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Joseph Perry’s News Crunch: The Boy is Zac in Town

25th June 2015 | Politics

Joseph Perry’s News Crunch: The Boy is Zac in Town
What’s the story?
Zac Goldsmith has been given the go-ahead from his constituents to stand as the Conservative candidate in the Mayor of London election.

With Boris Johnson standing down as London Mayor after eight years in the post, the Conservative Party needs a charismatic candidate to pick up where Bo Jo left off. For many, Goldsmith is the man to stand in the 2016 Mayoral election.

Signs that Goldsmith would stand became increasingly apparent after his huge General Election victory back in May. He was one of few Tory MPs in London to excel, growing his majority in Richmond Park to over 35% (until 2010 the seat was held by the Lib Dems).

However, the 40 year old always maintained that he would never seek election if his local constituents felt it would interfere with his ability to serve them as their local MP.

A month ago, Goldsmith (who is the brother of media personality Jemima Khan) sent out ballot papers to his 77,000 constituents to ask if they would support him in contesting the right to stand as the Conservative candidate in next year’s election.

Yesterday he revealed the results of the primary. Some 79% of respondents believed that he should enter the mayoral race, compared to only 18% who were against the idea.

In the hours after the result, Goldsmith appears to have selected former Enfield North MP, Nick De Bois, will chair his campaign, with Lynton Crosby - the Australian mastermind behind the national Tory campaign at the General Election - on hand to offer advice along the way.

Although he is the favourite to win the Conservative nomination, he faces competition from businessman Ivan Massow, MEP Syed Kamail, and former England footballer Sol Campbell.

What has David Cameron been up to?

25th June 2015 | Politics

What has David Cameron been up to?
It has been over a month and a half since the general election of 2015.

As we know, the Conservatives won by a surprise majority, but what have they done since then. Well...

The Queen’s speech is the first major event of a new parliament, it is the official state opening of parliament. The winning party or parties write it for the Queen and it is a chance to broadcast all the changes the government will hope to achieve in the current parliament.

This year’s Queen’s speech was the first Conservative majority speech since 1992. This is monumental because it means that the Conservatives used the whole speech to highlight their key aims, without having to compromise with other parties, like they had to last parliament with the Lib Dems. The Queens speech this year included: plans to ban legal highs, plans for Scotland and Wales, plans to scrap the human rights act and the forth coming EU referendum.

Almost the first thing David Cameron did was to reinstate his promise: to hold the in/out EU referendum, where the people of the country will decide whether we want to be part of the European Union, of which we have been part of since 1973.

He has promised to hold the referendum by the end of 2017, with some sources saying it may be sooner. For this to happen, David Cameron has had to chat to other heads of member states to assess what effects it will have on them and us and also the EU as a whole.

Before he wants to hold the referendum, David Cameron wants to see what deals he can strike up between member states, to hopefully improve the rules and ways of the EU.


Opinion: State Funded Faith Schools

24th June 2015 | Politics

Opinion: State Funded Faith Schools
State funded faith schools are considered to be a long standing example of English history to many, with their characteristics including the adaptation of certain acts of religious worship or symbolism into the school day, such as morning prayer and assemblies focused on a religious message.

Faith schools are also now more diverse than ever before following the 1997-2007 Labour government, which expanded state funded faith schools to include not just Christian and Jewish schools, but also those of Muslim, Sikh and Hindu faiths.

Plenty of people see the value in faith schools, to the extent to which they account for approximately one third of all English state funded schools. However, with increasing secularisation comes increasing scepticism about the value and fairness of them, with notable points of concern being that exemptions in the 2010 Equality Act allow admissions departments to favor applicants who belong to that faith – an issue further complicated by the fact that some of the highest Ofsted rated schools in a catchment area can be faith schools, leaving parents with an alternative religion, or indeed no religion at all, a dilemma.

Furthermore, with the recent spike in free schools, who do not have to follow the national curriculum, there is concern from some that religious beliefs and biases surrounding key subjects such as Science and History will take precedence over teaching the young in an objective, unbiased way. It should be remembered, however, that faith schools do have qualities which are appreciated by many.

For example, writing for the Guardian, Sophie Heawood noted that being taught the idea of God being an all loving being gave her comfort in childhood – a sense of a ‘warm bath’ that wherever you go and no matter what hurdles you face, you are always…