Monday, 23 February 2009

Recession P.O.A, applicants need apply!

First published at

The economy is in meltdown.

Investment bankers the world over have been gambling on the future. And have lost.

But nobody realized it was going to happen. Apparently.

The media, the bankers and even the PM have been in the spotlight of the Treasury Select Committee over the past weeks. All ultimately maintaining defiance as to blame lying at their respective doors for their participation, or lack of it, in the national crisis we’re now facing.

Savers have been cheated, consumerism has collapsed, and internationally currencies are retracting accordingly. The bubble has burst.

Globally, a lot has been staked on a system that has so royally faltered. So it’s clear to see why some politicians are having trouble comprehending the situation, and what we should actually be doing about it.

The British Government are planning to pump more money, £2.5 million, into the banks. The failing businesses whose employees have, arguably, committed financial atrocities, not incomparable with crimes on tax payers, often knowingly, around the world.

They intend upon “getting the banks lending again” to give people more credit to get them spending, so people can get mortgages to buy properties.

All sound a bit too familiar?

They are trying to re-prop up this failing system, because it is the only system they know. It is like proving to them that God doesn’t exist.

And their interests are wholly tied up in its survival.

Andy Hornby’s obvious distress in front of the Treasury Select Committee was harrowing, he had invested all of his money in his bank, HBOS, believed in the dream to the bitter end. Proven a fool.

But what should the government really be doing with the money?

Ideally, they would honour savers their money where possible. And the banks that survive survive.

But what money we have needs to be used to fund education and research. Yes, fund it. It will depend upon investment, but we haven’t left ourselves many options. We will fund research into climate change, new technologies and develop medicines: invest in the future.

We have intelligent, educated graduates who will be clambering against joining looming dole queues and young people with uncertain futures and confusing teaching.

Right now, we have no product, nothing to offer in the global economy, and no jobs for the people.

Those people that are being left jobless in the manual professions could begin Pan-European public works projects to improve infrastructure. We could become a cosmopolitan masterpiece.

Should Gordon Brown be publicly flogged? Or is he being punished enough in that it seems like he actually had no grasp of the possibility that this would happen, “end to boom and burst” talk comes to mind here?

Should the bankers have to pay their bonuses back? Are people being rewarded for failure? Probably and probably.

But is divvying up what’s left somehow going to earn us the key to our future? At the end of it all, no. Decide, be fair, but ultimately move on.

Do I think Gordon Brown is up to task? Absolutely not. And Prime Minister’s Question Time still watches like an insight into the Chequers Club… whenever posh men go to clubs.

We are in a very complicated mess. We need someone to fix this, but not with the centre-right, tit-for-tat politics that has got us where we are today. We need new ideas.

So candidates need apply!

Tony Blair must be laughing it up having been the most popular bloke in the country, earning more than his keep in the process and is probably sunning himself on a desert island somewhere right now… If his part in all this isn’t playing much on his conscience.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Student elections- where are all the men?

First published at

Student Elections have come around again, as you may, or quite easily may not have noticed. Nominations opened on Monday 2
nd of February, so if Britain’s Obama is out there, please get yourself down to the union for an election pack.

Having a look down the twenty or so posts available, I can’t help but wonder why there is not a position for Men’s Representative…

For those graduating this year, there are five full-time elected officer posts on the Student Affairs Committee (with salary, don’t all scramble at once): President, Education officer, Activities and participation officer, Media officer and Campaigns officer.

Yep, all non-quality specific.

And for those of you still battling through your degrees who are left feeling you could be doing that bit more for yourself and your peers, the Students’ Council has five voluntary positions: Chair of Students’ Council, Women’s Representative, Students with Disabilities Representative, LGBT Representative and Black Students Representative.

Looking at the list above, I can only assume that the lack of a bloke-specific position means that male interests are intrinsically represented in the ‘Chair of Students’ Council’ position, thus, the position might be more accurately described as ‘Male Representative of Students’ Council,’ and therefore, that there must always be a patriarchal slant put on proceedings. Hmm… all sound a bit too familiar ladies?

The point of a Chair is surely to be without biased?

If this is not the case, then in the great bid for equal rights in a (still, let’s face it) male-dominated world, men either feel they have already been able to achieve all the things that they set out to, so a position is not required (job done, let’s go down the pub), or, if the Chair is not necessarily male and is acting in a neutral role, that men are becoming underrepresented.

The Chair of Students’ Council should be drawn from any student who decides to run, so obviously including anyone from any of the groups given their own position above. They are all equally capable of acting in an unbiased way.

But this would of course mean an overrepresentation of one group with the absence of a white-able-bodied straight male student on the board.

Surely there are areas of university life peculiar and of importance to the male student population in the same way that there are for women students, students with disabilities, LGBT students and Black students?

The only solution is to have a Men’s Officer as well, to identify issues relevant to male students and to ensure the needs of male students are reflected in the activity of the Students’ Union, just as all the other officers do for their respective represented groups. And the Chair, by merit alone, be drawn from anyone who applies.