The current coronavirus crisis has affected most countries in the world. Many of them have reacted with strict social distancing measures, including curfews, stricter police controls and more executive decision-making.
This week the Pol IR team joined more than 300 educators around the UK who pledged to teach about the Sustainable Development Goals as part of the third annual #SDGTeachIN.
On Monday, second years in Dr Susan Kenyon’s Politics of Transport class examined the causes of transport-related social exclusion. The issues debated in class related to SDG 1 No Poverty, SDG 3 Good Health and Wellbeing, SDG 5 Gender Equality, SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities and SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities.
On Tuesday, first year students in Dr Laura Cashman’s Contemporary Global Politics class focused on SDG 2 Zero Hunger for the whole session. They examined the political and ecological challenges to ensuring food security for all. The class debated whether the goal was realistic and what kinds of structural changes would be required to see success in the next ten years.
Also on Tuesday, our third year Radical Political Thought module had a session led by Professor David Bates and Tom Sharkey on the theme “Refusing Capitalism: art, politics and resistance”. This was linked to SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production and SDG 16 Peace and Justice and featured research from their work linked to their Tate Exchange project.
Finally, tomorrow, Friday, our third-year module Political Ideologies in Action will focus on Social Ecology. Led again by Tom Sharkey, this is an ideal theme to approach the SDGs from a critical angle. It encompasses almost all the SDGs in a holistic manner using the ideas of Murray Bookchin to develop a different approach to resolve the ecological and political challenges facing our world.
In the aftermath of the 2017 general election, Canterbury dominated national headlines. Labour’s Rosie Duffield won a 45% share of the vote, overturning the 30-year dominance of Sir Julian Brazier to become the constituency’s first Labour – and female – MP since it was formed. This was no mean feat, but with a wafer-thin majority of just 187 votes, who will be crowned the constituency’s next MP is no foregone conclusion.
On Tuesday 26 November, CCCU’s Politics and International Relations, in partnership with several other organisations, organised the constituency’s first electoral hustings. The four candidates standing for election were invited to pitch why they wanted to be elected and faced a grilling from the audience on a range of issues, from Brexit to climate change, education to healthcare.
Rosie Duffield’s pitch focused on her local roots, her record in standing up for the city and surrounding areas (including her opposition to EU withdrawal and austerity) and holding the Conservatives to account over promises to invest in infrastructure in the area, not least the Kent and Canterbury hospital. The Conservative candidate, Anna Firth, discussed health and mental health provision in the area, transport issues and expressed her explicit support for Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal and her party’s record in government since 2010. Clare Malcolmson, the Liberal Democrat, set herself out as the Remain candidate, focusing on environmental issues and the Lib Dems’ commitment to ringfence funding for the NHS. Michael Gould, an independent candidate, equally endorsed an anti-Brexit stance, promoted the idea of a universal allowance for all adults and advocated a cut in student numbers at universities!
Unsurprisingly, the hustings were dominated by discussion of local issues, but the topic of Brexit was not absent from the proceedings. Bucking regional trends in 2016, Canterbury was the only constituency in Kent which voted Remain, an issue which clearly chimed with pro-EU voters in the 2017 election. Yet, with only one candidate advocating Leave and the other three firmly in the Remain camp, a return victory for Rosie Duffield may yet be a challenge. Notwithstanding Duffield’s popularity – including among Lib Dem, Green and even some Conservative voters – the risk of a divided vote on the remain ticket could well facilitate a Conservative victory.
As the hustings showed, next month’s election is about a lot more than Brexit, but the future direction of EU withdrawal remains an overarching issue in the Canterbury campaign trail. Following the 2017 election, Canterbury was a speck of red in a sea of blue on the electoral map. Only time will tell whether Rosie Duffield will be able to repeat the feat.
Dr Paul Anderson is a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations
At the start of this academic year, the Politics and IR team sat down and thought about why one should study politics in 2019. In a time of crisis in all its forms and shapes – environmental, constituional, humanitarian, economic – each team member wrote their own response to the question yet their answers are univocal: now is exactly the time to study politics! Here’s Part 3!
The 9th of May is celebrated across the European Union (EU) as “Europe Day” – a day to celebrate European unity, peace and the coming together of former enemies to form what is today the largest Single Market in the world, and a unique political system, with its own directly elected Parliament, a common currency and deep-rooted integration and interconnections between its members.
By Oliver Fawcett (Third Year Politics Student)
In the first of a series of Jean Monnet blogs, Dr Amelia Hadfield reflects on European Foreign Policy, and asks what lies ahead for the new HR/VP Federica Mogherini…
The world has entered a particularly turbulent period. Eastern Europe is riven by the toughest east-west mêlée since the Cold War, with spats and sanctions raging back and forth between the EU, US and Russia. Israel and Palestine spent the summer locked in intifada-like battles. And ISIS has risen as the newest security threat; galvanising both geopolitical and religious dynamics from Iraq to Syria. Closer to home, UK terror levels totter. In an indication of the overall seriousness of key global issues, the UN has taken the ‘unprecedented’ step of declaring Iraq, South Sudan, Syria, and the Central African Republic to each represent a ‘Level 3 humanitarian crisis, the most severe designation. O tempora, o mores, as Cicero famously said. The times, they are a-tough; the customs, they need to keep up. So do EU personnel. This first CCCU Jean Monnet Chair Blog reflects upon the challenges facing European foreign affairs as a result of the changeover of staff in late 2014.