UK General Election 2017

The political landscape has been shook up as Theresa May u-turned on yet another promise. The conservatives are very far ahead in the polls now and Mrs May announced that she chaired a meeting of the cabinet where they agreed the government should hold a general election on the 8th June.

In the recent local council elections, Labour was trounced. This election holds importance in the type of Brexit the UK faces will largely be decided come June 8th. Most policies enacted by government aren’t as wide sweeping, and certainly aren’t as destructive over the long-run as leaving the European Union will be.

Therefore, it’s not only critical that everyone gets out to the ballot box. It’s also crucial the public make an informed choice on the type of Brexit (as well as type of governance) they want. Already we have felt the sting of food price rises due to a weakened pound. As prices continue to rise and real wages stagnate over several years this will only compound those at the lower end of society. The social cost is high, as will be the political cost of any government who commits to Brexit in the long-run.

Public opinion can change and political parties would do well to remember that. The public should too. The reality is only starting to just starting to bite, when the Brexit pain really starts to dig in it will be interesting who the new bogeyman will become. Will discourse simply deepen its focus on the other? With people saying we didn’t go far enough about rejecting immigration. Will it just continue to be the EU? The conservative, right-wing dominated media controls information in the UK at the moment so we can make a prediction based on that.

These are all pitfalls that will beset any new government, and could make them unelectable at the next election in 2022.

With all this in mind, choosing the next government is not a decision that any voter should take lightly. This is the most important election of the 21st century so far.

Tim Farron, Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn
Main party leaders: Tim Farron, Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn

Appleton’s election tip:

Think wisely about the main issue that affects you. Whether that’s the environment (clean air), the NHS (which certainly is from what I’ve experienced recently at breaking point), Brexit (will affect this, and future generations including tie up government resources and development for years to come), immigration (because a sizeable chunk of the population perceive this to be the issue of our times), disability (major cuts over the past 7 years) or if it’s something I missed. Have look at party manifestos see what party best stands up to fix the issues you face. I’d recommend this approach, and not basing it on personality, a leader is an important part of a political party no doubt but the people behind it and the values/issues they wish to tackle are as important.

This marks my first post since December 2016. I want to continue on a little more but I have just come out of a two night stay at Barnet Hospital due to severe glandular fever. I was not able to swallow at all, only spit and was on the verge of throwing up, my tonsils were killing and almost touching.

Hope all readers are well. I’ll be back posting soon. Even more so as I’ve finished and passed my masters for this year. Just one year left 🙂

The British Public and the EU – Democracy

British and EU flag
Britain and the EU need each other.

It seems a significant proportion of the British public believe we should have a referendum to stay in the European Union.

I will try to answer these the best I can to the extent of my knowledge currently it’s a work in progress as always.

What distresses me is the lack of any intelligent discourse when the subject (The European Union) is debated. This ranges from when the media interviews a member of public on TV or writes an article in a newspaper and let’s just not even mention question time, responses range from; the EU is undemocratic, the EU is a gravy train and what we spend towards the EU budget is too large, and it robs nations of their sovereignty. To add to this, It seems the public still believe lots of the Euromyths that have been proven to be nothing more then myth!

Furthermore, many citizens in other nations (from what I’ve been seeing on social media) now view UK citizens as being uninformed, or trying to hang on to a lost notion of empire, and due to this have many come to the conclusion that the UK is a burden on the rest of the EU.

I also worry just how misinformed the populace are and their opinion on vital constitutional issues, it often decided by the media or fringe/protest political parties. Important policy decisions and constitutional changes seem to be more knee-jerkingly drawn up. Independent research and rational reason seems to have disappeared.

Put the choice to the people they say.

The people have a choice at the ballot box. To vote for a anti-EU party such as UKIP (we can hardly call them Eurosceptic, more anti-Euro?) or vote for liberal democrats for example. Its how our representative system works and its how representative democracy has worked for hundreds of years. We seem to have a proportion of people who believe that unless a referendum is called on such issues there is no democratic choice. Do people now think we should implement direct democracy in this country then? Where a majority of decisions that affect the population is taken to the ballot box at regular referendums? Like the Swiss semi-representative model? Does the general public know the advantages/disadvantages of a direct system or more direct model of democracy?

I’m generally against this form of direct democracy which is often slow. Another drawback are the effects if the population not understanding what they are balloting for clearly enough (voter ignorance), financial imbalance can mess up outcomes, some issues are complex and thus cannot be reduced to a response as simple as yes or no, and question wording might mean the voter not being given the opportunity for their preferred option.

Representative democracy is not perfect but better then the alternatives. The politicians often don’t seem it but they often are the people most qualified to take such decisions. We elect a party (the party leader is chosen by the party) that represents us and who have (hope 🙂 ) qualified people to make decisions on our behalf

The EU is undemocratic.

As the only international government that has some element of democracy in the form of the EU parliament I find this statement odd in the least. To add, When did anyone have a vote on the founding of the UN?

I’m not saying that there is no democratic deficit. There is in the best of democratic parliaments and governmental systems.

Elections occur in every member state every 5 years. Some people on social media say this Jean-Claude Juncker, this Martin Schulz, we never voted for them. But they come through a similar party system as they do in the UK. The largest political group are the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European parliament Jean-Claude Juncker was selected. How both democratic systems work is quite complex and I believe this is one stumbling point between the public as nobody really understands it. I confess, I don’t understand the democratic system fully with regards to the EU, but it’s something over the next few years I’ll definitely understand more.

So, there is a democratic deficit. Just like at Westminster. Where we have a unelected House of Lords, both systems have flaws. No government is perfect but if we want to reduce a democratic deficit shouldn’t we look closer to home first? Westminster is archaic and out of date.

The problem I have with referendums is that they quite often slow down any good governance. The vocal few never are often not satisfied and continue to push for another/other referendums. The method of direct governance has it’s pitfalls, and I don’t think some have been entirely thought through in the past few years.

The UK still faces the possibility of a breakup of the Union in the near future (popularity of the SNP) and calls of another referendum will be on the cards as to whether Scotland should stay in years to come. The very dynamics of the country have changed with elements of direct democracy. Britain a place once known for stable politics within Europe is looking rather different (more like Belgium!), it needn’t be a bad thing though.

There is much more I have to say on this subject (as I do so many!). I’m always open to debate or expansion of points. Please leave a comment below. You can sign in using Facebook/Twitter or register for an account on my blog.

(Published from my iPhone)

Hope you all had a good summer 🙂

It’s Summer! Exams over!

My last post here was back in April. Aren’t I terrible? Since then I took an Economics exam and came out the other side. Against expectations passed the module (feel like I could have handled the exam better), went to Brussels (again) and now am deeply engaged in my Politics module. I’m fast approaching exam time for Politics. I have only one assignment left which to be done under exam conditions and handwritten. Ah, I hate exams!!

I took some pictures from Brussels (You can seem them below). I’ve put quite a few up this time. I also went to Bruges for the day. Loved the boat tour on the waterways! I’d love to live there once I complete my degree.

I’ve decided my blog will contain more entries in the way of Politics and Economics in the near future. So look out for new posts. I’ll try to set aside time to post some of my thoughts and ramblings. How Mixedmatt sees things in nationally and internationally 🙂

Aside from this nothing else has really changed. I’m still single 🙁
Waiting for my level 3 Economics module to start and a bit excited.

I’ll make sure my next post will not be too long now! 🙂

Waiting for the Metro at Hôtel des Monnaies/Munthof.
Waiting for the Metro at Hôtel des Monnaies/Munthof.
Fancy one? :)
Fancy one? 🙂
Sweet tooth!!
Sweet tooth!!
On the way to the grand place in Bruxelles again!
On the way to the grand place in Bruxelles again!
Mussels and Frites! Yum!
Mussels and Frites! Yum!
Frogs legs :)
Frogs legs 🙂
Bruges!
Bruges!
EU Parliament tour!
EU Parliament tour!
Reading material for a nerd like me!
Reading material!
Juplier :)
Juplier 🙂
Buildings in Bruges
Buildings in Bruges

Best way to see Bruges!
Best way to see Bruges!
You been warned! Ha!
You been warned! Ha!
Belgian Street Art :)
Belgian Street Art 🙂
Touching the Berlin Wall.
Touching the Berlin Wall.
At the European Commission.
At the European Commission.

Love being so busy!

Heavy reading? Aiming for 100% in everything :)
Heavy reading? Aiming for 100% in everything 🙂

As I said in my previous post, I think I’d be more then a little busy this year this has turned out to be true.

I’ve bought two economics books as I really want too boost my grades in Economics. Andrew Gillispies book seems to be more lighter and suitable to introduce newbies into Economics.

Doing two modules at once with the open university was always gonna be tough. Economics much tougher then politics but on the whole both very engaging, interesting and applicable to the real world.

Today at work I had what I thought was the beginning of a good conversation going with a customer. She asked me what I was studying I told her PPE and she then asked what career options am I thinking of. I told her EU or civil service. She told me to keep quiet it’s a dirty word then told me how soldiers fought and died so dictators at the EU wouldn’t make laws for us and how the EU is undemocratic. I didn’t say this but was just thinking as she was mouthing off… The EU is an example of representative democracy. Like our nation is. It’s not a direct democracy. It has stayed true to its founding principles as laid down by Sir Winston Churchill and Robert Schuman amongst others. It’s by no means perfectly democratic but what institution is? We can act to improve it. She then started talking or should I say SHOUTING about Mr Farage and she wouldn’t stop. Rambling on about him being a man of the British people. Looking out for British workers. Much how a certain German politician promised to before the Second World War I guess. She sounded like she was brainwashed unfortunately considering I wasn’t answering her at this stage because she was so ill informed and seemed so ignorant to anybody else.

I couldn’t believe all that reaction came from my career path to be honest. It’s scary to think we have ignorant and the ill informed in the country who cannot even reason or disagree in a polite manner without raising their voices to be heard. If I had been a ex-soldier or if I said I wanted to join the army how would she have viewed me then? Presumably in a positive light despite the fact I may have ended the lives of people with a gun or maybe going on to. Really is this what has Britain come to? Hmmm. Something doesn’t sit right 🙁

So as you can see politics comes up even without intention. Maybe more so because of my pathway. I’m finding I’ve learnt so much more though. When walking around shops or any public place my economics and politics knowledge seems to kick in! I read the economist and understand more and more week by week. It’s all very exciting 🙂

My exams for economics are in June so a lot of prep ahead!

I went to Paris on March 25th. It’s a beautiful city but not as beautiful as Brussels! It was a rainy day but still it was nice to be away from London for a change. I can’t believe it being only a train ride away I never been. Take a look at the assortment of photos below.

It was lovely though, didn’t want to return home. Day trips do feel really long though. I’m planning to go racing again and go gym after I finish DD209 – Running the Economy. Then I can focus just on DD203 – Power, dissent, equality: understanding contemporary politics. Once DD203 finishes in September 2014, I will be moving on to DD309 – Doing economics: people, markets and policy this looks to be interesting.

I probably won’t post again till after the 6th June 2014. When I actually stop going full-time and go part-time with my studies again.

Till next time. See you 🙂

The final book of my Philosophy module! Woo!!

All 6 Philosophy texts that have been studied. Not including the huge set book!
All 6 Philosophy texts that have been studied. Not including the huge set book!

I’m on the final book of my Philosophy module. Book 6: Political Philosophy.
Thank goodness. I’ve kind of liked and disliked this module. Like marmite! 🙂

Sometimes I’ve enjoyed the philosophical debates and thinking that I’ve done, and at other times just loathed it.

Political Philosophy seems interesting so far. I’ve covered political obligation and I’ve read part of the Crito. Which is a dialogue between Socrates and Plato on his obligations to the state, with Socrates arguing he should remain in the city of Athens and face his inevitable death sentence. The three arguments Socrates uses are first, a parental analogy, disobeying the state is like disobeying your parents. The second because the state where the authors of his education and thirdly, because he has made an agreement with the state to obey the law. I’ve enjoyed that first half of this book. A lot more then the others 🙂

Every day I get closer to the exam!! Today, I was meant to do some mock questions but I couldn’t. The library was busy and I wasn’t prepared. I’m a bit behind in reading for my final assignment on my module. Pressure is in the air but I’m cool as usual 🙂

I’ve not been writing much. Been busy with life and as a few of you readers may know. I’m really living life to the full now 😉

Hope all my readers are having fun and are in peace. Till next time.

Education in the UK (Part 1)

This post has been a long time coming. I’ve wrote so much about how the education system is a failure before in my blog I’m sure. Something I’ll have to search through I think! This time I wanna go into depth.

Real change is needed in our education system. I’m not just talking about university fees which I’ve spoke about before and the Open University tried to make clear in a letter the sent me below 🙂

Open University explains tuition Fees!
Open University explains tuition Fees!

Eric Schmidt criticised the UK education system back in August and I agree with him (and the pirate party appeared to as well). He said the UK had a strong, proud past of scientist and technological pioneers. As someone who left the school system in 2005, I will try and list what I believe is missing to create future pioneers in this country without being boring 😛

A simple IT lesson today isn’t good enough. The children know more and if they don’t in many cases they adapt faster to technology then the person teaching them. Teaching a child or teen how to work with Microsoft Excel or fill entries in Microsoft Access will (mostly) set them up for a lifetime of work. In addition to this even in workplaces other software systems are being used and embraced. A wider range of IT knowledge needs to be added on the curriculum. I can’t speak for the current curriculum though, but I would hope it’s been updated from my recollections. I think in terms of teaching IT in UK schools there should be two separate subject matters one being the traditional information technology and the other being computer science.

Many other subjects particularly at secondary level are stagnant statics. I mean the curriculum doesn’t change year after year. How can the best be provided and given when it isn’t current or broad enough? This is especially true of subjects like history. The history of the Atlantic slave trade or WW2 are both very important components in their own right these are drawn out and analysed far too deeply. International history should also be on the curriculum.

Lets take a look at the very broad (IB course) approved by the UN. It doesn’t just focus on academics. It teaches life skills. It teaches for real life rather then just programming people for work or jobs in a system. Life skills need to be taught that are broad. Enabling students to think about creativity. Not just another robot, so to speak.

A random secondary school 🙂

Teachers in UK schools are often focused on meeting targets and achieving grades. To which most are very misleading and confusing. The problem is the curriculum in schools it just doesn’t allow students to achieve the best. Often students are put in groups in English, Maths and Science. Where they generally perform to the level of the group they are in. Allowing mixed ability students to work together would work best allowing student matching. The aim being that the weaker student can learn with how the strong student does. If lessons are tailored correctly.

We really need to improve our schools. If we don’t, we will need to rely on foreign countries to supply us with brains. We already have problems producing a workforce!

It’s like most of our country at the moment we really need to self sustain more and improve what we have.

I personally feel that I’ve learnt more in the six years out of school, then I ever learnt at school! That cannot be the way no longer. Students need to come out of school ready for the world. I’ve got more to say in part 2 on this series. I actually meant to post this a few months back but didn’t finish it! 🙂

Muammar Gaddafi Killed

Seems my blog is just all about death. I’ve not intended it that way! Not good, but that’s all that’s been happening out there. Muammar Gaddafi was reported captured and later killed earlier on today. I don’t like people getting killed regardless of what they have done, so I wanted to see him captured and brought to the International Criminal Courts at The Hague to be tried for his war crimes. This man was deluded and in my opinion sick mentally (its said he was bipolar).

However in terms of changing Libya, I don’t think it will make that big a difference. Democracy has to be formed. The country has no history of democracy. Weapons have to be called in and accounted for. A insurgency could still form. This is just one step. Bringing his government down was one MAJOR step this is a MINOR step in my opinion. The country will progress however. Of course after 42 years of brutal dictatorship the Libyan people deserve to celebrate this moment… but its not over. This is merely the beginning.

I feel I have more to write on this. If I think of something I will come back to it. It’s late! Red-eye!

Some articles on him from the guardian below.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/20/gaddafi-how-did-he-die

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/20/colonel-muammar-gaddafi?newsfeed=true