Interview with actor Giles Terera

It has been a while since I last published an interview so I decided it was time to get in touch with some politically active actors.

I was delighted to receive a reply from Giles Terera, who will be playing the role of Aaron Burr in the West End run of Hamilton later this year. I decided to ask him some questions about raising money for the Grenfell Tower victims in an event called ‘Songs and Solidarity,’ as well as his decision to endorse the Labour Party in June.

What persuaded you to organise ‘Songs and Solidarity’?

“Like so many other people I saw these images of horror on the screen and my immediate response was What can I do to help? I didn’t need any persuading. I had been canvassing not too far from that area in the weeks previous, I had been up in many towers and so it was painfully easy to envisage. The community itself has always been a diverse, close and creative one, this can be said of the theatre community so it struck me that the most effective way for me to contribute was through performance/art.”

Why did you decide to endorse Jeremy Corbyn and Labour in the recent election?

“I decided to endorse Labour, not Jeremy, as it’s the party I believe we should vote for. The party under Jeremy Corbyn i think is truer not only to its founding principles but truer to the majority of working people in this country. More than ever we need leadership in this country (and throughout the world) that is committed to all people in our societies not just the privileged few.

“I must say it certainly was Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership which reignited my passion for the Labour movement. Seeing how many young people, like yourself seemed to connect and respond to what Corbyn believes in has been very inspiring and encouraging. Like many people i was excited by the New Labour idea, in fact the ’97 election was the first I could vote in. But what it turned out to be, especially with regards it’s foreign policy, is still something that disgusts me. So during that time I moved away from the party. I can say that Corbyns leadership and his commitment to young people and working people has inspired me not only to come back to the party but to be more actively politically involved.”

corbyn rally

What’s your opinion on how Theresa May has formed a coalition with the DUP?

“The conservative survival instinct would mean that they would get into bed with whoever could ensure them power regardless of the hypocrisy or moral bankruptcy involved, with that in mind Theresa May’s and the Conservatives actions are heinous, though not surprising. Needless to say, they care less about working Irish people than they do about working English people.”

Are you excited to perform in Hamilton on the West End?

“I am very excited to perform in Hamilton.”

What persuaded you to take the role of Aaron Burr?

“There was no persuading necessary to take the role of Aaron Burr. It’s the greatest and most complete piece of theatre I’ve ever seen.”

gilesterera

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Anti-Gay Marriage, Anti-Abortion: PM Rees Mogg would be a disaster

It might be a cliché for a left-wing blogger to rant about every MP linked with the possibility of becoming the next Tory leader, but I am seriously convinced that as bad as I believe Theresa May to be, Jacob Rees-Mogg would be on another level. And that’s not just because he was hilariously made a fool of by Sacha Baron Cohen’s Ali G character in 1999 (which you can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szGxq3pvJPQ), but because he has many controversial stances on progressive issues that we should celebrate in a society as liberal and tolerant as the United Kingdom.

JRM

Rees Mogg only became an MP in 2010, compared to Theresa May who had been an MP for almost 20 years before becoming Prime Minister last year. However, David Cameron had only been an MP for 9 years before becoming PM (and for only 4 before becoming the leader of the Conservatives) so it’s not unusual for an MP to gain such a high position so quickly anymore.

Rees Mogg’s stance on LGBT rights is extremely worrying. David Cameron’s biggest achievement as Prime Minister was the legalisation of gay marriage in 2013 – something which Rees Mogg voted against on more than one occasion, including the right for same-sex couples in the armed forces to marry outside the UK. If Rees Mogg were to attempt to repeal this vital piece of legislation for equality, then he would be completely isolating the 1.7% of the UK population who openly identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual (according to the Office for National Statistics: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/culturalidentity/sexuality/bulletins/sexualidentityuk/2015) as well as all the allies who believe that nobody has the right to take away someone else’s right to love whoever they want, and to be protected under the law. Whilst so many people are persecuted across the world because of their sexuality, Rees Mogg’s stance on the issue is completely regressive and wrong, and conflicts with the popular opinion of the UK public that gay marriage should be allowed. This view could hurt his chances of becoming Prime Minister, should he choose to run if May resigns. Remember: love is so much stronger than division.

In an interview with Good Morning Britain (https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/sep/06/jacob-rees-mogg-opposed-to-gay-marriage-and-abortion-even-after) he also stated that – although the law won’t change – he is against abortion, even in the case of rape or incest. The Labour government of Harold Wilson in the 60s made so many progressive social reforms that benefit almost everyone in society, even 50 years later. One of the most important reforms that was passed was the Abortion Act of 1967 which meant that women could finally get safe abortions from the NHS. If Rees Mogg became Prime Minister, we would have a leader who would think it is morally wrong for a woman to decide what should happen to her own body, and therefore taking that right away from half of the population. Again, such a stance would clash with public opinion, as the majority of the UK believe that the woman should have the right to choose (https://yougov.co.uk/news/2016/03/30/which-rights-matter-most/). The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom should not want to restrict the rights for its citizens. Instead, they should inspire change and equal opportunities to work towards a fairer and safer society.

As a leader, Rees Mogg is not representative of the UK population. One MP, who I was speaking tom described him as the “Minister for the Nineteenth Century.” Like Cameron, Osborne and Johnson, Rees Mogg attended both Eton College and Oxford University. Only 7% of the UK population attended private schools so Rees Mogg would be representing the elite establishment who have consistently dominated Westminster politics. Fox hunting, one of the most controversial topics at the last election due to Theresa May’s suggestion of having an open vote on the issue, is also something Rees Mogg feels strongly about, describing it as the “least cruel” method of controlling the fox population (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPe1QWAEJp0). Rees Mogg’s views seem to only reflect those of the rural South-West where he represents.

Don’t be fooled by Rees Mogg’s personality. We all laughed at Farage didn’t we? Trump too? Look where those two ended up. They managed to have unprecedented influence on arguably two of the most historic votes of the decade. The media seemed to give them so much air-time because of their charisma and unorthodox styles of politics. Don’t be fooled by the attention Rees Mogg has been getting; the media love an outsider candidate, and if he decides to throw his hat into the ring then it’s likely that he would get the most coverage out of everyone.

So, to conclude: if Rees Mogg became Prime Minister then the Conservatives and Labour would become even more polarised than they currently are, offering the electorate an even greater choice between the parties. However, it would be a complete disaster for people who support equality and a fairer society for all. Is it likely to happen? Probably not. But you never know. So continue to spread love and stand up for what is right.

jrmaf

Race To The White House #6

With the U.S. Presidential Election less than a month away, I decided to revisit my series of interviewing American supporters of Trump and Clinton to help us Brits understand why these candidates have so many supporters. Here’s my interview with an American Donald Trump supporter from Twitter (@myGianLuca)

The following answers are their exact words as typed to me, and these views do not reflect or represent my own.

Why are you supporting Donald Trump for President?

I support Trump because he’s a Truth Warrior. He tells it like it is (really is!)… Not backed by self-interested Agenda-driven Donors who want to OWN a Candidate who would ultimately Sell them Access to WH Decision-Making. Trump is ANTI-DC Establishent of Old Guard ‘Pay-to-Play’ syndrome… that is, “We give you $$$$ for your Campaign, but ONCE YOU WIN, You Give us (fill in the blank).<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”0; URL=https://mobile.twitter.com/i/nojs_router?path=%2F”>

aka QUID PRO QUO

Do you feel that Donald Trump can appeal to working/middle class Americans?

UPDATE: At the 2016 Labour Conference in Liverpool

When asked by my family in January what I would like to do in 2016, my response was “attend my first Labour conference.” I was lucky to discover that the conference this year would be in Liverpool, so close to home, so I applied as soon as I had the chance. Unfortunately I could only go for the Sunday because of college. Despite this, I still had a brilliant day learning more about the party and meeting some amazing people.

25/09/2016

  • 09:00

On the way there I tweeted Owen Jones asking if he could sign my copy of his book, “The Establishment.” Almost immediately he replied “Sure!” but unfortunately I didn’t see him at the event. However it was still nice to get a tweet from him because he was one of the people who inspired me to start tweeting/blogging about politics. Hopefully I’ll get to meet him next time.

  • 10:00

I arrived at the conference at about 10a.m. After going through the security checks I met up with my friend Chloe from college.

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As we walked into the exhibition hall I spotted Diane Abbott but was too nervous to say hi. I realised that I was going to see a lot of politicians throughout the day. We went into the exhibition hall and I instantly spotted Peter Dowd ,the MP for Bootle, who I know personally, so it was great to catch up with him. We walked up the stairs to the top floor, past lots of TV cameras and reporters, to see what was there. I spotted Tom Watson, but because he seemed as though he was in a hurry I decided that I’d try and meet him later instead. Also spotted Jess Phillips being interviewed for the TV.

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  • 11:00

We went into the large conference hall to see the welcome speeches. There was a very moving obituaries section which included tributes to Denis Healey and Jo Cox. I saw Corbyn give out some membership awards too.

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At this point I received a message on Twitter from Charlie who I’ve been in touch with since the general election. The message simply read “look to your right” and there he was, so I waved and we got to catch up at one of the fringe events later on.

  • 12:00

We decided to attend the Young Labour Welcome fringe event after the conference hall. However the conference phone app stated that this started at 12, when it was actually on at 12:30. Luckily there were free refreshments- so I can’t really complain! Before the event started I got to meet George Aylett who ran for Parliament last year aged just 19 and with over 300,000 twitter followers is arguably more famous than most of our own MPs! I’ve been in touch with George ever since May last year (and I interviewed him last year, too) so it was great to have a chat. We both agreed that the whole party needs to get behind Jeremy in order to win the next election.

We were lucky to have Iain McNicoll (the General Secretary of the Labour Party) come into our session to talk to us and answer some questions. He seemed friendly and very passionate about getting young people involved in politics.

  • 13:00

Straight after the welcoming event was a Young Labour Question Time with a great panel of guests including Cat Smith, the Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs. The debate was very interesting with some excellent questions asked. I managed to meet Cat Smith after the session to ask if I could interview her for my blog in the future. She was happy to help and gave me her card so I could send her some questions. Watch this space!

  • 14:00

We decided to have a look round some more of the stalls. On the way into the hall I saw Jess Phillips again so I decided to go and say hi as I think she’s a brilliant MP and I admire the way she fights off trolls on Twitter. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Hi Jess

Jess: Hi!

Me: I’ve interviewed you a couple of times via email for my blog, so it’s great to finally meet you

Jess: Oh right! (Fiddles with her iPad) I can’t seem to get an internet connection here?

Me: Yes, I’ve had that problem- sometimes the wi-fi works and sometimes it doesn’t here

Jess: Well that’s shit! If they can get the internet to work in South Korea then surely they can get it to work here.

This made me laugh a lot. I said thanks again and walked away. She’s so funny and down-to-earth, and there really aren’t enough people like that in Parliament. Look out for when she’s next on Have I Got News For You, because she really is hilarious on that!

We walked round the different stalls again and took an online quiz to determine which government role would be best for me. I’ve always said that Education Secretary would be my thing, but the quiz said that I would be best at Foreign Secretary which intrigued me. The guy running the stall said that “maybe there’s a little bit of Boris Johnson” in me. I was offended!

I also went to the BBC stall to talk about careers in the media which is definitely what I’m hoping to do in the future.

  • 15:00

After walking back and forth for a bit, we decided to stand by the main entrance for a bit. We were disappointed that we had not managed to see or meet any of the big names walk past us yet. I always seem to get lucky at events like this, as I always seem to find the right places to meet people at the right time.

We waited for a bit, surrounded by cameras (if you see me on any news channel or video then please let me know!) and we were asked to move out of the way a couple of times.

I got excited because I saw Yvette Cooper walk past so I said hi and shook her hand. She said “pleased to meet you!” and it was nice that she stopped and said hi to me despite how busy she was. I’ve admired her as an MP for a few years and I always thought she used to wipe the floor with Theresa May at Home Secretary’s Questions a couple of years ago. I actually gave her my 2nd preference vote for leader in the contest last year, so it was great to finally meet her. She was very friendly and answered any questions that people asked her.

Straight after talking to me she was interviewed by CNBC. It was fascinating to watch her being interviewed from behind the scenes- to see how interviews are conducted at events like this.

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  • 16:00

We did some more waiting round, before someone from Labour Students came and offered us a raffle ticket for the chance to win some amazing prizes including a signed “Ed Balls” tweet. This made me laugh. Unfortunately I didn’t have any change on me so I couldn’t get a ticket. I already regret not entering the competition!

You can tell when someone high-profile is about to walk into the conference, as they’re followed by a large crowd of people. I spotted Angela Eagle and shook her hand and said hi. I asked her if I could email her some questions for my blog and she said “Yes, alright” which was kind. There was a photographer (presumably for one of the news channels or papers) who took a photo of me talking to her. If anybody comes across this photo then please let me know!

I like Angela- some of the abuse which she has received from inside her own party is absolutely unacceptable and a disgrace. Hopefully I’ll be able to interview her soon, either via email or in her office.

After Angela I spotted Diane again. This time I was brave enough to say hi and shake her hand.

Me: It’s nice to meet you

Diane: Thank you

Diane is someone who I didn’t really have an opinion on previous to the conference, because I agree with her on some issues and disagree with her on others. She’s one of the most approachable people that I met yesterday and she seemed happy to meet ordinary party members, particularly young members like myself. I saw her being interviewed for the TV after I met her (I’m probably in the background!)

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A few minutes later I noticed that a large group of people were gathered around someone just down the corridor. I decided to follow them and it turned out it was Dennis Skinner! As Dennis is one of my political heroes I tried to get as close as I could to hear him speak.

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We got to listen to him speak about Tony Benn and Jeremy Corbyn. After this, he was interviewed by CNBC about the party uniting and Dennis said that we are where we are today (the biggest political party in Europe) because of the membership. As Dennis emphasised the word “membership” he was pointing and looking at me which made me feel special and inspired. He also told us that “Tedious Theresa” is already worse than “Dodgy Dave”!

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me-and-dennis-skinner

I was very lucky to to be able to shake Dennis’ hand and I did ask him for a quick photo, which he very kindly agreed to, despite being in a rush. Unfortunately I wasn’t looking at the camera and my facial expressions don’t make me look like I was very excited (trust me, I was!) I think I’m pulling that face because someone was shouting something at him, or because a reporter was trying to take a photo. Either way, I don’t mind because I still got to meet a true living legend!

I didn’t think I’d get to meet anyone else after meeting Dennis Skinner, but I was wrong. We went back to the main entrance to see if we could spot anyone else, and in the corner of my eye I spotted someone in a hurry wearing glasses, lipstick, and a pink beret. I suddenly realised that I had spotted one of my favourite comedians, Eddie Izzard! I found the courage to say hi and shake his hand.

Me: Hi Eddie, it’s great to meet you- I’m such a huge fan!

Eddie: Hi, good to see you-that’s great!

I quickly asked him if I could get a photo before he had to go.

Me: Could I get a quick photo please?

Eddie: Yes sure, as long as you give me a phone to take it with

Eddie’s PA: Or you could take it on mine and send it via bluetooth?

Since my (pre-historic) Nokia Lumia doesn’t have a front camera, Chloe kindly let me use her phone to take a photo with. Eddie took the phone off her and went to take a selfie. He then realised that the lighting was awkward in the place that we were standing.

Eddie: Goodness, the lighting’s way too bright here. Should we go over there where it’s a bit darker?

Eddie skipped to the other side of the room and raised the phone to take the selfie. He kindly took the photo and I thanked him again and said goodbye.

me-and-eddie-izzard

After he said goodbye I asked Chloe if she knew who that was and she said no which was amusing because a big deal had been made about getting the photo taken. I told her that it was Eddie Izzard and she was shocked because she didn’t recognise him. Chloe also told me earlier that she was borrowing that phone from her nephew. It’s not everyday that your phone is used by Eddie Izzard!

Meeting Eddie made me very happy and I was very grateful that I was able to meet him and get a photo taken. Eddie is someone who has performed on stage with Monty Python, made me cry laughing with his stand-up routines (particularly this one: www.youtube.co.uk/watch?v=x1sQkEfAdfY) and he’s also someone who inspired people all across the world by recently running 27 marathons in 27 days. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time. If I’d been somewhere else then I’d have missed him.

A few minutes later I saw Tom Watson walk past me so I stopped him to say hi and shake his hand. It seemed that he was in a rush so I thought he’d have to move on, but I was surprised that he stopped to have a proper chat with me. He asked me if this was my first conference so I told him that it was and he asked if I was enjoying it. I told him it was great, that I didn’t know what to expect and I’d done lots already. He seemed genuinely interested with what I had to say- no wonder he was elected as deputy leader!

As we were talking, an old lady in a wheelchair came up to him and said “Hi Mr Watson, can I just say I think the £25 voting fee was a disgrace.” Tom Watson agreed that this shouldn’t have happened, and people might as well pay the £26 fee to become a full member and fully participate. After the lady left, I asked Tom if I could get a photo with him. We were stood in front of the transparent windows so the sun was making the room very bright. Tom said “How about we go over there where there’s better lighting?” So we each got a photo with him and said thanks for his time and that it was great to meet him. He told us to enjoy the rest of the conference which was nice.

me-and-tom-watson

Tom was very friendly and great to speak to. He follows me on Twitter so I’ll have to ask him if I can interview him soon. He’s clearly very interested in engaging with young people like myself and listening to what we have to say.

In the distance I saw Hilary Benn walk into the entrance hall. His Dad, Tony, was one of my political inspirations. I decided to go up and say hi.

Me: Hi Mr Benn, it’s great to meet you

Hilary: Hi, you too

(At this point, because Hilary reacted slightly awkwardly, almost as if I was speaking the wrong person, I started to feel embarrassed about whether or not it was actually him that I was speaking to. I glanced down at his name tag which read “Hilary Benn MP” and I let out a huge sigh of relief)

Hilary: I’m just finding my way around

Me: Have you just arrived?

Hilary: Well I’ve just been at the Yemen Vigil. What’s your name?

Me: I’m John

Hilary: It’s nice to meet you John, is this your first conference?

Me: Yes it its- I didn’t know what to expect but it’s slightly bigger than I thought it was going to be

Hilary: Well there’s plenty of fringe events to visit and take part in

John: Yes I’ve been looking at a few of those. It’s been great to talk to you

So (in a slightly awkward fashion) I got to have a chat with Hilary Benn! I may not have agreed with Hilary’s controversial speech about bombing Syria, but I strongly admire the passion that he delivered during that speech, and I would love to see him back on the front benches soon. Hilary was interesting to talk to and I can’t believe he receives so much hate from people in his own party, it’s a disgrace.

  • 17:00

We agreed that we would definitely go to the “Big Brexit Debate” at half-five because Ed Miliband was going to be speaking in it. Ed Miliband is the man who inspired me to join the Labour Party, and I truly believe that our country would be in a much better position if he had become the Prime Minister. We went and got the best seats that we could. By 17:20 there were pretty much no ore free seats available, and people were already beginning to stand up. This was going to be a popular event. Ed arrived at 17:25 or so and the queues started to form for people who wanted a selfie with him.

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We debated whether we should join the queue or wait until the end for a photo. In the end, I’m glad we decided to join the queue before the debate because he needed to leave quickly afterwards to make his way to another fringe event. Ed kindly chatted to members and posed for photos with everyone who queued up. The man in front of us told him that he had named his daughter “Millie” after him. Ed found this amusing and asked how she was doing.

I was now next in the queue and introduced myself and shook his hand. He was so nice to me, just as I had imagined him to be. He was so down-to-earth and friendly and it made me slightly upset that he will never have the chance to be the Prime Minister.

me-and-ed-miliband

Then Chloe went to take a selfie with him after me, but somebody pushed in front of her. “Erm!” he said, “I think this young lady was in the queue first. There is a queue” in a jokey way which we found amusing. As she was taking her photo with him, Chloe said “You must be fed up with all of this,” to which he replied “No, it’s fine!” They say you should never meet your heroes, but I’m so glad I had the chance to meet Ed who I’ve been wanting to meet ever since I joined the Labour Party in Spring 2014.

We went back to our seats as the debate was about to start. The chair of the debate opened with this statement:

“Now there’s been an issue within our party that has been going on for a while now. An issue which has divided us all. But now it’s time for all of us to get behind him, because he is one of our own. And the only way he can win is if you go home and vote…for Ed Balls on Strictly Come Dancing!” Everyone in the lecture hall roared with laughter and there was a huge round of applause for the joke. After the laughter he stated that this was not a comical debate as it would be focusing on the truly serious issue of Brexit. However there were jokes scattered throughout, mainly from Ed himself who joked about travelling to Liverpool via train and he should have, out of courtesy, sat on the floor.

The debate was really interesting, however, and we got to here from other MPs such as Rachael Reeves, Lisa Nandy and Chuka Umunna (who was probably the best speaker that I heard all day.)

  • 19:00

After the debate Ed had to leave quickly so I’m very glad that we met him beforehand. Outside the lecture hall I spotted another huge crowd of people, this time including reporters with cameras. Of course, the person they were following was Ed Miliband.

As everyone was leaving I said goodbye to Peter Dowd who was near the exit as I was leaving. I was too tired to do any more walking around so I went outside and took some photos of the beautiful skyline of Liverpool- the city where I was born and where all of my family is from. I’m so lucky to have such a prestigious event practically on my doorstep.

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I was originally going to be interviewed by a journalist for BBC5Live but I was keeping in touch with her throughout the day and she said that unfortunately she’d been sent out to do some reporting elsewhere, so wouldn’t be able to meet up. That was unlucky, but maybe if I had gone for the interview then I wouldn’t have met Eddie Izzard or Ed Miliband.

I had a brilliant time at the conference and made lots of new memories that I’ll treasure forever. I can’t wait til next year!

My Thoughts: Why I’m worried about our new Prime Minister

Tomorrow Britain will have a new Prime Minister, Theresa May, who has been the Home Secretary since 2010. May will become the second female PM, after Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. For those who don’t know much about Theresa May, here are my worries about her becoming our new Prime Minister.

Yesterday The Independent (one of the most reliable and politically unbiased newspapers) summarised my argument with the phrase “Theresa May is about to become Prime Minister after a career of opposing legislation that guarantees equality and human rights.” In this article I will be exploring Theresa May’s abysmal voting record.

Theresa May has spoken in favour of repealing the Human Rights Act and leaving the European Convention of Human Rights. These are the sources of our basic human rights (the right to life, the right of free speech etc.) Although she did support replacing these with a new ‘Bill of Rights,’ it is impossible to know what this new bill would include, and which rights would be guaranteed and which would not. 

Probably Theresa May’s most notorious policy is supporting the ‘Snooper’s Charter’ which would give the police the power to search anyone’s internet history without asking for their permission. In a bid to tackle terrorism, supporters of the snooper’s charter claim that “if you’ve done nothing wrong then you shouldn’t be scared.” Meanwhile, critics claim that the Snooper’s Charter is a breach of personal liberties. The law hasn’t been passed yet, but it’s extremely likely to happen under May’s government.


Theresa May has never supported equality. She has consistenly voted in favour of slashing benefits for the poorest earners in society, whilst voting against measures to tackle tax avoidance. She also voted in favour of invading Iraq, launching further air strikes on Syria, and legalising fox hunting. She voted against banning smoking in a car whilst children are present. May also (extremely controversially) said that sex offenders should he allowed to adopt and that we can never have a fully integrated society where there is immigration. 

Just because Theresa May is a woman doesn’t mean she supports women’s rights. Theresa May voted against the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill which would give lesbian couples the ability to receive fertility treatment and she also voted against gay adoption rights and repealing Section 28 which bans the promotion of homosexuality in schools.

How Theresa May became Prime Minister is extremely undemocratic. Even if she was chosen by the 150,000 Tory members, that would be undemocratic, but May only became PM because the other candidates dropped out of the race. In the end, our next Prime Minister was chosen by 199 Tory MPs which accounts for 0.000004% of the entire population. How can we call ourselves a democratic nation when our Prime minister was chosen in this way? May should call a general election because she has no mandate from the British people. But she won’t, because she’s in power now and doesn’t want anyone to take that away from her. She believes that her own personal position is far more important than democracy.

Although we can’t be 100% sure what the UK will look like under Theresa May, I am certain there will be further growths in inequality and fewer rights for workers. Young people will have their futures in doubt and there will be a continuation of austerity politics. Like Margaret Thatcher, Theresa May will continue to divide the UK and I believe she will be a terrible role model for young women. Theresa May will be just as bad (if not, worse) than David Cameron.

Interview with Jonathan Reynolds (Labour MP for Stalybridge and Hyde)

I decided to ask the Labour MP Jonathan Reynolds (who has almost exactly the same name as me) some questions about the recent EU referendum result and find out whether there were any positives for Britain leaving the EU.
Were you surprised by the EU referendum result?
No. Although I had changed my mind several times as to who I thought would win, I knew Leave winning was a real possibility
Why do you think so many working class and Labour voters were attracted to the leave campaign, rather than Labour’s ‘In’ campaign?
Two-thirds of Labour voters did back Remain, but in my area concerns about immigration were very high. Despite making the case for the benefits of immigration, many people were and are very uneasy about the operation of the free movement of people between the UK and the EU.
How will this result affect young people?
It’s huge. It will affect the opportunities available to them in the rest of Europe, but it will also deeply affect the type of country the UK becomes. Much of that future is still up for grabs however.
What would you like to see as part of the post-Brexit deal?
I would like Britain to remain as close to the Single Market as possible, particularly as to the ability for businesses based here to operate freely anywhere in Europe. I also hope that whatever immigration policy Parliament decides we will still attract the best and brightest people to work in the UK. In addition, I would also like to see scientific collaboration across the EU continued.
Are there any positives of Britain leaving the EU?
Some specific businesses will be better off, such as sugar producers who import cane sugar from the rest of the world as a raw material and who currently face a high EU tariff. But on the whole this is an outcome best for those people who have a very specific idea of what the UK should now be, which is usually to be a sort of Western Singapore – ultra-free market, low social security spending, hyper global etc. – and these people tend to be on the Right in politics. We need an alternative vision.

Race to the White House #5

I’ve interviewed another Bernie Sanders supporter, and I’m keen to find out why she backs him for President.

Why are you backing Bernie for President?

Because my nation and our world are at a critical point of paradigm shift. Small incremental changes are no longer acceptable re: Climate change; our economy; societal health and well-being; the haves and have nots; government representation; racial, sexual, and religious persecution; buying & rigging of elections, unjust laws and wars.

If Bernie became President, what would you like him to achieve?

First and foremost, address immediately Climate Change. This affects the entire planet and is at a critical point of no return. It will result in the migration of millions of people and causes friction between societies. We can no longer postpone going green and stop pushing carbon into the atmosphere! Secondly, we must fix our political system… how it is financed, voter disenfranchisement or disqualification, and not being able to count ballots. Our political system is corrupt. Good grief…we go around the world and pompously judge other countries’ elections and we can’t conduct a fair election in our own country! Third, our citizens need help… wages have been stagnant or jobs sent overseas. The cost of living keeps rising. Most of us are living pay check to pay check and are one pay check away from disaster. We are tired, angry, and feel abused and unsupported by our own government. We need single payer healthcare and free public college for the betterment of our people and my nation.

Does Bernie come across as an anti-establishment figure?

To me, no… He represents democracy! He represents what the Democratic Party used to represent.

Why are so many people in America worried about a socialist becoming the President?

The younger generation doesn’t have a problem… it’s the older generation that equates socialism with communism. We have the same problem with race relations. Until the older generation is gone that holds so much hate for the past days of slavery, we can’t move forward. It is important to remember history so that it is not repeated but it is important to look at it and take action to move on and heal!

What is your opinion of Donald Trump?

I am embarrassed and humiliated at his speech, behavior, and opinions. He is dangerous for my nation and this world.