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:

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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.

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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”

Analysing the 2016 US Election Results: Global Governance Student Blogs

Global Governance, 9 November 2016

Analysing the 2016 US Election Results: Student Blogs

“Elections are a big deal. They’re also in ideal opportunity to upend the term’s curriculum and teach – responsibly and responsively –  on breaking news (this probably works better in the Politics department than with Anthropology or Classics, but, hey). This morning, rather bleary eyed and admittedly shell-shocked, our Level 5 Global Governance students decided to tackle the following challenge:  ‘explain what just happened, and analyse the consequences’. They divided into four groups: (1) How Trump Won; (2) How Hillary Lost; (3) US-UK Special relations; and ‘Global Governance’. The students had two hours to talk it out, download data and evidence from a wide range of online sources, write the following mini blogs, and then present them to the class.  I enjoyed very much what they had to say, and am pleased to share it as a great example of the cutting-edge, real-world focused driven teaching that we specialise in here at CCCU.”

– Dr Amelia Hadfield, Reader in European Foreign Affairs

Group 1: Analysing How & Why Trump Won

g1The unprecedented rise of Donald Trump in the political conversation was captivating, yet the American people, particularly his opponents never took himself and his campaign seriously. As Trump’s momentum surged, his adversaries mounted criticism; through labelling him as a sexist, racist homophobe. None of this however, deterred his core support; and surprisingly seemed to attract some undecided voters along the way. All of this was going on in the background of a seemingly poor election campaign on both sides, and it was not until the evening of November 8th that all these preservations were made into a reality. The question that now lies, is how did Donald Trump manage to win the 2016 U.S. Election? Firstly, Donald Trump is no ordinary Republican. Growing up in New York, this aided Trump in contesting the states in the North-Eastern region of the country; where the Clinton camp were more than confident that these states would support her. In fact, Trump won both Ohio and Pennsylvania, as these results were a sign of things to come. In addition, Trump knew more than anyone that the southern belt states would never have supported Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, so this allowed him to focus more time and money into winning northern states. Thus, showing an element of complacency from Democrat politicians – especially Clinton. Moreover, the unconventionality of Trump and his positions struck a chord with a large proportion of the American people; who seemingly appeared disillusioned with the political establishment, as well as fearing Clinton would have been a vote for continuing the status quo. Therefore, it could be argued that Trump won so many votes, not necessarily because of his ideology, but because of his anti-establishment image that has propelled him to the White House. All of this represents a change in the status quo of the US election, meaning that an unexpected outcome becomes more realistic.

– Emelie Printz, Natasha Gough, Rhys Day and Dean Jeffery

Group 2 : Figuring Out How &  Why Hillary Lost

g2Hillary had a 3-1 lead. She had superior backing, superior media coverage, superior campaign management and an opponent who was giving her the election on a plate. And she lost. The problems started when the DNC decided to push for an unpopular candidate (her) to represent them rather than a popular candidate (Sanders). She is widely disliked for several reasons, the email scandal caused trust issues for the voting populace, although the extent of the scandal was exacerbated by the republicans and FBI. Her experience in the establishment turned into a hindrance not a benefit, she was seen as the face of what is wrong with America, those downtrodden by the economy saw her as the cause of the problem and not the solution. The messages she transmitted were lost in a vacuum. It wasn’t clear who precisely she was targeting to win votes for, or what her policies or messages were, compared to Trump with his recognisable although meaningless “make America great again”. In turn, these mixed messages lost her a huge amount of the minority vote which defected to trump, undoubtedly feeling left behind in the economy and angry as a result. As a candidate she was passive. Trump practically handed her the election on a silver platter, but her tactic of letting him ‘talk himself out’ seems to have backfired. She failed to be aggressive and assertive enough to take him down. Failing to call Trump out properly for not paying tax (which ironically voters seemed to admire). Failing to challenge him over his sexual assaults and misogynistic speech. Failing to cite his bad business decisions and his repeated bankruptcy. Allowing Trump to freely say she was unfit to be president, despite him having zero experience of public office, and a few years of experience on the apprentice. Trump wound up scoring heavily in key areas; e.g. highlighting her wealthy backers, alleging hypocrisy, and more broadly citing a ‘fixed system’ in which she was so deeply embedded and benefitted from. It seems the voters think he had a point too.

– Ned Watkinson, Ed Shooter, Michael Nguyen, Siobhan Simmonds

Group 3: US – UK Foreign Policy : The Season finale! Or ‘from ancient grudge break to new mutiny?’

g3Following the results of yesterday’s US presidential election, one question resonates strongly with many of us: how will this affect US – UK relations? Trump has previously stated that the UK “will be treated fantastically”, but is this an actual possibility? Or will Theresa May finally get fed up with Trump’s idiocy and tell him “he can’t sit with us”. Based on economic interest, our relationship might not be so special any longer (even if your mum told you so). In trade terms, and geopolitical terms, it seems probable that if you don’t have anything to offer America, Trump isn’t likely to care about what you want; something that will pose a large issue for the Special Relationship. Key is security, defence, foreign policy, and trade.  Is Trump committed to the current setup? Unlikely. Dear Donald no longer seems to have ‘much love’ for the NATO clique. Implicitly, he’s suggested that NATO, and its treaties can be ignored, and consequently that the US may not – will not (?) – guarantee to aid the fellow members of NATO. So much for having our backs, dude. However, Theresa May has clarified (unsurprisingly) that the UK will maintain a strong relationship with the US. Helpfully, Trump probably won’t bomb the UK because he has golf courses in Scotland. Win for Sturgeon, Scotland is finally useful – yay! Our take on the Special Relationship? : “WRONG”

– Elizabeth Bailey, Beatrice Rhodes, Zorana Foley, Nia Smith, and Katarina Hill

Group 4: US and Global Governance (Power, US Interests, and the UN)

g4Trump’s take on international relations and his foreign policy approach (admittedly still a little…. ambiguous?) will likely impact all areas of global politics. His policies so far indicate a strong tendency to putting America’s interests first, following his electoral line of “Make America great again!”. Both at home, and aboard, presumably. He has advocated an increase in military action such as the use of nuclear weapon against ISIS. What fail safes are there be on his goals? Can we suggest his past profile as a powerful businessman? Will this realistically influence his behaviour and attitude as a President, i.e. seeking stability and balance (rather than anarchy) to increase his and America’s benefits continuously. But will this be undertaken cooperatively, or unilaterally – i.e. regardless of the effects on the other states or the international system. Equally however – of his idea of leading the country is based on making money (cutting ‘’useless’’ costs, saving time-even if that means decreasing in quality, as long as there is an increase in numbers), this may impair global governance. Not a great fan of the UN, Trump has suggested that America will save money by cutting its energies and financial support for the UN, and rowing back from key agreements, e.g. climate change. This suggests he has little faith in international relations (basic cooperation between states and working with multilateral institutions). Rather, his view is that America can be big on its own and needs neither help or approval from anyone else. Although it is not likely that he will succeed in everything he promised, his rhetoric on these topics alone is dangerous, simply because – being so politically inexperienced – his impulsive behaviour could unintentionally provoke other actors and result in conflict.

– Petra Eskutova, Ruxandra Maria Cojocaru, Joshua Andrew and Arijana Kauzlaric

House of Commons Publishes Evidence by CEFEUS Director

Written evidence examining the implications and opportunities of leaving the EU for science and research by Dr. Amelia Hadfield, Director of the Jean Monnet Centre for European Studies (CEFEUS) within the Politics/IR team at Canterbury Christ Church University has been published by the House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee. Continue reading “House of Commons Publishes Evidence by CEFEUS Director”

Post-Referendum analysis from CEFEUS academics

Academics from the Centre for European Studies (CEFEUS) at Canterbury Christ Church University have recently made several media appearances to discuss the fallout from last Thursday’s referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. Dr Benjamin Martill, CEFEUS Deputy Director, appeared on Lembit Opik’s BBC Radio Kent programme the day the result was announced, alongside personal finance advisor David Braithwaite and political blogger Mark Thompson. The panel discussed the impact of David Cameron’s resignation on the Conservative party and the potential leadership candidates, as well as the likely effect of the ‘leave’ decision on the markets and the regulatory environment. Dr Martill spoke on the generational divide between ‘leave’ and ‘remain’ supporters, but also emphasised the role of other factors in deciding individuals’ positions, including political ideology, social class, and regional identity.

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Continue reading “Post-Referendum analysis from CEFEUS academics”