A Conversation with: Sir John Curtice

An interview with John Curtice, polling guru, and professor of politics. We discussed Brexit, the December General Election, party politics, tactical voting, and many more topics.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) Can Help Fight COVID-19 But Not Without Human Input

The COVID-19 pandemic, just like any other difficult situation throughout history, is a chance for humans to innovate and adapt to difficult circumstances. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the development and process of machine learning and robotics replicating the behaviour and actions of humans. While the technology itself may make a difference, it will not be enough without the creativity and knowledge of individuals and groups who use it. AI is able to spot human error - through machine learning and identifying patterns in training data. There is a possibility that it could assist humans in being more efficient and innovative, inevitably saving money and time.

Of course, we are facing unprecedented times. Machine learning alone is not sufficient enough to judge previous errors and correct human mistakes. The interaction between AI and humans is vital in order to resolve the current crisis and the challenges of the future. It is important to note that humans will always have an advantage over AI simply because of our ability to learn lessons from one environment and apply them to different settings. It allows us to learn from previous mistakes and assess the likely outcome of future events. Our ability to apply logic and emotion to different circumstances is what separates us with AI but AI can greatly enhance that experience.

Each new piece of information that we manage to unveil during this pandemic is valuable in informing our decisions moving forward. Humans are able to collect data and allow AI systems to inspect through this valuable information to identify patterns at speed. Collaboration is key - the individuals and groups responsible for coding AI systems are vital because they are aware of not only the strengths but also the limitations of the system.

AlphaFold, a system developed by Google DeepMind, is able to predict the 3D structure of a protein by observing its genetic sequence and the system has been used to provide a solution for this pandemic. It has helped the research community better understand the virus.

Bluedot, an AI startup firm, accurately predicted the virus might spread by detecting a pattern of unusual pneumonia cases in Wuhan in December which has enabled scientists to greatly reduce the spread of the virus. The spread of infection was clearly shown by this system and moreover, the technology was able to predict mortality risk and diagnose infections.

These are some of the companies using AI to deal with the pandemic. The collaboration between the technology and humans is crucial in order to develop a better understanding of how best to use it and what the potential consequences could be. AI has the ability to make humans more efficient, increasing productivity and in the case of a pandemic, preventing the spread of a virus and saving human lives at a greater speed.

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London on Black Lives Matter

London on Black Lives Matter!!!

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A Conversation with: Lord Andrew Adonis

An interview with Lord Andrew Adonis, former Transport Minister and Secretary of State for Education. We discussed Brexit, the December General Election, Tuition Fees, Boris Johnson, party politics, and many more topics.

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A Short History Of The Worst Pandemics In The 20th & 21st Century, And How COVID-19 Compares

Another pandemic was inevitable in an extremely interconnected and globalized world. If we do manage to survive this one, then it's almost inevitable that there will be another one.

Between 1910 to 1911, the sixth cholera pandemic was identified in India, where an estimated 800,000 people were killed by the virus. It spread throughout the Middle East, Russia, Eastern Europe, and North Africa. In the US, only 11 deaths were recorded.

Between 1918 and 1919, the Spanish Flu, an influenza pandemic, rapidly spread around the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 500 million people became infected with the virus, roughly 33% of the world's population. Many victims are said to have experienced fluid-filled lungs and severe pneumonia.

In 1957, regions in East Asia faced the outbreak of the Asian Flu, which was first detected in Singapore. The virus rapidly spread to Hong Kong and several cities in the United States. The Asian Flu killed just over 1 million people worldwide, with over a 100,000 deaths in the United States. The 1968 Flu Pandemic was first detected in China, and it was the third pandemic flu outbreak to occur in the 20th century. It was also known as the Hong Kong Flu. One million people worldwide died from this pandemic, including over 100,000 people in the US alone.

In the early 1980's, HIV and AIDS were discovered. HIV and AIDS have been classified as a pandemic, killing an estimated 35 million people worldwide. New and more advanced treatments has allowed people to live with HIV. In 2003, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, better known as SARS, was identified. It is believed to originate from bats and then spread to humans through other animals. The virus infected over 8,000 people, killing over 770. The virus was contained through quarantine efforts and has not reappeared since.

Swine flu, which occurred in 2009, was first detected in the US. The CDC has estimated that over 60 million people were affected by this virus and just over 12,000 deaths reported in the US. According to the CDC, over 550,000 global deaths occurred as a result of the swine flu.

COVID-19 has officially been classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). It has spread globally to more than 160 countries. Currently, over 450,000 cases have been recorded worldwide, with the global death toll standing at 20,522. Over 100,000 people have recovered from the virus. A vaccine is currently not available so the strategy for now is quarantine. Those who have experienced any of the following symptoms - respiratory problems, fever or cough - must self-isolate immediately. According to experts at Imperial College London, an estimated 500,000 people could die in the UK if the virus is not contained.


2010-2020: What exactly happened?

What a decade it has been. China has increased its presence on the international stage and has positioned itself as a potential superpower, currently producing more wealthy people than the US. It has become one of the most prominent emerging market economies and the engine of wealth creation. Do not expect that to change anytime soon. In fact, we may see China position itself as the main global superpower, potentially overtaking the US.

The advancement of technology has led to an improvement in wireless networking devices, cloud computing, and mobile phones. As a result, this has led to the inevitable growth of social media networks such as Facebook and Instagram, which have seen an unprecedented increase in the number of active users. This vast improvement in communication also allowed us to witness many online campaigns, one of which included the Me Too movement. The freedom to distribute information and communicate with the world on digital platforms saw the rise of whistle-blowers - i.e. Edward Snowden. The likes of Mr Snowden and online nonprofit organizations such as WikiLeaks made us aware of topics including the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Syria, US diplomacy, global surveillance, and information privacy. Expect more of these trends as the Internet of things continues to grow. We will see an increase in mobile phone apps, the growth of software companies, 3D printing, artificial intelligence (AI), and many more technological advancements which will completely transform certain industries.

There has been more exposure to LGBT rights and female representation in society. In the West, there has certainly been a shift in public opinion towards these issues and both groups have made substantial progress and that will undoubtedly continue in the next decade. Shifting social attitudes towards environmental issues and climate change has gathered media interest. We witnessed major UK political parties make environmental policies a top priority in their respective manifestos in the most recent General Election. Environmental issues gained momentum in the face of increasing natural disasters, including the 2015 Nepal earthquake, Haiti earthquake in 2010, and the devastating hurricanes Sandy and Harvey. This also includes the current ongoing forest fire in Australia, Sydney. My prediction is: expect a huge increase in media attention on environmental issues and climate change and we will witness a further rise in the popularity of prominent individuals and groups dealing with these issues, including Greta Thunberg. The political interest around these issues will grow and it will become a top priority for future politicians and governments.

A Conversation with: Professor Tim Bale

An interview with Professor Tim Bale, Professor of Politics at Queen Mary.

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UK General Election 2019: The Climate Challenge

There is something different in this General Election - every major party is talking about the importance of environmental issues. Usually in politics, the environment has not been seen as an important issue, compared to pledges on law and order, healthcare, the minimum wage, and now Brexit as well. Unlike previous elections, every major party has made significant commitments to tackle the climate crisis in their manifesto. Some of these commitments include introducing more electric vehicles, reducing the number of cars on the roads, improving the energy efficiency of new build homes, improving local roads, and encouraging cycling and walking.

Labour, for example, have made a pledge to electrify the railways once they have implemented their nationalization programme. The Conservative party are aiming to improve the infrastructure system, including building and improving roads, which they believe would allow more efficient charging networks for electric cars. The Lib Dems and the Green party plan to reduce the number of vehicles on the roads and have made a commitment to spend a substantial amount on public transport, including more electric vehicles.

Of course, these are just some of the extremely ambitious green policies proposed by the political parties. There has been a clear shift in public opinion, with the population becoming more aware of the dangers surrounding global warming and what is now know as the 'climate crisis'. For the younger generation, especially those in their 20's, the environment has become a major issue and possibly something that the major parties are planning to capitalise on in order to secure their votes during this election.

However, this is an election that is dominated by the NHS and Brexit. Can environmental issues really affect voting behaviour? Activists and politicians are demanding climate action and that is enough for it to be seen as a major issue not only in this election but also future elections. The climate emergency is filtering into the public consciousness, particularly though not exclusively among younger people, who demand change. Some of the leaders have made a pledge to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2030/35 and some have made a commitment to achieve this target by 2050. Whatever the case, it's a tactic that might affect voting behaviour and one that will become more prominent among future generations.

General Election 2019: Marginal Seats

Here is a breakdown of the most marginal seats as campaigning begins:

Dudley North: In 2017, Ian Austin MP of the Labour party beat Les Jones of the Conservatives by a majority of just 22 votes, which is no more than 0.1%. The constituency voted 71% in favour of Leave which creates an opportunity for the Tories to capitalise. The Tories increased the share of their votes by 15.6% in the previous election, while Labour only managed a 4.7% increase. This time, Mr Austin is standing as an Independent in Dudley North, with Labour fielding a new candidate so that could also help the Tories to gain this seat. The Spectator stated that Mr Austin is standing as a Labour candidate but this is not true. Mr Austin quit the Labour party in February 2019.

Kensington: In the previous election, Emma Dent Coad MP of the Labour party beat the Conservatives by a majority of just 20 votes. The Grenfell tragedy will play a significant role in the outcome of this constituency. Sam Gyimah, former Tory, is standing as a Liberal Democrat candidate who could further complicate matters for both Labour and Conservatives. The constituency voted 69% in favour of remain during the 2016 referendum. It is also important to note that Labour gained an increase of 11% of the votes in the 2017 Election from 2015. Due to a new Conservative candidate, a former Tory standing as a Lib Dem candidate, and public anger towards Grenfell, Labour have a good chance at regaining this seat.

Stirling: Stephen Kerr MP of the Conservative party beat the SNP with a small majority of 148 votes. The Conservatives also increased the share of their votes in 2017 by 14% from 2015. However, the constituency voted to remain in the 2016 referendum, with a majority of 68%. Perhaps with the increase in demand for Scottish Independence and the constituency being in favour of remain; the SNP may be able to win this seat.

Hastings and Rye: Amber Rudd MP, former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and member of the Conservative party, managed to beat Labour with a majority of just 346 votes. It is also important to note that while Ms Rudd was able to gain an increase of 2% of the votes, Labour managed an increase of 11% in 2017 compared to the 2015 General Election. The constituency also voted to Leave but not by a significant amount, with only 56% of constituents voting to leave the EU. Ms Rudd will not be standing as a candidate in this election so that may also have an impact on how constituents choose to vote. Will the Brexit party be able to capitalise on this or will Labour be able to persuade the constituents of a second referendum? Rob Lee, the leader of the Conservative group on Hastings council, will stand as a candidate instead of Ms Rudd.

Chipping Barnet: Conservative MP Theresa Villiers beat Labour back in 2017 with a majority of 353 votes. She lost 2% of votes from 2015, compared to Labour’s Emma Whysall, who saw an increase of 11.5%. The constituency also voted 59% in favour of remain in the EU referendum. Perhaps Labour is able to persuade constituents of a second referendum or can the Tories regain the seat with their message of a Hard Brexit? This is a race between two parties and Labour may be able to edge a win.

Thurrock: Jackie Doyle-Price MP of the Conservative party beat Labour with a majority of just over 300, which makes her position vulnerable. If the Brexit party choose to contest this seat, then this may split the votes as the constituency voted 70% in favour of Leave during the 2016 EU referendum. Due to the spotlight on Brexit and less exposure on domestic policies, this is an opportunity for parties in favour of Brexit.

Preseli Pembrokeshire: Stephen Crabb, former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Conservative MP, beat Labour with a majority of 314 votes in 2017 but only with an increase of 3% in the share of the votes, compared to Labour’s 14.5% increase from 2015. The constituency also voted 55% in favour of leave. With a growing appetite for Welsh independence and the close encounter in the 2016 EU referendum, this is again an opportunity for Labour and other smaller parties to take advantage of.

Calder Valley: Craig Whitaker MP of the Conservative party won this seat in 2017 with a majority of 609 votes. He was able to increase the shares of his votes by 2.5% from 2015, compared to Labour, which increased by 10%. The constituency also voted 53% in favour of Leave which was a close result. This is a two party race: can Labour win or will the Tories be able to hold on to the seat?

Putney: In this election, there is no doubt that we will see some big name casualties and one of them may be Justine Greening MP. She managed to beat Labour in 2017 by a majority of 1,554 votes, with a loss of 10% share of the votes from 2015. However, Labour managed to gain an 11% increase from 2015 in the 2017 General Election. The constituency also voted a significant 72% in favour of remain, which will no doubt be a good sign for Labour and the Lib Dems as they try to win over voters. I am not sure the Conservatives are able to regain this seat, especially when their campaign is focused on Brexit and the constituency is heavily in favour of remain.

Harrow East: Bob Blackman MP of the Conservative party beat Labour in 2017 by a majority of 1,757, with 0.1% loss of votes from 2015, compare to Labour’s 5% gain. The constituency also voted 52% in favour of remain, which is not a significant amount. This will also be between the two main parties which could be up for grabs.

Canterbury: in 2017, Rosie Duffield MP of the Labour party won with a majority of 187 votes, with a significant 20% increase in voting shares from 2015. The constituency also voted 55% in favour of remain in the 2016 EU referendum. Can she keep her position or will the Tories be able to steal this constituency? There are also quite a few arguments around student voters, which will also have an impact on the outcome.

Peterborough: in the 2019 by-election, Labour MP Lisa Forbes managed to beat the Brexit party by a majority of 683 votes. The seat belonged to the Conservatives previously, when Fiona Onasanya was the Labour candidate. The constituency also voted 61% in favour of leave, which also puts Labour at risk. I believe the Brexit party will have the opportunity to win this seat but they will have to compete with the Conservatives in order to persuade constituents of their Brexit policy.

North East Fife: In the 2017 General Election, Stephen Gethins MP from the SNP managed to beat the Liberal Democrats by just two votes. The SNP actually lost 8% share of their votes from the 2015 Election. The Liberal Democrats increased the share of their votes by 1.5% and so did the Conservatives, with a significant 7.8% increase. In the 2016 European Union referendum, the constituency voted 63.7% in favour of remain. Will the SNP be able to hold on or are the Liberal Democrats able to capitalise with their message of #bollockstobrexit? Perhaps there is an opportunity for Jo Swinson and her party to gain this seat in Scotland.

Cities of London and Westminster: Mark Field, Conservative MP, gained a majority of just over 3000 votes to beat Labour. He also did manage to lose 7.5% shares of the votes from 2015, while Labour gained an increase of 11%. The constituency also voted 72% in favour of remain which is a significant victory for remain and may decide the outcome. Will the Tories be able to regain this seat with Mark Field or will this be a battle between Labour and the Lib Dems?

Perth and North Perthshire: In 2017, Pete Wishart MP of the SNP defeated Ian Duncan of the Conservatives by 21 votes. The constituency voted 60% in favour of remain. Recently, the Scottish Green party decided to field a candidate, Elspeth Maclachlan, to contest Perth and North Perthshire. Mr Wishart has stated that the move may split the independence vote and help the Tories secure a victory.

Southampton, Itchen: In the previous election, Royston Smith MP of the Conservative party won the seat and beat Labour by a majority of just 31 votes. Compared to the 2015 election, in 2017 the Conservatives saw a 5% increase in votes, while Labour saw a 10% increase. Simon Letts of the Labour party is planning to stand again as a candidate, hoping that he can do one better and win this seat. The constituency voted 60% in favour of Leave during the referendum, so that may also affect the result. There could be a strong possibility that Labour may win this seat regardless of the constituency voting to leave.

Richmond Park: Zac Goldsmith MP of the Conservative party beat Sarah Olney of the Lib Dems by a majority of just 45 votes. The constituency voted 71% in favour of remain, which may create an opportunity for Jo Swinson and the Lib Dems. It is also important to the note that the Lib Dems gained an increase of 25% of the votes in the 2017 General Election from 2015. Perhaps the Lib Dems may be able to further increase their votes and gain this seat in West London, especially with their message of #bollockstobrexit.

Crewe and Nantwich: Laura Smith MP of the Labour party beat the Conservatives with a majority of 48 votes in 2017, with a 9% increase in the share of the votes from 2015, compared to the 2% achieved by the Tories. The constituency voted to leave with a majority of 60% in the 2016 EU referendum. Will the Brexit party be able to split the votes and persuade the leave voters or can the Labour party regain this seat?

Newcastle-Under-Lyme: Paul Farrelly MP of Labour beat the Conservatives in 2017 by a small majority of 30 votes. The constituency also voted to leave in the 2016 EU referendum (61% leave). The Tories saw an increase in the share of their votes by 11% compared to Labour’s 10% in the 2017 General Election. The turnout in the constituency was 67% but we could expect an even bigger turnout due to the increase interest in Brexit and domestic policies. Mr Farrelly has decided to step down and will be replaced by Carl Greatbatch who will represent Labour.

Some of the other notable mentions would be Barrow and Furness, Rutherglen and Hamilton West, Sunderland Central, Ipswich, Bedford, Battersea, Blackpool South, Hartlepool, North West Durham, and Stockton South.

What is the Iran nuclear deal and why has Trump violated the agreement?

By Hossein Kabi

Iran, along with the P5+1 group of world powers - US, UK, France, China, Russia, and Germany - agreed a long-term deal on its nuclear programme in 2015. After years of tension, the international community, including the US, joined forces to prevent Iran's alleged efforts to develop a nuclear weapon. In exchange of the Western powers lifting economic sanctions, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear activities and allow in international inspectors to observe nuclear laboratories.

Under the rules and guidance of this deal, Iran agreed to reduce the centrifuges - where uranium hexafluoride gas was fed into to separate out the most fissile isotopse, U-235 - from 20,000 to no more than 5,060 centrifuges at Natanz facility until 2026. Furthermore, the Uranium stockpile of Iran was reduced by 98% to 300kg, which must not be exceeded until 2031. In addition, the agreement also proposed that not only research and development should be limited until 2024, but it should also only take place at the facility of Natanz. Near the town of Arak, the Iranian government had been building a heavy-water nuclear facility. Due to the proliferation risk - spent fuel from a heavy-water reactor contains plutonium suitable for a nuclear bomb - world powers had originally wanted Arak dismantled. Under the deal, Iran agreed not to fuel the reactor. Thus, it will not be able to accumulate any excess water or built additional heavy-water reactors until 2031.

The Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also made Iran commit to a robust monitoring, inspection, and verification. Iran allowed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to send inspectors to monitor its declared nuclear sites.

Under the deal, previous sanctions were lifted, which meant that Iran was able to resume selling oil on international markets. It also allowed them to use the global financial system for trade and thus gain access to more than $100bn in assets frozen overseas.

However, on 8 May 2018, Donald Trump decided to violate the agreement and withdrew America from the deal. According to him, it was a "horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made". In his speech, he ensured the American people and the globe that aside from tackling Iran's nuclear programme, he will also tackle its ballistic missile tests and activities across the Middle East. In addition, Trump also made it clear that he would reintroduce economic sanctions upon Iran. In response to Trump, President Hassan Rouhani Said "from this moment the nuclear deal is between Iran and five other countries". He then went on to say "in these circumstances we have to wait to see how the five other countries react". Many nations, including the Great Powers, have reacted against Trump's decision. The UK, France, and Germany have said they regret the American decision and have even tried to change the President's mind. Russia is also deeply disappointed in Trump. In addition, Federica Mogherini (top diplomat at the European Union) said the EU was "determined to preserve" the deal. The two nations who have fully backed and supported Trump are Israel and Saudi Arabia. 

Despite the fact that the nuclear deal was working, he has put US diplomacy on a collision course and perhaps brought a more catastrophic regional war in the Middle East. Trump must face the consequences for violatin the Iran nuclear deal and Europe should fully take matters into their own hands in order to preserve the harmony and peace within the international community. This aggressive bid to further isolate Iran appears designed to ultimately enforce regime change. It is important to see this as nothing short of an act of wanton diplomatic vandalism fraught with dangers. 

Local election results 2018

By Hossein Kabi

Although not very many councils and seats changed hands, one party did make some progress - the Labour party. Labour gained more than 70 councillors. However, they failed to take several targets from the Conservatives, including Wandsworth. Labour piled up support in big urban areas, but they struggled to show advances in areas where there used to be big industries. Furthermore, due to the grim row over anti-semitism not being tackled, Labour failed to make additional gains in London boroughs they had heavily targeted.   

UKIP have lost almost all of the seats they were defending. The Conservative party gained from a collapse in UKIP's vote to take Basildon and Peterborough and they won Barnet and Redditch. However, although they have won these areas, they have lost councillors compared to the last time these seats were up in 2014 due to the swings to Labour in London. The Liberal Democrats have taken Richmond-upon-Thames, Kingston-upon-Thames and South Cambridgeshire with big swings from the Conservatives, as well as Three Rivers Council which had been under No Overall Control. Across England they have gained more than 70 councillors. The collapse of the UKIP vote seems to be the most significant change in these local elections. And that is where the Conservatives did best. 

According to Professor Sir John Curtice, "the vote that is helping to buoy up Theresa May's popularity at the moment is very much a Leave Vote." This is a clear signal to the government that if they are going to hang on to their electoral position, if they're going to hang on to the voters that they have got at the moment, they're going to have to deliver a Brexit that broadly speaking appeals to the sympathies and instincts of Leave voters.   

Again, it was a similar trend to the one developed at the previous general election, as voters opted for the status quo. There seems to be a development of a new political landscape, especially after the referendum on the European Union and the creation of a hostile environment, including matters on immigration, NHS, and the increase in crime across the capital. The fault lines which these issues exposed are deeper still and both of the main parties are perhaps digging deeper into their holes. In order to avoid hung politics, parties have to achieve beyond their comfort zones.  

What is the Windrush generation scandal and who is to blame?

By Hossein Kabi

Firstly, it is important to recognise that the Windrush generation were a group of individuals who arrived from the Caribbean between 1940-1970. They were first brought over to help rebuild post-war Britain and were named after the Empire Windrush ship which brought them to the UK. It is believed that there are around 500,000 people who are resident in the UK who arrived before the early 1970's. These people, who have lived, worked, and paid their taxes in Britain for decades, have suddenly had their legal status changed overnight. They were told they were here illegally despite having lived and worked in the country for decades and are currently threatened with deportation. They have fallen victim to rule changes in 2012 aimed at stopping overstaying. The question remains: who is to blame for this scandal?

According to many reports, including one by a former Home Office employee, Theresa May ordered the Home Office to destroy thousands of landing card slips recording the dates of the Windrush immigrants entering the UK. According to the former Home Office employee, the records were significant for case workers and governmental organisations to find information about someone's arrival date in the UK from the Caribbean. According to the reports, a decision was made in October 2010 to destroy the cards (which dated back to the 1950's), when Theresa May was home secretary. Those who moved to Britain were given an indefinite leave to remain under the 1971 Immigration Act. When staff were asked for information regarding the Windrush generation, they had difficulty tracing any record, and further reports have stated that staff had to reply stating that there is no record available of the database and the information required.

This scandal clearly illustrates a certain level of institutional racism, and as David Lammy MP has already said, it has come about because of "systemic incompetence, callousness, and and cruelty within our immigration system."

Although many officials in the Home Office have said that the decision was taken on data protection grounds, the former employee, who did not want to be named, has also added that the decision was not taken on data protection grounds. According to the former employee, there was not enough room for them to be accommadated in the new building when there was a change in location.

Ultimately, the current Conservative government have confirmed that UK citizenship fees and language tests will be waived for the Windrush generation and their families. Also, many have been promised formal citizenship and British passports, and compensation if they have suffered a loss during this scandal. The government have also promised to no only offer the Windrush generation formal status but also anyone from other Commonwealth nations who settled in the UK over the period between 1948-1973.

How likely is a Third World War?

By Hossein Kabi

It is important for the politicians and ministers of different nations to get to know each other. But what happens when there is a lack of communication between nations? Disruption to diplomatic relations and possibly even international conflict. Are we really heading towards the start of another war? This article will seek to explore Donald Trump and his policies towards foreign nations and the Iran-US deal.  

The breakdown in international relations between the United States or Israel and Iran could lead to a serious possibility of a military conflict - whether intentional or inadvertent. World leaders - i.e. Trump and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei - seem to embody this ethos that the world is their enemy. On the one hand, for the Iranian's, the overthrow of the Islamic Republic is number one on the United States' foreign policy agenda. Ever since the revolution of the 1970's in Iran, Iranian leaders have been very cautious in dealing with the United States and its leaders. This has led to more speculation that everything from the American celebrity culture to U.S relations with Middle Eastern allies - Israel and Saudi Arabia - is understood as a means to overthrow the Islamic Republic.

Of course, not only does Iran not trust the U.S but the distrust is mutual. Iran's foreign and domestic policies were not solved by the 2015 nuclear deal. Rather, it has made the current domestic political climate worse, as there is an increase in crime and executions. Iran has continued to arm Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian dictator. The expansion in military and war strategies throughout the Middle East by Iran's government has unnerved U.S allies in Israel and the Persian Gulf. Iran has also violated UN resolutions by testing ballistic missiles. Donald Trump's administration has not ignored such tensions with Iran and wants to confront these issues.  

This increased escalation, sanctions, and the breakdown in diplomatic relations in the region has created a hostile atmosphere amongst the world leaders. The lack of change in the Iranian regime, followed by the lack of strategic patience by Trump's administration towards the Persian Gulf is the reason why the prospect for conflict is greater than ever before.      

Is racism a political agenda designed to separate the people?

By Hossein Kabi

Racism is a significant issue in our society. But is racism a political agenda designed to separate the people? Can human beings really be ranked as superior or inferior based on their race, culture, and their social behaviour? This article will seek to define racism, what role it plays in the world, and if it really is a political agenda. 

Racism is seen as a belief that a specific race is more powerful than another. This often leads to discrimination towards groups and individuals based on their ethnicity. Racism is present in our political system and even our social life. To some, race is seen as a social construct and is heavily influenced by cultural ideologies. 

However, institutional racism, whether it be racial discrimination by governments, religions, corporations, and even educational institutions, does exist. These powerful corporations have the ability to influence the lives of many people. This ability to influence sometimes does have a negative outcome. These professional organizations - i.e. the government - sometimes fail to provide an appropriate service to individuals and groups because of their race, culture, language, and even religion. Is it really absurd to accuse a political party or a corporation of exploiting racism for political gain? I think not. These large corporations do capitalize on racism, but it's not always for the right reasons. 

White Supremacy does exist, especially in the political system and large corporations. The world is changing and it's changing for the better. Integration has enabled individuals and groups to roam freely and people have a lot of freedom to express themselves, regardless of race, gender, sex, religion, or culture. 

Who is Jeremy Corbyn?

by Hossein Kabi

Jeremy Bernard Corbyn - a British politician that represents the working class or perhaps maybe everyone? A democratic socialist champion, a man who advocates renationalisation of public utilities, transport, and most importantly, reversing austerity cuts to public services.

On the issue of war and especially nuclear war, Jeremy is an anti-nuclear and anti-war campaigner. At the very beginning of his political career, he was working for various trade unions. Since his youth, he has been consistent with campaigning for better public services, fairer funding, and a better welfare system. It is important to recognise that this particular politician has been consistent with his values and beliefs since the beginning of his political career. How many politicians can we say that about? How many politicians have been caught up in scandals, the use of indoctrination or even manipulation to get their political beliefs across? 

Ultimately, although politicians have had a bad rep over the years, this man, Jeremy Corbyn, has allowed people to dream again. Dream of a better future with politicians who aim to genuinely want to help the public.