Some Thoughts on the Election, and Hope.

Hope.

It’s a simple word, yet it resonates with all.

It’s resonated throughout the millennium.

A great man in Cicero, a man through whom we see the best and worst of humanity and all of its beautiful flaws once said: “While there’s life, there’s hope”, and we have life in abundance. Everything we do every single day of our lives is defined by hope.

A student sits their exams hoping to succeed, a father raises a son hoping that they will have a better life than they have had. Politics is no different, all the parties barter with the currency of hope, while the voters buy a stake in them, hoping for a better future. In this election, the currency of hope played out like never before, and Labour held most of the chips. They were able to peddle dreams, ideals and a better world to an electorate seemingly starved of hope, in comparison to a lacklustre campaign by the Conservative party. While there is honour in being brutally honest in the electorate, if we all operated on an honest basis then none of us would live life. We would be starved of hope. Without a shadow of a doubt, Labour’s manifesto could never have happened, it was financially impossible, but Corbyn knew that. They all knew that. For Corbyn et al, it was a far bigger game. They knew they could win far more votes than anyone expected if they tapped into the elysium of hope than runs through the veins of every single person in this great nation.

Hope defines us, it defined Captain Cook when he set off for the new world, Shackleton when he set off to the North Pole and Harry in his quest to defeat Voldemort. Our success as a nation lies in our ability to hope and dream, to strive forwards and better ourselves. This is where socialism can be defeated. Socialism assumes a situation in which there is no hope, where the state has to give you what you want because your incapable of gaining it for yourself. However, as the great Baroness Thatcher proved, if you give a man or woman the ability to achieve what they want in life, the hope and drive to do whatever they want, whenever they want, without the constraints of a paternalistic socialist state deciding what it thinks you want. This argument was lost on the Conservatives in the election this year.

It’s oxymoronic that that at the age of 18, I find myself standing up as an old fashioned Conservative. I believe in the Union, I believe in our great nation and I believe in the ability of our people to stand up and take from life that they want, with the state there to provide the solid foundations that hope for a better future can be built on. Young people, far more than any other generation are fuelled by hope. Corbyn offered them a better world, one in which they felt like they would succeed, and one in which the balance between those who have retired now, who own their own home and have a solid pension, as opposed to people leaving university with anywhere between £27,000 and £50,000 worth of debt and seemingly no way out. We need to convince young people that voting Conservative isn’t about “austerity”, or supporting “the few”, it’s about believing in yourself, backing yourself to succeed and striving to make yourself better, enjoying the fruits of your labour and making far more choices in your life. Our party needs to reconnect with our core, and our ability to give people the tools to achieve what they want in life.

The left are standing up for what they believe in, and I’ll be dammed if I won’t do the same.

 

Is UKIP disintegrating before our eyes?

By Mateo Quintero

Last week saw UKIP lose its sole MP, after Douglas Carswell decided to call it quits on the “People’s Army” and sit as an Independent. This week, meanwhile, will see Theresa May write a letter to the European Council signalling the UK’s formal intention to leave the European Union and become an independent nation once again. All this, compounded with a crisis of leadership and identity, has left many wondering if UKIP as a political unit will soon cease to exist.

Despite its often shambolic administration, it is undeniable that UKIP have been the dominant force of British Euroscepticism over the past decade or so. In many ways, UKIP’s predecessor was the “Referendum Party”, a similarly chaotic political party who were at the forefront of the Eurosceptic movement in the mid-1990s. It was a single-issue party founded in 1994 by the eccentric businessman Sir James Goldsmith (father of former Tory MP Zac Goldsmith) to campaign for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union, which at the time had just signed the Schengen Agreement and was in the process of creating the Eurozone, and thus in the infancy of its superstate aspirations.

What is interesting is that Sir James Goldsmith chose to put his career and reputation on the line in order to run as a Parliamentary candidate in the 1997 general election against the Conservative Minister David Mellor in Putney. Mellor was stunningly unseated in the election, but it was the Labour Party candidate who unseated him and not James Goldsmith. However, it wasn’t the result in Putney which made headlines across the country, but the extraordinary way in which it was announced; with David Mellor delivering a fiery denunciation of the Referendum Party (below) and Sir James Goldsmith leading chants of “Out! Out! Out!” in the background. This remarkable piece of live television can be seen here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-29934257.

David Mellor’s assessment of the Referendum Party as “dead in the water” was humorous and soon proved to be correct, with the party formally disbanding that same year after their hugely disappointing 2% of the vote in the general election, along with the untimely death of founder Sir James Goldsmith shortly after the election. The Referendum Party were also hurt by the fact that they were no longer the dominant force in British Euroscepticism, with other parties, namely UKIP, and some Eurosceptic sections of the Conservative Party, now able to compete more successfully electorally in the name of Euroscepticism.

This same “dead in the water” diagnosis can now be applied to UKIP who, despite achieving significantly more success than the Referendum Party, are in 2017 almost exactly what the Referendum Party were in 1997. In 2017, UKIP’s charismatic (if divisive) leader Nigel Farage was replaced by Paul Nuttall, who subsequently contested, and lost, the Stoke-on-Trent by-election, in what was favourable territory for UKIP. Both of these events mirror the Referendum Party’s charismatic leader James Goldsmith who was defeated in his attempt to enter Parliament and later left the leadership of the party, albeit because of untimely death. UKIP also mirror the Referendum Party in that they have now lost their unique selling point, with Theresa May’s proud adoption of a ‘Brexit means Brexit’ stance. All the while, UKIP’s existence is further threatened by damaging internal divisions, such as the challenge being made by UKIP donor, Arron Banks, who now threatens to fund a rival political movement.

All of this makes it difficult to see how the party will move on from 2017 and continue to be a mainstream political party capable of competing in future general elections. If UKIP cease to exist, as did the Referendum Party in 1997, we will miss out on some of the most entertaining antics in politics. Lest we forget the UKIP “calypso” (https://youtu.be/a7QYJ7pVhUo), Godfrey Bloom attacking reporter Michael Crick (https://youtu.be/jzPBn5SLcxE), and of course every time Nigel Farage opened his mouth in public (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxsnOvTV8vA).

That said, despite UKIP’s undoubted entertainment value, it did poison the atmosphere of British politics. It made many consider that euroscepticism and racism as two sides of the same right-wing coin. And for that, they won’t be missed.

Mon Bon Frère, Stay With Us

By Joe Jones

Well, it happened. The second SNP leader with a suspiciously-fishy sounding name has thrown down their challenge for a referendum. I do not know if the Prime Minister will allow it to happen in such a tumultuous time, but if she does then we have a hell of a fight on our hands to save the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In fact, even if No. 10 does not allow the First Minister to hold her referendum we need to start fighting for our Union. No argument is ever fully won, thoughts are notoriously hard to kill, and if one side stops arguing it simply allows a vacuum to be filled by the rantings of the other side.

Nicola Sturgeon, SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland.

I am certain as all this heats up, again, the economic argument for remaining in the United Kingdom will be trotted out, as it should, however we should not solely focus on it. The economic argument has already been won: there is near universal agreement that it would be economically barmy to jump out of both the UK and the EU (which is what would happen), or even just the UK, that is if the SNP got their fantasy. It would be a mistake to focus on economic minutiae, facts and figures can be debated over, denied and blatantly ignored –  after all in the words of John Galbraith, the only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.

We will not win a referendum on appealing to homoeconomicus, we nearly lost the last one by appealing to it. Instead, may I recommend appealing to that endangered and rarefied species: homo-Britianicus. Across the globe we have seen a resurgence of nationalism and patriotism bound up in the revolt against a perceived political class (in some cases more real than not) who have been viewed as an un-caring, unpatriotic and sneering elite that dismiss the truly proud, flag waving patriots as an ever-so-embarrassing mistake left behind from a by-gone age. In Scotland, this is as true as elsewhere. The Scottish Nationalist Party are, unsurprisingly, nationalists. They are unapologetically proud to be Scottish and as we have sauntered around in England being a tad embarrassed over this whole being British business, they have re-written the culture of Scotland. The SNP have gone near-unchallenged on the narrative of what it means to be Scottish and it has gone on far too long.

The narrative needs to be constructed to re-build the British story, about how important Scotland is to that story. How, throughout history, the two nations of England and Scotland have scrapped against each other. How England has fought against English heirs to the Scottish throne, how Scotland has fought against Scottish kings of England. How, through political convenience, these two nations were joined as one in 1707. How some of the greatest thinkers of an age were forged in that centre of culture called Edinburgh, for the benefit of all four British nations. How this union came to be the forefront power in the world, how it battled slavery, re-wrote the rules of economics, how it managed to stumble forward into one of the longest-lasting and most stable of democracies, how it defeated Hitler and perhaps most importantly how it created the mightiest and the greatest of all biscuits, the McVities hobnob.

Furthermore, we need to loudly bang of the drum over the disaster that the SNP has been for Scotland. They have not led their nation well. They stand on an Olympian-sized mountain of domestic failures coated in a false veneer of populist ‘its-not-our-fault’ rhetoric and centre-piece policies that deliver nothing but a good story. When they are criticised the SNP responds by denouncing their critics as English or, and even worse, a Tory in a fashion similar to that of a demented and radical witch-hunter screaming their vitriol at the latest heretic to Scottish independence – a heresy that I know my Glaswegian-born-and-proud mother is guilty of. The SNP is a master of, and I never thought I’d use this phrase in a serious argument, fake news. They are masters at taking a half-truth and twisting it against Westminster and England, turning a fact that doesn’t suit them into a political tool with which to bash those insidious English Tories among us, who plot against the true and loyal patriotic Scots – seems I’m almost a Catholic in the fury of Dr Henry Sacheverell’s 1709 sermon.

This argument will not be won if we don’t start to re-build Britishness over the border, if we don’t make the emotional case for Scotland and why this beautiful and brilliant country is not just important to us, but part of us. In the words of Elizabeth I, to her Scottish heir James VI, mon bon frère, please, oh please, do not leave us. You are our brother, our sister, our partner in crime, you are family and we will fight for you.

The Conservative Party’s urban crisis: Why the Party needs to do more to win back support in urban areas

By Mateo Quintero

Image: The Guardian

With the Conservative Party currently riding high in the national opinion polls, Theresa May the only Party leader with positive opinion ratings and the Labour Party and all other opposition parties in disarray, it may seem as if the Conservative Party will be sitting pretty at the summit of British politics for the foreseeable future. However, the party is currently facing an invisible threat which the party has done little to address, namely its collapsing support in urban areas.

The Conservative Party has an amazing ability to perform strongly among its “middle England” voter base, having secured 41% of the popular vote in England as a whole in 2015. However, in England’s major urban areas, the Party performed disproportionately badly, as in London where it only secured 34% of the vote and 36% of its 73 constituencies, while the Labour Party (which won only 31% of the popular vote in England as a whole) won 44% of the popular vote in London and 64% of its 73 constituencies. The Conservatives performed similarly badly in the two other major urban areas of England, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands, where it received under 30% of the vote in both regions and an alarming 21% of the 55 constituencies in both regions combined.

This poor performance by the party in the urban areas is in contrast to the last election where it won a majority of parliamentary seats, the 1992 election. Many would find this hard to believe today, but the Party actually won a plurality of both the popular vote and parliamentary seats in London, securing 45% of the popular vote and 57% of the seats in a city which many in CCHQ now regard as a no-go zone during general elections. This collapse in the Conservative Party’s urban vote has occurred in less than 20 years and has allowed Labour to build a “red wall” around the major urban areas. This in-turn creates a vicious cycle for the party, the worse it performs in urban areas meaning less time and money is spent campaigning in these areas during future elections leading eventually to even worse performances for Conservative candidates in urban areas.

 

“White, posh and rural”

 

However, the question facing CCHQ is how can they compete in urban areas – such as London – where they were once able to compete and win without putting disproportionate focus on them. The failure of the party is in its belief that, to succeed in metropolitan areas, it needs to adopt every socially liberal policy position without question, while keeping every other feature of the party the same. This was seen during David Cameron’s modernisation project, which mainly took place between 2005-10, and saw the party shift from being a moderately social conservative party to a socially liberal party, with centre left positions on gay marriage, the environment and social decay (remember “Vote Blue Go Green” and “Hug a Hoodie”) among other issues.

This modernisation achieved the worst of both worlds for the party as it did not deliver the electoral dividends for the party in urban Britain (the Conservatives won only 34% of the popular vote in London in 2010 and 38% of its seats, a performance which basically repeated itself 5 years later in 2015) while also serving to repel traditional social conservatives in Southern and Eastern England, mainly to UKIP which from 2011 onwards began to split the Conservative vote in council and parliamentary by-elections.

The failure of David Cameron’s attempt to woo urban Britain may be due to his failure to change the brand of the Conservative Party which for many in urban Britain still did not reflect them. Out of the past 5 Conservative Party leaders, 4 of them (David Cameron, Michael Howard, Ian Duncan Smith and William Hague) have been Oxbridge educated white men from rural England, meaning that while David Cameron may have shifted several policy positions of the party, he did little to change the “white, posh and rural” perception which is held by many of the party in London, Birmingham and Manchester. It is telling that the last Conservative leader to win a plurality of seats and votes in London was from an urban area and was not Oxbridge educated. John Major, who secured the Conservative Party’s last victory in London in 1992 made much of his working class upbringing in the South London area of Brixton during the election campaign along with the fact that he did not even attend university, let alone Oxbridge. This plays into the notion that the vast majority of voters do not look into the intricate policy details of every Party’s manifesto but instead look at the central message and the messenger. Put simply, the messenger for the Tories in 1992, John Major, was a relatable figure for many living in urban areas while Eton-educated David Cameron was not.

Image: Conservative Home

The continued lack of high profile ethnic minority Conservative ministers will also further serve to convince many in urban Britain that the Tories are the party of rural England and not of them. The fact that only two cabinet ministers (Sajid Javid and Priti Pattel) are members of an ethnic minority is damaging for the party in an era when Western governments are becoming increasingly representative of their country’s ethnic and social makeup. Take the cabinet of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government in Canada where 50% of its members are female and 6 members are of an ethnic minority group, including the high profile position of Defence Minister which is served by Harjit Sajjan. Trudeau’s diverse shadow cabinet undoubtedly helped the Liberal Party’s performance in Canada’s major urban areas in 2015 where it won all the constituencies in Toronto, all but two in Vancouver and all but five in Montreal, three cities which have large and vibrant ethnic minority communities.

The Conservative Party’s failure to understand the issue of representation was further highlighted in the 2016 London Mayoral election when it nominated Eton-educated millionaire Zac Goldsmith over the London educated working class MEP Syed Kamall, who would have surely given Sadiq Khan a closer contest. The fact that the Conservative leadership believed that Zac Goldsmith could win London because of his reported environmentalism shows their lack of understanding in urban voters’ wish to have politicians who look and speak like them, not identikit politicians who have vaguely socially liberal policy positions.

Increased representation of ethnic minority groups and those from a working class upbringing in the Conservative Party (among the Conservative cabinet and Conservative election candidates) is a simple way to attract support in urban areas, without losing support in its middle England heartlands. That way Conservative policy positions can be maintained, which will help retain the support of traditional conservatives, while also giving a voice to urban Britain.

The Conservative Party’s continued failure to make inroads in urban areas means that it could potentially be susceptible to a 1997-style landslide once Labour regroups. An electable Labour leader, such as Chuka Umunna, with strong leadership qualities could secure a confidence and supply agreement with the SNP in Scotland without being seen as weak enough to cave into their demands, as was the case with Ed Miliband in 2015. This would help Labour attack the Conservative middle England heartlands, as Tony Blair did successfully in 1997 and with an impenetrable ‘red wall’ around England’s urban areas, Labour could once again win big in a general election.

Trump risks harming Theresa May and the party in the long term

By Mateo Quintero

Donald J Trump was inaugurated as US President less than a fortnight ago, and yet he has already secured his place as the most divisive US President in modern history. Within his first week in office he has signed six controversial executive orders, which have affected many of President Obama’s signature policies. This was prior to his decision to temporarily suspend the admission of refugees and the entry of people from seven predominantly Muslim countries, a decision which has sparked immense international backlash, and has the potential to greatly hurt Theresa May and the Conservative Party.

Since his inauguration, Theresa May and the British government has been desperately courting the Trump administration, looking to secure trade deals for post-Brexit Britain. While this may have seemed like a good strategy to take prior to Trump’s inauguration, it is now clear that there will be no ‘pivot’ to the centre-ground, or even centre-right ground, and he will instead pursue the policies which he campaigned upon, including going ahead with his divisive “Muslim ban”. This should be extremely worrying for Theresa may, considering that a 2015 YouGov poll showed that 64% of Britons disapproved with Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the United States, including 61% of Conservative Party supporters. However, Donald Trump has seemingly done just that by banning the entry of citizens from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen without much reason other than his citing of “terrorism” concerns. Despite the lack of justification for the decision, it took more than 24 hours for the British government to respond, made more worrying considering that fact that there was uncertainty over whether dual British nationals would be affected by the decision. Boris Johnson’s later condemnation of Trump’s policy will have fallen on deaf ears to many Britons who had already watched Theresa May walk hand-in-hand with Trump at a press conference held that very day. The backlash in Britain to Trump’s “Muslim ban” has already been immense with more than 800,000 signing a Parliamentary petition to to cancel Donald Trump’s state visit to Britain in just twelve hours.

The worry is that Theresa May’s determination to get onto Trump’s good side will harm her and the Conservative Party in the eyes of many Britons, especially those from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) background. This would damage David Cameron’s most important legacy to the Conservative Party, that of attracting minority ethnic support. According to research by British Future, 33% of BAME voters supported the Conservatives in the 2015 general election, which is equates to one million votes, the strongest ever support for the Conservative Party at a general election. However, Theresa May’s playing up to the the Trump government could hurt much of that and do more to further repel young people away from the party, a demographic which the party desperately needs, especially if it ever wishes to do well in urban areas, such as London or Manchester.

The fact that a trade deal with the United States cannot be done until the UK withdraws from the European Union means that it should not be a priority for Theresa May to pally up to Donald Trump at this moment in time. It will take at least three years for the UK to withdraw from the European Union, by which time Donald Trump could potentially be impeached for his long list of past, present and future transgressions, meaning that it is unnecessary for the Prime Minister to risk any political capital by being seen associated with Trump, especially considering that any such association could tarnish the long-term future of the Conservative Party.

An Evening with Andrea Leadsom MP

By Sophie Meakin and Charlie Keegan

 

Andrea Leadsom, a controversial figure according to some, spoke at the University of Warwick on Thursday the 19th of January. She mentioned her position as Secretary of State for The department of  Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), and voiced her opinion on leaving the EU, which was the ‘best thing’ that Britain could have possibly done in her eyes. Indeed, this judgement may have been particularly disputable amongst some members of the audience especially given the younger generation’s’ propensity to vote to remain. Nonetheless, she was greeted with respect and the attention of all those gracing H0.52 with their presence that day.

After failing to become MP for Knowsley South in 2005, Mrs. Leadsom was elected as the MP for South Northamptonshire in 2010 and joined the government benches in 2014 as Economic Secretary to the Treasury. This is a role she spoke about in great detail, outlining her accomplishments and achievements during her time in office. These included cutting regulations in certain areas and opening the stock exchange a record number of times. She then proceeded to outline her movements to Minister of State for Energy under David Cameron’s leadership. This is a role she spoke about fondly but did mention that her previous role was her ‘dream job’. Despite some controversy at her initial start to the role, namely ‘Is climate change real?’, she appeared to have a genuine love and enthusiasm for her department and its remit. This drive was then brought into her role as Secretary of State for DEFRA, where she expressed huge ambitions in shaping the ‘blank slate’ of legislation surrounding her department, thanks to Brexit.

She further spoke about politics for the younger generations and how much they can achieve with it, encouraging us to consider a career in government. She revealed her own reasons behind entering politics (even though she did so past the age of 40, something not often done for government ministers), directly stating that being afraid for her family and her own life during the Cold War was particularly distressing. Her childhood experiences were particularly interesting in explaining her motivation towards becoming an MP at the mere age of 13, issues we are unable to relate to in today’s society, but are nonetheless fascinating to hear about from a candidate in the 2016 Tory leadership race.

Therefore, I urge you not to judge her through her firm and resolute perspective in leaving the EU, but to judge her on her passion towards enhancing the United Kingdom, drive for getting the best deal for the UK during Brexit, and her enthusiasm for her department and constituency.

 

Why membership of the single market is incompatible with the referendum result

By Conrad Lewandowski

The result to leave the European Union delivered by the referendum on the 23rd June was an earth-shattering blow to the global order and the political establishment. By a margin of nearly 1.3 million votes, the British people decided to reject political union with Europe and allow the country to forge a global role in the world. Nothing would ever be quite the same again.

Photo: Frédéric Simon

Or at least you’d think. But the last few months’ worth of debate over “hard” vs “soft” Brexit, which has become shorthand for membership of the single market and customs union, has a definite sense of déjà vu about it. All the same arguments being made now regarding membership of the single market are the same ones that were made before the referendum by the campaigns, and the British people made their decision having heard the arguments from both sides. Although people like Tim Farron often argue that voting for departure from the EU “is not the same as voting for a destination”, it was made very clear during the referendum campaign that the destination for Britain upon voting leave would be outside the single market – in fact it was probably just about the only thing that Stronger In and Vote Leave agreed on.

There are many reasons why implementing the public’s vote is not compatible with a soft Brexit. As shown by post-referendum polls, the primary reason that voters decided to vote leave was to have control over our own laws. Although a Norway-style relationship with the EU would bring back welcome powers such as in areas of fishing and farming, many EU rules are linked to the single market and we would have less say in these laws than we do now. However, if the UK were outside of the single market, businesses would only need to comply with these regulations when exporting into the EU, something only 6% of UK businesses do.

Remaining inside the single market would also mean accepting all four freedoms of the EU, including freedom of movement. Immigration was an important issue in the campaign, as people showed their dissatisfaction with a system which allows unlimited uncontrolled numbers of unskilled people to move to the UK from inside the EU, whilst an Indian scientist or Australian doctor has to go through a long process. The EU has shown very little appetite to compromise on this principle, and there is no prospect of serious reform of free movement from within the single market. Even modest proposals by David Cameron during his renegotiation for a temporary emergency brake on numbers were watered down to superficial changes on the amount of benefits that could be claimed by EU immigrants.

If Britain were also to remain inside the customs union, as some have suggested, then it would be even more of a betrayal of what the majority voted for in June. One of the Leave campaign’s main arguments was that by leaving the EU, we could regain the power to make our own trade deals with countries around the world. This would boost our economy and strengthen our global role. Since the vote, major economies such as India, Australia and South Korea have all signalled interest in trade deals with the UK. President-Elect Trump, a man who often boasts of his deal making prowess, and his new Republican government have talked about a UK-US trade deal, allowing British businesses greater access to an economy of 18.5 billion dollars, while a EU-US trade deal has shown little progress. Keeping Britain in the customs union would also mean Liam Fox would be left twiddling his thumbs as his role has been created to take advantage of these new opportunities.

With the British economy staying strong despite the cataclysmic predictions of an immediate recession, the government should ignore those who wish to frustrate Brexit and deliver the change people voted for, which can only be fully achieved by leaving the single market.

SU council pass motion to lower quorum

By Lewis Hutchinson

Warwick SU’s Student Council have this week approved a motion to lower quorum, the proportion of the student population who must vote at an All Student Meeting (ASM) for a motion to pass, to 2%. This comes despite a democracy review forwarded by former Democracy and Development Officer Olly Rice only last term which raised quorum to 5%. At the time, Mr Rice told The Boar: ‘I think it’s incredibly healthy, and not unreasonable, to have a quorum of 5%. If a policy is truly necessary then I expect that those campaigning for it will do more than just see it through council and rely on passing at an ASM.’

warwicksua

Only a term on from this, however, an emergency motion – not on the original agenda for the Student Council meeting – was forwarded by Democracy Executive Chair Marie Dams, and passed by 8 votes to 2, with 2 abstentions. If precedent of last term’s quorum adjustment is followed, it now faces scrutiny from the Board of Trustees before becoming SU policy. Warwick’s student body will not be allowed a chance to vote on the matter at an ASM.

This comes ahead of the academic year’s first ASM, in which controversial motions such as a boycott of the National Student Survey (NSS) are to be debated and voted upon. Indeed, this motion has received the backing of Warwick for Free Education (WFFE), an organisation which has recently affiliated to the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts who are themselves committed to enacting this boycott nationwide.

It was believed that last term’s raise in quorum, if applied retrospectively, would have prevented around 85% of SU motions becoming policy, such was the sparsity of interest from the wider student body. With quorum now set to once again fall, motions such as the boycott of the NSS will likely be passed far easier. Interestingly, Marie Dams – the emergency motion’s proposer – is a supporter of Warwick for Free Education, who also enjoy the backing of other council members such as President Luke Pilot, Postgraduate Officer Nat Panda and Education Officer Hope Worsdale. WFFE remain a ‘separate’ entity to the SU despite a £400 grant this academic year.

Sam Carter, the University of Warwick Conservative Association’s Deputy Chairman Political has said: ‘This is a blatant conflict of interests case. Dams supports a motion unlikely to receive near 5% backing at an ASM, and has used her position as Democracy Executive Chair to alter SU policy to the organisation she support’s benefit.’ Alexandra Bevis, the Association’s Chairman, added: ‘It’s remarkable that the SU are acting with such contempt for democracy. I feel that the SU made strides forward raising quorum last year, and the hard, considered work of last year’s officers and executives is being quickly undone, to the detriment of the wider student populous.’

A petition has now been started in opposition to the lowering of quorum, it can be found here.

This article will be updated with the latest information and comments as they reach us.

Just who do FIFA think they are?

By Lewis Hutchinson

Little red poppies donned on lapels across the United Kingdom are as closely linked to the coming of autumn as browning leaves, sunset at 5pm or digging out that favourite old jumper. Remembrance of our war dead is part of our calendar here in Britain, part of our way of life. A nod to the past which says ‘thank you’ and a look to the present which says ‘we care’. Why am I making this obvious point to an audience one would assume I can count as converted? Because this little poppy has provoked steady debate over recent years, with FIFA’s ban on the English and Scottish national teams wearing the symbol the most recent edition in this saga.

poppyfootball0111

The international governing body of football say they are sticking to their guidelines, which outlaw any commercial, religious or political symbol on the jerseys of players. Discounting the first two for obvious reasons, the implication of this is that FIFA deem the poppy to be a political symbol.

A judgement like this undoubtedly opens a window onto the distant, backwards, intrusive soul of FIFA, an organisation beset by catastrophic mismanagement and criminal corruption (read: Qatar World Cup 2022). But, leaving FIFA’s structural failings for Gary Lineker to tackle over Twitter, this decision goes deeper in its uselessness. Indeed, it’s totally and utterly counteractive to their stated intention of keeping international football a-political.

That’s because the poppy is not a political symbol. It’s not a symbol of war, not a symbol of imperialism, not a symbol even of freedom or victory. It’s a symbol of remembrance, and that’s it. As the organisers of the Poppy Appeal, the Royal British Legion, themselves say: ‘It’s not the same as wearing a badge with an overt political statement. Most of those who wear poppies do not regard it as a political act. Many will see it as a way to remember loved ones, for instance.’

Rather, to ban the poppy – to ban our remembrance – is the real political act here. It deprives us of what is, for most, a part of our way of life. The ‘a-political’ FIFA, in telling the English and Scottish national teams they cannot be seen to respect the war dead have, I would suspect, lost any shred of respect many in this country had left for them.

The decision also carries no practical logic whatsoever. England’s World Cup qualifier against Scotland will be played on Armistice Day, the 11th November, and as such two minutes’ silence will be observed by the over 80,000 English and Scottish spectators packed into Wembley before kick-off, not to mention the millions at home watching on television. As a ticket holder, I will be among them, and I’m confident most of us there will have our little poppies pinned proudly to our shirts too. In fact, almost the only aspect of the whole occasion to ignore remembrance, if FIFA get their way, will be English and Scottish jerseys. If the poppy is truly a political statement which cannot be associated with international football, FIFA should be cancelling any home nations football game held in early November.

With this a decision which achieves precisely the reverse of FIFA’s intention, and that bears absolutely no basis in practical logic, I suspect and hope that the FA will deliberately disobey their out-of-line masters. And, after all, the Argentinian national team only received a £20,000 fine for displaying a ‘Las Malvinas son Argentinas’ banner before a game, so we’ll surely be treated in a similarly forgiving fashion. Right?

The Rise of the Anti-Establishment

We can characterise the US presidential election of 2016 in a variety of ways.  For many the election has been characterised by a woman standing for the first time in US presidential history, who also happens to be a former First Lady. For many supporters of alternative candidates, the election has been strongly characterised by hacked emails and corruption claims. Indeed, this election has proven unique in a number of ways, however the most significant characterisation of this election is surely the establishment verses the anti-establishment.

160624-world-brexit-farage-1016_fe0ef9526a9a35294a8cfd72045003f8-nbcnews-ux-2880-1000

We shouldn’t be surprised. There have been visible challenges to the establishment across the globe, most explicit in Britain’s exit from the European Union and the wave of Euroscepticism sweeping across other European nations too. The virtually unelected elite seeking to expand their governance in Brussels were finally held to account for their contempt for democracy on 23rd June. Moreover, the election of Jeremy Corbyn not once, but twice in the space of one year to lead the Labour Party echoes the same anti-establishment sentiment. While there’s no doubt Jeremy Corbyn would vehemently deny that his and Trump’s supporters have anything in common, there is an element of shared disillusionment with the ruling class and excitement in voting for the political underdog which has driven both elections.

The USA, however, has been governed by a virtually unelected elite for longer than Britain or Europe. A disproportionate delegate system and the role of money in presidential elections has led to a backlash against the mechanism whereby two families have produced nearly four of the last six presidents. This backlash is personified and utilised by Donald Trump in his scathing words against the Republican establishment and in his complete disregard for political correctness.

Hillary Clinton on the other hand, embodies the establishment. With a husband who has already occupied the White House, she is no stranger to powerful Washington circles. During the candidate selection process one hacker exposed senior officials within the Democrat party for ensuring Bernie Sanders would lose his primaries, with his Jewish faith claimed to be a particular obstacle to election. Such scandals led to the resignation of party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on the eve of the party’s presidential nominating convention in Philadelphia in July, alongside CEO Amy Dacey, and communications director Luis Miranda. The hacker commented himself that “U.S. presidential elections are becoming a farce, a big political performance where the voters are far from playing the leading role”; a sentiment many Americans would agree with.

While Clinton’s perseverance in domestic as well as political arenas is admirable, and there is much to respect in a good amount of her policies, Americans face a difficult decision this November. Trump is the most manipulative, arrogant and offensive candidate to stand for presidency, but he is a reactionary product of the kind of politics put forward by Clinton.