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What has David Cameron been up to?

25th June 2015 | Politics

What has David Cameron been up to?
It has been over a month and a half since the general election of 2015.

As we know, the Conservatives won by a surprise majority, but what have they done since then. Well...

The Queen’s speech is the first major event of a new parliament, it is the official state opening of parliament. The winning party or parties write it for the Queen and it is a chance to broadcast all the changes the government will hope to achieve in the current parliament.

This year’s Queen’s speech was the first Conservative majority speech since 1992. This is monumental because it means that the Conservatives used the whole speech to highlight their key aims, without having to compromise with other parties, like they had to last parliament with the Lib Dems. The Queens speech this year included: plans to ban legal highs, plans for Scotland and Wales, plans to scrap the human rights act and the forth coming EU referendum.

Almost the first thing David Cameron did was to reinstate his promise: to hold the in/out EU referendum, where the people of the country will decide whether we want to be part of the European Union, of which we have been part of since 1973.

He has promised to hold the referendum by the end of 2017, with some sources saying it may be sooner. For this to happen, David Cameron has had to chat to other heads of member states to assess what effects it will have on them and us and also the EU as a whole.

Before he wants to hold the referendum, David Cameron wants to see what deals he can strike up between member states, to hopefully improve the rules and ways of the EU.

One…

Opinion: State Funded Faith Schools

24th June 2015 | Politics

Opinion: State Funded Faith Schools
State funded faith schools are considered to be a long standing example of English history to many, with their characteristics including the adaptation of certain acts of religious worship or symbolism into the school day, such as morning prayer and assemblies focused on a religious message.

Faith schools are also now more diverse than ever before following the 1997-2007 Labour government, which expanded state funded faith schools to include not just Christian and Jewish schools, but also those of Muslim, Sikh and Hindu faiths.

Plenty of people see the value in faith schools, to the extent to which they account for approximately one third of all English state funded schools. However, with increasing secularisation comes increasing scepticism about the value and fairness of them, with notable points of concern being that exemptions in the 2010 Equality Act allow admissions departments to favor applicants who belong to that faith – an issue further complicated by the fact that some of the highest Ofsted rated schools in a catchment area can be faith schools, leaving parents with an alternative religion, or indeed no religion at all, a dilemma.

Furthermore, with the recent spike in free schools, who do not have to follow the national curriculum, there is concern from some that religious beliefs and biases surrounding key subjects such as Science and History will take precedence over teaching the young in an objective, unbiased way. It should be remembered, however, that faith schools do have qualities which are appreciated by many.

For example, writing for the Guardian, Sophie Heawood noted that being taught the idea of God being an all loving being gave her comfort in childhood – a sense of a ‘warm bath’ that wherever you go and no matter what hurdles you face, you are always…

Joseph Perry’s News Crunch: Jez We Can?

17th June 2015 | Politics

Joseph Perry’s News Crunch: Jez We Can?
What’s the story?
Jeremy Corbyn has been nominated by 35 Labour MPs to become the party’s next leader.

After Ed Miliband’s disappointing performance in May, Labour is currently holding a four month-long election to find his replacement. The party’s rules mean that, before its general membership can vote for their next boss, candidates must secure the support of 15% of Labour MPs (the Parliamentary Labour Party to give them their official name - or PLP for short).

Liz Kendall was the first politician to throw her name into the hat, and was soon joined by Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham and Mary Creagh in the leadership contest. Initially Chuka Umunna also planned to stand, however he withdrew after ‘media intrusion’ into his private life.

Eyebrows were raised two weeks ago when Jeremy Corbyn, a veteran left-wing MP, announced that he also planned to stand to become leader.

This meant that there were five MPs hoping to secure the required 35 nominations by Monday’s midday deadline.

Andy Burnham topped the nomination leader board with 68 MPs backing him for the top job, he was followed by Yvette Cooper on 59 and then Liz Kendall who managed to secure support from 41 of her colleagues.

Mary Creagh was unable to attract enough nominees, so decided to withdraw from the contest shortly before the results were announced (and followed me on Twitter exactly one minute afterwards!).

However, the main story is that Jeremy Corbyn went from no-hoper two weeks ago to finding enough support to put him on the leadership ballot paper. With seconds to spare, he reached 36 nominations - ensuring that he passes through to the next round.

Among his backers are Deputy Leadership candidates Rushanara Ali and Tom Watson, as well as London…