stupidpolicies

Newly published from myself on Manchester Mule:

The student movement against fees and cuts has been a pretty big fail by our stated goals so far. Tuition fees have tripled, our teaching budgets are still being cut by 80 percent, and I don’t think anyone outside the student bubble even noticed the day the Commons voted to stop thousands of 16 year olds from getting to school now they won’t be receiving their Educational Maintenance Allowance. And much of the Daily Mail readership now thinks that students are scrounging, racist, violent thugs. The student movement hasn’t had a great campaign to date.

Or have we? Let’s look at these statistics.

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Dear Ms. May,

I am writing to you with great concern regarding the pending deportation of Brenda Namigadde this week. Brenda came here in 2003 fleeing persecution as a lesbian. Even setting aside the horrors of a system that has left her in legal limbo for no less than eight years, it seems hard to believe that very system has also apparently deemed her not a lesbian. Given that Brenda fled to the UK in the first place as she faced threats on her life because she was living with her female partner, Janet Hoffman, I can only wonder by what criteria the immigration service deemed someone gay at all.

However, regardless of these questions, which go well beyond the specifics of an individual case, the fact remains that of Brenda Namigadde is deported to Uganda, she will be arrested, tortured, and killed. Whether she is in fact lesbian or not, though all evidence before everyone but the judge suggest that she is indeed gay, is absolutely irrelevant to this case: the Ugandan government clearly believe that she is a lesbian, and will duly persecute her as they persecute all homosexuals. David Bahati, a Ugandan MP, has already called for her to “repent or reform”, saying that “Brenda is welcome in Uganda if she will abandon or repent her behaviour. Here in Uganda, homosexuality is not a human right. It is behaviour that is learned and it can be unlearned. We wouldn’t want Brenda to be painting a wrong picture of Uganda, that we are harassing homosexuals.” Mr. Bahati is also responsible for trying to introduce a law that would sentence people found guilty of gay sex with life imprisonment. Only international pressure has commuted his original attempt to introduce the death penalty.

With this background then, it seems unfathomable that as a nation we can be knowingly sending a woman back to her certain death because of ideological views on immigration. Economic migration is a matter of fair debate, but when the Daily Mail holds sway over our policy-making over asylum seekers, we are playing with people’s lives for political expediency. As an LGBT person myself, I am horrified that the rights which I have the luxury of taking for granted, like the right to life, the right not to be tortured, the right to be out and proud, are to be denied to another simply because of the country she was born in.

As Home Secretary. you have the power to stop this from happening. I beg you to re-examine Brenda’s case and intervene so that she can have the right to life she is entitled to and we do not have blood on our hands.

Yours sincerely,

Sarah McCulloch

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Violence at the NUS/UCU National Demonstration

November 11, 2010

I am writing this after 20 hours of travel and protest but I wanted to get out some quick thoughts on the issue of violence at the demonstration yesterday. But take a look at the video above and tell me: does this look like a “tiny despicable minority ruining it for the others” to you? […]

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Why the Coalition is Going to Kill People Part 4: Other Parties Helped Them!

October 28, 2010

This blogpost is the last part of a four part series. I have now devoted some 4000 words to why I have left the Liberal Democrats and how the coalition government is literally a matter of life and death for some people. The response I have had from my decision has been massive, but a […]

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Who’s Affected by the Cuts?: Why the Coalition is Going to Kill People Part 3

October 25, 2010

This blogpost is the third of a four part series, and the fourth part will be published tomorrow. So, my friends, we established yesterday that the systems are going to be taking something of a hit as a result of coalition government. What about the people who depend on the state? What has the coalition […]

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What’s Affected by the Cuts?: Why the Coalition is Going to Kill People Part 2

October 25, 2010

This blogpost is the second of a four part series, and the third part will be published tomorrow. Many Liberal Democrats drunken on power seem to be getting all misty-eyed over an AV referendum and the pupil premium and entirely forgetting about things like, say, the cutting of social care for the elderly by 30%. […]

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Death to the Liberal Democrats! Or, Why the Coalition is Going to Kill People Part 1

October 25, 2010

This blogpost is the first of a four part series, and the second part will be published tomorrow. Further to my rage-fuelled spontaneous combustion last week, I thought I would write a somewhat more thought-out explanation as to why I was planning to leave the Liberal Democrats even before I was so offended by the […]

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Some Thoughts on the Browne Review: Free Education is Still Possible, You Know.

October 12, 2010

The Browne review on Higher Education, which was published today and you can read a summary of here, has generated some very gloomy headlines. Not from the Sun, who haven’t covered the Browne review at all, and have chosen to go with a expose on the working conditions of lap-dancers at Stringfellows, but most other […]

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1784: The Year Prohibition Ended

October 11, 2010

In the late seventeenth century, a new substance was brought back from the edges of the British empire. Sociable, pleasant and healthier than tobacco, it spread first among the aristocracy, but eventually became popular with the masses, to such an extent that, although the government tried to stamp out its consumption, a massive international smuggling […]

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“The Chemists are Winning”: The Rise of Mephedrone and Legal Highs

October 4, 2010

Originally written for Student Direct. In April 2010, after a media storm, the British government passed legislation to classify mephedrone as a Class B drug. Mephedrone is a stimulant somewhat similar in effects to MDMA and cocaine, and is chemically based on cathinones found in the African stimulant Khat, but which was sufficiently chemically different […]

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