Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

I begin my apologetic defence of remaining within the EU by categorically stating that I am not sorry for my opinion. Equally, some of the scathing critique you’ll read below will only offend you if you identify as one of the perpetrators of such an insensate argument. Enjoy.

There are many arguments which I have found frustrating in regards to the whole #EUReferendum debate; both sides have also been frustrating in their petty politics rather than dealing with getting factually based information to the public. Ultimately, this has reduced me to feeling like this is nothing more than a pathetic internal Tory squabble, masked with a referendum, whilst they try to continue to project their issues onto Labour leadership. Essentially, Cameron is struggling to hold back the 1922 abaft crew where, laughably, Johnson has found purchase. At the same time, the #StrongerIn campaign have been scaremongering by stating that the #VoteLeave campaign are scaremongering.

This referendum is a farce, a waste of public money and, unfortunately, is a previous generation struggling to let go and allow the new generation to decide their futures for themselves.

Alas, I am not that angered by the above; it’s customary of British politics and I have grown to love the challenge of pushing through the quagmire whilst identifying as a young (aspiring) politician.

That being said, there is one political football being used that I simply cannot move past and ignore. It has kept me awake at night (no joke!) with anger, and I can feel it seething in me now as I write this; ultimately, it is the most lamentably fatuous battleground within the context of this ludicrous referendum. Democracy.

It has been suggested that the way in which policy is made within the EU is undemocratic. I’d be tempted to agree with this, if I had not done my own research into this area and it is for that reason that I do not blame the general public for having this belief – there is a lack of information out there. However, as with various issues in the public eye, it is a web of spun lies and misunderstandings that has gained traction; by and large led by papers with owners and writers that seek to profit from a #Brexit.

The EU commission is a body of appointed policy proposers. Each member of the EU appoints somebody to the commission on behalf of the country and the role of the EU commission is to propose policy which is debated by the EU Parliament and EU Council. On the face of it, I admit, it looks undemocratic. However, when we compare it to the organisation of 10 Downing Street, it is easy to see that it is a similar system to the one that the UK uses which has not received any criticism by the Vote Leave gang. The Prime Minister alone has access to special advisers who steer and generate policy proposals – if the PM/Cabinet like those proposals then they are pushed through Parliament and very rarely defeated because of the absolute majority that the Government normally has.

What frustrates me further is the ignorance of the fact that people refuse to accept that our Prime Minister (whether we like him or not) has been elected to make decisions: including those that he appoints into the EU on our behalf. Much like the advisers he has surrounding him to help write policy. Do the Vote Leave lot really expect a costly referendum on every little decision? If they do, then I hope they also will fund it out of their own pockets because I’d rather see public money go into the NHS or Education.

The cherry on top of the cake, in this argument, which annoys me and pillages me of precious sleep through sheer, pure, anger is simply one question:

Where were the Vote Leave lot, in the name of democracy, during the referendum on electoral change?

If the Vote Leave lot were truly supporters of democracy then these same prominent campaigners should have been fighting fiercely for electoral change despite the fact that it could have meant the loss of their seats in Parliament. Equally, I do not see a campaign for the reform of the House of Lords to elect them… they have influence over UK policy and they’re not elected!

It’s time that people wake up and see the Vote Leave campaign for what it really is: self-absorbed, middle-aged, white-collar individuals that would benefit from leaving the EU due to a political power struggle currently afoot. If you’re reading this and thinking: “But I’m working class, and I’m not part of the political elite, and I support Brexit!” then I have one thing to say to you:

Stop believing headlines, news reports and Facebook status updates as truth and do a little bit of research yourself. If you’re unwilling to do actual research for yourself – then don’t vote. It is your democratic right to be politically illiterate and I will die defending it, but please don’t use your political illiteracy to screw over a country that has been battered enough over the last decade. Simply use your democratic right to abstain and let those that care enough to read a book to make the decision.

I’m not sorry if this article offended you; sometimes, people need to be shaken back into reality.  

 

 

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Recently, I moved to Blackpool with a view to get involved with a church plant in its early stages. The responses I’ve had, from those that I’ve had the privilege to live amongst in Lancaster, have been great sources of encouragement. I’ve loved living in Lancaster, it’s such a beautiful city and the coffee is amazing!

I’ve been reflecting on some of the comments I’ve received and that has led me to write this. I don’t have a platform, nor do I have any real authority. However, I do have a heart for people and a passion to see church be all it can be.

When I explain that I’m part of a church plant in Blackpool there are some similar responses that go along the lines of “Great! Blackpool clearly needs a church!” or “Good luck! You’ve got your work cut out there!”. I’ve also heard people suggest that Lancaster is much more desirable as a place to live as there are less social issues.

For me, these comments are double edged swords. Whilst I smile with anticipation of what’s ahead in Blackpool, I also lament for the potential damage that attitude has for Lancaster.

Walking through Blackpool town centre for longer than five minutes and it is clear, like any town, there are some social issues that require urgent attention: Alcoholism; homelessness; poverty and racism – to name a few. I love the honesty of Blackpool, these issues slap you in the face quickly; it’s a town that doesn’t dress itself up as something it’s not.

Unfortunately, Lancaster is a city that does well at hiding its issues: poverty; drug abuse; childhood deprivation; and homelessness being most prevalent. There will be others that you have identified. Tourists will rarely see these issues, or at least not as much, at the same time as the city centre remaining fresh thanks to the volume of students that bring extra revenue to the place.

My fear, and the reason for pre-emptively writing this, is that churches are at risk of being sucked into the same mentality as the rest of Lancaster. A sense of complacency that seeks to avoid the issues rather than challenge them head on. I urge you to fight against that attitude daily, it’s of the enemy.

I come from a town much like Lancaster, I’m blessed to also come from a town that has a church which is not alien to the not so apparent issues. I was found and brought into that community, it is where I first met God.

I beg you to continue the good work that you are doing but I pray that they are mere foundations for the work that is to come. Please fight hard against complacency and continue to review, reflect, and push yourselves further; all things are possible with God.

Seek out the down trodden, poor of spirit, the lost and lonely people more vehemently than you have done before. Where Lancaster has buried these issues, dig deeper to reveal them and, with God, provide the solution. Authentic community with Christ at its centre will never fail to breathe life and hope into those that have none. You already have the victory, through Christ and I implore you to live like you believe that; more so than I have already witnessed you doing.

Train your people up in evangelism; encourage them to get professional training in counselling, youth work and community leadership; challenge people to move into the most notorious estates and constantly demonstrate biblical hospitality throughout the week.

I believe that revival is coming, I have faith that God will show up where church communities invite Him to do something with the right heart.

Enjoy the fight, maintain hope and God bless.

I’ve read through some of the other blogs that have been done along these lines and I thought they were very brave and written better than I could hope to. However, I also wanted to add some suggestions to the movement so decided to write a short version of my story but also suggest ways to improve on some of the issues I’ve experienced.

I must admit that my journey hasn’t been an easy one when I look back at my educational career. I’ve gone through a fair few trials and tribulations. As a kid I was bullied for being ‘different’ because I wasn’t into the same things everyone else was in to… Instead, I liked to read books and got fixated on subject areas that would consume my attention and instead of playing football I would rather learn everything I could about Dinosaurs. It all sounds funny now, but the underlying reason for all that eluded me for many years.

I got to GCSE’s and was predicted high grades in everything but was labelled lazy because I didn’t do well in exams, and teachers assumed I had not revised. Verbally one of the top in class, bottom of the class when it came to writing.

However, it wasn’t until college when it was first suggested that I might have dyslexia… and that they wanted to test me for it. I can honestly say that moment was an earth shattering moment in my life. I never viewed myself as having any kind of disability really, apart from the odd twitch in my neck here and there.

My ever so proud world – shattered in a single sentence. I was eventually persuaded into doing the test and I was officially diagnosed with Dyslexia and Cognitive Dyspraxia. I was given help in my exams and was allowed to use a word processor – suddenly I started getting the A grades I was predicted and that was when I learnt to embrace this new found thing in my life.

It wasn’t until university, however, when I learnt the real truth as to what disabilities I actually had. It was pointed out to me that I have High Performing Autism and Tourette’s. Those few neck twitches have been getting progressively worse for about 5 years now and sometimes manifest themselves as verbal ticks.

Suddenly everything made sense – the reasons why I was different, why I felt like people didn’t understand me and why I felt like a freak for having to hide twitches that kept occurring. I felt like that because it’s all true! I am different, people don’t understand me and sometimes my twitches make me look like a freak – however, I’m only all of those things because people don’t understand  and there is a stigma attached to disability with those that ‘look and behave differently’.

So that’s my history, but this blog entry isn’t about explaining my personal life. It’s about explaining to those without disabilities what it’s like to be a person that does. 

Many would argue that disabilities are accepted in modern society. However, I would argue that we are better than we were… but we have far to go.

There’s a current show on Channel 4 called ‘Undatables’ which is about people with disabilities and their plight at finding love. The other day there were people on it with the same disabilities that I have. Despite implying that my potential at being datable is dependent on my disabilities, I was horrified when I saw tweets that were genuinely laughing about the way in which those disabilities were expressed by the individuals in the show.

Although this show airs on BBC3, it’s not Channel 4’s fault that programmes like this thrive. I believe it’s the fault of a society that is not at a point where the stigma attached to disability has disappeared.

Some argue that shows like this raise awareness about disability, and that could be a valid point, if it wasn’t for the fact that it was entitled ‘Undatables’ and was attached to their plight of romance which – in all honesty – should not and often doesn’t have anything to do with a disability.

On a daily basis, those with disabilities are faced with stigma that singles them out as a minority, makes them feel inadequate and therefore alienates them from centralised activity.

So how does that affect a Students’ Union?

A Students’ Union that does not actively fight the stigma attached to disability, in my opinion, is a Students’ Union that is not living up to the standard that is most likely expected from students with disability.  The culture of alienation for those people will therefore likely put them off of elections, Union activities and campaigns not to mention the fact show the Union itself to be less than accessible and therefore hypocritical when it chooses to take the university on for that same reason.

As a movement, together, we need to make sure that we maintain and improve accessibility and ensure that students understand that making a joke about a disability is as bad as making a joke about sexuality, race or gender.

We are an inclusive movement and as a group of Students’ Unions we should be working hard to make sure that we’re helping change culture. Students that study at our institutions will go on and be business leaders, politicians, social advocates and influencers. If we don’t create a culture within our institutions that fights stigma attached to disability and helps educate people to see that even a joke can alienate a demographic then we are not going to see a proportionate amount of those with a disability in high-powered jobs, in government and making change.

To change culture, we first must ensure that are Students’ Unions are accessible to all students. We need to set the example of how we think culture should be. Whilst setting that culture, we need to run anti-stigma campaigns and show that people need to be a little more considered in how the speak about those with a disability. Lastly, we need to speak out against things like ‘undatables’ and make sure that we are demonstrating a rhetoric that is welcoming to all students.

 Long story short… I think we need to safeguard our memberships by taking part in anti-stigma campaigns, advising students when they say something inappropriate and build relationships with those that may not make the first move because of the way some things have been done in the past.

 

Edd Graham-Hyde

UCLan Students’ Union, President.

We live in an age where constantly we have to fight against Hate Crime, lying politicians and regimes that are more destructive than they are progressive. The student movement as a whole has been swallowed up with debates and protests about war, no platforming and ideological policy making in recent years. However, as loud as we are on those issues, there are plenty of positive stories that rarely get mentioned in the national news or cause controversial debate within a Students’ Union.

One of those things are Student led Teaching Awards. They are a point in the calendar that gives students an opportunity to really celebrate and thank their lecturers, support staff and the university as a whole for all the hard work that goes into teaching them their courses. It seems fitting then, that at the beginning of the year; my first blog would be about something positive that UCLan Students’ Union will be doing this semester.

We are running two types of awards for university staff and they are the We ❤ U and Golden Roses Awards in which all nominations are from students. But why is it we do this?

If nothing else, these awards promote best practice within the university and enable staff, and others that witness the awards, what students want from the staff. It’s a great way of ensuring that students are partners in their education and have another avenue to start the processes of change and improvement with their institution.  

Further to that, it’s a political tool that helps build bridges with the institution. At a time when applicant numbers are falling and institutions have to rethink how they fund the courses they are currently providing. It is a great way to show that we do appreciate just how much we do get from staff in our institutions. Obviously, there will always be a tension and something that needs to change, but that does not mean we over-look the positive side of things as well and share in the great achievements of students and staff alike.

So to anyone reading this that is a UCLan Student – we need you to step up and nominate for these categories:

• Best Teaching Award
• Best Course Team
• Best University Support Service
• Outstanding Feedback
 
The annual Golden Roses Awards Ceremony and the categories for that are:

• The Lecturer of the Year Award 
• The Professional Services Award
• The Lifetime Achievement for Services to Students Award 
• The School of the Year Award 
• The Best Course Team of the Year Award 
• The Best University Service of the Year Award 
• The Personal Tutor of the Year Award 
• The Most Innovative Teaching of the Year Award

 

Make sure that you write a paragraph or two explaining why you think the member of staff deserves the award. Don’t forget this can include staff from all over UCLan whether that’s Library staff or Disability Services support workers.

We have set a target this year to receive 1000 nominations from students and are well on our way to receiving those. I’d urge other Students’ Unions to do the same – it’s so fun to see the awards in full swing.

Be sure to follow UCLan Students’ Union Facebook Page for updates on who gets the awards and when. Link here: http://www.facebook.com/uclanstudentsunion

Edd Graham-Hyde

UCLan Students’ Union, President.

Hello world!

Posted: September 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

My First Post…

A wise  man, with some grey hair, by the name of Jim Partridge once told me that I should wait and get a little bit more experience before writing a book (an ambition which I do hope to accomplish one day). He was correct. A young woman I know, by the name of Sam Alexander, said that if I could write this blog and if only ONE person was positively influenced for Jesus then it’s done its job. She was right.

I guess you can call this my first attempt at writing a blog, more of a stepping stone into the world of writing. I’ve never given blogs much credit but this is me admitting a change of heart. I decided that as it’s the start of a new academic year, and it’s the first day of a new month, it’s time to come out of the shadows and step up.

My main aims are to get experience writing thought provoking articles that make Jesus known, generate discussion and allow me to express my opinion in a safer way than random, character limited, status updates on Twitter and Facebook. I’m likely to blog about Biblical principles, Church,  Government policies, social issues and academic articles in an (what I hope to be) honouring way. I won’t pretend to know the answers (which you’ll be able to work that out on your own) and I definately don’t aim to be unbiased.

What I will do however is keep you encouraged – whether you like my articles or not – to post your opinions, message me or email me about my articles. There’s no point in just pouring effort into something that doesn’t at least lead to an intellectually stimulating conversation.

There’s nothing more I need to put into this first blog other than how I aim to post at least one blog every two weeks as a promise, but try and do one weekly. Each one will be different, unless there’s a need for one on the same topic.

I hope you enjoy what I write.

Edd Graham-Hyde
University of Central Lancashire
City Church Lancaster (Plant)