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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Challenges facing the housing market

Council housingIncreasing house prices, limited housing supply, and problems of affordability characterise the housing market. 30 years of very limited new building in social rented housing have led to increasing numbers of households in private renting and renting for longer. Limited wage growth and risk aversion by banks since the financial crisis has meant that saving for a deposit has become more challenging.

The Help to Buy policy introduced by the Coalition government has tried to address this issue effectively reducing the amount that borrowers need to pay upfront. The Conservative party has indicated that it would retain this policy to 2020 if re-elected in 2015. Continue reading

Political Forecasting Unit – UK Election Forecast – 14 April 2015

Professor Leighton Vaughan WilliamsProfessor Leighton Vaughan Williams, director of the Political Forecasting Unit (PFU) at Nottingham Business School, will be giving the PFU’s official forecast of the election result at least once every day up to and including Election Day, May 7.

The 2015 UK Election Forecast uses a weighted combination of a range of variables, including adjusted polling analysis and a number of market-based predictors. Continue reading

Political Storytelling and the Land of Make-Believe

Political storytelling

Dr Kevin J. Hunt is a senior lecturer in Visual Culture

Politicians talk a lot. Communicating clear ideas and workable policies to voters is key to winning an election and an inevitable part of political rhetoric relies upon telling stories. Representing a policy through a narrative description is a way of personalising an issue and perhaps helping a potential voter relate to an idea that might otherwise appear abstract. This is why politicians often recount how they met someone ‘just the other day’ who is due to benefit from their party’s policies and why, in live events, the candidates try to remember the names of audience members to indicate they are listening and responding to a specific situation affecting a real person. The aim is to show that a vote for that particular party will deliver a happier ending than any of the alternatives on offer. In other words, politicians work hard to construct narratives that they hope the electorate will believe in, repeat to other people, and vote for. Continue reading

Spend, spend, spend on education

Christian Weaver, President of Nottingham Trent University's Politics Society

Christian Weaver, President of Nottingham Trent University’s Politics Society

Get a group of people to discuss public spending and you can guarantee that within a few minutes a debate will ensue about how and where tax payers’ money should be prioritised. One conclusion that can be drawn is that the government cannot please everybody.

My opinion? I think education should be at the top of the priority list. But make no mistake; simply throwing more money at our education system will not solve anything. Our education spending should not only be designed to improve educational attainment and outcomes, but should also recognise its role in addressing economic and social needs. Continue reading

Lord William Bach to give guest lecture on future of human rights

Lord Bach

Lord Bach

Lord William (Willy) Bach, Shadow Attorney General and Shadow Foreign and Commonwealth Minister, will give the guest lecture ‘Protecting citizens: the future of Human Rights’, at Nottingham Trent University on March 19.

In his talk, organised by the university’s School of Social Sciences, Lord Bach will argue that for Britain, the next few years will be crucial for the future of Human Rights Law. He will make the point that those who support the repeal of the Human Rights Act 1998 risk not only turning the clock back years, but also isolating Britain from the modern world. Continue reading

What can we do as women?

woman at deskAs we celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March in this a General Election year it is pertinent to ask, what can we do as women ?

First of all are you registered to vote? There is still time. It is less than 100 years since all women were given the vote in the UK. Please use your vote.

Secondly, out of 650 MP’s only 148 are women and there are only four women in a Cabinet of 23. Ask your candidates their views on this disparity and how they intend to work on influencing a fairer representation of women…..a representation that fairly reflects our population. Continue reading

So…what can we expect from the 2015 General Election?

Decision made? This is one of the most unpredictable elections in almost half a century, according to Dr Matthew Ashton

Decision made? This is one of the most unpredictable elections in almost half a century, says Dr Matthew Ashton

Every election is billed as the most important of modern times. This is mainly because no journalist ever sold a story by making a contest seem dull and predictable. In this case, though, the media’s hyperbole seems justified, and there are a number of reasons for this.

First and foremost, this is one of the most unpredictable elections of the last 40 years. Elections in 1997, 2001 and 2005 were forgone conclusions with most people able to predict the result months before polling day. By 2010 it was much more open ended – and 2015 is looking equally uncertain. Continue reading