Women in Politics – Rebecca Harris MP visits the University of Essex

On Friday the 10th March 2017, the University of Essex played host to Rebecca Harris MP, the conservative Member of Parliament for Castle Point. Rebecca came to the university in order give students a one off lecture on the state of women in politics.

The turnout for the event mainly consisted of politics students and members of the universities conservative politics society, who had invited Rebecca to come and give a lecture. It seemed that throughout the lecture Rebecca’s stance of women in politics was encouragement but at the same time avoiding forced participation. In her own words she was against quotas for women saying: “we don’t want to have quotas”. Believing quotas to be somewhat patronising, Rebecca instead believes in the Women2Win system introduced by the conservative party.

Women2Win was started by the now Prime Minister Theresa May and Baroness Jenkin in 2005 and aims to get more women involved with the conservative party. Rebecca stated that there is still “so much work to be done” but that she feels confident about the future of the conservative party, while also challenging the idea that the labour party is progressive with the amount of women in the party saying: “labour have all these women but still no female Prime Ministers. We’ve had two”.

It seemed that Rebecca was keen to challenge the norms of gender in employment and politics as she said: “a man has a child then he’s a man and needs a pay rise, a woman has a child and she isn’t committed to working anymore”. She went on to talk about part time work for women entering parenthood and that we need to start “recognising part time work as having the same value of full time work”.

Harris was also quick to talk about the American election saying that even though Trump is bad “there are much worse regimes” and that for this reason she was “disappointed about the women’s march” that took place in London protesting the result of the US presidential election. Harris also talked about how she condemns the actions of what most “keyboard warriors” subject women in politics to, believing it to be a factor to the lack of women in politics. She made it clear that women may not want to get involved in politics if they’re scared of being attacked online. She gave the example of Jess Phillips; labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, who received over 600 rape threats in one night, saying the people who do it are “nothing more than pathetic”.

The lecture was a good experience to see what an actual MP thinks about the current state of women in politics and it seemed to go down well with the audience. The lecture was an overall success and Rebecca showed her willingness to potentially come back again sometime in the future.

 

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A Championship Season In Review

Newcastle United (C) –

Position – 1st

Expenditures: £54.74m,

Income: £85.72m,

Transfer results: £30.98m

Stadium: St James’ Park (52,354)

Performance – Excellent. Given the amount of cash the Magpies threw around in the transfer window and their premier league pedigree, it is unsurprising that Newcastle repeated what they achieved in the 2009-10 season. Finishing top seemed nailed on at the start of the season and despite some shaky moments they were able to beet Brighton to top spot… just.

Norwich City – 

Position – 8th

Expenditures: £22.48m,

Income: £31.20m,

Transfer results: £8.71m

Stadium: Carrow Road (27,220)

Performance – Average. Although spending wisely, many predicted Norwich would at least make the playoffs. Although they were close, they didn’t quite make it and a another year without premier league revenue may prove costly. Although performing well, it wasn’t the performance many expected like when we saw them promoted last time.

Aston Villa –

Position – 13th

Expenditures: £71.91m,

Income: £39.02m,

Transfer results: £-32.90m

Stadium: Villa Park (42,790)

Performance – Dire. It has been a difficult two seasons for Aston Villa fans. After the abysmal 2015-16 season that saw they unceremoniously dumped out of the premier league after one of the worst seasons in living memory, some people saw this as a possible renaissance for a club that’s been struggling for a while. However, with a hefty chunk of their money going up in smoke by the way of distinctly average and sub-par signings, Aston Villa now linger in the championship mid-table. In a season where it was thought they might get promoted it’s beginning to look like they may be trapped in the snake pit that is the championship for the rest of time.

Brighton and Hove Albion (P) –

Position – 2nd

Expenditures: £7.44m,

Income: 0,

Transfer results: £-7.44m

Stadium: AMEX Stadium (30,280)

Performance – Excellent. The 2015-16 season was though for Brighton as they just missed out on promotion. However, throughout that season they were considered one of the best and this season they took that up another gear. They looked set to win the title before Newcastle foiled them and with minimal costs (£7.44m is virtually nothing nowadays) they can look forward to hard earned and deserved stint in the Premier League.

Derby County –

Position – 9th

Expenditures: £14.67m,

Income: £13.52m,

Transfer results: £-1.16m

Stadium: Pride Park Stadium (33,600)

Performance – Average. Another season in the championship and another season without promotion. Year after year Derby are thrown in to contention for promotion and they never quite deliver. Although not the worst team in the championship, they are becoming more and more mediocre the longer they spend not quite making the playoffs. The appointment of Steve McClaren as manager is never a good start and although the reliable Gary Rowett has taken the reigns, I can’t see Derby getting promoted without some real investment.

Sheffield Wednesday –

Position – 4th

Expenditures: £9.26m,

Income: 0,

Transfer results: £-9.26m

Stadium: Hillsborough (39,812)

Performance – Good. Although it is yet to be seen if the Owls are promoted in the playoffs, it is undeniable that they’ve had a good consistent season. They seem to have been in the playoffs since game one and have barley been dislodged since. Posing as a bogey team for sides like Newcastle United, beating them on two occasions, it’s yet to be seen if they make it to the premier league.

Ipswich Town –

Position – 16th

Expenditures: £1.42m,

Income: £2.98m,

Transfer results: £1.56m

Stadium: Portman Road (30,300)

Performance – Poor. Although little was really expected from Ipswich this season, 16th is still a poor result. The lower mid table isn’t where most fans really expected Ipswich to end up and maybe it’s time for people to question the manager, Mick McCarthy. Although making a profit, maybe Ipswich should have invested more in talent. By trying to save a few pennies, they seem to have fared worse than expected.

Cardiff City –

Position – 12th

Expenditures: £3.66m,

Income: £5.93m,

Transfer results: £2.28m

Stadium: Cardiff City Stadium (33,300)

Performance – Average. An average finish for an average team. Cardiff have faded in to the background of the championship after their relegation from the premier league and it’s unlikely that they will see the bright lights of the top tier for a while.  Steady as expected.

Brentford –

Position – 10th

Expenditures: £4.38m,

Income: £12.24m,

Transfer results: £7.86m

Stadium: Griffin Park (12,760)

Performance – Average. Another team that fulfilled what was perhaps expected of them but only marginally pushed the boundaries. After their daring breakout season two years ago, Brentford have settled down in their comfortable position in the championship. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if they make a break for the playoffs again in a couple of seasons.

Birmingham City –

Position – 19th

Expenditures: £7.78m,

Income: £170k,

Transfer results: £-7.61m

Stadium: St Andrew’s (30,020)

Performance – Dire. The only question I have to pose to Birmingham City is what was wrong with Gary Rowett? Although the club may not have been performing as well as hoped at that point, Birmingham sacked their stable and consistent managed in favour for Gianfranco Zola. An unreliable manager, it’s no wonder Birmingham plummeted. It didn’t help when Rowett’s Derby returned the favour won either. A bad season for a team normally pushing the playoffs.

Preston North End –

Position – 11th

Expenditures: £255k,

Income: £1.47m,

Transfer results: £1.22m

Stadium: Deepdale (23,408)

Performance – Good. Perhaps not the best performance, it is important to remember that they were only playing in league one two seasons ago. Preston have consistently defied expectation as most wouldn’t have placed them in the top half of the table at the start of the season, especially with their thrifty attitude to spending. A good consistent performance from a team that might be challenging for the playoffs in a couple of seasons.

Queens Park Rangers –

Position – 18th

Expenditures: £10.94m,

Income: £14.35m,

Transfer results: £3.41m

Stadium: Loftus Road (18,360)

Performance – Poor. Although it wasn’t long since QPR resided in the premier league, they seem to have dropped dramatically since re-joining the championship. Many would have expected QPR to at least reach mid table but instead they narrowly avoid relegation by 3 points. A poor season for a team that should be doing better considering their funding.

Leeds United –

Position – 7th

Expenditures: £7.29m,

Income: £6.44m,

Transfer results: £-850k

Stadium: Elland Road (37,900)

Performance – Good. For a few it was a surprise to see Leeds make it as far as they did this season. Having shaky backing and multiple poor managers, Leeds finally found stability with Garry Monk as manager and it paid off with Leeds just missing out on the playoffs by their fingertips. Having spent the later part of the season in the playoffs, many wondered if they would finally see Leeds’s return to the premier league. Although they didn’t make it, it is hard to deny they had a good season, turning round a club that looked destined for bad things.

Wolverhampton Wanderers –

Position – 15th

Expenditures: £30.69m,

Income: £2.54m,

Transfer results: £-28.14m

Stadium: Molineux (31,700)

Performance – Poor. Given the amount that Wolves spent, it was expected that they would at least push for the playoffs. However, despite bring in some exciting players, Wolves barley managed to make mid table. It’s a poor season from a team that clearly has the capability to make it to the premier league.

Blackburn Rovers (R) –

Position – 22nd

Expenditures: 0,

Income: £11.26m,

Transfer results: £11.26m

Stadium: Ewood Park (31,370)

Performance – Dire. Blackburn Rovers have been a stalwart in the championship for some time now. However, it has been a dire season for a team that can’t really afford to take the drop in to league one. Having not bought a single player to refresh the squad, it is perhaps unsurprising that, with the loss of their key defender Grant Hanley, Blackburn were relegated, no matter by how narrow a margin.

Nottingham Forest –

Position – 21st

Expenditures: £3.79m,

Income: £15.64m,

Transfer results: £11.85m

Stadium: City Ground (30,576)

Performance – Dire. Forest have been comfortable in the championship for some time now but this season they took a drastic turn. Forest look set to be relegated if they carry on the way they’re going as they spent the majority of this season languishing towards the bottom of the table. Avoiding relegation by goal difference, Nottingham better step up their game if they want to stick around in the championship.

Reading –

Position – 3rd

Expenditures: £7.59m,

Income: £5.02m,

Transfer results: £-2.58m

Stadium: Madejski Stadium (24,200)

Performance – Good. Although Reading started the season in a rather average fashion, the end to their season saw them climb up the table. Hoping to return to the premier league, it is yet to be seen if Reading will prevail in the playoffs but their season has definitely been a success either way.

Bristol City –

Position – 17th

Expenditures: £10.63m,

Income: £12.00m,

Transfer results: £1.38m

Stadium: Ashton Gate (27,000)

Performance – Poor. Having lost the majority of their key players in the transfer window, it was safe to assume that Bristol might not fair as well this season. The loss of Johnathan Kodjia and his 19 goals a season hit Bristol pretty hard and thus they sit in the lower mid table. Unless some transfers are made to replace what they lost, Bristol won’t fare well in the coming seasons.

Huddersfield Town –

Position – 5th

Expenditures: £3.78m,

Income: £1.23m,

Transfer results: £-2.55m

Stadium: John Smith’s Stadium (24,500)

Performance – Amazing. At the end of last season, if you had said that for the majority of next season Huddersfield Town would be riding high in the championship and displacing Newcastle early on you would have been called mad. However, this season Huddersfield have knocked it out of the park. They may have fallen in to the playoffs towards the end but it is hard to deny the stark contrast between the Huddersfield of old and the Huddersfield of today.

Fulham –

Position – 6th

Expenditures: £21.72m,

Income: £20.21m,

Transfer results: £-1.50m

Stadium: Craven Cottage (25,680)

Performance – Good. After a few lower place seasons since they were dumped out of the premier league, Fulham have had a second wind and have done well to nab a playoff place in the closing stages of the season. Even if they hadn’t reached the playoffs it would have still been a good season, showing Fulham are no longer content with lower mid table obscurity.

Rotherham United (R) –

Position – 24th

Expenditures: £1.21m,

Income: 0,

Transfer results: £-1.21m

Stadium: New York Stadium (12,021)

Performance – Dire. What is there to say about Rotherham other than it’s been a torrid season for the Millers. Struggling throughout the season, Rotherham finished dead last and were the first to take the drop.  Rooted to the bottom of the table, it will be interesting to see how Rotherham fare in League One.

Wigan Athletic (R) –

Position – 23rd

Expenditures: £1.69m,

Income: £6.97m,

Transfer results: £5.28m

Stadium: DW Stadium (25,023)  

Performance – Poor. Having been promoted from League One, it was never going to be easy for Wigan. Although they managed a profit, it’s little consolation for a team that’s been relegated. If Wigan had brought in more players

Burton Albion –

Position – 20th

Expenditures: £304k,

Income: 0,

Transfer results: £-304k

Stadium: Pirelli Stadium (6,912)

Performance – Good. At the beginning of the season, not many gave Burton a chance. With a tiny ground, little money and league one players, Burton showed a survival instinct by managing to survive their first season in the championship. This was a good performance for them but it is unknown where they will go from hear.

Barnsley –

Position – 14th

Expenditures: £2.16m,

Income: £11.45m,

Transfer results: £9.29m

Stadium: Oakwell (23,009)

Performance – Good. When Bansley were promoted, not many gave them a chance. Having seen many of their best players like Conor Hourihane leave for other teams it’s understandable that some thought they might get relegated. However, Barnsley managed to prove doubters wrong as they rode high in the championship. Although they dropped down a bit after more of their top talent was pinched, Barnsley managed to show how a promotion to the championship is done. Wise investments, steady results and financial success.

“Cakegate” – A Debate about Feminism and Cupcakes

One bake sale. That’s all it took to stir up enough controversy that even the national news was interested in what happened on the University of Essex campus. The bake sale in question was set up by the University’s feminist society and aimed to raise awareness of the gender pay gap. While men payed £1 for their cupcakes women were charged 82p as women are allegedly paid 82p for every £1 a man makes.

Despite this being a fairly harmless event, some of the university students were outraged by the bake sale. They claim the bake sale violated the 2010 Equality Act and Thus started a ideological micro war between feminists and non-feminists. However, rather than having a pitched battle on campus, the student’s battlefield was social media. The university’s Facebook page for students lit up virtually overnight as feminists defended their decision to charge men more than women and non-feminists used all the “memes” at their disposal.

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Just to take the sheer level of ridiculousness to the next level, some national newspapers began to report on the event. Most notably the Sun and even Russia Today bizarrely.  In order to tackle the issue and put an end to the meme war before it would seemingly kill humor forever, a debate was announce for March 14th to finally let students get stuff of their chests, like marriage counselling, and a panel of the university’s top ideologues was announced. In the red corner, representing feminism, Victoria Gbadebo, President of the debating society, Josef Schumacher, President of the Liberal Democrats, and Urszula Dzudewicz, President of the Human Rights Society. And in the blue corner, representing anti-gender pay gap stance, Jake Painter, UKIP Events Manager, Natasha Brooks, UKIP founder, and Ivan Srbulov, Economic Society Treasurer.

The debate turned in to a real slug fest as arguments were thrown from one side to the other. Supporting the feminist argument Victoria Gbadebo said: “Ignoring the problem is ignoring the issues behind it, we agree it isn’t fair but that’s the whole point, it’s not fair” while Urzula Dzudewicz said: “Women shouldn’t be the only gender caring for children”. Challenging the bake sale, Natasha Brooks said: “The gender pay gap doesn’t exist… not all white men are evil, stop with this rhetoric” and Ivan Srbulov said: “Statistics are important, don’t deny them!”

A vote cast at the end of the debate saw the feminist argument prevail and hopefully this means that we can all go back to being normal humans. This spat seemed to bring out the worst in the fringes of each side with both the militant feminists and the online trolls and while the debate brought up some interesting and relevant points was it worth it.

The Sun’s Article – https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3019131/feminists-group-bake-sale-sparked-a-furious-backlash-after-it-charged-men-more-for-a-cake/

Russia Today’s Article – https://www.rt.com/uk/379759-university-feminist-bake-hate/

An Uphill Battle for Quince?

By George Ware

With the sudden snap election announcement from Theresa May, many Labour seats have been thrown in to question. However, one aspect not considered by most is the potential of Conservative MP’s losing their seats. While the probability of a total Conservative landslide in the election is high and seemingly increasing every second Jeremy Corbyn is in charge, there are bound to be some casualties of this Conservative confidence. However, is Will Quince, the conservative MP for Colchester, one of those MP’s that could potentially lose their seat.

According to some anonymous contacts, there will be some local concentration on Will Quince’s constituency this election. While the MP’s surrounding the 34 year old MP’s Colchester constituency seemingly safe, Bernard Jenkin’s 15,174 (31.3%) vote majority springs to mind, Quince only acquired his seat in the 2015 election. Securing the seat from the Liberal Democrat stalwart Sir Bob Russell, Will Quince only holds a 5,575 (11.5%) majority. Given the fact that Russell, 71, has announced his intentions to stand in Colchester and that the EU Referendum has left the nation polarized with a potential Lib Dem resurgence, there are some that are concerned for the safety of Quince’s position in parliament.

One of the key talking points of this election is the EU Referendum. Already labeled as the “Brexit Election” by some, it’s clear to see that the result of the referendum is going to have an effect on the result of the election. Quince supported leave in the referendum as did his constituency by 53.6% and if the allegiances to remain and leave are as simple and tribal as some would have you believe then Quince is going to get 53.6% of the vote but that’s probably not going to be the case. While in the last election Quince received 38.9% of the vote, it’s hard to predict whether his vote share will increase or fall. While Quince has done some solid work like guaranteeing a further £1Million worth of NHS A&E funding in Colchester, there are likely to be some who would feel prepared to return to Sir Bob Russell who held the seat since is creation in May 1997.

However, despite Sir Bob Russell’s previous popularity, I do think that it will be Will Quince that comes out on top. Quince holds a seat in what is considered to be a Conservative stronghold in the UK. It is unlikely that the Conservative party would be willing to see a newly acquired seat in their territory fall to the Liberal Democrats. That would be make the Conservatives look week in the face of an election that was partly called to demonstrate Conservative dominance. It’s likely that the Conservatives would pool resources from the surrounding safe seats to ensure that Quince retains. Combine the resources, Brexit support, and general support for the Conservative party and I see Will Quince retaining his seat in parliament.

DonTV – A Non-Mainstream Media Outlet.

By George Ware

At this point in time, we live in a hotspot on the timeline of media history. There has never been so much choice and independent opportunity in the media community thanks to new technology. The Internet and new technology has been a huge enabling factor in giving the everyday person the means to start their own media outlet.

Sean Kennedy is a Doncaster native and has used the new technology and the Internet to create  his own local media company, Don TV. According to Sean Kennedy, Don TV is a “local community Internet TV channel… that’s centered round Doncaster, trying to promote Doncaster because there’s very little promotion bigging up Doncaster and what promotion there is it’s normally negative”.  Don TV charges anyone who wants to have a video produced and displayed on their website to help promote the local community. For example they’ve recently done a video about the local initiate for the re-homing of dogs.

One of the reasons Sean has been able to set up Don TV is thanks to the new technology and websites that have been introduced over the last couple of years. Mr Kennedy said: “Well if you think about it, 10 years ago, nobody used to watch YouTube like they do now. YouTube has now taken it’s place as a proper TV channel… so where that was once niche is now the norm and all the stuff that’s coming up now will be the norm in the next 5 years”.

Shaun also noted on the way in which traditional media is adapting as he said: “Radio stations now, there not just Radio stations there also a TV streaming service because you can watch their webcam. They also go out and do live stuff on Facebook Live and Periscope and it’s just the normal thing now”. Sean agreed that we are definitely seeing a shift from traditional mainstream media outlets like TV to the Internet.

It’s clear to see that modern day media has seen a substantial shift from traditional news media. Independent, non-mainstream media outlets seem to be on the rise and it all has to be attributed the Internet and helpful technology like computers and mobile phones. What they’re doing wouldn’t have been possible 20 years ago and there is nothing wrong with having more helpful, local media outlets.

Visit Don TV – http://dontv.co.uk/

Colchester Beer Festival

By George Ware

January 27th 2017 played host to the 10th annual Winter Beer Festival at the Colchester Arts Centre. As a copious beer drinker, this festival presented itself as the perfect opportunity to wet my pallet with all kinds of beers and ales from all across East Anglia.

After paying the fairly reasonable fee of £20 for a drinking card and a glass, I was presented with barrel upon barrel of beer from wall to wall with a crowd of slightly sloshed seniors mingling and tasting what the festival had to offer.

The venue that accommodated the event was the Colchester Art Centre. Formerly the St Mary at the Walls Church, the building is very archaic and suited the festival very well. I had an overwhelming feeling of being in a small village somewhere in East Anglia rather than the centre of Colchester.

Over 140 real ales were on offer, along with ciders other beers, while one section of the festival presented only Belgian beers while another showcased different wines. After a bit of a search, the strongest ale I was able to find was a porter called the Good King Henry. Coming in at a whopping 9.6%, after only half a pint it practically blew my head off. After this I decided to call it a day.

To sum up, the festival was really good fun for both experienced ale drinkers and people like me who were trying new drinks for the first time. It was a great time, especially with friends and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who fancies a good laugh and drink next year.

Venue – http://www.colchesterartscentre.com/