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Who deserves your vote?

The general election is just days away.

With this in mind, here at Notre Dame we’ve decided to hold our very own general election! So, who exactly are the aspiring Ed Milibands and Natalie Bennetts of Notre Dame?

Well, we’ve compiled a handy list of all the candidates, so you can decide for yourself just who is worthy of your vote!

Labour Candidate, Annie Maloney, poses for a photo with Ed Miliband on a campaign day in April 2015.

Firstly, we have Annie Maloney, who is standing as The Labour Party’s candidate.  So, just what exactly does the Labour party mean to her?

“A handshake. Two hands.  That’s what the Labour party means to me. I support you, you support me, whoever you are, wherever you come from. Shoulder to shoulder, hand to hand.”

The focus of Labour’s college campaign will be based around the idea of creating “A country where the next generation can do better than the last.”  However she was reluctant to reveal any policy details, stating that “We’re saving the key details for our leaflets.”

In her spare time, she enjoys canvassing for the local Labour party, in support of Veronica King, the candidate for Elmet and Rothwell. She’s also a huge fan of vintage clothing, tea, and the hit TV show ‘The Walking Dead’, and is particularly proud of her ‘Miliselfie’.

Next up is Joe Doyle, who is standing for The UK Independence Party. In Joe’s words; why should you vote for him? “I will campaign for the withdrawal of The UK from Europe, because I believe that although we have an interest in Europe, we are not part of Europe.”  In terms of policy, UKIP will be focusing on abolishing the bedroom tax, and blocking the construction of HS2.  Inheritance tax is also an important issue, with Joe arguing that “The bequeathal of property to a loved one is not a form of income and the government has no right to interfere.”

In his spare time, he plays several musical instruments and is also ‘partial to fine dining’.

Now say hello to George Walker, The Green Party candidate!

So why did George join the Green party? “After starting to study Politics at Notre Dame I decided I wanted to get more involved in politics and joined the Green Party in October 2013. I joined the Green Party as they are the only left-wing party standing up for the values I believe in.”  The Green Party’s campaign will centre on their 3 key policies of abolishing university tuition fees, fighting the creeping privatisation of The NHS and reducing inequality by ensuring that all employers pay at least a living wage of£10.

George Walker is supported by Notre Dame’s Green campaign team.

Outside of politics, he loves music, sport and travel. He said: “I enjoy going to gigs and festivals and watching and a variety of sports such as football, baseball and the NFL.”

Any finally, Marilyne Ebu has made a last-minute decision to stand as The Conservative candidate.

Some of the Conservative policies which Marilyne champions are; ensuring that those on the minimum wage don’t pay tax, supporting working parents by giving parents £5,000 of free

Conservative candidate Marilyne Ebu urges Notre Dame students to “Vote Conservative!”

childcare, and protecting the triple lock on pensions. Marilyne is particularly proud of The Conservative’s record in government, particularly the 2.2 million extra apprenticeships which have been created.  In her spare time, she enjoys listening to K-Pop, dancing, and being involved with her local church and community.

Want to put your questions to the candiates? Come along to the hustings on Friday, at 1:00pm in the lecture theatre and give them a grilling!

Voting will take place on Thursday 7th May, from 10:00am to 2:00pm in the main hall.  Put a cross in the box and make sure that your voice is heard!

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Philip Davies: The Controversial Conservative

There are many adjectives which you can use to describe Philip Davies.

Boring is not one of them.

He is infamous for currently being the most rebellious serving Conservative MP, having voted against his party’s Whip 120 times. He is also well known for using the tactic of filibustering to kill off legislation he dislikes. A quick google search will also bring up allegations of a spurious involvement in the gambling industry and a controversial chain of correspondence to the Equality and Human Rights Committee, in which he reportedly asked ‘whether it was racist for a policeman to refer to a BMW as ‘black man’s wheels’.

Mr Davies answers students’ questions. Photograph: Kevin Warnes

On his visit to Notre Dame on Friday 6th February 2015, he initiated an hour long Q&A session with students in the lecture theatre. It began with a question on the subject of surveillance; a topic which has recently been in the news because of the high profile terrorist attacks in Paris. Mr Davies defended his authoritarian stance on surveillance, by arguing that it does not infringe upon our day-to-liberties. He said “It’s a question of when we suffer another terrorist attack in this country, not if.”

Another bone of contention was the minimum wage. Mr Davies notably said in 2011 that “the minimum wage can be more of a hindrance than a help.” In the case of some disabled jobseekers.  He continues to stand by his position on this, despite the storm of controversy which it created.  During this session, he re-affirmed his position on the issue, stating that he “disagrees with the minimum wage on principle.” And that “what somebody is paid is a matter between the employer and the employee.”  His argument was that disabled people are facing poor employment prospects, and should be allowed to work for less than the minimum wage to make them more attractive to employers.

I wonder how Mr Davies would respond to his government’s closure of the UK’s remaining Remploy factories?

Former Remploy workers protest in April 2012. Photograph: Getty Images

Sheltered factories have long been a contentious issue amongst disability rights campaigners; however they undoubtedly provided vital employment to those with disabilities. Remploy opened it’s first factory in Brigend, Wales in 1946. At their peak, in the late 1980s, Remploy factories employed more than 10,000 people at 94 sites, with employees performing a wide range of invaluable tasks, including bookbinding, monitoring CCTV images and carpentry.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4′s ‘Face The Facts’ programme, Simon Huntington, a former Remploy employee from Durham explained the personal impact of the factory closures. “My whole life at the moment is thanks to Remploy – and now that’s gone, my life is gone. I’m so proud that I worked for Remploy and I will continue saying that. Remploy was a lifesaver. Remploy was my life.”

Now, most of the work that Remploy undertakes focuses on delivering careers advice to disabled people, aiming to encourage them into mainstream employment through disability friendly employers such as Marks and Spencers.   Despite this, the Department of Work and Pensions is aware of less then a third of ex-Remploy employees who have managed to find new jobs. PIC CREDIT: Former Remploy workers protest in April 2012. Photograph: Getty Images

Disability employment is a complex issue, and the DWP faces many difficult decisions in the future. However if one thing is clear, it is that abolishing the minimum wage is not the answer.

Perhaps the most controversial issue was the topic of equality.  Mr Davies voted strongly against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act of 2013, saying that “You are living in Cloud Cuckoo Land if you believe it promotes equality.”  He argued that the act is ‘fundamentally flawed’ due to it’s provisions for divorce.

Due to a series of historical rulings which form a body of complex case law, a homosexual couple cannot cite either adultery or non-consummation as the reason for divorce. Instead, they can use the umbrella term of ‘unreasonable behaviour’, which is currently cited by 98% of heterosexual couples as the reason for divorce and covers adultery and non-consumation. One lower 6th student Lucy Timmins passionately replied “the only one living in Cloud Cuckoo Land is Philip Davies!”

Once the Q&A session had finished, the debate continued to rage on through social media. One Lower 6thstudent, Evie Appleson was shocked to find that Mr Davies had replied to her tweet, calling her an ‘intolerant small minded socialist’.

Mr Davies is known for his outspoken views. Screenshot: Twitter/ Evie Appleson

So what was the overall verdict?

Politics teacher, Dr Warnes, (who will be standing against Mr Davies as the Green Party candidate in Shipley on 7th May) said that “We were very pleased to welcome  back Shipley MP Philip Davies. He is one of the more colourful members of parliament, a politician who speaks his mind on the issues he cares about.  It was a really enjoyable session, and we are very grateful to Philip for finding the time to drop in.”

Allan Clifford, Head of Politics, agrees, saying that: “Philip Davies is a Conservative who is not afraid to court controversy across a range of British political issues. A real treat for all concerned!”

And finally, Lower 6th student, Amelia Webb said that “It was interesting to hear political perspectives very different from my own!” 

By Fran Talbot

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Possibility of later school start time to “boost results”

Do you want to sleep in another hour before school?

For children over the next few years, starting an hour later could be a possibility.

Researchers say teenagers start functioning 2 hours later than adults.

A 4 yearlong study will begin next September covering 32,000 pupils at 100 schools, assessing whether a later start improves learning, performance, attainment and qualifications.

Professor of sleep medicine, Colin Espie says, “Science is telling us there are developmental changes during the teenage years, which lead to them actually not being as tired as we think they ought to be at normal bedtime and still sleepy in the morning.”

“The hormonal changes of puberty include later secretion of the hormone melatonin, which signals that it’s time to go to sleep,” said Reut Gruber, a psychiatry professor at McGill University chair of the Canadian Sleep Society’s paediatric sleep group. “The signal to get up in the morning is also later,” Gruber said.

Professor Russell Foster, director of sleep at Oxford University added to this saying getting a teenager to start their day at 7am is like an adult starting theirs at 5am.

The body clock remains in this state until the age of around 21 for males, and 19 for females.

“Later school start times for secondary grades have been shown to improve sleep-debt, punctuality, attendance, behaviour, sociability and continuous enrolment, particularly for the at-risk student population,” a review by researchers at Carleton University concluded.

There has already been evidence around the world for the promise of later school starts.

A pilot study at Monkseaton High School in North Tyneside in 2009 found that starting an hour later improved grades in core subjects by 19 per cent. Dr Paul Kelley, who now works as a research associate at Oxford University’s Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute, was head teacher at the time.

“There were very positive outcomes, both academic and in terms of health,” said Kelley. “Academic results went up, illness down and the atmosphere in school changed. The students were not only much nicer to each other; they were much nicer to teachers. It was bliss. I should have done it sooner. Nothing I had ever done in all my teaching made such a difference.”

5 years ago, Toronto’s Eastern Commerce Collegiate Institute moved first period from 9 am to 10 am, giving students an extra hour to sleep in. The school, located in Toronto, Canada has been the latest starting school in North America since 2009.

The evidence for their success is undeniable – a representative for ECCI has said, “Absenteeism is down, alertness and grades are up. They (students) are relaxed and ready to learn in first period. Behaviour in class and in the hallways has also improved.”

The team at Oxford University are hoping to publish their results in 2018.

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Syrian Conflict

The protests began in March 2011; the Syrians demanded President Bashar al-Assad to step down from power. Assad’s autocratic leadership was compared to the dictators in history such as Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. The request for freedom from the protesters was met by violence. The peaceful people were kicked, punched and shot. Brutal actions sparked rebellion which created armies of angry dissidents.

 

On August 21st 2013, there were reports of chemical gas attacks in the capital city of Damascus, it was alleged that the Syrian regime carried out the attacks. UN officials tested out the samples taken from the location and discovered that sarin gas was used. The youngest person treated because of the gas attack was 7 years old. The attacks were the reason for a worldwide debate.

Unexpectedly, the Assad regime has lasted longer than the predicted 18 months although it has had a few setbacks e.g. Rebels seizer of hundreds of tanks. The rebels are receiving help from Qatar and Saudi Arabia but it is not enough. The United Nations claim that Russia and Iran are ‘fuelling’ the civil war by blocking their attempts at resolving the situation and arming Assad supporters. Russian President, Vladimir Putin in particular does not want the US involved as he is not comfortable with the US influence on the world. America, Russia, Iran and the UK continue to debate about actions to stop the war but they cannot reach an agreement due to the differing opinions of all sides. There are fears that this war will turn into the seemingly never ending wars such is the case in Iraq and Afghanistan, if the US are involved.

While the great world powers debate, the war’s impact on the population and environment is truly distressing. Homes are being destroyed, Schools obliterated and Hospitals overpopulated. Men, women and children are forced to flee their homes because of the dire conditions. Orphaned children have to look for food, water and shelter as they have lost all their families and constant battles take place on the streets between the rebels and Assad’s army with no concern about the safety of others. Some Syrians have fled to bordering countries such as Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

Efforts have been made by thousands of people to aid the victims of a senseless war; there have been many events to raise funds. The attempts to help the innocent are much appreciated however, this war seems like a fire that cannot be extinguished. The death toll has reached a deeply unsettling 110,000 and continues to rise as the conflict goes on however there may be the possibility of an agreement in the near future.

 

Hamad Haroon

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Egypt: More than 51 protestors killed

Due to the fighting going on in Egypt, more than 51 people are said to have died. This has been caused by the country’s two largest political factions clashing against each other after both being unhappy with the country’s involvement in the war with Israel in 1973 and this is seen as a day of deep significance for many Egyptians.

President Mohamed Morsi has many supporters and opponents, and many lined the streets to commemerate the 40th anniversary of Yom Kippur which is viewed as a victory for Egypt, despite the battle ending in stalemate and favouring Israel.

However, instead of celebrating the day which people have done for the past years, the supporters protested  against his ousting by filling highways in West Cairo, compared to the opponents who gathered at Tahrir square to praise General Abdel Fattah-el- Sisi in his role to take over. But,  fatal violence soon struck when thousands of supporters attempted to reach Tahrir square, army soldiers, officers and vigilantes started to block their path and fire. According to an opponent who was at the front of the march, they used live rounds, teargas and rubber bullets. Reports have also found that many of the opponents were carrying weapons such as firearms.

Opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood said that the Islamists and other had used the violent response to create sympathy internationally. Clashes had also been reported in many other neighbour hoods across Egypt, but much of the city has remained calm, but some has expressed frustration and anger at their fellow citizens overbearing nationalism and being pulled between the Muslim Brotherhood and the army.

By Isabelle Garside

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Modern Magazines: The Ultimate Representation of Female Communication?

The theories of academics such as Robin Lakoff are often discounted by other linguists for being irrelevant and as I believed, not representative of my and many other women’s language use in modern society. In the 70’s she came up with ideas such as verbal hygiene, the belief that women avoid offending others and use euphemisms rather than sexual or demotic language such as swearing. And, at first, I felt that these beliefs had been eradicated, as many magazines print suggestive content regularly and are often under scrutiny for being over-sexualised. This was until I saw a goose bump inducing example of a euphemism in Glamor magazine which said (“getting naughty between the sheets”) in an article advising women on how to improve their body confidence. This echo of a Carry On film (followed in my mind by Kenneth Williams distinct “ooh matron”) made me realise that the female writers of these articles are still emulating these dreadful stereotypes to their female audiences.

These theorists, who were researching, (in Lakoff’s case) over 40 years ago and worryingly have yet to be proved wrong by any other linguist. And, recently, a prominent researcher said she found no issue with Lakoff’s findings, who, may I remind you, observed students to gather her information and, as we all know, students are obviously an accurate window to female and male communication. You may, like I do question this research because you can see clearly the ridiculousness of the concept of things such as ‘verbal hygiene’ but are magazines accurate when portraying female communication? Is this how women really talk? The age of these theories, and the fact they are still considered accurate, worries me tremendously. But what concerned me more than anything was that every article I looked at for research from Closer, Cosmopolitan and Glamour magazine was written by a woman, a writer who appears to be spreading this poisonous ideal of the perfect woman to many loyal readers on a weekly basis.

The worrying presence of stereotypes within these pieces stretches to more recent theories from the 90’s. The concept of ‘bitchy’ women is something many wrongly believe is an honest representation of all women. I do, however, confess to having partaken in some friendly ‘bitching’ but I will maintain that men act like this too. It is called “judging”, a typical human behaviour. But these examples of language, which Deborah Jones’s termed ‘bitching’, occur frequently in the Closer articles especially, inciting hatred from the reader towards “confident and beautiful” women who have the audacity to walk by you or “sit next to you on the bus.” This not only assumes that, as Jones hypothesized, all women use bitching to fortify relationships with each other and, in turn, writers are using this language to appeal to their audience with language they believe they use. It also demonises other women because they are not seen as “real women” but inhuman and as Closer puts it, they should be “safely contained”. This destructive belief reverses all of the attempts and progress to eradicate the negative and archaic stereotypes of the ‘typical’ woman that are still relevant in our believed ‘modern’ society.

In the end it appears that modern magazines aimed at a female audience are stuck in the seventies, not only with the content of magazines that are telling us to look certain ways and dress to make us look slimmer, all while advertising the latest diet craze to us. But we are also communicating in exactly the same way as we did all those years ago. We could say in their defence that it may not be female writers but magazine standards that are dictating this stereotype and my dislike for these women is unjust. That the revolution I am inciting should be against the ‘man’ and we should take down the big corporations and their attempts to brainwash readers to buy their latest moisturiser. And, I truly hope this is the case but something tells me it is society that is the issue and these women are adhering to something we all should despise and try to change. But maybe as many ignorant people argue, I should just “get over it” and accept society for what it is, unjust and unfair and I should just submit to the high standards women are meant to uphold. And with that I am very sure I left my heated rollers next to my copy of The Good Wife Guide.

By Emma Smith

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Bastille at Stylus, Leeds University

Bastille have shot to success recently with their debut album, Bad Blood, going to number one in its first week of release and their surprising chart battle against none other than Justin Timberlake with single, Pompeii.

With several singles and EPs already floating around the music world, the South London four-piece released the first of two mixtapes entitled Other People’s Heartache in early 2012 with the second mixtape, (aptly called Other People’s Heartache, Pt. 2) released later on in the year. Both mixtapes feature film clips, covers and samples of tracks both new and old; from TLC’s No Scrubs and Corona’s Rhythm of the Night to Calvin Harris’ and Florence Welch’s Sweet Nothing and Frank Ocean’s Thinkin’ ‘Bout You.

February saw the start of a, very almost sold out, tour for Bastille and on Sunday 10th March and, still reeling from the success of their now number one album, the band played at Stylus in Leeds University.

Featuring four support acts across the ‘Bad Blood Tour’, the crowd on Sunday was warmed up by The Ramona Flowers and New York based band, MS MR who drew the audience in with catchy but haunting songs such as, Bones and their new single, Fantasy.

Bastille frontman, Dan Smith began the show with previous single and album title track, Bad Blood before playing a

mixture of new tracks from the album such as, The Silence and incredibly catchy, The Weight of Living Pt. II along with older favourites, Laura Palmer and pleasantly unexpected B-sides, Poet and Sleepsong.

When discussing the band’s mixtapes, Smith unabashedly confessed that they were, “sued a little bit” which is why the mixtapes are now unavailable to download online, before encouraging the crowd to, “download it from Pirate Bay” and then launching into their rendition of R&B trio, City High’s What Would You Do? Popular favourite of the Other People’s Heartache mixtape, the cover saw crowd members sing along to every word, showing their dedication to the band and demonstrating the wide and impressive range of music that Bastille can cover.

The band ended the set with their first single, Flaws seeing Smith come into the crowd and singing along with his fans before thanking everyone for coming and continuing to admit how strange it felt to be playing at the university that he had attended.

Bastille’s songs are all equally epic and captivating with loud, punchy choruses and honest, heartfelt lyrics that put the generic ‘chart-toppers’ to shame.  Finally receiving the recognition that they deserve, the band are already lined up to play many festivals across the summer and will, without doubt, continue to impress.  Their debut album, Bad Blood and Bad Blood (The Extended Cut) are available now.

 

By Meaghan Spencer

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Notre Dame’s Fairtrade Fortnight

Fairtrade Fortnight saw a multitude of events that raised over £100 for charity. With the majority of events being fuelled by cake and biscuits from the numerous bake sales held, the fortnight demonstrated the importance of Fairtrade both within college and across the world.

The aims of Fairtrade are to make sure that farmers and workers in the developing world work and are paid on fair terms of trade, meaning that companies are encouraged to pay sustainable prices that never fall below the market price.

Whilst Notre Dame’s Fairtrade Fortnight gave everyone the opportunity to learn more about the Fairtrade scheme and become more involved within college, it also allowed many students to demonstrate their talents at the college’s own festival, ‘Fairstock’.
As with any festival, face and body painting, live music and food was available in the hall at lunchtime on Thursday 7th March. Spokespeople from Cadbury’s returned to the college with games and freebies whilst numerous students and teachers pledged to support the Fairtrade campaign by signing up to the balloon launch.
Over the fortnight, the Fairtrade group was shown support and encouragement from the college and succeeded in spreading the message of Fairtrade and selling an awful lot of cake.
The Fairtrade group meet every Thursday lunchtime in room 86.

by Meaghan Spencer

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The Bioshock Ball

The critically acclaimed Steampunk first-person shooter series is to become a trilogy later this month with the release of Bioshock: Infinite. To celebrate, Game on the Headrow in Leeds is organizing a launch event to celebrate all things Bioshock. This special event will take place in Fab Cafe Leeds on the 25th.

The highly anticipated game, which is not part of the narrative of the previous installments takes place in an alternate 1912 during the growth of American Exceptionalism, the game’s protagonist, former agent Booker DeWitt, is sent to the floating air-city of Columbia to find a young woman, Elizabeth, who has been held captive there for the last twelve years. Though Booker rescues Elizabeth, the two are pursued by the city’s warring factions; the nativist and elite Founders that strive to keep the city for pure Americans, and the Vox Populi, a rebel grouping representing the common people. Booker finds Elizabeth to be central to this conflict, and that she also holds strange powers to manipulate rifts in the time-space continuum that ravage Columbia.

The event, which is free entry, will feature a Cosplay competition, a quiz, themed cocktails and an opportunity to play the game. The ball is open to anyone who is over the age of eighteen and willing to join in the fun and games (although you are not required to break out the Big Daddy suit if you really don’t want to). I know, from going to the previous launch organised by Game for the Studio Ghibli production of Ni No Kuni, it will be and excellent and entertaining night. I am very excited to play this Game and I also hope I have persuaded you to join me for a journey on the airship Columbia.

By Emma Smith

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NMP3 and the Power of the Tweet

On Sunday 10th February, the campaigners at the No More Page 3 HQ encouraged supporters, “to tweet Rupert Murdoch and tell him yourself, in your very own words why you think it is time Page 3 was consigned to history”.

Immediately Murdoch, owner of The Sun newspaper, was bombarded with messages of people explaining their reasons for why Page 3 should end. Examples include the argument that, “page three is outdated and makes [sic] me embarrassed to be a man when I see other blokes looking at it in public” and that it, “objectifies and demeans women and by doing so demeans men too”.

The “NoMorePage3” #hashtag received an incredible amount of responses and just proves that everyday people working together can make a difference. Karen Mason tweeted Murdoch that afternoon saying, “Seriously, we are all so over page 3 – it is so last century!” and was successful in receiving a reply from the owner himself; Rupert Murdoch responded with, “page three so last century! You maybe [sic] right, don’t know but considering. Perhaps halfway house with glamorous fashionistas.”

Despite this incredible step forward for the No More Page 3 campaign, the next day Murdoch tried to play down his response by claiming that, “So Page 3 tweet is breaking news… Typical OTT reaction by the UK PC crew. Just considering, as we do every page daily Buy it and see…..” Although Murdoch may be trying to cover his back, the support for the campaign has never been better – adding around 15000 signatures in just four days is incredible progress, and the number of supporters is still increasing.

If you believe that news is not the place for boobs and that it’s time to take a stand, then join the campaign now.

By Meaghan Spencer

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