Time to move on: grammar schools and the stale debate

When Tony Blair banned the opening of new grammar schools in 1998, the debate was far from over. Now, in the wake of Theresa May’s announcement that the Conservatives intend to lift the ban, the conversation on grammar schools has picked up where it left off. But why do we discuss this potential lift as though it were still 1950? There are various implementation methods on the table for the Conservatives, and debate must resume as such, instead of regurgitating long-held vendettas. Grammar schools are an updated concept with positive implications for the British education system and society as a whole.

The principal benefit of grammar schools must be social mobility which was not fully pursued when grammar schools first came into being. However, with entry assessments changing, this will be a huge advantage. The 11+ must not be the only entry assessment, rather, children across comprehensives should be monitored throughout their academic careers in order to detect signs of academic promise. As such, there are supplementary opportunities to climb the ladder, and to move across to an environment in which to flourish. We’ll see greater numbers of young people from different social and economic backgrounds integrating which must be considered fundamental to the overall benefit of social mobility.

Furthermore, the twenty first century grammar school must be established in the most deprived areas of UK. The benefits are obvious; the young people most disadvantaged will be targeted. When we evaluate the underlying causes behind much of the poverty in UK, we come across a self-perpetuating cycle. In other words, if you’re born into a disadvantaged area, it’s difficult to lift yourself out especially surrounded by a culture of poverty, in worst cases crime. Through placing grammar schools in the most disadvantaged areas we have an opportunity to provide a way out for young people, a leg up the ladder towards the opportunities traditionally reserved for public schools. While, simultaneously the issue of supposedly middle class families manipulating the system through moving to catchment areas will be largely overcome.

And yet, there’s still opposition from the parties which claim to stand up for the most vulnerable in society. The suggestion that grammar schools provide a two stream education system of the middle class and comprehensives is no longer a credible argument, the social benefits of this system are clearer and more attainable than they were nearly seventy years ago. But then again solutions revolving around hard work, independence and responsibility have never been popular with the state-centric left wing. And in opposing grammar schools on the grounds that some children will remain in comprehensives, the argument is essentially ‘if not everybody can benefit in the same way, I’d rather nobody did’, not unlike Blair’s pursuit of abstract equality which led to the ban in the first place. Not every child is the same, and not every child will be suited to the academic focus of grammar schools.

Let’s pursue an education system which sees every child as independent, both in their abilities, and also from their backgrounds. An education system which is blind to income, and instead prioritizes hard work and merit. The left cannot cling to the same arguments as they did sixty years ago forever: it’s time to move on the debate.

We need to address Momentum, and soon

The Labour Party conference last week shed light on one of the most significant phenomena to emerge from Corbyn’s re-election as Labour leader: Momentum.

momentum

Set up by Jon Lansman in 2015 to build support for Jeremy Corbyn, Momentum is dominated by the young and ideological. According to their website, the principle aim of their 100,000 membership is to create ‘a mass movement for real transformative change’. Despite this vague description, Momentum is in fact a far-left grassroots movement whose political, social and economic objectives include virtually eradicating the role of the British Army, restoring Clause IV, increasing public ownership, and campaigning for nuclear disarmament.

While their aims appear somewhat generic, their existence during the Labour Party conference has exposed the latent culture beneath the beaming smile which declares they just want to ‘make a difference’. From criticising Holocaust Memorial Day, to suggesting that questioning Corbyn’s electability should be a ‘forbidden and punishable offence’, Momentum are divisive and undemocratic.[1] It’s time to expose the reality behind ‘we just want to change the world for the better’.

The merchandise on sale at the Labour Conference is symbolic of the dangerous organisation they are. Stalls around the conference are draped in t-shirts and mugs imprinted with the famous mass-murderer and racist Che Guevara in support of his Marxist philosophy. Other merchandise on sale includes ‘Tories are lower than vermin’ posters, truly embracing the ‘kinder, gentler’ politics Corbyn promised and somewhat disconcerting since Momentum believes 80% of Labour MPs are ‘red Tories’.

However, the great double standard they frequently exercise lies in their hypocritical stance on war, indeed prior to his leadership of Leader Corbyn was perhaps best known for his activism. Similarly, Momentum opposes the British Army’s expansion, funding, or engagement abroad; frequently found marching in ‘Stop the War’ protests. At the Labour Party conference, British Army ‘Make Stuff Dead’ mugs and a book mocking ‘free prosthetic limbs’ scattered the tables.

As many lament rightly such an inappropriate and hurtful exhibition to the families of servicemen and women who have died serving this country, such offensives have gone largely unreported by the mainstream media. The caring and compassionate clothing of socialism has allowed such disrespectful actions to go largely unnoticed.

But they’re not so aggravated by those whom the British Army has encountered on missions. Assad’s mass murderous, torturing, genocidal army nor ISIS’s army has provoked an outcry. No, their funding, energy and political activity has been thrown wholeheartedly behind opposing the British Army.[2]

Nonetheless, the disingenuous contempt Momentum holds for deceased and injured servicemen and women is only one of many reasons they must be confronted.

Their record on anti-Semitism is appalling. It’s undeniable that Labour is under increasing pressure with mounting claims of anti-Semitism within the Party, as Jewish MP Ruth Smeeth hired bodyguards for the conference itself, and a recent staggering 87% of a Jewish poll felt anti-Semitism was ignored in Labour (compared with 13% in the Conservative Party). One might safely assume this is a time for heightened sensitivity around the issue of anti-Semitism.

But not for Momentum.

Only a week ago Vice Chair of Momentum Jackie Walker, who claims Jews financed the slave trade, was seen criticising Holocaust Memorial Day, at an anti-Semitism training event. The very fact this subdivision of Labour even requires a training day to address anti-Semitism is shocking, let alone this woman’s timing in vocalising such criticism.

But why are we surprised? Their leader called Hamas a ‘friend’ (only a manner of speaking, of course) and attended the pro-Palestine events of a constituent who thought Jews caused 9/11.[3] Indeed, it was Chuka Umunna who suggested that “in order to deal with this anti-Semitism issue, do you not think it would be helpful for Momentum to be wound up and shut down?” but Corbyn accused him of veering ‘off topic’.

Corbyn’s grassroots fan club is fast becoming a racist and dangerous fragment within Labour, the extent of which was revealed during their Party conference. Hope for a unified and inclusive opposition to the Conservative Party disintegrates every time their voices are amplified within Labour. They must be confronted.

If not for the unity of the Party, for the unity of the population. It’s not about the context of your comments, it’s not about the phrasing of your sentences. When members of your Party feel compelled to hire bodyguards, feel powerless to involve themselves in political activism for fear of attack, it’s time you stood up and took action instead of regurgitating empty words.

We can’t rely on Shami Chakrabarti, whose investigation found anti-Semitism ‘wasn’t an issue’ in the Party promptly before receiving her peerage and a shadow cabinet position.

We have to rely on the Labour members committed to a unified and inclusive party to persevere and produce an opposition which can hold Theresa May and the Conservative Party to account.

[1] http://www.lbc.co.uk/radio/presenters/shelagh-fogarty/labours-warring-sides-do-battle-over-hackney/

[2] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/26/momentum-jokes-about-injured-british-soldiers-reveal-the-corbyni/

[3] http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/staggers/2016/07/momentum-anti-semitism-and-problem-labours-grassroots-activists

The Legacy of Lord Salisbury

By Joe Jones

London Stereoscopic Company

Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, Marquis of Salisbury (Credit: London Stereoscopic Company)

The EU referendum revealed something that all on the right should be worried about: a serious class divide. It’s hard to think when a vote could be so easily divided along the lines of wage inequality, job prospects and class. This should be a massive concern for those in the centre-right of our politics. A class divide must be something that we should always campaign against especially if we are to embrace the mantra of the ladder for meritocratic justice. The forgotten many found a voice rallying against what they viewed as an uncaring establishment. An establishment who no longer cared about increasing inequality, the worrying reduction of the middle class and collapse of social mobility in this country.

Of course inequality is not something I believe should be entirely eradicated, I am not about to call to arms and fight for equality (I sincerely apologise to the leftie luvvies) – it is a necessary spur to economic development. However, I do think there is a need to reduce it by increasing the ability to rise to the top. The quest of fixing the increasingly large cracks that divide our society should not belong uniquely under a socialist or liberal umbrella and we should be very careful not to fall into the trap of Andrew Bonar-Law who recoiled from social policy, believing it to be liberal party territory.

Instead, we should look to the inspiration of Lord Salisbury – an incredibly underrated Prime Minister. In 1883 he wrote in the National Review of the awful conditions that the working classes had to endure, both in the workplace and at home. He wrote of the need for Laissez Faire to be applied ‘both ways’, benefitting the worker and the consumers. Throughout his three premierships there was a raft of social legislation, covering housing, re-enforcing the right for compensation in the workplace and the establishment of the county councils and boroughs to which he devolved local powers and controls. The work was carried on by his successor, Arthur Balfour, who allowed businesses to tap into government loans to hire more staff and increased the number of schools (including a large boost for girl’s schools) as well as raising the school leaving age.

Brexit has demonstrated that class lines once against divide us, we should never stand back and allow this to continue. It is an awful fact that by Tuesday 5th January this year the top FTSE 100 chief executives earnt more than the ‘average workers’ (£27,645) entire yearly package. As Theresa May highlighted in her first Prime Ministerial address to the country: ‘If you’re born poor you will die on average nine years earlier than others If you’re black, you’re treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if you’re white. If you’re a white, working-class boy, you’re less likely than anybody else in Britain to go to university. If you’re at a state school, you’re less likely to reach the top professions than if you’re educated privately. If you’re a woman, you will earn less than a man. If you suffer from mental health problems, there’s not enough help to hand. If you’re young, you’ll find it harder than ever before to own your own home.’

It is not ‘un-conservative’ to pay attention to these issues. It does not make you ‘a wet’, nor a socialist. What it adheres to is the oldest strand of the oldest and most successful political force in the world – the Conservative and Unionist Party. In a party broadcast, Rab Butler (the greatest education secretary) said that ‘we conservatives stand for the unity of the nation. Of all classes and all interests.’ This is what is at the heart of how conservatives should act. We should stand for all classes and interests, we should embrace the legacy of Salisbury and Balfour: invest in tackling inequality from the bottom up through affordable housing, security in your work, localism and education. It is not a quest to slay the great, beastly evil dragon of the FTSE 100, but more one to raise up those underneath it.

The rift exposed by the Brexit vote is one that needs to be healed, the country desperately needs unifying. Those forgotten many have made their voices heard, and we ignore it at our own peril. A class divided politics and society is not a healthy one, and conservatives should work against it, both in the political sphere and out of it. We should encourage security in work, a living wage paid voluntarily by employers, equal workplace treatment for all, greater autonomy and power for local councils and communities and, most importantly, a local revolution in schooling. Governments that put inequality first have too often been centrally bureaucratic, but as Salisbury and Balfour show, it is possible to enact from the centre and hand the baton of control to local areas and communities to fight inequality, poverty and push for a more meritocratic society.

Brexit will give British football the spark it needs

By Dan Simpson

Brexit Football

 

I love football. So when I tuned into the news the other day and found out that Project Fear had turned their gaze on to the beautiful game, I was rather disgusted. Britain Stronger in Europe were boldly claiming that a vote to leave would result in over 100 of our beloved Premier League players losing the right to play in the UK. Let’s get the facts straight.

We could give them work permits. Well that was a rather easy solution wasn’t it? Yes, I hear you say, the current system works based on how many games they have played for their national team. But there’s no reason why we’d have to keep that policy. After all we would be a free, independent, sovereign nation – free to make our own immigration policy. And there is absolutely no reason that the government wouldn’t want to give them that permit. European footballers bring so much to our game and our country. Not only do they bring millions of pounds in tax revenues for HMRC; they also bring so much diversity and talent that our home footballers benefit hugely from.

But even if EU countries post-Brexit are given the same rule as current non-EU countries; this couldn’t be better news for British football – especially for upcoming talent. The current rules give the most talented players an automatic visa to play in the UK, whilst restricting the ‘mediocre overseas players’ – as Sol Campbell so eloquently described it in the Mail on Sunday. At the moment, young British stars coming through academies in British clubs are being crowded out by many other youngsters from all across the EU without given a fair chance at their home club. The Premier League is one of the most prestigious names in global football. And I think it is obvious that an exit from the European Union could enable young British talent to prosper; meanwhile the biggest names and talents from all over the world are still able to show off their talents.

It goes further than this though. Another claim made by Karren Brady recently in the Guardian is that Britain’s membership of the EU means that British footie fans benefit from ’not having to pay for visas’ when they want to see away matches in Europe. But as British citizens we already have visa-free access to 175 countries across the world, 84% of which are not members of the European Union! So the claim that EU countries would start implementing visas to British nationals is absurd. And this isn’t even taking in consideration of all the benefits that the fans bring along. They boost the economies of the host countries with all the taxis they hire; hotels they stay in; pints they drink and pies they eat at the game.

It does worry me to think that Project Fear has hijacked this debate. After a quick Google search, the number of articles articulating Mrs Brady’s point of view overwhelmingly outweighs the few, like Sol Campbell, that are defending British football.

For many in Britain, football is a large part of their life. British football has been struggling recently, with many England fans being incredibly disappointed in performances in the World Cup and European Championships. We need that spark, and I think that Brexit will give us just what’s needed. So I sincerely hope that the designated leave campaign is able to articulate a vision of hope and prosperity for post-Brexit football in Britain.

UWCA goes to Party Conference

– Joe Jones

With eight months to go until the general election I didn’t quite know what to expect from my very first conference. I believed that our record in government (despite the coalition) was a good one; yet the party remained behind in the polls. I found Labour to be a party whose conference seemed not only downbeat but also slightly forgetful in some speeches when it came to the deficit!

This combined poll disadvantage combined with the threat of UKIP defections has, according to media narrative, marred the spirit of the Conservative Party, which should be expecting an electoral defeat anyway. But the media frenzy that was whipped up was anything but far from the truth at the conference. If the defections from Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless had done anything of consequence, then they had made the party more determined and united in the run-up to the general election. As for this apparent expectation of defeat, the confidence that ran through the party members was extraordinary.

There was one thought and one word on all the lips in the party that resonated loud and clear: ‘Five More Years!’

This year’s conference, in the ICC hall in Birmingham, offered the best and brightest of Tory talent.  There was also room for those not directly related to the party who came to debate on key issues at the many fringe events that were scattered around, either in the tents around the ICC or at the numerous buildings on its periphery. For anyone who tells you that Conservative party is part of some ‘Westminster Consensus’ they have clearly never experienced a Conservative Party Conference like this one. The talent ranged from our Prime Minister, David Cameron, to White Dee, yes White Dee from ‘Benefits Street’, and even including Christopher Biggins. And Warwick Conservatives were spotted not just in the main hall but in fringe events about welfare to the NHS to the tax system, seen selling Ed Milliband beer bottles from the party stand, and exploiting the endless opportunities for free alcohol. It was an exceptional couple of days that whole-heartedly re-enforced my confidence in the Conservative Party.

Day 1:

The conference sprung into action with memorable speeches from our Party Chairman, Grant Shapps, and a heart-wrenching goodbye from the beloved William Hague. Later, in a typically British “go get ‘em” spirit, a massive campaign trip of 750 conservatives hit the streets of Birmingham Northfield in a display of pure belief in what the Conservatives offer.

Day 2:

The focus was on the economy and George Osborne led the way here, outlining his ideas on how to make the economy more fair (ensuring benefits would not overshadow a working income and cutting the 55% pension ‘death tax’). Earlier, Liz Truss (Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) talked about regaining the British food market and ‘putting the British Apple back at the top of the tree’. Sajid Javid (Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport) gave a rousing speech that included a discussion on how he retained the belief that British Culture still has strength. Patrick McLoughlin (Transport) raised cheers from the crowd when he spoke of how he had stood up to Arthur Scargill when the miner’s strike was called against Margaret Thatcher. Then came Ian Duncan Smith (IDS), who outlined his ideas for Benefit Cards in order to stop claimants from gambling and spending their money on drugs and alcohol.

Day 3:

Tuesday brought on-stage the two main contenders for the future leadership of the Party. Theresa May took a stern and hard approach to her speech, where she raised the hall to their feet with stern words towards those who are threatening the safety of UK citizens with terrorism. She established herself as our new Iron Lady with her dominating and serious persona. The patron saint of Boris Johnson, or ‘Bo-Jo’, took his typical approach to the speech, which I think I can only describe as a ‘belter’.  He waved a brick around and gave us all ‘permission to purr’ at his enthusiastic and rabble-rousing speech, which shook the hall with laughter; it is easy to see how Boris has gained his ‘celebrity-factor’.

Nicky Morgan made her stance very clear on education and it is clear that she will carry on Michael Gove’s legacy (who received a standing ovation as tribute to his reforms and struggles in his time as Secretary of State for Education). An exceptional reply to Andy Burnham was Jeremy Hunt’s speech, where he told us ‘it is not Labour’s NHS’; it is all of ours.

Day 4:

On the final day we began with defence and foreign affairs, where Philip Hammond broke down his prior image of the ‘stern boring man’ and entertained the conference hall with his humour (poking fun at his predecessors lack of hair) and then striking harsh words on Russia and ISIL.

However for the top of the ‘big meat’ speeches, of course, has to be David Cameron’s speech. It was called his best speech, and I am honoured to say I was in the room because I, along with the rest of the crowd, was swept away with pride at seeing our Prime Minister at his very best. Michael Gove introduced him in his usual rhythmical tone, as he rode on the tide of admiration for his reforms (and of course the man he was introducing); then after a quick election video, David Cameron came on-stage. He banged out policy after policy, taking pride in his achievements in office, but at the same time, keeping in mind that so much more can be and has to be done. His tax cut promises will impact 30 million, and end of zero-hour contracts. That wasn’t all: the PM went on to tell us about how he plans to hold a referendum in 2017 on our membership of the EU, replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights and fix the unfairness of the English votes problem (whereby Scottish and Welsh MP’s vote on UK issues but English issues are for English MP’s alone).

These were just a few of the policies announced but one thing was for sure, the hall was behind him. The chant began as he started to leave the hall, ‘5 more years, 5 more years’; as it resonated around an optimistic feeling began to swell around us; I feel more and more confident that we can really win in 2015.

We are the true party of ‘one nation working together’ (as George Osborne put it in his conference speech). There is an overwhelming excitement now that we will be the party to cut the taxes of 30 million people, lower the deficit and put Britain back into the black. To copy the oft-repeated catch phrase of the PM’s speech: ‘A Britain that everyone is proud to call home’.

Joe Jones is a member of the University of Warwick Conservative Association

When ‘No’ shattered the ‘Quo’

– James Anderson

 

It would be no exaggeration to state that the Scottish Referendum has changed the United Kingdom forever. The passion that has been demonstrated in both the Yes and No campaigns is inspiring, and further cemented by an unprecedented overall turnout of 84.5%. The myth that ordinary people are either not concerned with politics, or apathetic to it, has been shattered.

The consequences of the No vote need to be taken with a pinch of salt, nevertheless. Pundits from most major media outlets point to the fact that although Scotland voted No, a significant number voted Yes – in fact Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, voted Yes to Independence. The No campaign was very much complacent throughout the majority of the campaign, seeing its huge lead in the opinion polls as a sign that the race would indeed be easy. Its arguments were largely based on the negatives and uncertainties associated with Independence, which allowed the Yes Scotland campaign to essentially ‘own’ positivity in the debate. We cannot forget that the Better Together campaign only changed its tune when a YouGov poll put the Yes campaign ahead for the first time.

More importantly, it has become disparagingly clear that a lot of Scottish voters used the Yes campaign as a way of voicing their protest against mainstream politics in Westminster, or in the increasingly used phrase, “the establishment”. It would not be out of place to claim that the SNP and UKIP have punched above their weight precisely because they have tapped into this sense of anger against Westminster political culture.

The Scottish Referendum has delivered its result, but the energy and feeling that powered the will to make things change on both sides of the independence argument, remains. The Prime Minister is absolutely right in using this opportunity to make a change, and potentially devolve power to England, and is absolutely right in finally attempting to end the mess that is the West Lothian Question.

The idea that Scottish MPs can vote on English issues, but English MPs cannot vote on Scottish issues, is an indefensible idea. However, despite this, Labour will attempt to keep the Status Quo, not for the sake of fairness or even in the principle of democracy, but as a way of keeping their own MPs represented in Parliament. Perhaps there is a legitimate concern from the Labour party that the Conservative party might use this opportunity for their own political gain. But the truth of the matter is that the English people will not tolerate the Status Quo any longer, and rightly so. Labour must accept that change will have to be delivered on the West Lothian Question from this government or the next.

The road ahead towards increasing power for the various components of the United Kingdom will not be an easy one. Despite this, it can only be described as the right road to take.

James Anderson is the Secretary of the University of Warwick Conservative Association

A Second Iraq War Won’t Solve this Current Crisis

– Chris Shaw

 

With the advent of ISIS, a powerful Islamist group that has taken swathes of Iraq in a matter of months, there has been a huge call to again intervene so as stop ISIS creating a new caliphate and massacring the local non-Muslim populace[1][2]. However, these calls fundamentally ignore the history of what our involvement in Iraq has already caused. By intervening again, we will simply provide more propaganda for ISIS, thus creating more anti-American sentiment among the Sunni populace that resides in ISIS territory. It seems once again that the military-industrial complex and their complicit politicians in many Western countries, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom, has a vice like grip on foreign policy, saying either we intervene with boots on the ground or we allow ISIS to become an unprecedentedly powerful group that can threaten Western civilisation. However, instead of taking these statements as gospel, we must look at what previous involvement in Iraq has achieved.

 When we look at Western involvement in Iraq, we see a chequered history of continually supporting one side or the other, whether it be providing weapons to Kurdish fighters in the 70s to fight the Ba’athist regime or providing support for Saddam Hussein in the 80s during the Iran-Iraq War, to then making inflated claims in 2002 that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and had aided al-Qaeda terrorists involved in 9/11. What this record seems to show is a failure to help the Iraqi population in any meaningful way, so why should this new intervention be any different. What can actually be achieved by putting troops back into Iraq. Some say with our help the Kurds and what remains of the Iraqi army can push back ISIS and crush them. However, we tried this tactic in Afghanistan and what happened, an Islamist group that had governed for five years quickly turned into a guerrilla group that created a protracted, difficult war that after 12 years of fighting resulted in the beginning of negotiations with the Taliban. If this is the case with a similar Islamist group, then we can see what will become of ISIS. They will decentralise themselves and still provide services to many areas of Iraq, thus winning their propaganda war and meaning Western troops put back into Iraq will have minimal support from the local population, much like what occurred the last time we invaded. And speaking of propaganda wars, if we do choose to reoccupy Iraq we will provide even more propaganda for ISIS to proliferate.

 To understand ISIS, we must look at how they developed. What we see is an opportunistic Sunni leader who saw an opportunity to find support for a radical Islamist vision among a population that had endured the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the installing of a Shia-led government (by the occupational forces) that turned out to be no friend of the Sunni population[3]. Frankly the propaganda spread by al-Qaeda in Iraq and continued by ISIS had written itself, as Maliki turned out to be a Shia variation of Hussein. We have to understand that while the leaders of these Islamist terrorist groups are opportunistic and are looking to make their blueprint for a jihadist state a reality, the people who fight under them are just sick of American intervention in their affairs and have come to believe these fringe clerics are the answer to them being allowed to return to a normal life. If Western leaders choose to occupy again we will see that ISIS can further win the hearts and minds of Sunni populations and tribal leaders, who have been kept out of government and persecuted under the US backed Maliki. And it’s not like ISIS will be unable to capitalise on these propaganda opportunities, as their ability to co-opt social media has shown[4]. In the end if we want to create a protracted, never-ending conflict in Iraq that provides no benefit to Western nations and allows for ISIS to win the hearts and minds of the Sunni populace, then we should reoccupy and watch Iraq further fall into chaos.

 However, just because it has been painted that military action is the only action available, it isn’t. David Cameron’s provision of humanitarian aid to the brutalised Yazidi and Iraqi Christian populations has been an intelligent move, as it doesn’t fuel ISIS’s propaganda campaign and is a genuine attempt to help the persecuted people under ISIS control. Further, we should be putting pressure on the new Iraqi government to open dialogue with Sunni tribal leaders, who have in many cases allowed ISIS to take control as they see it as an opportunity to regain lost political and economic power that Maliki took from them. While these actions will not stop ISIS in its tracks, it will mean that they will local support as tribal leaders move away from warily backing ISIS and will not allow for ISIS to have vice-like grip on the local Sunni populace.

As a final word, I say that for the sake of common sense and as a way of actually learning from our mistakes, the West should not once again become involved in Iraq.

Chris Shaw is a member of the Warwick University Conservative Association

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jun/15/tony-blair-west-intervene-iraq-isis-military-options

[2] http://rt.com/uk/179760-iraq-terrified-military-intervention/

[3] http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2014/08/08/Iraq-s-Maliki-an-established-dictator-.html

[4] http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/western-intervention-in-iraq-would-be-a-gift-to-isis-9554841.html

Chairman’s Message 2014

Warwick Conservatives is one of the most active university associations in the country, campaigning across the West Midlands.  This year, election year, we hope to take the society even further, making a real difference in 40:40 seats as well as on campus.

With high-profile thinkers and politicians already lined up, Warwick Conservatives aim to promote policy discussion and debate on campus. Alongside campaigning, speaker events, policy discussions, and debates; the society also holds socials ranging from the Hagueathon bar crawl to football.

We are a ‘broad tent’ and welcome confirmed conservatives and the politically uninitiated alike.

With great socials and speakers’ events this year and a friendly membership, we hope to get as many people involved with the election campaign this year as possible – join us here, get in touch, or come along to one of our events.

 

Best Wishes

 

Georgina Stockley signature

 

 

 

Chairman 2014/2015

Warwick Conservatives New Website

News 1

It has taken a considerable amount of time and computer-throwing, but our new website is now up and running! There are a number of features on this website that differ from the previous version of the website:

Firstly, we now have a fully operational Freshers’ section of the website for all you First Years’ out there. This page will be regularly updated to point you in the right direction (no pun intended) with regards to events, socials and other exclusively First-Year-related content.

Which leads directly onto my second point; we now have a more operational events page. Here, you can see all the events we have pinned for the foreseeable future, and you can even use the “categories” tab to find events specific to campaigning/SU/socials etc.

Also new is the social tab installed at the bottom of every page on the website to link you to our Twitter account, Facebook page, Youtube Account and Google+ e-mail.

Finally, we have started to develop our Alumni network for the website, which will likely be more operational in the coming few weeks.

And that, in short, is part of the new content. As part of our new networking scheme for the next academic year, we hope that the website will continue to be more interactive and we will continue to make sure that all the content on the website is current.

Our plans for the future are to naturally continue to expand on the Alumni network and fully integrate the website into all our online media outlets.

To find out more about these changes, or ask any queries relating to the website changes, please feel free to contact our Secretary for 2014/2015, James Anderson at warwickcons@gmail.com for a quick response.

The Results are in for Education Reform

– Jack McCann

 

As I watched the developing news commentary on this year’s ‘A’ Level results day, I could sympathise with those nervous students, impatiently waiting for their UCAS Track to update and reveal their fate. One year on from my own results day, I was reliving the same images of new school leavers, some celebratory and some sorrowful, on the 24-hour news channels.

Reports have emerged that a record number of school leavers have been awarded a place at university on ‘A’ Level results day 2014. No comment about the Michael Gove’s education reforms. No comment about hardworking students, striving through strikes in schools. No comment about success for boys, as the performance gap between the genders narrows.

By contrast, indeed, it was reported by the TES[1] that Head Teachers were worried about the impacts of education reform. The Labour Party has vowed that, if victorious in next year’s General Election, it will execute a U-turn[2] on Gove’s reforms. The ever-rampant Owen Jones has supported condemnation of the Government’s approach to education, describing it as ‘neo-Victorian’[3].

More school-leavers from disadvantaged backgrounds were awarded a place in university this year than ever before. This generation has been better tested than their parents and grandparents before them, as we have seen overall passes at ‘A’ Level drop but the number of top A* grades increase. Despite the increased financial burden on students due to fees, the evidence demonstrates that students are not deterred from attending university. More disadvantaged students than ever are seeking a degree level education.

I am the first in my family to attend university. Although my household income may be below the national median average of £25,734, I was not deterred. I side with this year’s cohort of aspirational school leavers, who worked hard to get good results. I side with Michael Gove and the Conservatives, who went against the critics and the strikers to help our young people towards success.

Britain’s soon-to-be university freshers clearly acknowledge that their education, at a potential cost of £27,000+ for tuition, is a worthwhile investment. This is proof that accusations stating the Conservatives have been ‘turning the clock back on social mobility’ are totally unfounded. The critics have been proved wrong. We have not stifled our young people’s hopes for the future, but invigorated them to rise above current standards. The results are in for Britain’s ‘A’ Level students – the results are in for education reform.

Thanks to changes for the better in our school system, our young people, especially those who haven’t had the most advantageous of starts in life, aspire to better. Thanks to Michael Gove for his stalwart ambition to fight the unions, the striking teaching staff and the critics, as he went against the trend. His actions have paid off for our young people on results day, and will deliver for Britain in the future.

Jack McCann is the Deputy Chairman (Political) of the University of Warwick Conservative Association

[1] http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6439342

[2] http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/aug/11/labour-overturn-gove-a-level-reforms)

[3] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/michael-gove-creating-neo-victorian-curriculum-for-primary-schools-says-professor-who-led-massive-review-into-sector-8837223.html).