UK EU referendum explained to young people in new website

Me & EU website A new website is setting out to engage young people in the UK EU referendum, following research which shows some 81 per cent of 12-to-24 year olds feel that they don’t know enough about the EU and how it affects their everyday lives.

The 2014 study completed by Dr Darren Sharpe of the University of East London (UEL) shows that only 7 per cent feel that they know ‘a lot’ about the EU, and just 12% feel that the EU impacts on their lives ‘very much’.

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-funded site, ‘Me & EU’, aims to give young voters the key, relevant information which will aid and support them in making a decision in the run up to the referendum.

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David Miliband – the ‘elephant in the room’


Credit: Riots Panel

More coming in from Nottingham Trent University politics expert Dr Matthew Ashton on Labour, and how the party responds to this major blow.

“After this devastating defeat, Labour now faces two big questions about the future of their party. The first is the obvious one about who the next leader is going to be; the second is whether they lost because they were too left wing, or not left wing enough. Should they try to return to the centre ground of the Blair/New Labour years, or present a genuine left wing alternative to the Tory agenda? Continue reading

‘Big losers are the pollsters’ – Dr Matthew Ashton

Dr Matthew AshtonDr Matthew Ashton, a lecturer in politics at Nottingham Trent University, is providing us with some expert view as the full picture around the election results becomes clear.

“Alongside Labour, the Liberal Democrats and UKIP, the big losers are the pollsters. It was like 1992 all over again, but worse. The current result in no way resembles what they were predicting 24 hours ago. From an academic perspective there are a couple of reasons why this might be. Continue reading

Fictional seven-party politics: who would win a battle of the best on-screen leaders?

House of Cards

Credit: Brian Rinker

Politicians themselves may have their faults, but recently we’ve been thinking that perhaps wickedly inventive screenwriters should shoulder some of the blame for disillusioned, apathetic voters, writes Phil Nodding and Jools Ayodeji.

It’s possible that they’ve raised public expectations by creating characters that we prefer to watch – leaving us underwhelmed by the banal and predictable platitudes of the real life party mouthpieces. Continue reading

Labour crime policies offer few surprises

Roger Hopkins Burke

Roger Hopkins Burke

The general election of 1979 drastically changed the place of crime in politics, writes Roger Hopkins Burke.

Thatcher’s promise to be tough on crime is arguably what won that election for the Conservatives. This set a precedent, wherein being seen as soft on crime became politically unappealing. The Labour party eventually responded to this agenda, and Blair’s promise to be “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” became the rallying cry of the New Labour movement.

The crime section of the new Labour manifesto opens by acknowledging crime as a cause of fear and insecurity. People certainly fear violent crime, but the statistics suggest that it is very much on the decrease, and has been since the mid-1990s.

Much of this has taken place during the New Labour years, and the Crime Survey for England and Wales shows that reported violent crime between 1995 and 2014 has fallen from 3.8 million in 1995 to 1.3 million in 2013/14. Over the past five years, reported violent crimes have dropped by 21%, with public disorder offences fallen by 29%. Over the same period, crimes involving weapons have decreased by 34%, and homicides by 28%. Continue reading

Safer prisons as a reflection of a safer society

Crime and punishment may not be as high on the agenda of most political parties for this election, but important issues remain open for debate, writes Dr Karen Slade.

The reason for the lower prioritisation for this election may be because, accordingly to key metrics, crime has been falling through successive governments. Paradoxically, although crime was falling, prison numbers in both England & Wales and in Scotland remain as two of the highest rates in Europe.

Party promises around prisons can often focus on ‘who can sound toughest on crime’ but are also likely to include promises around improving rehabilitation – and here is the paradox. The main issue? Sending someone to prison fractures their life, and their families, isolating them from positive influences as well as negative ones. Prisons are also dangerous places that have negative consequences on physical and mental health, may increase a sense of being splintered from society and having a knock-on effect for those on first-time and short sentences of an increased risk of crime. Continue reading

A whistle stop tour of the parties’ sporting pledges

In my last blog I discussed the peripheral status of sport and physical activity in the election campaign, writes Dr David Hindley. Since then all the manifestos of the main political parties have been unveiled, thus providing an opportunity to analyse the content and to examine what pledges, if any, they are making with regards to the sporting field.

In the case of the Conservatives, perhaps unsurprisingly, reference is made to building upon the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, with the pledge to continue to support elite sports funding. Alongside this is the promise to deliver a number of mega-sports events, including the World Athletics Championship in 2017 and the Cricket World Cup in 2019. Continue reading

Pro-GM but anti-EU, UKIP could cost UK farming

CowsUKIP’s proposals on food and agriculture are, unsurprisingly, framed as requiring exit from the EU and its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), writes Professor Rob Ackrill.

The CAP covers payments to farmers, and Rural Development – locally implemented activities promoting farm efficiency, environmental protection and wider rural economic development. Yet much of what is proposed does not require an EU exit to be implemented. In fact, some elements are already in operation. Continue reading