This video sums up some of the excitement we’ve felt this summer.
It has been one of the most energising summers in memory. A summer of celebration, achievement and pride. Can we top summer 2012?
What videos sum up the summer for you?
I’ve been suffering from something of a digital drought. A combination of limited internet access and my phone’s quick demise has left me struggling to keep up to date online. For example, I have no access to Twitter at all. Can you imagine?
There’s been a few stories worth mention during the last few months, but I simply have been unable to blog about, so here is a quick roundup!
There is an empty space in our lives now that London 2012 has come to an end. The Paralympic closing ceremony saw the finish of an excellent summer of inspiring sport. While we may have missed out on second place, we did fantastically, every one of our athletes is a credit to us.
The economic boom resulting from the Olympics has failed to materialise, as Sunday Trading Laws are once again enforced, shops will bitterly count their takings, and they’re not likely to be good. Rather than increasing footfall in the streets of our capital, we saw an empty London as tourists and workers avoided the expected chaos.
One group however have done alright for themselves, official merchandise has done very well and sponsors are likely to have benefitted from winning contracts to sell it. Sponsors such as Adidas claim to have made back their investment before the games even began. This is another plus for sponsorship as a marketing campaign, and if anyone fancies sponsoring a university ultimate Frisbee club, I happen to know one…
The Palace of Westminster is in desperate need of a refurb. This would leave parliament without a home and one argument is that they should leave London. As a country we woefully lack the second city that most countries enjoy. While cities like Manchester and Birmingham try, they don’t quite match up to the likes of Barcelona or Frankfurt. Would moving parliament to a different city help move the power from our capital and spread it more evenly across the country? Should we be ruling the country from a city a significant journey from large parts of the UK when it could be in the middle? Or would moving our MPs and Lords really make a difference at all?
I declared the cabinet reshuffle my favourite day ever. My only defence for such a statement is that it was a slow week. It was however very interesting and does give one plenty to speculate upon. I was particularly interested in the demotion of health secretary Andrew Lansley, replaced by former culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt. Unfortunately I dare say he hasn’t been given an enviable job, handed the chart of an unpopular NHS reform. What he does next could be quite telling, turning his back on the reforms will send out a strong message that they were a wrong decision in the first place, but is it wise to support a decision with such condemnation?
It was also interesting to see my local MP, Anna Soubry, awarded a role in the Department for Health. While this is a positive promotion for her, although she’s already causing a storm with outspoken comments on the ‘right to die’, it is unlikely to win her much favour in her local constituency. Some say Anna’s 0.7% victory over the labour candidate is simply a result of tactical voting, and some may say its time she was moved to a less marginal constituency!
If you think this story will change the actions of our coalition government, think again, it is simply one of the first political stories since the parliament recess. After a summer of cheering on our sporting heroes we needed a dose of something to return us to our cynical routes.
You can’t get away from our young royals at the moment. They’re everywhere, spectating at the Olympics, going on royal tours, appearing naked in our publications…one could say we’ve seen too much of the trio. Both Harry and Kate were embarrassed by naked photographs and it leads us to ask, how much privacy do the royal family deserve? Should we allow them to lead anonymous lives, would they even want us to let them lead anonymous lives? Or should we snap them every time there’s a possibility of a nipple on show? I’d like to think there is a happy medium. One argument is that Kate signed away her right to privacy the moment she popped that ring on her finger, and that this is the downside to having exotic holidays with a personal hairdresser. Apply that same argument to her brother-in-law and the flaws are hard to avoid. Harry lost his right to privacy the moment he had the misfortune to be born to his parents. Doesn’t quite seem fair! There may be perks to being related to Queen Elizabeth, but that shouldn’t mean you run the risk of seeing your private parts on a magazine cover!
If GCSE results are to be believed our children are getting increasingly clever every year, until this year, but even this year’s lot have outperformed those from 2006 when I collected my results. This is brilliant news, it means that we are breeding a fantastically clever bunch of students. Somehow though, it doesn’t quite ring true. Call me a sceptic, but I do wonder if today’s students are actually no more brainy than those from past years. The real victims in this story are the teachers (and yes, I am the daughter of one of these teachers), this story will simply lead to them being hounded for having failed. Maybe it’s time to create a fair form of assessment, and maybe that concept is but a dream.
“Show me a young Conservative and I’ll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I’ll show you someone with no brains.”
I have met my fair share of people who declare that they simply have no interest in politics. These are the same people who will then happily debate about political issues for hours. I believe we should all take an active interest in politics, and if you currently avoid it, I will tell you why now is the perfect time to begin.
Since 2008 we have experienced one of the worst recessions in history. This has resulted in huge job losses, painful budget cuts and has changed the political landscape as we knew it. After 13 years of New Labour, we ended up with a bizarre coalition between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. Can you argue this is not an amazing time for politics? In the past few years we have seen unpopular decisions such as lifting the cap on tuition fees and public sector budget cuts. Decisions such as these have ignited such passion in people that they have taken to the streets.
Another reason why this is a great time to care about politics is how accessible it is. Social media has made many changes, one of which means that we are now closer to politicians than ever. Public figures take to Twitter to discuss issues and interact with their people. There is no longer a need to search out politics, it now comes to you.
If you make it to university without taking an interest in politics, it is the perfect environment to develop an interest. Meeting hundreds of new peoples, understanding new ideas and greeting new experiences, all of these allow you to get a great grasp of your own beliefs and give you the opportunity to identify these to a political party.
Political beliefs can be private or public, personally I choose to share mine with the ballot box and few else. Other people share their views with the world, what is important is having political beliefs, there is nothing more damaging than complete apathy.
Political beliefs are also prone to change, we change in our lives and so do our opinions, priorities and who we want to represent us.
I love following and understanding politics, from its history, to predicting how its future is shaped. I know this is not the same for everyone but I would urge people who have not previously, now is the time to take an interest in politics.
The Royal Family are never far from British culture and lifestyle, however in the last couple of years they seem to have grabbed more attention than normal. The highly anticipated wedding of our future king to a “commoner” and now the celebration of 60 years of our Queen’s reign.
The bunting is up, the events are planned and, in keeping with tradition, the weather is not looking promising. The Jubilee weekend is nearly here, an opportunity to celebrate our British heritage, traditions and our Queen. It appears we are playing ball, according to internet searches we are embracing the Jubilee.
My three favourite Jubilee-related campaigns:
If 1,000,000,000 people gave you $1 you would now be a billionaire. Where would you find these people? Well, if you speak to the whole population of the United State, Brazil, Japan, Russia, Mexico, Germany and France, then you might just about be able to scrape that kind of money together. It is a huge number.
1 billion is equivalent to one thousand million and not quite the million millions that some would expect. Does this particularly reduce the enormity of the sum? Yes and no. A million millions would be an even more ridiculous number to comprehend, but the current billion is still hugely grotesque as a number.
The average UK salary is about £25,000 p/a, if you did not spend a penny of your wages it would take 25222 years to save a billion dollars.
You could buy this rather smashing 10 bedroom, detached, late Victorian residence in a desirable area of Birmingham 1096 times. They were only asking for £575,000, that would be sure to keep one estate agent rather happy!
According to other sites on the internet, you could also treat yourself to 285,714,285 McDonald’s Big Macs. 6 F22 Raptor fighter jets. 1,177,856 iPhone 4S. You could also feed 682,583 malnourished children in Africa 3 meals a day for a whole year. (Thanks to Infobarrel for the facts!)
In basic terms it is a lot of cash!