Lowering the voting age

Lowering the voting age

Lowering the voting age is completely logical. At 16, you are legally able to have a full-time job, get married, have children and join the army.  To put it into perspective, you can serve our country and pay taxes, yet have no official voice when it comes to foreign policy, or how your hard-earned taxes are spent. Recent debate over lowering the voting age to 16/17, then, is perhaps long overdue. I am, of course, all in favour of equality and equal rights- as well as giving credit where credit is due. To that end, I would like to point out that I fully believe that 16-year-old’s are not all ignorant; some do care about politics and the way our country is run, and thus should at least be given the opportunity to have some input. I believe the problem lies in the simple fact that most do not have a thorough enough understanding. In some schools, it is possible to take GCSE politics as an optional module. Outside of this, other than some very basic coverage in PSHE lessons, politics it not compulsorily taught. Thus, only those that have a particular interest in political affairs are likely to have more than a very basic knowledge of political matters. It is shocking how many people even at my age (the ripe old age of 21) have no understanding of even very basic politics, political parties and voting. Admittedly, prior to my involvement in the 99% Campaign, I had very little knowledge myself and still confess to being no expert when it comes to politics. I would argue, then, that it...
Not so Black and White: the Link Between Media, Celebrities and Violence

Not so Black and White: the Link Between Media, Celebrities and Violence

Violence is an endemic part of the world we live in. As a medium that often reflects this reality, media culture and its influence is a central part of contemporary society. The release of Grand Theft Auto 5 at the end of last year was met with the usual concerns relating to the effects of video-game media on young players. The same week The Mirror ran a story linking the game Call of Duty to a mass shooting in Washington by an individual overdosed on this video game. In the past, horror films, particularly the graphic violence and gore of so called ‘torture-porn” film, such as Hostel or the SAW series, have also provided a convenient scapegoat and been put under the spotlight. Another example of violence covered by the media industry was that which was inflicted on Rihanna 5 years ago by her boyfriend, Chris Brown. This incident which has not received as much attention as that of Rihanna’s, (perhaps because the victim was not a celebrity) was that involving Hip Hop artist Curtis Jackson. Popularly known as 50 Cent, the influential rapper was recently charged with domestic violence for allegedly beating his girlfriend and inflicting damages worth several thousand dollars. It is, therefore, perhaps surprising that Rihanna would appear in a video that several groups have criticised for glamorising domestic violence by depicting it in the context of a normal and healthy relationship that is in reality, destructive. ‘Love the Way You Lie’, a collaboration by the R&B artist and Eminem, portrays a narrative of an abusive relationship; it’s most contentious lyric perhaps being “Just gonna stand...
Two Minutes With Rich Day – Intern For Micah Challenge International and Advocate for EXPOSED

Two Minutes With Rich Day – Intern For Micah Challenge International and Advocate for EXPOSED

Creative Commons Licensed The EXPOSED campaign seeks to encourage local communities around the world to join in the fight against corruption- a problem that affects everyone, but hits the poorest hardest.  Orchestrated by a coalition of global organisations and churches, they are gathering 1 million signatures to showcase their efforts at the G20 summit at the end of this year, in a bid for practical steps to be taken to promote greater transparency in all aspects of financial affairs; be it within businesses, the government, or individuals . I caught up with Rich Day- an intern for Micah Challenge International- a company supporting the campaign to tell us more on what it’s all about. Ellie: How did you become involved in the EXPOSED campaign and what is your main role? Rich: I am part of a leadership programme, which involves a four-day a week internship for a year. There was a choice of third sector, political or media placement and I chose the third sector. I was particularly interested in working with an organisation tackling injustice and poverty, which is why I am now interning with Micah Challenge International; a global advocacy campaign on extreme poverty. Micah Challenge, along with other organisations and churches, is working on an anti-corruption campaign called EXPOSED, as corruption (in its various forms) is one of the biggest obstacles stopping people escaping extreme poverty – it makes the poor poorer. Ellie: What has been the highlight of your internship so far? Rich: My highlights have been seeing people around the world creatively engaging with the EXPOSED campaign and the issue of corruption, as well as being...
A challenge worth fighting: UK youth unemployment

A challenge worth fighting: UK youth unemployment

To say that you have nothing to live for is not something to be ignored. What should not also be ignored is that this view comes from 900,000 young people, aged 16 to 24 in Britain, who are currently unemployed. Overall unemployment has decreased. Its rate has fallen to its lowest level since 2009, with the number of people out of work falling by 99,000 to 2.39 million in the three months to October. Yet according to the Prince’s Trust, one in three long-term unemployed said they had contemplated suicide; one in four said they had self-harmed. They were also more than twice as likely to be prescribed antidepressants compared with their peers (25% compared with 11%). This follows similar findings from a survey in June 2013 by the UCU lecturers’ union. Meanwhile, in April last year a revealing study by researchers at the Institute of Education, which points to the challenges facing the unemployed, found that the number of jobs in the UK requiring a degree has overtaken the total number of posts not needing any qualifications. As a degree-holder I am all too aware of the troubles of unemployment – it is an issue I can directly relate to. While I have not suffered a level of depression as severe as it appears others have, my speech and language difficulties do affect my confidence and social anxiety, and this has a significant impact on my job search. The message and aim of Prince’s Trust is that it is possible to achieve goals and overcome barriers to employment with relevant and effective support. Young people can then achieve...
Police! Stop and Search – Finding Solutions to Duggan’s Verdict

Police! Stop and Search – Finding Solutions to Duggan’s Verdict

So the jury reached its conclusion: Mark Duggan was lawfully killed. Amidst a series of  assaults and accusations made at the Police and Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), the question that remains is, why is there such a divide between many communities and public institutions? And why is it that young people, particularly those with the extra complication of ethnicity, are still not treated as individuals deserving of equal status to that of the average middle age, white citizen? In discussing the Duggan case, very recently Labour MP for Tottenham, David Lammy recollected his own run-in with the police. In 2005, whilst making his way home from a constituency event, he and his brother were stopped in their tracks – 2 Black men driving an Audi – and accosted by a group of heavily armed police officers. Following a simple explanation of the MP’s identity, the police changed their tack and apologised for the inconvenience caused. The question is, what would have happened if that same person was lacking in status – would his race have overwhelmed his claim of innocence and what if he were 20 years younger? The riots which followed Duggan’s death were a shocking reminder of the widening divide between the police services and the younger generation, particularly groups who are often excluded from mainstream society. Some claim this gulf has been exacerbated by an acute lack of trust felt by those young people who are the main targets of ‘Police powers of stop and search’. Of late, stop and search powers have taken on a notorious significance. They have been blamed for a disproportionate...