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First Tuesday current affairs discussion - Tuesday 5 December 7:00pm start

Tuesday 5th Dec: First Tuesday Current Affairs discussion

We'll discuss two topical subjects

News Reviews from 2013
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News Reviews from 2013

The Budget: Death of Welfare?

Where’s the benefit?

by Denis Joe

 

This week sees the next stage of welfare reform, to be known as the Universal Credit Scheme, that are going to leave claimants financially worse off. Reading the headlines and listening to announcers on TV news, one would have thought that the day of the Apocalypse was seriously upon us. Church leaders met with Members of the Legislative Assembly in Northern Ireland stating that the reforms have created an 'absolute fear' amongst congregations. A £1m Foodbank appeal has been launched by the Trussell Trust with claims that nearly 5 million people already live 'in food poverty in the UK'. Whilst exaggeration has been a major feature of welfare reform in the past there does seem to be something different.

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News Reviews from 2013

Eastleigh by-election

Eastleigh by-election

by Denis Joe

 

Political hacks like nothing more than a by-election and especially when that by-election is called because of a resignation – in this case the resignation of former Lib Dem cabinet minister Chris Huhne and the sordid issue of his lying to the courts over his speeding offence in 2003.

 

The Eastleigh by-election was bound to prove more exciting than most much of the outcome of Eastleigh was predictable. Deputy political editor of the BBC, James Landale listed thoughts on the outcome which proved entirely accurate (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21591603). Two points that are worthy of looking at are “The Conservatives will take the flak for being in government.” and “All sides expect UKIP to do better than initially thought.”

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News Reviews from 2013

Watch out! Watch out! There is a MOOC about.

Watch out watch out, there's a MOOC about!

by John Hutchinson

 

Do you fancy learning about astronomy, genetics, the ancient Greeks, climate change or how to program? Now you don’t need to enrol at your local college or university, work out if you have the requisite qualifications to access a degree or Masters or even pay for the course at all. A revolution in distance learning is hitting the cloistered world of research and learning and moving the ivory tower next to the remote village in Africa or shanty town in the Philippines - provided they have access to the internet. Not only that, it is some of the world’s top rated and most expensive American universities that are putting their resources at the disposal of the planet free of charge along with their elite educational brands.
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News Reviews from 2013

Immigration: Eric Pickles isn’t the only one without a clue

By Len Gibbs


2013 started out with the hardy perennial of tabloids and broadsheets – immigration. There were three aspects of the usual stories that lit the touchpaper this time: the first was the 2011 census releases showing the huge change in the complexion of London (amongst other cities); the second was Eric Pickles’ admission that nobody had a clue about the potential extent of inward migration from Romania and Bulgaria and the third was the increased reporting of the links between the benefits system and migration. Underlying all the reporting was a significant change of tack by Ed Miliband with his admission that Labour had made mistakes and his floating of the concepts of benefits restrictions on migrants and tighter border controls. No doubt there is also a link between this issue and the Conservatives pledge to hold a referendum on the future of Britain in the European Union.

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News Reviews from 2013

The Familial State

The Familial State: Get your hands off!

by Simon Belt

 

Having grown up in a radical feminist household in 1970's Leeds, where Spare Rib and washing & cleaning rotas were our wall posters, it's a little confusing to see today's Tories point the finger at the dinosaurs who object to dismantling what remains of the family they so cherished until recently. What a topsy turvy world we live in now. The notion that the state should define or determine relations within the family was anathema to the liberal friends of our family just a few decades ago, just as much as to conservatives. Indeed, one of the fun parts of growing up was the personal and experimental character of many family arrangements of our extended family and the families of friends.

 
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