controversial statements and the general election

Yesterday: Ban the jobless from driving to ease congestion, Ukip candidate says. Obviously this is a controversial statement. Not very surprising, though. Ukip representatives manage to utter these kind of statements seemingly every day. Who can forget Kerry Smith’s leaked phone calls and Ukip leader’s Nigel Farage wish to join forces with Russia. Believe me; there are plenty of those.

On 7th of May, the United Kingdom is having their general election. Now, Ukip is not a big party (they only have two seats), but they did win the fourth most votes during the 2010 election and it is predicted that their seat gain is almost guaranteed. The real competition is between the Conservatives, the largest single party currently in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, and the Labours. 303 and 257 are their current seats in the House of Commons. However, we can’t ignore the fact that Ukip placed first in the 2014 European Elections.

While Ukip is laden with problematic statements and a subject of much loathing, it does have supporters and is growing year by year.

UK opinion polling 2010-2015.png

This chart shows opinion polling for the general election from 2010 to the predictions in the future. The purple line represents Ukip. It variates through the months, but the rise of the party is quite clear. Maybe in some years from now Ukip will be a substantial competitor to the Conservatives and the Labours? In my case, I hope not.

 

 

Sources

Ban the jobless from driving to ease congestion, Ukip candidate says

Farage’s golden boy’s rant at ‘pooftahs’, ‘Chigwell Peasants’ and ‘Chinky bird’: Astonishing leaked phone calls expose outbursts of Ukip man sent in to replace Neil Hamilton

Nigel Farage: Stop opposing Vladmir Putin in Ukraine and join forces to defeat Islamic terrorists

European Elections: UKIP Tops British Polls

electoral colleges and the 2000 presidential election – what I learned from watching recount

I absolutely hate watching movies where I know what the outcome will be – and that it will not be a good one. That is how I felt watching Recount. I was rooting for them. I really was hoping Gore would win, while knowing he wouldn’t… And that’s why those kind of films suck. They make you invested even while you know what the outcome will be.

For anyone confused as to what I’m talking about, Recount is a film chronicling the few weeks after the 2000 presidential election between Al Gore and George W. Bush when they performed recounts of the votes in Florida. We all know who won. Sadly. The reason for watching this movie in class is because we’re on the topic of the American presidential election process. It was not an easy movie to watch, mostly because I was boiling with rage. It did have Kevin Spacey though and I have a certain fondness in my heart for that guy, so…

Anyway, the American election process. I somehow knew about the American process before I knew the Norwegian and so I was surprised when I found out that they were quite different (if you know about the Norwegian process, you’ll know how daft my assumption was). The electoral college doesn’t exist here and the thought of that happening in Norway is actually quite absurd. This country has a parliamentary system but the power of election is still placed fully on the Norwegian people. Does that mean the stupidity of electing Bush for two terms in a row isn’t due to the people, but the electoral college? They definitely have some shit to explain.

9/11 – a day we will never forget

The effects of 9th of September 2001 are numerous. US economy, the mental health of its people and security in places such as airports was heightened. Since the attack was planned and executed by the al-Qaeda, it didn’t improve the conditions of Muslims living in America or the reputation of Muslim people all over the world.

In the days after 9/11, harassment of anyone that looked like followers of Islam were rampant and common; vandalism, assault, arson and even murder were documented. The word Muslim seems to spark a negative connotation; terrorist. The religion itself is also thought of as “savage” and “dangerous”. Women wearing burqas, niqabs, even hijabs, are suspicious, men are overbearing and always misogynistic and females are oppressed and brainwashed. At least that’s how everyone generally thinks of it. Current events aren’t helping either; ISIS thinks of themselves as brave fighters against the evil capitalism of the west and no matter how many Muslims distance themselves from their violent ways, the word jihad and terrorist will for many be connected to every single follower of Islam. It seems like many people are also unaware of the difference between a Muslim and a radical Islamist. I would say c’est la vie, but that shouldn’t actually be life.

a very ambitious project

I’ve always been interested in the thought of creating a movie that chronicles someone growing up over the course of several years. Boyhood  is here to make that idea come to life. Over a period of eleven years, Richard Linklater has documented the fictional Mason Evans Jr. and his life from a young child to a young man ready to leave for college. It was a very ambitious project which seems to have paid off; it’s a critic darling and a commercial success.
I’ll be watching it with the English class soon and I’m quite excited. Sadly, I haven’t been able to watch many new films this year and I would like to have opinions on the movies nominated for the Oscars before the Oscars actually happen (this one is obviously going to have at least a few nominations – Linklater is a sure bet).

mountains to climb, bridges to cross – about heforshe

I was 14 when I first started calling myself a feminist. From what I knew it meant that you wanted gender equality. I didn’t know of the negative connotations people have towards it and to what extent. I’m guessing you guys know; if you’re a feminist, you have to hate men. Umm… not exactly.

I’m gonna quote my girl Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: “Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political and ecomonic equality of the sexes”.

The early feminists wrote quite a deal about women rights. In A Vindication of the Rights of Women, Mary Shelley argued that the female gender should be allowed to have an education as they are essential to the nation. Olympe de Gouges urged France to have legal equality between the genders and for women to have the right to own property in her most famous work Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen. The District Governor’s Daughters (Amtmandens Døttre) by Camilla Collett revolves around women in unfair arranged marriages. The suffragettes fought for women’s right to vote in the late 19th and early 20th century. During the big abortion debate in United States in the 60s, many feminists came out with a pro-choice stance, stating that women had the right to do whatever they wanted with their bodies. Feminism has been largely a female movement, and yes, it has mostly been about women’s rights. That does not mean in any way that feminists hate men. It simply means that there have been a lot more mountains to climb and bridges to cross for the female gender.

For example, the French revolutionaries hoped to achieve more equality between the different classes. They didn’t fully attain it. When lowerclass men were able to vote, women still didn’t have any choice in politics. Likewise happened in the American revolution and in countless other countries. When class no longer becomes an issue, people instead use gender as a way to differentiate people and their worth. And women are always told they’re worth less.

In the modern day and age feminists have achieved a lot. Women of the past have performed miracles and I, as a young lady in the year of 2014, will be eternally grateful. The playing fields are more even than they were just a century ago. While there is still an astonishing amount of work to be done (women only earn 10 percent of the world’s income though they work two-thirds of the working hours, 64 percent of illiterature adults are women, 39 000 girls are forced into an early marriage everyday and that’s not even all of it), the progress that has been made can’t be denied.

UN Women have created a movement that is hoping to bring about gender equality. The HeForShe campaign urges men to speak up about inequality and discrimination faced by girls and women based on their gender. When you oppose a female being outspoken, honest and authorative in any way, you are contributing to the thought that women aren’t “supposed” to be like that. When you oppose a male being sensitive, careful and compassionate, you are contributing to the thought that men aren’t “supposed” to be like that. Removing and breaking down the notion that to be fully accepted as a male or female, you have to fit into the narrow box of that gender as it’s traditionally perceived, is the goal. And if we achieve that, it will be easier for everyone, both men and women, to actually be themselves.

 

divided in two houses

The Parliament of England is divided in two Houses: the House of Commons and the House of Lords. While the members of parliament in Commons are generally elected every five years, the Lords are selected – appointed by the Monarch, Queen Elizabeth, on the advice of the Prime Minister (not counting the ones that are hereditary peers, meaning they were given the position as a birthright).
While both Houses have the same tasks, the Commons have greater power. The British party with the largest number of members in the Commons will form the government after the Parliament is dissolved and every seat made vacant for the upcoming election.
Commons and Lords have it as their duty to make and shape laws, debate current issues and check the work of the government. Additionally, Commons are in charge of granting money to the government through approving Bills that raise taxes. The conclusions and resolutions one House makes will have to be accepted by the other, but the Lords don’t have any power to block or amend the Commons’ decisions on financial Bills.
Quite a few of the Lords have an array of jobs and occupations – they work in medicine, science, the arts, law, business and what-have-you, but many of them have political backgrounds. Since the peers in the House of Commons are elected and are required to be in a party for them to have the chance to even become elected, it is more common for the political interest to be higher in the House of Commons.

Operation Neptune

Thousands of allied troops have begun landing on the beaches of Normandy in northern France at the start of a major offensive against the Germans.

Such begins a BBC article published on the 6th of June 1944. The topic on hand is D-day and the invasion made by the allies against Germany that marked the beginning of the end. Less than a year later the war was over in Europe, some months after that the world could officially close the book on the war with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Codenamed “Operation Neptune”, D-day was a… collaboration, you can say, between the allied countries (the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Greece, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Poland). Over 150 000 soldiers fought on the allies’ side. Luck was on their side; the Germans were taken off guard, having expected the allies to invade through the Pas de Calais. They didn’t know what to do and Hitler wasn’t even consulted – he was sleeping and the Field Marshal didn’t dare wake him up. The battle went on for ten weeks and by the end of it, the allied could share a toast and breathe a relieved sigh. Things were looking up. There was a definite light at the end of the tunnel.

Even before the 6th of June, it was pretty clear that the German army was declining and their power diminishing. Constant bombing of German cities occurred, the Wehrmacht (the armed forces of Germany) retreated in some areas and the power of the air force reduced extensively. The Soviet forces had also largely destroyed the Army of the Third Reich on the Eastern Front, one of the most important factors in Germanys later defeat.

“Operation Neptune” managed to seal the United States’ position as the most powerful country in the world. It was also important in strengthening the bonds of the allied countries (I shouldn’t have to say that the Soviet Union was an exception). When Hitler killed himself 30th April 1945 it was pretty clear that everything was going to descend soon after – and it did. D-day needs a big part of the credit after that.