Opinions of the Year 2019
The views and opinions expresed in these atricles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of InQuire Media.
Reviewing the 2019/20 academic year so far, IQ celebrates some of the stand-out opinion pieces by snipping words from our top 5 picks.
Eton mess: Britain’s feudal education system by Josh West
At their conference in September, the Labour Party announced they would abolish UK private schools and equally redistribute their assets; and it’s about damn time. Of the 8 million students at 24,000 schools in Britain, only 6.5 % are privileged enough to attend 2,600 private schools. Not only do these charge £17,000 per-year on average, their ‘charitable status’ means they don’t pay any taxes, a possible £150 million a year; this means struggling and cuts, leaving state schools with a 1:22 teacher- student ratio that pay taxes in full whilst select ivory towers with millions in private funding and a 1:9 teacher-student ratio pay nothing at all. What is this but Victorian elitism? Private schools maintain an archaic tradition that the richest in society get the best teachers, the best resources and, consequently, the best jobs; snuffing our future intelligentsia and professionals. And people wonder why this country is in a mess.
Why is living with HIV news in 2019? by Rob Topham
Recently, a series of stars have opted to reveal their HIV status in an attempt to reduce the stigma and confusion that has held sway over the general public’s opinion on the disease for over twenty years. Specifically, Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness and former England Rugby captain Gareth Thomas. The impact the two’s revelation cannot be understated, Van Ness has millions of fans and followers in mainstream media and Thomas’ voice will be heard by a community often left behind and ostracised by the LGBT+ community. The openness of the two serves as a beacon of hope to those lacking any; due to education systems politicising entire existences and refusing to educate people on the ‘taboo’ HIV / Aids crisis. We must continue to address the significance of the issue and praise those brave enough to speak out.
America needs to reform its gun laws and although this is not simple, it is urgent. On 3rd August 2019, 22 people were killed in El Paso, Texas. This brought vast amounts of confusion and sorrow to America and the rest of the world, but it did not bring surprise. Since January, America has suffered over 280 mass shootings and this number is only set to rise as the year continues. Instead of reforming the laws, America is simply preparing itself for the next attack. Schools are being redesigned to reduce casualties from school shootings, and Trump has mentioned the possibility of arming teachers with guns. This is a focus on minimising the impacts, rather than solving the problem. The answer to reducing gun violence is not an easy one, but it is necessary. America needs to put people before profits and start fighting the problem at its roots.
Leeds students do their laundry for free – why can’t we? by Robin Savage
Sometimes in life, everyday injustices rattle us most. And for students across the country, few injustices vex like those wrought by Circuit Laundry, a company more interested in rinsing us of our money than dirt from our clothes. Students living on campus are forced to pay £4 for one load of clothing to be washed and dried, and it does not have to be this way. In September 2017, the University of Leeds became the first in the country to remove laundry charges. If Leeds can remove this burden, there is no reason The University of Kent cannot too. We have been hung out to dry by the combined malevolent forces of money-grubbing student accommodation, and by Circuit – a company so evil it would move Al Capone to appreciatively doff his Fedora from the fires of Hell. We must demand change, because clean clothing is not a luxury, but a basic need.
Are we democratic? by Michael Noctor
Yes, we are democratic. It is no surprise, however, that recent events regarding Brexit and a call for a ‘People’s Vote’ have raised this question. The UK may be going through tumultuous political times, and political parties may be experiencing internal turmoil, however we still live in a democracy. Our Parliament is called ‘the mother of all Parliaments’, and rightly so. Democracy in the UK has endured for centuries and never succumbed to totalitarian dictators or fallen to a power-hungry monarch. There are many aspects of our system to be proud of. Yet there are issues within our democratic system, of course. Irrespective of one’s personal political affiliation, it is difficult to argue that we do not live in a democratic system. Parliament is front and centre of national attention, and the purpose and use of direct democracy is very much being considered in the political discourse of the day. I hope it continues.
This article is part of our one-off edition of IQ Magazine, out from November the 29th 2019. Pick up the magazine on campus in our InQuire distribution bins in Keynes, Co-op, the Templeman library and other locations on campus.