Categories
Discussion

Has the British history education system been ‘white-washed’?

Throughout my education, I was given a wealth of knowledge, or so I believed, surrounding many influential and pivotal moments within history. However, on reflection, I noticed that the whole story had not been told, whether this be a missing key person that influenced a decision that changed history or an unknown warrior that helped fight for Britain, one way or another.  The British education system focuses mainly on the achievements of those who are Caucasian. Therefore, I believe that not only is our education system failing us, but it is also one of the reasons that systemic racism exists in such a progressive time period. I hope that we can one day live in a world where everyone and their achievements can be celebrated equally, no matter their race, ethnicity or background, a world where equality is commonplace. 

Today I leave you with this poem by John Agard, who wrote “Checking out me history”, to remind us to explore the influence of a variety of people, to fill the gaps, that our education system left out so carelessly.


Checking Out Me History:

Dem tell me
Dem tell me
Wha dem want to tell me

Bandage up me eye with me own history
Blind me to me own identity

Dem tell me bout 1066 and all dat
Dem tell me bout Dick Whittington and he cat
But Toussaint L’Ouverture
No dem never tell me bout dat

Toussaint
A slave
With vision
Lick back
Napoleon
Battalion
And first Black
Republic born
Toussaint de thorn
To de French
Toussaint de beacon
Of de Haitian Revolution

Dem tell me bout de man who discover de balloon
And de cow who jump over de moon
Dem tell me bout de dish ran away with de spoon
But dem never tell me bout Nanny de Maroon

Nanny
See-far woman
Of mountain dream
Fire-woman struggle
Hopeful stream
To freedom river

Dem tell me bout Lord Nelson and Waterloo
But dem never tell me bout Shaka de great Zulu
Dem tell me bout Columbus and 1492
But what happen to de Caribs and de Arawaks too

Dem tell me bout Florence Nightingale and she lamp
And how Robin Hood used to camp
Dem tell me bout ole King Cole was a merry ole soul
But dem never tell me bout Mary Seacole

From Jamaica
She travel far
To the Crimean War
She volunteer to go
And even when de British said no
She still brave the Russian snow
A healing star
Among the wounded
A yellow sunrise
To the dying

Dem tell me
Dem tell me wha dem want to tell me
But now I checking out me own history
I carving out me identity

Categories
Analysis

Brexit – Another issue that the British Government must resolve?

Brexit, as many will know, is the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, a motion that has caused a dramatic divide within the British Public, one that will not be healed for many years to come, due to the overwhelmingly negative economic impacts of the deal. As the LSE Blogs correctly states, “The more the UK distances itself from the EU’s economic institutions and policies, the greater the increase in trade barriers and the higher will be the costs of Brexit.” It is debateable as to whether the British government can afford the cost of Brexit, especially when this economic crisis has been exacerbated by the current pandemic, which has caused irreparable damage to the British economy.  When discussions about leaving the European Union sparked, the HM treasury analysis on the immediate economic impacts concluded that within just two years: the GDP (gross domestic product) of the UK would decrease by at least 3%; Britain would experience a year of negative growth, placing the country into a recession and most importantly, over half a million of jobs would be lost. Knowing this, why did the British government go forth and encourage this plan of action? Many would argue that this was a simple answer . Polls conducted by the British government concluded that those who voted ‘Leave’  believed “the principle that decisions about the UK should be made in the UK’ and that leaving ‘offered the best chance for the UK to regain control over immigration and its own borders’, a social, economic and political issue that had been debated in parliament for many years. But how has Brexit changed these immigration laws? Previously, EU laws stated that one of the four freedoms enjoyed by EU citizens was the free movement of workers. This meant that workers could move to a country within the EU, with his/her family, taking up another job within said country. This was a key issue that the majority of the British public opposed. When Britain left the EU on December 31st 2020, the government finally put an end to the act of free movement, via the Immigration Bill.  As stated on the governments website, the Bill consists of 7 clauses and three schedules which apply to entire UK population. While the Bill would repeal free movement in UK law, it would not set up the future UK immigration system. The future system will be implemented in the Immigration Rules. Although this movement would potentially create jobs for the British public, it is not without its economic challenges. A study conducted by Warwick Business School concluded that the UK economy relies on migrants, many of which fill low-skilled, but necessary jobs around the country. Migrants from the 10 central and eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007 made a net contribution of almost £5billion to the UK economy in a decade- money that the UK government cannot afford to lose in such pressing times. The economists who conducted the study claimed that the South East would be the hardest hit due to the fact that 35% of all UK migrants live in London.  The WBS website states that “the Government could have to abandon austerity and its cap on housing benefits to convince people to move from the north to the south of the UK, or introduce more draconian benefit sanctions to force workers to relocate” in order to accommodate for the loss of the working immigrants. Now that Brexit has “resolved” the important conflict of immigration laws that the British government opposed so strongly, it is up for debate as to whether the UK citizens are relieved and still agree that leaving the EU was the best plan of action for Britain.

Categories
Analysis

The Economic Consequences of Brexit

The UK exit (Brexit) from Europe can be considered a major negative shock to the UK economy with the economic fallout in the rest of OECD (organization for economic Co-operation and Development). Brexit is akin to a tax on GDP, imposing a rising cost on the economy which would not be incurred if the UK remained in the EU. The shock can be transmitted through several sectors that would change in relation to the time’s horizon. In the near term, the UK economy is hit by tighter financial conditions and weaker confidence; after a formal exit from the European Union, there will be higher trade barriers and the mobility of labor forces will be restricted. By 2020, GDP is over 3% smaller than otherwise (with continued EU membership), equivalent to a cost per household of GBP 2200. So, structural impacts can take hold through the channels of capital, immigration, and lower technical progress. In particular, there is the possibility that labor productivity will decrease because of a drop in foreign direct investment and a smaller base of skills. The extent of foregone GDP is increasing over time. By 2030, in a central scenario, GDP would be over 5% lower than otherwise – with the cost of Brexit equivalent to GBP 3200 for households. The effects would be larger in a more pessimistic scenario but remain negative even in the optimistic scenario. Brexit would also hold back GDP in other European economies, particularly in the near term resulting from heightened uncertainty about the future of Europe. In contrast, continued UK membership in the European Union and further reforms of the Single Market would enhance living standards on both sides of the Channel. This way the UK would: 

  1. Continue to have preferential access to thor-country markets, which will be lost as a result of Brexit. Negotiating new trade treaties with countries will take time.
  2. Most likely have a stronger economy. Due to Brexit, the economic incentives for people to migrate to the UK will gradually decrease.
Categories
Weekly Summaries

28th of December 2020- 3rd of January 2021

Brexit Deal

More than four years after British citizens first voted to leave the EU, Brexit is really happening: something that many people did not believe until the last minute. The UK’s transition period ended with a “Christmas Eve trade agreement.” This means that Britain is now no longer a part of the EU’s customs union and common market. However, the trade agreement means that British financial firms will lose their biggest benefit of being an EU member: the advantage of offering services across the EU from a UK base. Although at the moment it looks like the Conservatives are for the agreement, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson may still face opposition from hard-liners and businesses. This past Wednesday, the deal was easily approved by Parliament. 

Earthquake in Croatia

A 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck in Croatia on Tuesday afternoon, killing at least six people, wounding dozens more, and leaving several towns in ruins. Tens of thousands of people were left homeless.

Other news:

  • President Trump signed a $900 billion pandemic relief deal
  • Argentina voted to legalize abortion
  • At least 16 people were killed and 60 more wounded at an airport attack in Aden, Yemen. The attack happened at the same time as an airplane with members of the newly-formed government onboard came in.
Categories
Weekly Summaries

7th of December – 13th of December

Brexit Updates

Time is running out for the UK and the EU to reach a deal before the UK is supposed to leave the EU on the 31st of December this year. This past Monday the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had announced that he would travel to Brussels in a final attempt to reach a trade agreement with the EU. On Wednesday the European Commission then published no-deal contingency measures in an attempt to prevent chaos on the 1st of January 2021 if no agreement is reached till then.

Vaccinations in Britain against the Coronavirus

In Britain the first people have now received a vaccine against the coronavirus, which was developed by two companies called Pfizer and BioNTech. However, two of the people who received the shot so far have had serious allergic reactions to the vaccine, but they both have a history of severe allergic reactions. The vaccine will be administered by health care workers, the military, volunteers, and even first-aid workers. The National Health Service is aiming to vaccinate tens of millions of people in a matter of months. Furthermore, Canada has now also approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for people older than 16 years.

Other News:

  • Morocco joined the ranks of Arab countries who have normalized relations with Israel
  • Almost 50,000 Ethiopians from the Tigray region have sought refuge in Sudan
  • European Union leaders agree on a $2.2 trillion stimulus package
Categories
Weekly Summaries

7th of September – 13th of September

Protests in Hong Kong

Last Sunday, people went to the streets in Hong Kong to protest against the decision to delay the elections by one year. Thousands of police officers reacted by using pepper spray and arresting almost 300 protestors.

Belarusian protest leader vanishes

With large-scale protests continuing, the last prominent Belarusian protest leader Maria Kolesnikova was supposedly kidnapped this Monday. However, in the early morning hours of the 9th of September she appeared at the border that Belarus shares with the Ukraine. As soon as she had crossed the checkpoint, she destroyed her passport. This made it impossible for the Ukraine to admit her, and she is currently still in the Republic of Belarus.

Update on the Brexit negotiations

At the beginning of the week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that a no-deal Brexit would be a good outcome for the UK. Following this, the ongoing Brexit negotiations fell into chaos after the top lawyer of the British government resigned because of Prime Minister Johnson’s plan to override an important agreement with the European Union.