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.

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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/

The Movement of the People

By George Ware

The Essex University art gallery is currently playing host to the Movement of the People art exhibition from September 29th to December 10th displaying art of many mediums created by Syrian artists.

The Movement of the People is all about to the conflict in Syria, dedicating pieces of art to those who have died in the conflict as well as sending a strong political message. The exhibition has been split in to three parts. While the first may have already passed, part two lasts until November 26th and the third opens on the 1st December and closes on the 10th of the same month. The event’s brochure describes it an event that “brings together work by internationally renowned artists and street activists to focus on the war in Syria and the effect of conflict on a shifting, often displaced, population”.

From what I saw, the main target of the artist’s activism was Assad’s regime in Syria. In the form of posters and paintings, Assad was depicted as a murder and a butcher. One such poster showed a silhouette of Assad, clutching a butcher’s cleaver behind his back, while a long line of children look up, expectantly. It’s certainly a striking poster and it sets the tone for everything else to come. The artists want to send a message to the anyone that will listen that the situation in Syria at the moment is dire. On one side, President Assad is persecuting the population, on the other ISIS is carving up territory and preaching hate. I think that the art in this exhibition does a good job in expressing these issues. All of the art on display garners a response from those who look at it, whether that be of shock, awe or respect and admiration. The art is extremely clear in that, whomever looks at it, knows what the artist is trying to convey.

One of the most surprising pieces was that of a recorded puppet show series called “Top Goon”. This takes a much more satirical view of President Assad. One of the curators told me that the best way to damage the regime in Syria would be to simply “make fun of it”. The ability to take a serious topic like Syria and turn it in to a comedy full of political satire, I imagine, would take some serious doing, especially when you consider the danger. After all, the reason these views are being expressed through art is not just to create a rousing feeling among many people but also because if they were to go out on to the streets and protest there would be consequences if you were caught. Nowhere is this more evident than in the case of Ali Ferzat, a political cartoonist, who had his fingers broken for drawing cartoons damaging to the Assad regime. The artwork is certainly well made and entertaining but it is also very sobering.

From my experience at the art gallery, I can confirm that it was an eye-opening experience and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know what happens in Syria. The art is great and it’s definitely worth your time.

Welcome to The Centurion

Welcome to The Centurion. A news blog based in Colchester, Essex that wants to deliver both local and national news. On this blog you will find a mixture of sport, politics, crime and arts reports. Articles on this blog will sometimes be purely factual but there will be some that showcase the writer’s opinions. Thank you for reading The Centurion blog and we hope you find it entertaining and informative.