CCCU Parliamentary Studies students in discussion with new MP Bambos Charalambous

On 16 November politics students in the final year Parliamentary Studies class at CCCU took part in a webinar with the new MP for Enfield, Bambos Charalambous. Topics included what it’s like to be a new MP in the Commons, the EU withdrawal bill, government procedural tactics and Labour party unity. The session was part of the programme’s commitment to engage with practitioners. This webinar was facilitated by Globalnet21.

Parliamentary Studies at Canterbury Christ Church University
Led by Dr Mark Bennister, Reader in Politics, the Politics and IR Programme at CCCU runs ‘Parliamentary Studies’ in cooperation with the Houses of Parliament. CCCU was chosen in 2015 following a competitive process, as one of only seven universities across the UK to be awarded the chance to teach this course, which is the only Higher Education module formally approved by Parliament, and has the support of the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Lords Speaker and the management boards of both Houses.

You can find out more here: Parliamentary Studies at CCCU

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Professor Amelia Hadfield on CRS FM Radio’s “Dear Reader” programme

Professor Amelia Hadfield, Director of CEFEUS, appeared on the most recent episode of ‘Dear Reader’ on CSR FM. Hosted by Jessica Stone, the broadcast saw Professor Hadfield speak about 3 books which she felt were significant: Iris Murdoch’s The Nice and the Good, Adam Nicolson’s The Mighty Dead: Why Homer Matters and finally, Mark Landler’s Alter Egos: Hilary Clinton, Barack Obama, and the Twilight Struggle over American Power.

In a wide-ranging discussion with Jess, Amelia discussed the rehabilitation of murder-mysteries; the role of memory and the hero in crafting both classic and modern identities; why personalised concepts of ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’ is only the starting point for studying foreign policy; the folly and necessity of war; the pursuit of power; as well as the literary and philosophical underpinnings of modern politics, and why this matter for our understanding of European, American and British foreign policy.

The broadcast can be listened to here:

October 1917 and After: Reflections on the Russian Revolution

The Politics and International Relations programme at Canterbury Christ Church University in association with the Political Studies Association (PSA) Marxism Specialist Group is delighted to host an afternoon of talks on the Russian Revolution and its significance.

Confirmed Speakers include:

  • Dr Philip Cunliffe, University of Kent (keynote speaker; author of Lenin Lives)
  • Professor David McLellan, Goldsmiths, UoL, and CCCU (author of Marxism After Marx)
  • Professor Sean Sayers, University of Kent and CCCU (author of Marx and Alienation)
  • Professor Amelia Hadfield, Canterbury Christ Church University (co-editor of Foreign Policy)
  • Dr David Bates, Canterbury Christ Church University (editor of Marxism, Intellectuals and Politics)
  • Professor Mark Cowling, Teesside University (co-editor of Marx’s Eighteenth Brumaire)
  • Dr Paul Raekstad, University of Amsterdam

Tuesday 21 November 2017 – 1.00-6.30PM

Of27 | Old Sessions House | Canterbury | CT1 1QU

This is a free public event – to register, please email:
philipp.koeker@canterbury.ac.uk

 

 

We are not sheep: A student response to the Daily Mail

Ned Watkinson, one of the winners of our Jean Monnet Chair’s ‘Blog on Europe Competition‘, responds to Eleanor Harding and Tom Witherow who singled out his blog post in their Daily Mail article but not only misrepresented his point but also failed to comprehend that students are not sheep that can be ‘brainwashed’ by their lecturers.

The recent Daily Mail article, as a proxy justification to the recent actions of Chris Heaton-Harris MP, accuses university lecturers of marking down students who write pro Brexit essays. They cited Canterbury Christ Church’s Jean Monnet blog contest as an example, stating that “Ten of the 12 winning entries were pro EU, one was Neutral, and only one- talking about the EU’s failure to intervene in Catalonia – was negative”.

As the student responsible for writing the “only one” negative EU blog post, I would like to correct Eleanor Harding and Tom Witherow who seem to have entirely missed the point of my piece. Being critical about certain EU policies does not mean I hold the EU in a negative light as the article states.

In addition, to include my piece under a subheading titled “top prizes go to remainers” is disingenuous and I resent my work being used in such a fashion. If the editors of The Daily Mail had read my piece they would know that as it has no content related to Brexit whatsoever. Regarding said subheading, as Professor Amelia Hadfield corrected the Daily Mail, we as students are under no pressure to write positive essays. The Jean Monnet funding is not given for writing about the positive aspects of the EU, but objective and analytical teaching and research on Europe.

I will also take a moment to clarify: the attempt by Heaton-Harris to create a ‘hit list’ of university lecturers personal political stance is in equal parts horrifying and contemptible. It is pleasing that he was so quickly rebutted by academics, officials and members of his own party. Academic freedom is enshrined in law, to explore ideas and events free from government intervention.

The assumption underpinning this entire debate, and the request by Heaton Harris, is that students are easy to manipulate and mislead. This is not a new phenomenon; when Sir Julian Brazier lost Canterbury after being its MP for 30 years, he blamed his loss on Labours promises to ‘naïve young people’. A statement showing a lack of cognisance and a less than graceful defeat. It is very sad that it has become the norm to think universities are creating brainwashed pro-remain students. It is sad that this discourse is commonplace, and is used as a shield from criticism. If you seek to brainwash a population, you don’t start with universities. As students we are, by nature, critical, self-driven and independently minded. I would also like to state that I am not a fresher. I am a third-year politics student, and so were many others who wrote blogs for the competition. I have studied the EU in modules and independent study in my first and second years, and I have spent the best part of three years studying politics and international relations. I am entitled to have my work free from this insinuation that I have been brainwashed by my lecturers, I am entitled to be taken seriously. The Mail is more welcome to contact me to discuss the meaning of my piece, and my personal conclusions from my studies, free from university interference.

It is no secret that the majority of young people voted to remain in the EU, so what is more likely: That every anti-Brexit or pro-EU article written by students results from systematic brainwashing, or that students see for themselves that there is some truth to the notion that we stand to lose more than we gain by leaving the European Union?! If politicians, newspapers and older generations, choose to ignore and dismiss the opinions of the next generation, they are digging themselves into a hole. Then they are in a far better position to stick their heads into the sand while the world goes to buggery. No matter how abhorrent the political situation gets, and how those in power try to curtail freedom of speech and expression, we will not be intimidated, we will not be dismissed. We are not sheep.

______________________

The blog posts of Ned Watkinson and the other winners of the Jean Monnet ‘Blog on Europe’ competition can be found here.

Professor Amelia Hadfield’s reponses to the letter by Chris Heaton-Harris and to the Daily Mail article can be found here:

“Safeguarding Academic Freedom: A Response to Mr Heaton-Harris”

“Professor Hadfield’s reponse to Daily Mail Article”

The case for Common European Defence

Our student John Smith argues that the EU could replace the United States as the world’s military superpower, but it must start to cooperate more closely in areas that were hitherto left to individual member states.

The ultimate aim of defence policy is to provide a country’s population with a feeling of security from external harm. There is an increasing need for a common defence of Europe, due to the effects of globalisation and rising global tensions. Integrationists have longed for this since their first attempt to create a single European Army in 1954, since it represents the pinnacle of political integration in which defence becomes a shared competence. Before I go any further I want to make it clear that I am not advocating for a single European Army, rather I am advocating for much closer cooperation on defence policy.

Photo via wikimedia commons – (c) Arno Mikkor

Continue reading “The case for Common European Defence”