Legalise Weed and Go-Eco: Breakdown and Scrutinisation of Liberal Democrats 2017 Manifesto

Today it was the turn of the Liberal Democrats to release their manifesto: ‘Change Britain’s Future’ ahead of the June elections by being given the “opportunity to change Britain’s future – by changing the opposition”

Tim_Farron_(2008)Liberal Democrats Leader: Tim Farron – “The future of Britain: it’s in your hands.”

Summary: 16 year olds to vote, 18 year olds to smoke weed legally, Britain to go eco and another EU referendum! Meet the Lib Dems who want to do everything and anything but with no suggestion as to where the money is exactly coming from?! 


Key Policies:

Economy

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Eliminate the deficit on day-to-day spending by 2020 to control the national debt, and then borrowing only to invest

Additional funding to bring more private investment into renewable energy

Raise employee national insurance threshold to the income tax threshold, while protecting low earners’ ability to accrue pension and benefit entitlements

Ensure those with the highest incomes and wealth are making a fair contribution

This is in relation to taxes – The Liberal Democrats suggest making reforms to Capital Gains Tax and Dividend Tax Relief, as well as reversing previous Tories decisions – The Lib Dems intend to revers the Corporation Tax back to 20% (currently 17%) as well as the marriage allowance – which allows spouses and civil partners to transfer £1,150 of your Personal Allowance if they earn more than you, reducing their tax by up to £230 per tax year. The marriage allowance currently benefits thousands of couples, especially parents who are returning to work after children. 

Protect the science budget, including the recent £2bn increase, by raising it at least in line with inflation

Stamp out abuse of zero-hours contracts

The same argument that Labour are proposing – as previously said with their manifesto – zero hour contracts do have their purpose regarding students. 


Housing

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New direct spending on house-building to help build 300,000 homes a year by 2022.

They don’t clarify who will benefit from the new houses – but they intend to build potentially 1.5 million new houses over the next 5 years with funding from their “realistic £100 billion package.”

Green Buildings Act to ensure every home in England reaches at least an energy rating of Band C by 2035

This would mean that houses are more energy efficient which in turn would decrease the amount of bills householders have to pay. 

Create at least 10 new garden cities in England

If you are unfamiliar with what a ‘garden city’ is they are “planned new settlements which enhances the natural environment and offers high-quality affordable housing and locally accessible work in beautiful, healthy and sociable communities.” (TPCA) Yes – I’m still confused as to why this is an important aspect and way to spend our money? Houses with more green space around them?! Is that really the best way to use our money? 


Transport

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Oppose expansion of Heathrow, Stansted or Gatwick and any new airport in the Thames Estuary – instead focus on improving existing regional airports such as Birmingham and Manchester.

They give no argument for why they oppose expansion of the big 3 airports – no economic or environmental reason given. Instead they suggest expansion of Birmingham and Manchester – both of which have very limited space around them for any possible future expansion. I presume they mean improvement of resources and facilities? Missing out on a huge economic input into society! 

Investment in road and rail infrastructure, continued commitment to HS2, Crossrail 2 and rail electrification


Energy and Environment 

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A diesel scrappage scheme, and a ban on the sale of diesel cars and small vans in the UK by 2025, along with extending ultra-low-emission zones to 10 more towns and cities.

Pass a Zero-Carbon Britain Act to set targets to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2040 and to zero by 2050

Aim to generate 60% of electricity from renewables by 2030

Increase maximum sentence for animal cruelty from six months to five years, and a ban on caged hens and clamp down on illegal pet imports.

I agree that the sentence for cruelty against animals does deserve a longer sentence – however the government will have to pay for the cost of sending these individuals to prison. Is illegal pet imports at an all time high then? Is this really a priority for the Liberal Democrats? Will this suggestion really persuade voters? I think not. 


Drugs and Policing

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Bring in a legal, regulated market for cannabis and introduce limits on potency and permit cannabis to be sold through licensed to over-18s.

Are they actually having a laugh? Ok so I can see their point when they argue that legalising cannabis would bring in apparently £1bn in tax revenues and I can perhaps understand that allowing cannabis to be legal for medical purposes under medial surveillance. But to allow cannabis to be sold to any old Jack or Jill on the street is not the wisest suggestion to come from a political manifesto. The police already have trouble regulating drink driving let alone drug driving. If this suggestion came into force, I can almost guarantee an automatic increase in deaths and road danger related to the use of cannabis and driving. Are you also proposing a nationwide campaign to ensure that the public know the dangers and risks of taking lives when they for example smoke and drive? Who’s going to be paying for that? Tax payer again? 

End imprisonment for possession of illegal drugs for personal use

They don’t suggest what the alternative would be – perhaps a fine? Less in prison means decrease in overcrowding and less money spent. 

£300m for community policing in England and Wales

Community policing does not need a huge cash injection as you suggest – why not the regular police? Community police officers are merely plastic cops, they have as much powers as I do committing a citizen arrest. 

Require all front-line officers to wear body cameras on duty

I whole heartedly agree with this suggestion – the police are here to protect our communities and enforce the law, they are time and time again suffering violence and damage from the public. This would also ensure that the police are doing their jobs satisfactorily as well as providing evidence for convictions. 


Social Care and Families

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NHS – immediate 1p rise on the basic, higher and additional rates of Income Tax to raise £6 billion additional revenue which would be ringfenced to be spent only on NHS and social care services.

Equal care for mental health – people will not wait more than six weeks for therapy for depression or anxiety, and no young person will wait more than two weeks for treatment when they experience a first episode of psychosis.

An additional month’s paid paternity leave

Labour suggested a 2-week extension to paternity leave, Lib Dems rival them with an additional month to new-dads. So thats a whole possible 6 weeks off when a child is born, seems a little excessive. 

Introduce a new Young Person’s Bus Discount Card for 16-21 year olds, giving a two-thirds discount on bus travel.

Number 1 – most 17 year olds aim is to learn to drive and then get a car – I don’t know how many of them would benefit from a discounted bus travel service. Number 2 – two thirds discount is rather a hike – young people already get student price on travel, and like the railcard offers 1/3 off travel is more than ample. 


Education 

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Votes for 16-year-olds

Did I miss the sentence where you said you were going to allow 16-year-olds to vote after politics became a permanent subject on the education curriculum across the UK? Oh wait, you didn’t suggest that! Let’s allow a bunch of adolescents the chance to vote when they know nothing! How about we teach them what is going on in our country, how the system works and why they will be affected before we let them loose with the future of our country.

Reinstate maintenance grants for the poorest students, ensuring that living costs are not a barrier to disadvantaged young people studying at university.

Just because the higher bracket parents earn more money than those from lower incomes does not suggest that poorer students should get money handed on a plate – what’s wrong with getting a job like most normal students? How do you propose choosing who does and doesn’t get the maintenance grants? What criteria are you suggesting? And have you forgotten universities offer scholarships for those from lower income backgrounds? 

No mention of any suggestions to do with lowering / abolishing tuition fees. 


Brexit

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Another EU referendum to “give the final say to the British people.”

Seriously? We had the final say – and we voted to leave. How about instead of trying to reverse the outcome of Brexit, you deal with the 30% of those who didn’t vote in that referendum and actually educate them and how they would have made a difference. We’ve made our bed – got to lie in it now! Brexit is happening – no need to divide the country further. 

Protection of rights for EU citizens and UK citizens

They want to guarantee the rights of EU nationals that are currently living in the UK, as well as simplifying the registration process and requirements for EU nationals to obtain permanent residence and UK citizenship – in other words make it easier for people to apply for citizenship from the EU – how is this controlling our immigration problem? 


Overall conclusion / opinion

I am a little clueless as to what the Liberal Democrats are suggesting they are offering, and I think they are too! It seems they are trying to offer something for everyone, but in fact, there are so many flaws with their suggestions. I applaud them for particularly focusing on making the UK more eco friendly, perhaps they could turn to Sweden and look at their recycling revolution. Unlike Labour who want to increase tax for the richest 5%, The Liberal Democrats do not say, hint or even suggest where,  where exactly is the money coming from?!


Disclaimer:

For the reader to understand the stance I have taken on writing this article, I presently remain unbiased to all political parties, although it should be noted that I have previously supported the Conservative party. However my current political position is that I don’t believe any party leader is fit to do the job, therefore I am scrutinising all manifestos  published and my position on voting remains wholly undecided. 

I am in no means a political advocate for any party, nor am I an expert in The Liberal Democrats Manifesto 2017 released today. These are just my points and views regarding the arguments made by The Liberal Democrats. 

Let the rich pay for society: Breakdown and Scrutinisation of Labour’s 2017 Manifesto

Over the upcoming few weeks, politics will dominate the media and we the consumer will become saturated by facts, figures and a whole load of soon-to-be false promises from all parties. As each party releases their manifesto, I will be analysing, scrutinising and breaking them down, questioning every point they make and playing devils advocate to try and find the truth and hidden lies.

 

3adKV8CCLabour Leader: Jeremy Corbyn – “For the many, not the few.” 

Summary: Labour have short term goals and want to spend. They are interested in ‘cure not prevention’ with wanting to fix present problems, instead of finding the reasons behind the problems, and putting measures in place to prevent them from happening in the future. Funding: tax the very rich to pay for everything in society!


Key Policies:

Economy

Extra tax, in total £48.6bn – £6.4bn from income tax from the top 5% – to help fund the public services

According to Gov.uk the overall budget for the NHS for 2016/17 was around £120.4 billion set to rise to £133.1 billion by 2020/21.

Extra £19.4bn from corporation tax, £6.5bn from tax avoidance programme

Income tax rate 45p on earnings of £80,000 and above – and 50p to be reintroduced on earnings above £123,000

Currently those earning £80,000 have over £25,000 of their yearly earnings taken off them, with Labour suggesting to increase the income tax to 45p. It is dream-able to earn £80,000 or more, you may have your own business, or a really successful job that you have had to work hard for and make sacrifices, to then have so much of it taken away. Why can’t there be more of an equal income tax rate across the pay brackets? So everyone is taxed more or less the same amount, regardless of wages everyone pays in? 

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Boost wages of 5.7m people earning less than minimum wage to £10 an hour by 2020

So by “protecting small businesses by reintroducing the lower small profits rate of corporation tax and excluding them from costly plans to introduce quarterly reporting and take action on late payments” you in turn expect them to pay their staff £10 an hour?

Will we see businesses no longer offering time and a half, double time on bank holidays or night time premium if the basic wage is £10 an hour? What purpose will the national living wage then have? 


Workers Rights 

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An end to zero-hours contracts to guarantee workers a “number of hours each week”

Having worked in several jobs with zero-hour contracts, for high school students and university students, zero-hour contracts are personally the best to have for those in education, no commitment to having to work a certain amount of hours when you have exams. 

Introduce four extra public holidays each year to mark national patron saints’ days.

Have you told all the companies and business across the UK that they are expected to pay an increased bank holiday premium wage for all their staff and allow them to take another day(s) off? 

Legislate to ensure that any employer wishing to recruit labour from abroad does not undercut workers at home – because it causes divisions when one workforce is used against another.

This will hopefully close the gap in divide between nationalities in the UK and this common myth that “foreigners are taking our jobs.” There are plenty of jobs out there, just depends if you are willing to do the work. 

Ban unpaid internships

Good idea, I am currently on an all-unpaid internship and I am managing only because I have a part-time job and still in education. Unpaid internships are unfair, and can promote exploitation, setting the standard of what a job requires on no pay. 

 

Give all workers equal rights from day one, whether part-time or full-time, temporary or permanent.

Double paid paternity leave to four weeks and increase paternity pay – because fathers are parents too and deserve to spend more time with their new babies.

There is already Shared Paternal Leave in place – where the father/spouse can take some of the maternity leave from the mother to extend theirs? Although it is a nice idea that Labour has suggested. 


Education

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Reintroduce maintenance grants for university students and abolish university tuition fees.

Firstly not everyone should be encouraged to go to university as if it is the only option to be successful in life. I don’t need a journalism degree to be a journalist and I agree with Labour that “no one should be put off educating themselves for lack of money or through fear of debt” but I categorically disagree that all “education should be free.” 

Who is going to pay for the maintenance grants?  And who is then going to pay for the new developments, buildings, software, equipment, bus services, lecturers, funding of the universities if we scrap tuition fees? 

Instead: all university fees should be equal across all governments, eg. Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales, no abolition, but a significant decrease in the price of tuition fees, because specialist education needs to be paid for! There also needs to be financial support for those taking Masters and Post-graduate courses too!

Decrease in wages for the hierarchal staff that run the universities – with university vice-chancellors receiving an average salary package of £277,834 in the last academic year according to the University and College Union. 

If maintenance grants were to be brought back – they need to be strict and rigorous in checking the details and criteria for those that get the different pay brackets. It is unfair for students those with higher income parents to get the lower amount of grant and have it expected for their parents to subsidies them whilst those from lower income backgrounds are living the highlife off £7,000 a year. 

Extend schools-based counselling to all schools to improve children’s mental health, at a cost of £90 million per year.

Nice idea – what age bracket of schools will be seeing this funding for counselling? Important for high schools especially. Can we not see mental health and social well-being lessons going on the curriculum as well?

Restore the Education Maintenance Allowance for 16 to 18-year-olds from lower and middle income backgrounds.

Point blank no – children should not be paid to be encouraged to go to school! From witnessing several people be given this money – which is meant to be used for buying school essentials, like books, transport to and from, school uniform – I know a few people who spent it on TV’s, holidays – unessential items. Why not give EMA in the form of vouchers, for school books and uniform etc? 

Overhaul existing childcare system and extend 30 hours of free childcare to all two year olds

Good idea – how are we going to pay for the 30hour free childcare? Are you then going to be encouraging the parent(s) to get back into work? 

Class-Size-Matters-1-zk3e4ePromise to reduce class sizes to “less than 30” for five, six, and seven-year-olds

Not necessarily an issue regarding younger children – perhaps focus on those doing GCSE’s in high school  and reducing class sizes along with creating a better system for the different levels of ability – tailor classes to the needs of the students and abilities. 

Free school meals for all primary school children, paid for by removing the VAT exemption on private school fees

Wait your saying that “education should be free” but your charging those who choose and pay to send their children to private schools, and through taxing them you want to pay for primary children’s school lunches? Proposing VAT tax on private school fees, means you’re no where near “restoring your principle” and achieving your aim of “education should be free.” 

As the Lidl advert promotes (other supermarkets are available) it can only cost £3.37 per child per week (5 days) for lunch for a child that a parent has to pay for, not really breaking the bank?! If you can’t afford to sustainably and long-term feed your children, think twice before having them!


Public Services

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We will guarantee that patients can be seen in A&E within four hours.

I wouldn’t like to witness the backlash of tweets that Corbyn could receive if he gets into government and someone waits 4 hours and 1 minute in A&E! It is all good suggesting this idea, but patients are put into a category of priority and unfortunately if there are people needing immediate care eg. a car crash victim compared to you with your broken toe, then you could be waiting more than 4 hours – but don’t complain because it is a FREE service. 

End hospital car parking charges by increasing the tax on private medical insurance premiums.

This is only for those car parks in England – why not everywhere in the UK and why can’t we just abolish car parking charges all together? Or how about we keep them, and they contribute to funding the NHS?! 

Mental health

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With it being such a big issue in the UK, I am glad to see they are proposing to tackle it, more money does need to be put into funding and increasing services for those suffering with mental health – ideally this should be partnered not only with ‘curing and dealing’ with mental health suffers but also ‘preventing’ mental health issues arising through education, discussion and acceptance. A good idea to start with, needs to be developed into a long-term plan, focussing not just on health services being provided. 

NHS will receive more than £30bn in extra funding over the next parliament through increasing income tax for the highest 5 per cent of earners and by increasing tax on private medical insurance.

As previously mentioned above, according to Gov.uk the overall budget for the NHS for 2016/17 was around £120.4 billion set to rise to £133.1 billion by 2020/21. Will Labour keep on “increasing income tax for the highest 5 per cent of earners and increasing tax on private medical insurance” as the cost of the NHS increases every year? Or where do they propose to find the rest of the money as the cost of the NHS increase year on year? Could they not be promoting private health care to decrease the pressure on public services? 

Increase levels of policemen and women

What are we going to be paying them – Diane Abbott? 


Social Security and Pensions 

Reinstate housing benefit for under-21s

Guarantee state pension triple lock, as well as the winter fuel allowance and free bus passes.

“Rejects” proposal to increase state pension age further

With people living longer and the cost of living increasing year on year, I’m not surprised if the state pension age was to be increased, although not increasing it is a nice suggestion from Labour. But Labour should also be encouraging the younger generation to be saving for their own personal retirement fund and pension as well, due to the points above. 

Increase Carer’s Allowance by £11 to the level of Jobseekers’ Allowance.

Looking after our elderly is a huge issue in the UK, with people living longer and the access to more radical health care, we are seeing an academic of families choosing to be the sole carer of elderly family members. For some, it is their full-time job and they should be paid a fair wage. 


Energy 

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Ensure that 60% of the UK’s energy comes from zero-carbon or renewable sources by 2030.

A ban on fracking

Why not increase tax on fracking instead? It could have the potential to provide 74,000 jobs and £100,000 to each local community site. (facts from UKOOG)

Nuclear power “will continue to be part of the UK energy supply”

Introduce an immediate emergency energy price cap to ensure the average dual fuel household energy bill remains below £1,000 per year


Housing

Build over one million more homes, with at least half for social rent

Shouldn’t you be encouraging people to get onto the property ladder and not depend on social housing? 

Guarantee help to buy funding until 2027 and give locals buying their first home “first dibs on new homes built in their area.”

Make 4,000 additional homes available for rough sleepers to end homelessness.

How about they look into the reasons for people being made homeless and try to tackle that issue to – I have spoken to many homeless people and several say it is due to job losses.


Transport

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Extend high speed rail link HS2 to Scotland and Build Crossrail 2 – to run north-south through London between Hertfordshire and Surrey – “to ensure our capital continues to prosper”

Recognise the need for additional airport capacity in the South East

Are we ignoring the expansion of Heathrow? The increase in jobs and businesses it could bring in? The extra money it would put into the British economy? Best if we ignore that hey? 


Brexit and the EU

Accept the EU referendum result

“By scrapping the Brexit White Paper, and create a whole new set of rules” – will this be a regular occurrence every time the government changes political hands? 

Prioritise British produce

It is good to hear they they will “protect our farmers” and “not allow Brexit to be used as an excuse to undercut our farmers and flood Britain’s food chain with cheap and inferior produce.”

Freedom of movement will end when we leave the European Union. Britain’s immigration system will change.

You don’t tell us how the immigration system will change – are closing the door fully? And what happens to those that are living in the UK illegally as immigrants? Where you putting those? Giving them a citizenship and allowing them to stay or going back home?

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Overall conclusion / opinion

Some very valid arguments and points made by the Labour party, with myself agreeing with a few of them.

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My biggest issue is having the rich pay for all the spending that Labour are so predominately well-known for – with Blair and Brown seeing a boom in overspending in their last government.

And the only mention of Benefits was his gigantic U-turn on the proposition of Tories freezing Benefits. There needs to be some serious digging into those who are being given benefits and making sure they are fairly and properly received and not just being taken advantage of.


Disclaimer:

For the reader to understand the stance I have taken on writing this article, I presently remain unbiased to all political parties, although it should be noted that I have previously supported the Conservative party. However my current political position is that I don’t believe any party leader is fit to do the job, therefore I am scrutinising all manifestos  published and my position on voting remains wholly undecided. 

I am in no means a political advocate for any party, nor am I an expert in the Labour Manifesto 2017 released today. These are just my points and views regarding the arguments made by Labour. 

Lets Talk About: Slut Shaming

If a guy sleeps with 3 different people in one week he is labelled a ‘lad’. If a girl sleeps with 3 different people in one week she is labelled a ‘slut’. Modern day inequality at its finest.

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Her Campus

A guy who has several sexual relations is called a ‘lad’ a ‘legend’ and a ‘player’ terms that are inoffensive and accompanied with laughter and a proud smile. But if a girl partakes in the same amount of sexual relations as her male counterpart she is called a ‘slut’, an ‘easy lay’ and a ‘whore’. Derogatory terms which would certainly not carry a laugh or a smile and can easily ruin her reputation.

So why is it acceptable for a girl to be ‘slut shamed’ and yet a guy to be praised for doing the exact same sexual acts? And why is our modern-day society allowing this to happen?

Dictionary.com defines a slut as:

1. an immoral or dissolute woman; prostitute.

2. a dirty, slovenly woman.

In the 1940’s and 50’s courting followed a set of unwritten rules for young men and women. There was an acceptable time during which the couple held hands, kissed, got engaged and following marriage had sexual intercourse. Following these societal conventions kept your reputation intact.

If during these old-fashioned times if a man were to have sexual relations outside marriage it was kept hush-hush. But for a woman? She was shunned and tainted – with great difficulty of her ever getting married.

Fast forward to today. The young generation is having fun and exploring their sexual experiences. But there is still a heavy divide between the way the sexes are treated. Women are faced with the challenge of wanting to freely express their sexuality and sexual desires, whilst having to fend off jabs and judgements.

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Pinterest

“Slut-shaming is the act of making a girl feel embarrassed for her sexuality, whether she’s sexually active or not.”

Reality tv show Ex On The Beach is one example of where the contrast in labelling is shown. Episode 6 of the recent season showed Jacques gloating about his holiday experience. “I banged 3 birds in one day – hashtag lad.”  Hands down to the guy, its quite an achievement to be fair, but why do we praise this as an achievement and yet if it was a girl we’d be mortified by her actions?


“Women reject promiscuous female peers as friends.”

In 2013, students took part in a study at Cornell where results showed that “Women reject promiscuous female peers as friends.” 751 students were asked to rate the aspects of an (imaginary) woman’s character – for example whether she would be a good friend, if she was smart or not – all based on how many people she had slept with in her early 20’s. Results showed if a woman had bedded more than 20 people before she was 30 then she was unsuitable for friendship.

“What makes a woman a slut?”

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Pinterest

The Gloss openly asked its readers, “What makes a woman a slut?” And the comments received were both baffling and rather humorous – here are a few:

“She’s a slut for sleeping with you on the first date.” Anon

(Is she really? Well aren’t you a slut too then for sleeping with her on the first date?)

“Anyone, male or female, has the right to have sex with whomever they want, whenever they want. As long as it is completely consensual. Who are you to judge someone based off of their personal choices that have absolutely nothing to do with you? What’s to say that a person who has a one night stand or sex on the first date doesn’t have self respect?” Anon

“Clearly, it’s guys that dont get laid a lot that have always called women sluts.” Tina

(correction girls are guilty of calling other girls sluts too?!)

I think that there are also men sluts. Men that think that sex is something that should be done as often and with as many woman as possible.” Jim

 “A women that has slept with 20 plus men is a slut.” Rich 

(so what is a woman who has slept with 19 men called?!)

“Now don’t get me wrong, men LOVE sluts. We will never turn down an opportunity to sleep with a good looking slut. Partly because she’s good in bed, partly because it’s sex…Most guys can detect when a girl is a slut by the first few dates and by what he hears about the girl from other people and from the girl herlself. We put this information together and figure out if she is dating material or not. If not, I like most guys, will still go in for the prize but have no intention of following through with dating the dirty little tart.” Jeremy

(the first issue is ‘men love sluts’, secondly you base your judgement on the girl from hearsay and opinions of others – who probably dislike the girl, probably a bad ex – yes thats going to go well. Thirdly – nice to know you’ll still expect ‘the dirty little tart’ to deliver the goods. You, Jeremy are the definition of a gentlemen of course.)


No More Sexual Violence. No More Victim Blaming. No More Derogatory Labels. No More Gender Inequality.

Calling a woman (or a man) a slut is more than just name calling – there is a bigger issue around this. American rapper, model, actress and activist Amber Rose is renowned for her ‘SlutWalks’ – an international movement that raises awareness about sexual injustice and gender equality. ‘Slut-shaming’, sexual violence, victim blaming, rape culture and derogatory labels are all matters which she is trying to rid in the attempt for women to be free to sexually express themselves without fear of being targeted.

“A slut is just a word to bring down a woman’s sexuality and make her feel uncomfortable with it.”

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Affinity Magazine 

My Opinon

If you are single and completely unattached to anyone, emotionally or physically whether you are a guy or a girl, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having as many sexual relations as you so wish (go forth and conquer!) – as long as all parties involved are on the same page and it is safely carried out.

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Bustle

I strongly believe that the only way to really know what you want, whether it be a relationship, just casual sex, or what you like or dislike when in the bedroom, is by partaking in sexual relations. Take the example of being high school sweethearts, you’ve only ever had sex with your partner, you only know what sex is like one way. Whereas sleeping with multiple people throughout your young, free and single days allows you to learn exactly what you like and don’t like. So go out get drunk and take that guy home – and you are not a slut for doing so!

And the next time a guy calls you out on the amount of people you’re seeing, dating or sleeping with and calls you a slut, just say: “Yep, literally slept with everyone here except you. I do have some standards after all.”

Hacksaw Ridge: ‘Just one more.’

Genre: Drama film / History / Real Life story

Length:2 hours 19 minutes

Rating: 5 stars 

Imagine joining the army, you have signed up to fight and serve for your country, to kill the opposition in the attempt to win the war. Now imagine joining the army and refusing to even pick up a gun.

Hacksaw Ridge is the unforgettable story of Desmond Doss a devout Christian, a Seventh Day Adventist, but most importantly a conscientious objector and one of the greatest heroes of World War Two, who never fired a single bullet.

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Image source: Hollywood Reporter

In this $40 million produced action drama film, Mel Gibson has scored an all star cast, with Andrew Garfield giving an exceptional lead performance alongside, Vince Vaughn and Sam Worthington to name a few. It is utterly refreshing to see Garfield out of his Spiderman suit and really capture the raw integrity of his character. The film has received BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations alongside 7 Oscar nominations winning Best Film editing. 

 

The film features some of the most brutal depictions of war ever put to a screen and it is impossible to overstate the level to which we see men being turned into meat. Hacksaw Ridge is riveting cinema. Although it must be said – it is bloody – bloodier than we’ve seen on screen for a very long time, but it is honest in the way that it truly shows the brutality of this war. The camera captures hundreds of casualties, many of them incredibly gruesome and stomach wrenching. Men have parts of their faces missing, limbs blown off in real time, strips of flesh are left dangling and corpses litter the ground being eaten by rats. But none of these images can distract you from the storyline – you are hooked from the very beginning and the overwhelming emotion of hope that you have as a viewer is indescribable.

It is an absolute must-see film and leads the way for an incredible year of real-life story films that the industry is creating.


(Spoiler alert)

The Plot:

The story begins with Desmond as a child, running through the woods with his brother Hal. One afternoon the boys are fighting, when Desmond reaches for a brick and whacks Hal over the head – knocking him unconscious. This traumatising experience, along with a stern talk from his religious mother, firmly reinforces Desmond’s belief in the commandment; ‘Thou shall not kill’.

The film follows Desmond’s military training and the obstacles he comes up against as he tries to resist the commands of his authority.

Immediately becoming an outcast among his fellow soldiers, subjected to gruelling labour and then the threat of a lifetime in jail. After pleading not guilty at sentencing, his father spares him, stating that his refusal to carry a firearm is protected by an Act of Congress. The charges are dropped and Desmond is assigned to 77th Infantry Division, and enters war, driven only by faith and armed only with courage, with no protection other than Gods.

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Image Source: Houston Chronicle

His division are sent to participate in the Battle of Okinawa, with the task of climbing the cliff face nicknamed ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ to take on the Japanese forces stationed at the top.  In the initial fight, losses are heavy on both sides and Desmond is successful in saving several soldiers, including ones whose injuries appear too severe for them to survive.

 

The rest of his squadron retreats back down the ridge to safety, but Desmond hears the cries of several dying soldiers and decides to run back into the carnage. He spends the remainder of the that night carrying wounded soldiers to the cliffs edge and rappelling them down on a rope one by one, each time praying to God to ‘save one more.’

Desmond single handily saved 75 soldiers at Hacksaw Ridge that night, becoming the first ever conscientious objector to receive the United States’ highest military award, the Medal of Honour, in recognition for his bravery and service that went above and beyond the call of duty during the Battle of Okinawa.

(Featured image source: www.hacksawridge.movie / Trailer comes from Lionsgate Movies YouTube Channel)

DEATH ROW

Firstly I apologise for my absence on here but…

For the last 6 months I have been working on my final year multimedia major project – DEATH ROW: a radio documentary exploring the sentence given to American murders and the stories of those who have been affected by the penalty.

Please check out the blog I created to go alongside the documentary: deathrowdocumentary

And listen to the finished documentary here:

Your social media could be ruining your career.

Congratulations you’ve reached 5k followers on Instagram, 1000 Twitter followers and you have more friends on Facebook than you can ever achieve physically in life. But it’s all great because you are social media popular and that is what matters to this shallow young generation I find myself in.
But what did you have to post, write or tweet in order to gain those followers? And how damaging will it be for your future and career? 

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 18.32.28.pngWhen applying for a job, all recruiters, agencies and companies will look at your social media and presence online, no matter what industry. The way you represent yourself on your social media matters greatly.

Have you ever googled yourself? This is the first thing that a potential employer will do. And what comes up when you have typed your name into the search engine? Any credible work? Or all your social media profiles? 

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According to a survey performed by CareerBuilder on employers, 65% of the employers admit to screening potential candidates, by using social media to research on how the candidates represent themselves professionally. In fact, according to the CareerBuilder’s survey 34% of employers stated that while screening candidates they discovered content that forced them to take a decision of not hiring candidates.

About half of those employers said they didn’t offer a job candidate the position because of provocative or inappropriate photos and information posted on his or her profile; while 45% said they chose not to hire someone because of evidence of drinking and/or drug use on his or her social profiles. Other reasons they decided not to offer the job: the candidate’s profile displayed poor communication skills, he or she bad mouthed previous employers, made discriminatory comments related to race, gender, or religion, or lied about qualifications.

Therefore, it’s crucial you have a thorough check on your social network accounts and not solely work on taking down content that can be considered as unprofessional but work on developing a strong social network profile that can work at best of your advantage

dm1408_100_digThe average person has five social media accounts and spends around 1 hour and 40 minutes browsing these networks every day. So the next minute you spend on one of your many social media profiles take a look at what others see, really analyse your content. You must remember if you choose to share content publicly, make sure it’s working to your advantage. One effective piece of advice is, when you next tweet, post, share, tag or like something, is it suitable for your parents or grandparents to see this? Would they be happy with the content?

For the past few weeks, I have seen so much inappropriate content produced and shared by my friends – and it completely baffles me how so many people think it is acceptable to post images of themselves in compromising situations, unacceptable clothing choices (or lack of) and rude offensive opinions.


5 Things your social media profiles should not contain:

1.) Posting photos with alcohol

Even if you are over the aged of 18 and you are innocently having fun, photos of you drinks in hand, eyes blurred, body swaying or even lying in your own vomit can all damage your profile. In 2009, a teacher named Ashley Payne posted a photo on Facebook of her visit to a brewery while she was on holiday. Naturally, she had a glass of wine in her hand. Due to a complaint from a student’s parent, the school suspended her. Steer clear of these photos no matter the situation.

2.) Nudity or body exposing.

 
3537355226c4ecd31ccb7d6e77aaae47There are some exceptions to this – if you are a model, blogger, brand ambassador or within this area of work where posting images of your body in a skimpy bra and pants set then it can be justified. But if you are just an average Joe and you share images of your body virtually naked or in your new ‘CKs’ just for likes and comments you need to seriously reconsider your choices.

How would you feel if your future employer sat across from you in your interview and pulled up your social media profiles and asked you to explain why you think it is appropriate to post this sort of image? Good luck getting out of that hole (or getting that job). 

3.) Swearing and use of vulgar or offensive language.

Simply posting “I had a f***ing great day” can say more about your character than your day. I know someone personally who has been struggling for several years to get their dream job and it is all down to their use of swear words and extremely offensive language when they post on statuses. It is just something that companies find totally unacceptable. And if you think you’re safe because you have two separate accounts for twitter – personal and professional it doesn’t make it acceptable for you swear on your personal profile. 

4.) Deleted = gone forever. WRONG.

Deleting a comment, photo or post instantly removes it from your profile, but this does not mean it is wiped from the internet. Things can still be found.

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-18-13-555.) Personal opinions of your job.

We all have bad days, or jobs that we don’t like, but writing about it and sharing it with everyone can be a very dangerous area. Just take a look at the tweet one girl wrote left. 

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My biggest motto in life is ‘always think of the bigger picture’ – simply meaning whatever you do, think before you do it and think about how this will affect, improve or hinder your future. Stop swearing on Twitter, stop posting virtually naked photos on Instagram, and don’t share or tag people in rude memes on Facebook. You should all know this, but of course you all think this doesn’t happen and you’re the exception.