UK

Could Prince Charles Become A Revolutionary King?

Long Live the King?

Queen Elizabeth II has been the longest reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, but what will the monarchy look like when her son, Prince Charles of Wales, ascends to the throne?

While the monarchy is mostly a symbolic institution for the state and the government, the role of the monarchy within the Unites Kingdom is meant to remain political neutral; showing no favorability of one party over another.

The UK is a constitutional monarchy, meaning that the monarchy has some technical state authority; however, it must be in line with the constitution.

The UK gives royal assent to Parliament who then has the power to create and enforce legislation.

Within a Parliamentary system, people vote on a political party who has its own leader.

The leader of the winning political party then becomes the prime minister and is made official by the monarch.

The prime minister meets weekly with the monarch to inform him or her of the current matters of state, but the monarch does not have the ability to set any political policies, at least not officially. 

Queen Elizabeth is well known for her lack of public political views.

But her son is something different.

Prince Charles seems to be challenging the political role of the monarchy by showing a large involvement in politics and voicing his opinions.

Some are worried that he may try to be a political force when he eventually takes the throne. (Queen Elizabeth is 90 years old)

Photo Credit: University of Essex ./ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Prince Charles has been more transparent about his political views after the publishing of his letters to government ministers from 2004-05, also known as the “black spider” memos, about a variety of his political views in 2015.

In the memos, Prince Charles states his political views concerning problems ranging from dairy-farming to the UK’s armed forces in Iraq.

He has also in recent years become a strong supporter of taking aggressive action in combating climate change.

Even though the monarchy is meant to be apolitical, it seems strange that the rulers of a democratic society, where free speech is considered a natural right, are meant to keep opinions concealed.

Monarchs do not even have the ability to vote in this case because of their duty to remain neutral.

Why is this exclusive group meant to remain quiet?

If a monarch were to present opinions regarding matters of state and sway the opinions of citizens to be in favor of one particular political party, the monarch would then have some control within matter of state and forming legislation.

While they are meant to act as figure heads and a symbol of national unity, this could be viewed as undemocratic in the sense that monarchs are not democratically elected by the people, and would be in violation of the constitution.

Geoffrey Wheatcroft, a well-known journalist and strong defender of the monarchy recently launched a campaign to get Charles to step aside and allow his oldest son- Prince William take the throne.

This doesn’t seem to be a real possibility.

However the idea of a King who gets too involved in contemporary politics is a thought that has pierced through the British zeitgeist before.

In 1993, the British version of House of Cards ran a four episode miniseries titled “To Play The King.” In it, Conservative Prime Minister Francis Urquhart has to fend off a popular and strongly liberal King.

(Spoiler alert: Urquhart is able to win in the end because the British public grew uneasy with a King who involved himself so deeply in politics.)

Prince Charles is also considered “revolutionary” in the fact that he was divorced.

While Prince Charles is widely known, his ex-wife, Princess Diana, stole the attention and hearts of millions across the globe acting as an inspirational link between citizens and the monarchy.

Photo Credit: Peter Broster/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Previously, it was frowned upon for monarchs to get a divorce, let alone be in a relationship with a divorcee.

This was the main reason Prince Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee, causing his brother to take the throne and later his daughter the current queen.

Times have changed, but the perception of monarchs getting a divorce is not looked well upon, nonetheless the scandal surrounding the marriage of Charles and Diana.

Charles is also scandalous in the fact that it is rumored he was having an affair with his current wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, now Duchess of Cornwall, while still married to Princess Diana.

Public opinion of a “King Charles” fell after the divorce and sudden death of Princess Diana.

Would the British public abide a King who tried to push a political agenda?

We might get a chance to find out.

 

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Steenbergs/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Bernie Sanders’ Brother Larry Is Running For The British Parliament

Larry Sanders is not just any doomed Green Party candidate. He is a doomed Green Party candidate that has a political pedigree that now thrives on two continents.

Sanders is the older brother of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and he is embarking on a long-shot bid to replace former Prime Minister David Cameron in Parliament.

It is a long-shot campaign for a number of reasons, but none bigger than the fact that the Witney constituency is a Conservative Party bastion.

Cameron won it last year with 60% of the vote.

But Larry Sanders doesn’t really expect to win.

“Win or lose, the Green Party doing well would make a bigger impact on the country,” Sanders told ABC News. “And we really need to make this impact because dreadful things are afoot.”

The Green Party currently has one member of parliament out of the 650 seats.

Bernie Sanders endorse his brother in a heartfelt video last week.

“I do not know a heck of a lot about British politics,” Sen. Sanders said in the video. “But I do know a lot about my brother, Larry Sanders.”

Larry Sanders is running on a campaign platform that focuses on reducing income inequality and fixing a massive funding shortfall for the National Health Service.

The election will be held on Oct. 20th.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

London Just Did Something Incredibly Historic

While America is focused on the Donald Trump circus currently gripping the Republican Party, the people of London just did something few would have thought possible in past years.

Sadiq Khan, a leading Labour Party politician was elected as Mayor of one of the world’s oldest and largest cities. He will be the first Muslim to hold the post.

The election is critical for many political reasons- it will be the first time that Labour controls London in eight years, but Khan’s election holds particular importance due to his religious beliefs.

According to Salon, Khan will be the first Muslim to ever be the mayor of a major Western city.

His election comes at a time of increased tensions among politicians in Western democracies and Muslim minority communities.

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for President of the United States has called for a “complete and total” ban of Muslim immigration to the country until America can get a handle on what he perceives is a crisis.

Trump’s last major opponent in the Republican primary, Ted Cruz has also called for American police to surveil Muslim communities, something that many law enforcement experts have rebuffed as a stupid idea.

Khan’s election was not a sure thing as he faced a brutal onslaught of negative campaign messaging from his main opponent, Conservative Party candidate Zac Goldsmith.

Some election observers called Goldsmith’s campaign racist due to the way in which it sought to question Khan’s connection to a radical Islamic cleric (it turned out that Goldsmith had a similar relationship to the man in question) and for how it accused Khan of “giving platform, oxygen and cover to extremists”.

Goldsmith’s own sister called out her brother’s campaign for the way in which it was conducted:

Khan has been a member of the British Parliament since 2005 and comes from a modest background.

The son of Pakistani immigrants, his father was a bus driver in the same city that Khan will now lead for the next four years.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Policy Exchange/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Colleges Around The World Really Aren’t So Good At This “Free Speech” Thing

Watch what you spout on Facebook – and anywhere on social media – because it could come back to bite you. Or get you kicked out of college.

Today’s college students grew up with social media, so it’s easy to make a connection as to why in recent years an increasing number of students all over the globe have been under fire for expressing their opinions, on platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. One of the most controversial subjects is, not surprisingly, religion.

Should universities and colleges regulate and prohibit certain types of speech? In a new survey of college students, 69% said colleges should be able to establish policies that restrict the use of racial slurs and other language that is intentionally offensive to certain groups.

Gallup surveyed more than 3,000 college students for the study conducted by the Knight Foundation and the Newseum Institute.

When it comes to free speech and First Amendment rights, all speech isn’t created equal in the eyes of colleges, and in some cases students have been expelled for unsavory code of conduct, with religious issues at the heart of it.

Sheffield, England

Earlier this year, a Christian university student in England was expelled from his courses in social work after he expressed views about gay marriage and quoted the bible on his Facebook page.

Someone filed a complaint, and the University of Sheffield suspended him two months later.

Felix Ngole, 38, was in the process of getting his master’s in social work, when he posted a supportive message about Kim Davis, the Kentucky marriage clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The university argued that Ngole’s beliefs are discriminating and not appropriate for someone entering the social work profession.

Ngole says he’s the one being discriminated against. Universities censoring students for their views and beliefs raises major concerns about the value of free speech, his supporters say.

“The university has failed to protect his freedom of speech under Article 10 [of the British Human Rights Act] and his freedom of religion under Article 9,” Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting Ngole said in a statement. “Students are entitled to discuss and debate their own personal views on their own Facebook page.”

Some people do in fact use a public forum like Facebook as if they’re having a conversation in their living room.

A student at DuPage University in Glen Ellyn, Illinois talking at an on campus event. Questions about free speech on campus is back in the news. Photo Credit: COD Newsroom/ Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

A student at DuPage University in Glen Ellyn, Illinois talking at an on campus event. Questions about free speech on campus is back in the news. Photo Credit: COD Newsroom/ Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The old adage “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” typically describes principles of free speech, although not so much in the university setting lately.

Ngole is a prime example.

“The university claims my views are discriminatory, but I am the one being discriminated against because of my expression of Christian beliefs,” he said in an interview with HuffPost UK. “I wonder whether the university would have taken any action if a Muslim student who believes in Shari’a law, with its teaching about women and homosexuality, had made moderate comments on his Facebook page. I don’t think so.”

Fort Worth, Texas

In a similar case, a student at Texas Christian University was kicked out of school last year and instructed to take a diversity class and see a psychiatrist. Student Harry Vincent described Baltimore rioters as “hoodrat criminals” on his Facebook page and in a tweet, on a different topic, stated Islam is “clearly not a religion of peace.”

His messages offended a woman named Kelsey, who compiled his “disgusting and racist” posts and shared them on her Tumblr asking people to email TCU to let the university know Vincent was “shedding a bad light” on the institution.

The dean’s office received more than 20 complaints and Vincent was suspended by the university. He was charged with infliction of bodily or emotional harm and disorderly conduct. He appealed the decision but the university denied his appeal, stating “The choices you made caused harm to other individuals. These types of comments are not acceptable at TCU and directly contradict our mission of being ethical leaders and responsible citizens in a global community.”

Vincent said he probably won’t return to TCU because he will not attend a school that doesn’t support the Constitution or the school’s own student handbook.

Nampa, Idaho

Religion is a touchy subject, and universities don’t want their constituency threatened – whether by a student or faculty. In a case involving a tenured professor in Idaho, social media wasn’t necessarily at play, but the broader spectrum of First Amendment rights.

Professor Thomas Oord of Northwest Nazarene University in Idaho was laid off last year under the guise of budget cuts.

Oord, a prolific writer and popular theologian, believes in evolution and he clashed with the university’s president on theology.

One writer pastor named Tim Suttle put it brilliantly when he said Northwest Nazarene should have just been honest and “own up” to why Oord was fired via email by president David Alexander.

“It’s such a failure of nerve to call it a budget cut,” Tim Suttle wrote. “Be straight about it, man… ‘I fired him because I disagree with his theological positions and he’s a pain in my butt. He’s a brilliant theologian but I don’t want him at my school and that’s my call.’ I would disagree with it, but at least your integrity is intact as a leader.”

As institutions of higher education continue to wake up to the realities of social media, there will no doubt be more flash-points in the fight for free speech.

Melissa Davidson is a freelance writer and social media marketer in Idaho. She has a degree in Journalism from the University of Montana. 

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: mckinney75402/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

I’m From The UK And Spent My College Years Fighting The NRA To Keep Guns Off Campus. Here’s What I’ve Learned

I was born in Sweden and grew up in the United Kingdom, a part of the world that conservatives in America denounce for their “cradle to the grave” welfare policies while also being a place that liberals think of as a utopia.

Europeans look at America and are mystified by it’s enduring racism and strange gun laws, but are also drawn to the promise of the American dream.

I was drawn to it too.

In 2013, I moved to Tallahassee, Florida for university.

Unbeknown to me, I had stepped into a National Rifle Association (NRA) battleground state, which would ultimately set the course of the rest of my college career.

Before I stumbled onto the campus carry debate, I had no idea what the term meant. I didn’t pay much attention to Florida politics, so learning that lawmakers wanted to allow people with concealed carry permits to bring their firearms on to campus, with no restrictions, was bewildering.

Which is why I decided to join the Florida Coalition To Keep Guns Off Campus as their Director of Communications.

The UK has some of the strictest gun laws in the world. I’m a fan of those laws. They helped keep me safe.

But I’m not here to force them on my fellow students. I simply want international students like me to have a say when such a dangerous bill could impact us, because my college campus is my home.

Europeans find America’s gun obsession both fascinating and disturbing. We question how a country, a leader in the modern world, struggles with doing anything about their gun violence problem.

It’s an issue unique to the US, when even the majority of police officers in the UK don’t have access to a gun, unless they join a special armed police unit.

In a country of 70 million people, only 6,000 police officers are armed. And the strategy seems to work.

Which is why the concept of arming everyone in society is just absurd to me. Especially on a college campus, where controversial ideas are discussed, students are failed by professors, and alcohol and drugs are frequently used.

I know some proponents of campus carry personally, and in no way am I suggesting that they would harm anyone. On a whole, our political leanings don’t impact how we behave in our day-to-day lives.

But as students, in an environment that essentially promotes, to quote Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa, “living young and wild and free” that is no place for a deadly weapon that can kill people.

To get into the nitty gritty of this, why do lawmakers, some constituents and even some students feel that the only way they’ll be safe is if they have a gun all the time?

Florida state capital complex. Photo Credit: Kristopher Volkman/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Florida state capital complex. Photo Credit: Kristopher Volkman/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

The NRA has peddled the “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” theory to push the narrative that a gun will provide you security because everyone else has one.

And it turns into this never-ending cycle of everyone wanting a gun to protect themselves from each other. The problem is, a “good guy with a gun” only stops a “bad guy with a gun” 3 percent of the time.

But that doesn’t stop the gun lobby. They further push their message out there, grasping on to the national conversation on campus sexual assault, and attempt to use it to their advantage.

Their argument is that a woman should be able to defend herself with a gun on campus if she feels her life is threatened. On its face, that may sound reasonable. The problem is: facts and variables. Every assault is different, and proclaiming that a gun is the answer to all of them is simplistic and ignoring real solutions.

Every time there’s a mass shooting, America is again forced to confront its addiction to guns.

As gun control activists and gun rights proponents face off in the national arena of public opinion, the British watch on in a perplexed manner.

Seeing this over and over again, I’ve come to realize trying to apply a British ideology on guns in the US is useless.

Of course, the statistics speak for themselves, higher rates of gun ownership in the US does equal in higher rates of gun violence. Clearly there is a problem. But the Second Amendment has to make us Europeans take into account the cultural significance of firearms in the US, so we understand why they are so voraciously defended.

For many, the Constitution is their bible (apart from, you know, the Bible). Who am I to dismiss that so casually?

But even when I put that in my pile of things to think about over my morning tea, I also know that the majority of American voters do want more gun regulation.

Even the majority of NRA members want universal background checks. So what is holding the US back?

Again, it’s the gun lobby. The NRA has stopped representing their members, and instead represents gun manufacturers, and with their financial muscle, most politicians cower in their presence.

How does this relate to campus carry? Allowing guns on campus is the NRA’s new mission, and although the political will for it isn’t as readily available even in red states, their campaigns are slowly gaining ground.

In Florida, we’ve managed to beat it two years in a row, but next year is looking to be our toughest yet because the NRA will put this on the top of their priority list and they’ll pour their resources into the Sunshine State.

Marion Hammer, the NRA’s former president turned lobbyist, comes back every session with a determined glint in her eye that admittedly I find a little scary. She’s such an effective lobbyist that Florida is sometimes referred to as the Gunshine State.

One interesting part of this whole conversation has been the NRA’s and Students for Concealed Carry’s manipulation of data.

They’ve compared US and UK violent crime rates, using the numbers as a justification for campus carry, and guns everywhere in general.

It is a completely misleading comparison.

Yes, violent crime rates in the UK are higher per capita. But they forget to mention that the violent crime definitions in the two countries are very different. In the UK, the definition is “all crimes against the person”. This includes bicycle theft, all domestic violence offences, all sexual offences, all assault offences and many more. And even the definitions of those crimes are broader in the UK.

In the US, the FBI definition is much narrower; “violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.” So there is no real way to compare the rates.

Florida House Rep. Julio Gonzalez, (R) made a similar argument, citing a ‘study’, that I later found and read. Two Harvard students who were gun rights activists, not researchers, wrote it. On top of that, the paper was severely criticized by the Director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Dr. David Hemenway.

How does the Florida Coalition To Keep Guns Off Campus, a group that just doesn’t have access to resources like the gun lobby, beat them again?

I’ll be honest, I’m concerned.

The logo for the National Rifle Association. Photo Credit: Bart/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

The logo for the National Rifle Association. Photo Credit: Bart/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Our continued efforts to combat their problematic ‘solution’ to sexual assault and mass shootings in an educational environment resonates with the majority of students, but will it resonate with legislators in 2017?

It’s certainly interesting that legislators are so ready to consider and pass guns on campus, when every university stakeholder that has spoken out has said they don’t want it. But a bill that would have allowed guns in legislative meetings hasn’t moved forward since last year. A little hypocritical, no? If Florida legislators really believe guns lead to greater safety, then they’d want to flood legislative chambers with them.

As of now, this issue isn’t going away.

Florida is on the NRA’s priority list. Students, staff and faculty need to pull together for the 2017 legislative session.

And what am I doing? I graduate this semester, so I get to go back to my cozy gun-free London, and watch this whole situation unfold from afar.

But now that I’ve gotten to know all these amazing people during our fight against these farcical bills, I know I’ll be somberly watching as they do it again without me.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us!

UK Government Open To Criminalizing Blood Doping

The U.K. government would be open to the criminalisation of doping, according to Sports Minister Tracey Crouch, potentially putting it on a collision course with UK Anti-Doping that is opposed to such measures. “We actually have very strong anti-doping procedures in place, and that’s what makes the UK Anti-Doping agency one of the best in the… Read More

UK Parliament Will Have To Consider Petition That Calls For Ban On Trump Entering Country

Updated: 8:34 PM EST

Over 370,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump to be banned from the United Kingdom due to his controversial statements about Muslims in recent days.

The petition, which is housed on an official UK government website designed to facilitate engagement with Parliament, is adding over 25,000 signatures an hour.

Members of Parliament will now have to decide whether they wish to debate a motion relating to the aims of the petition, which is titled, “Block Donald J Trump from UK entry”.

“The signatories believe Donald J Trump should be banned from UK entry,” The petition reads. “The UK has banned entry to many individuals for hate speech. The same principles should apply to everyone who wishes to enter the UK.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron has called Trump’s rhetoric ““divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong” according to TIME.

Meanwhile, Chancellor of the Exchequer (analogous to Treasury Secretary) George Osborne also bashed Trump.

“The best way to defeat nonsense like this is to engage in robust and democratic debate, and to make it clear his views are not welcome,” Osborne said of Trump according to the Guardian.

“If the United Kingdom is to continue applying the ‘unacceptable behaviour’ criteria to those who wish to enter its borders, it must be fairly applied to the rich as well as poor, and the weak as well as powerful,” the petition reads.

It is unclear whether Trump could be in any danger of actually being banned from the country.

Stay with Rise News. We’ll update this story as developments happen. 

Cover Photo Credit: thierry ehrmann/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Millennial Intelligencer: Controversial Tax Credit Cut Divides British Parliament And Society

Conservative MP’s in the British House of Commons have come under fire in recent days following a controversial measure which would cut tax credits for many middle and lower income British citizens.

Earlier this month the House of Commons passed a controversial measure proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer; (equivalent to Treasury Secretary) George Osbourne, that would cut an estimated £4.5 billion in tax credits to lower income British citizens.

In a major political defeat, the traditionally ceremonial House of Lords blocked the government supported tax cuts in what has been dubbed by some Conservatives as a “Constitutional Crisis.”

Peers in the upper house voted by a majority of 17 to back the opposition Labour Party’s calls for the government to provide full redress to tax credit claimants who would be affected when their entitlements are reduced; as well as, a delay in implementation of the tax credit cuts until the government has effectively assessed the full financial impact of the measure.

The tax credits were introduced by the previous Labour Government as a way to encourage work and give aid to low income British workers and families with children.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the average tax credit family-single earner family with children- would lose an estimated £1,000 annually as a result of the cuts.

Prime Minister Cameron defended the cuts during last Wednesday’s Prime Minister’s Questions, stating that any cuts not made to tax credits would have to be made to the police or the NHS.  The Prime Minister also stated his belief that the average family families will still be better off by 2017, as a result of the introduction of the National Living Wage.

In an interview with the BBC, Chancellor Osborne agreed to listen to people’s concerns and announce any modifications to the plan in November. The Chancellor maintained his belief; however, that reforms to the tax credit system were necessary to strengthen the British economy and provide economic security to families in the long run.

“If we have uncontrolled welfare bills, uncontrolled tax credit bills and the like, there will be no security for working families,” Osborne said.

The cuts were supported by David Cameron and a majority of Conservatives in the House of Commons; however, a number of Conservatives publicly challenged the measure.

Welsh Conservative Leader, Andrew Davies, stated that he supported the idea behind the reform but said he could not support the timing of the cuts insisting that the cuts should be phased in over a period of time. The majority of Scottish MP’s also raised concerns over the measure including the leader of the Scottish National Party who called the measure, “A daft idea”.

Chancellor Osbourne is expected to announce a modified version to the measure sometime in November. In an interview with the BBC, Chancellor Osborne agreed to listen to people’s  concerns but maintained his belief that reforms to the welfare system were necessary to strengthen the British economy and provide economic security to families in the long run.

“If we have uncontrolled welfare bills, uncontrolled tax credit bills and the like, there will be no security for working families,” Osborne said.

 

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Cover Photo Credit: DFID – UK Department for International Development/ Flick (CC By 2.0)

63 Years, 217 Days: Queen Elizabeth Becomes UK’s Longest Reigning Monarch


By Kyle Jones

As of 5:30 p.m. yesterday BST, Queen Elizabeth II officially entered history as the UK’s longest reigning monarch, surpassing the reign of her great grandmother Queen Victoria.

Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne in February 1952 following the death of her father, King George VI.

The queen has avoided any formal ceremony and instead spent the day by marking the opening of the new Borders to Edinburgh railway with her husband, Prince Philip. In a short speech the queen stated, “Inevitably a long life can pass by many milestones – my own is no exception – but I thank you all and the many others at home and overseas for your touching messages of great kindness.”

In a special address to Parliament, Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to the queen’s many years of service stating-

“I do think it is right that today we should stop and take a moment as a nation to mark this historic milestone – and to thank Her Majesty for the extraordinary service she has given to our country over more than six decades.

Her Majesty the Queen inspires us all with her incredible service, her dignified leadership and the extraordinary grace with which she carries out her duties.”

Queen Elizabeth II has been on the British throne for 63 years and 217 days.

Cover Photo Credit: Michael Gwyther-Jones/Flickr (CC by 2.0)

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