This Is Not About UKIP


Time we talked about something else – time we talked about making something better

Originally posted on :

It is clear to anyone who has been witnessing the media frenzy around UKIP, or has been campaigning on issues of national importance like Fracking and Disabled People’s rights, that there has been a media blackout on progressive voices in society and a strengthening of the voice of reaction.

This can be roughly traced back to the end of the Occupy protests, when after the rise and rise of anti-establishment protest movements, and societal reaction against austerity and police brutality (as in the riots), the new heads of the BBC, (who are Tory peers), aligned with the rightwing press, to avoid discussing progressive politics in totality, even to deride it.

Instead the cultural message propagated across the media has been one of hyperbole around immigration, cultural snobbery, the demonisation of the poor, and some fantastical pummeling of meaningless distraction in the shape of obsequious royal family fanaticism and nationalist celebration…

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We must stop the fetishisation of work

The death of a young man and the following media coverage highlights fundamental problems with our society, Thomas Barlow writes.

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Activists construct portrait of Rick Santorum entirely from gay porn | Political Scrapbook

construct portrait of Rick Santorum entirely from gay porn

10:48am Wed February 22nd


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A group of LGBT activists have taken an original approach to attacking social conservative Republican hopeful Rick Santorum, depicting the religious right’s favourite son by making a portrait collage of entirely out, erm, of gay porn.

Since becoming one of the increasingly-dwindling hopeful few, Santorum has pledged that he will change the constitution to make gay marriage illegal, along with banning pornography.

Scrapbook wishes him luck with that one.

via Activists construct portrait of Rick Santorum entirely from gay porn | Political Scrapbook.

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Student Direct | Manchester’s Student Read » Ethical Victory for Student Led Campaign

Ethical Victory for Student Led Campaign

Rachel Rouse

University investment in arms companies and companies unconcerned with the environmental outcomes of their activities is set to end, the Vice-Chancellor has confirmed.

The announcement is a major victory for student protestors who have been campaigning for a commitment to ethical investments in recent months. In future the university have pledged that they will assess potential investments against more rigorous ethical guidelines.

Gilbert admitted that although plans to change investment policy were in the pipelines, the student campaign to pressure ethical investment, led by students Ellie Messham and Tom Skinner, encouraged them to act quickly to implement the changes.

The campaign included two stunts where students lay in front of buildings pretending to be dead. They also hosted talks on the investment policy, wearing t-shirts covered in blood.

At a meeting with key figures in the campaign against investment in companies associated with the arms trade recently, Vice-Chancellor Alan Gilbert made a series of commitments about its investments.

A draft of The University’s new Ethical Investment Policy stated:

“The University of Manchester has explicitly committed itself to embracing and advocating the moral responsibility of all staff and students to contribute as educated, informed, tolerant citizens to the enrichment of social and cultural life and to the advancement of human well-being in their own communities and around the world.”

The University will use its best endeavors to ensure that it does not invest in companies who are directly involved in armament sales, and also seek to persuade companies that it does intend to operate in a more socially and environmentally responsible manner.

Katie Whitehouse, Women’s Officer at The University of Manchester’s Student Union, who was heavily involved in the student protest, told Student Direct that she is “pleased that The University if listening to the voice of the student body and adjusting its policy accordingly. This is a great victory for student led initiatives.”

After the success of this campaign, Amnesty International UK have urged students in Manchester to join hundreds of other Amnesty supporters on 10 May at the House of Commons to lobby MPs to support the call for tough controls on the global arms trade. To find out more, call 020 7033 1777 or visit

via Student Direct | Manchester’s Student Read » Ethical Victory for Student Led Campaign.

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Student Direct | Manchester’s Student Read » Victory for Anti-Arms Trade Campaign

Victory for Anti-Arms Trade Campaign

Catherine Bolsover

Over 300 students turned up to show their opposition to investing in the arms trade at a General Meeting in UMSU last Wednesday, following on from reports at the high level of arms investment at the University of Manchester.

Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) revealed last October that the University of Manchester invests over £1.4 million in arms companies such as BAE systems, Rolls-Royce, GKN and Smiths Group. These companies supply arms to countries involved in human rights abuses including Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. The University of Manchester was the fourth largest known investor in BAE System with 168, 000 shares.

Since the publication of the report, students have been actively protesting and demonstrating against the University, campaigning for the University to dis-invest in arms companies. The student group (known as SfEI – Students for Ethical Investment) staged “die-ins” in December and again last week, where protestors dressed as wounded victims, with banners saying “Established to fund the arms trade” and in a Valentine’s Day twist, “Let cupid do the shooting”.

The General Meeting was the next necessary step in the campaign and means that executive members of the Students’ Union can further pressure the University at higher levels. Academic Affairs Officer David Brannan seconded the motion and said that it was important that the University was held accountable for where our money is being invested.

One student at the meeting told Student Direct: “This shows that students care about where their money goes and where it is invested. We don’t want our fees funding conflicts in the Third World.”

Ellie Messham, who has co-ordinated the SfEI campaign told Student Direct that she was delighted by the outcome and hoped this would mean the University would change its investment policy.

Tom Barlow, Communications Officer echoes Ellie’s words: “The aim is to get the University to ethically re-invest shares from arms companies to ethical investments across the board. Ethical investments can be profitable and rebuild communities, fight disease, increase equality or protect the environment. Investment in the arms trade causes increases in civil wars and genocide in other countries, mass murder, poverty and economic instability”.

via Student Direct | Manchester’s Student Read » Victory for Anti-Arms Trade Campaign.

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Student Direct | Manchester’s Student Read » Students Protest Against Arms

Students Protest Against Arms

Gordon Michaels

Students from the University of Manchester travelled to London last week to protest against the world’s biggest arms fair.

Various groups joined together to call for a week of action and resistance against the Defence Systems and Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair whose 973 delegates sell products such as machine guns, cluster bombs, attack helicopters and battleships.

Instead of the usual strictly controlled march, the protests became more like a street party with music pumping from homemade mobile sound systems. Problems nearly arose when members of the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army (CIRCA) started to antagonise police who responded with force.

One member of CIRCA, who wished to remain anonymous said “I think the least we proved is that if we are working for a better future for all, it is also going to be a more fun future.” Anna Bay, a Manchester University student, agreed and told Student Direct “This is clearly a destructive industry with no positive purpose and the least we can do as it at least shows our opposition to it”

via Student Direct | Manchester’s Student Read » Students Protest Against Arms.

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Student Direct | Manchester’s Student Read » Freshers Week

Freshers Week

What’s Happening?

Well, I don’t know about you but for me it’s been a crazy summer. I’ve just seen England be really successful at cricket and really unsuccessful at football. More importantly we have witnessed a summer that will shape all of our lives. From the seminal events of at the G8 summit (and I’m not necessarily talking about what went on inside the meeting), which has shown us all that to see a fairer world come about we will have to apply constant pressure to the governments of the world, to the tragic events of 7/7 which have shown us the importance of our own governments’ actions and that we must embrace our multicultural society in the coming months if we are to see peace and justice prevail.

Of course one of the main reasons the summer’s been so crazy for me is because I’ve been sorting out Freshers Week, though it’s someone else’s fault if it all goes to pot. If there is one piece of advice I’ve got for all new students it is to make the most out of your Uni experience and join a society. It’s alright slipping into the routine of drinking and studying, studying and drinking, but considering Uni is really kind of like a three year holiday from the real world then you’ve got to take advantage of the free time and do something you like. There are so many societies at Manchester that we can’t even fit them all into Academy 1. You can get into all sorts, from academic societies that organise matchmaking socials to sports societies that will push your physique to it’s peak and (hopefully) bring glory to Manchester. There are also Political and Charity societies that work tirelessly and very effectively to redress the balance of society to your social societies that will get you straight into the world of whatever your favourite activity is. Most importantly don’t forget your library cards when you go to the societies fair, you can’t join anything without it!

The best gift we at the Union have got for you this year is the newly refurbished, and completely changed Club Academy. New students won’t realise how lucky they are, and current students wont understand what’s happened. The new Club Academy is a swish new club venue, with a completely new layout, look and sound system. It’s without a doubt going to be one off the best hangouts in Manchester. Not only that but it’s got a brand new screen and an all day and night non alcoholic café, a great spot to chill out and do that extra revision! (Or maybe just watch some T.V). You must check out the first big night there, Global Beats, to see all the facilities being used to the max. There’s going to be Vjing, films, dancing, live drumming and great get down music from all over the world. What do you think to getting some shisha pipes in the chill out room?

Which reminds me, if you’ve got any queries, or even better, any suggestions how we should shape up what we’re doing, get in touch. The contact details are at the bottom of the page, so give us a call or drop us an e-mail. You never know it could be you and your ideas that are up here in bright lights!

For the rest of it, chill, party, stress, meet, greet and do all the other crazy stuff that makes up the first week of term. Enjoy it while you can, lectures will start soon… but not for me! Gutted!

via Student Direct | Manchester’s Student Read » Freshers Week.

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