately the more i delve into the relationship patterns of New Yorkers the more it seems of that persuasion. Women are viewed as pieces of meat by so many men in this city, they are a commodity that can be bought with bullshit and alcohol in their eyes. The women i have spoken to ranging from 19 to 30 have said that they can get men through sexual favors not through their personality, interests or common grounds as all the good men are gay or married.

A university of Iowa study has shown that American women who lose their virginity in their teens are likely to divorce within five years of marriage coupled with the constant fickle media presence showing the perfect husband, family and children can only lead to pressures and stresses in a society dominated by consumerism, advertising and materialistic nonsense. The New York Times survey of April 2011 on sex patterns of New Yorkers found less sexual encounters among 15 to 25 year olds but rampant reckless sex among those in their mid 20s and over. The disregard for self respect stems from an American cultural vice, Television, where women believe offering themselves to multiple men continually is the Sex in the City way to empower themselves and makes them better than men and more in control. Unfortunately the majority are only being used as affairs for these men who are already married or in long term relationships and are usually mistreated and disregarded by the men they are involved with in the long run.

Human Rights Watch has recorded that there was a 25 percent increase in rape cases in North America between 2005 and 2007 alone with one wondering where is it going wrong?  The Gutt Macher Institute has found that although Americans have the same level of sexual activity  as their Canadian, Swedish, French and English counterparts they do so in shorter relationships, and with the continued use of the pill over condoms. This point leads on to the staggering issue of STI’s,  with 9million new infections occurring every year among American adults this is a whopping 19 out of every 1000 adults in the US which puts it on a par with Western Europe and  edging slightly ahead if trends remain the same.

As our world is filled with more sexual content be it on billboards, music videos, clothes shops or in movies and tv, the rates will continue to rise and the reason they are escalating here in NYC and in North America is the fact that they have more advertising and consumerism than most locations  in the world with USA Today stating in an 18month study over 300 separate advertising companies in the US would prefer to go with the SEX SELLS approach regardless of its impact on youth or the sexual degradation of young female Americans.