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Emily Hunter

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Has she Mayed a Huge Mistake?

Posted on 10th June, 2017

For the past few weeks, a hot topic for discussion has been the June 8 election. With opinion polls changing from day to day, no one knew what the future would hold for us.

 

Now it’s June 10th and still we don’t know what’s going on. I think it’s fair to say, whatever side you’re on, that we are in a political mess. To be honest, where do I even start? Before I do, it’s worth noting that starting from September, I will be a student at university, so my opinions are going to come from that perspective. I’m not naïve, so I know that by writing this, it isn’t going to miraculously make everyone agree with me but I would at least like a few to understand where I am coming from.

 

Ok, so let’s start with the “bloody difficult woman” herself, Mrs Theresa May. Now, personal views aside, I do applaud her for all of her achievements. I mean, she is the second female Prime Minister of the UK EVER. That is something worth congratulating in itself. In an institution full of (let’s be honest) white, upper class men she has done an amazing thing. However, she went full speed in to this election campaign, arrogantly believing that she had it in the bag, because everyone hates Jeremy Corbyn, right?

 

Wrong. Whilst May’s manifesto focused on having a “strong and stable” government, Corbyn introduced policies that would appeal to many different groups of the British population, including students and those on a lower income. Coming from Corbyn himself, a vote for Labour was a vote “for the many, not the few”. Now, I’m also not going to kid myself into thinking that Corbyn is a Saint. In fact, back in June last year, I was one of those believing that he should resign to give the Labour Party a fighting chance against the Conservatives, to make the nation a two party state again.

 

However, he has proved me and many others wrong, as he himself has done just that. He is the reason that Labour did so well on June 8th. I can only admire him for that, and for remaining a gentleman throughout. Something that you may not know; 10 Labour MPs who resigned last year after Brexit are back in Corbyn’s top team. Not every man could forgive that easily. Let’s bear that in mind.

 

Saying this, from an objective point of view, maybe we would be better off if Labour hadn’t have done so well in this election, because then the Conservatives wouldn’t be going into a possible coalition with the DUP!!! Like is this a serious thing?! Let’s think about this for a second. For the WHOLE of the election campaign, Theresa May and the Conservatives attacked Corbyn for his alleged links to former Northern Irish terrorists, and now they are considering going into a coalition with other former Northern Irish terrorists. What irony. Just in case you weren’t aware, the DUP also actively fight against abortion and equal marriage. Like really? We want these people in charge of our country? May is so concerned with keeping Labour out that she is willing to do a deal with these people? This coming from the woman who “would rather have no deal than a bad deal”. THIS IS A BAD DEAL THERESA, A REALLY BAD ONE. Whilst I would not condemn the Labour or Conservative Parties because I think they both have different ideas on how to improve Britain, I have no reservations in strongly condemning the DUP. Mind you, I better be careful with what I say, as they may be in power soon and free speech might be the next thing to go…

 

In all seriousness though, let’s sort it out Theresa. Whilst I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I would prefer Labour to be in charge (mainly because of free tuition fees I’m not going to lie, it would be nice to not be in debt for the rest of my life), if you really won’t back down then please please please sort us out. Carry out the policies you promised and make those people who voted for you, and even those who didn’t glad that you are the leader of this country.

 

That’s it. Rant over. Please feel free to post your comments. I promise I won’t attack you as well!

7 Things GP Receptionists Want You to Know

Posted on 27th February, 2017
  1. Firstly, one of the most common misconceptions about staff in GP surgeries is the attitudes of the receptionists. Since becoming one of these frequently named “Rottweilers” last summer, I have learned the truth behind these tales. Whilst it may be true that there are some in the profession who are more abrupt and sometimes even rude (although no one that I work with!), the majority of us do actually want to give you an appointment with a doctor, despite the scarcity of them.
  2. We don’t always necessarily want to know the reason that you’re booking an appointment. I understand that this is not the case in all surgeries, but where I am currently working, it is down to you to decide whether you need an emergency appointment or whether it can be arranged for a later date. As you are well aware, we are not the ones who are medically trained, so we cannot be responsible for determining when you see the doctor. I completely agree that this kind of information need not be discussed with us. Therefore, to those of you who stereotype all of us as “nosy” and “interfering”, please remember that we are human beings too. Thank you.
  3. Need I say any more? Whilst the sight of various types of samples no longer turns my stomach, there are certain things that just aren’t ok. If I literally see you walk out of the toilet, please please please do not try and give me your sample bottle directly. Yes, you may have washed it but I don’t know that. There is a box with a red label on it saying “Samples Here Please”. If you can’t see it, I will happily direct you to it. Seriously, just ask.
  4. As mentioned previously, a doctor’s appointment for the same day can sometimes be hard to get. It can be very frustrating if you feel that you need to be seen and can’t get an appointment. However, please don’t take it out on us. We do care that you are concerned and we would love to be able to hand you exactly what you need. This is something that bugs me to no end, and actually brings me to my next point…
  5. If you can’t make your appointment, please cancel it! I have booked someone an appointment twenty minutes from the time of the phone call, because someone called to cancel it ten minutes before that. No matter how late, just give us a call. You have no idea how many appointments are wasted by people who just decide not to turn up. It is ten minutes that could be given to someone who really needs it.
  6. I have been shouted at and even hung up on just for trying to do my job. I like to think that I am a friendly voice on the end of a phone and in person, so it can get quite upsetting and embarrassing when someone raises their voice with comments such as, “What the hell do I pay my taxes for?” and “This is completely unacceptable” when I am unable to give them what they ask for. I will always endeavour to help you, no matter your sex, religion or relationship status on Facebook. It doesn’t matter who you are, because the NHS is for everyone.
  7. Lastly, having realised that this is becoming a bit of a rant, I would like to end on a positive note. I love my job, and the majority of patients are absolutely lovely. It’s amazing knowing that in a small way, I am helping people and I wouldn’t choose anywhere else to work in my gap year.

My View on Politics

Posted on 12th September, 2016

First of all, I have to say that it has only been recently that I have showed any interest in politics at all, choosing to ignore programmes such as Question Time in favour of American TV shows such as “The 100” or “Orphan Black”. I didn’t care which government was voted into power in the May 2015 general election, as I didn’t feel like it would affect me in any way. I was ignorant to all the changes going on around me, which I have now found out do affect me, and my prospects for the future.

 

Now, I know that the raise in tuition fees is going to put me in even more debt than if I were born a few years earlier, and if I was born one year later, passing my A Levels would have been even harder than it is now, because of the change to the examining system in the country.

 

So now, I try and pay attention when my parents insist on watching Question Time on the TV, because I realise the importance of knowing about what is going on. However, having said this, I will admit that it is so hard to stay awake. All the politicians ever seem to do is talk over one another like children, and bicker incessantly. Often the actual question posed isn’t even answered in the first place!

 

There seems to be a real lack, especially regarding this EU referendum, of hard facts produced. This is another thing that drives me crazy about politics, because there are always at least two sides spouting out contradictory rubbish, and they have nothing to back it up with. It’s ridiculous that in this day and age, both the Stay and Leave campaigns are arguing points that they can’t provide evidence for, and what’s even more ridiculous is the fact that people are believing these potentially made up “facts”. I understand that in some cases, there aren’t any facts, but they should be honest and say this, rather than making up figures for example.  

 

However, although this is the case, recently I have seen a more human side to politics. After the devastating murder of Labour MP Jo Cox, both sides decided to stop campaigning out of respect for her and her family. Reports from every side have been about Jo as a person, and the amazing contributions she brought to society, rather than making it political. I have respect for that, and believe that this could hopefully be a breakthrough in politics, by making people see that those in government are people, and should be treated as such. To finish, Jo’s sister said in her speech that “she will live on through all the good people in the world”, and I think we can already see this beginning.     

Food Banks and Ferraris

Posted on 12th September, 2016

I recently listened to “Food Banks and Ferraris”, a song by Sally Ironmonger, a singer-songwriter from the Medway towns. This song is a social commentary on those who have and those who haven’t – and it really made me think. There are things that we as the general public see as a part of life. For example, going shopping in Maidstone, you will inevitably come across some people who are homeless, but this is normal right? All countries have people unfortunate enough to not have a home, so why should we be surprised that the same thing occurs here?

 

The answer to this question is that the UK is the 5th largest economy in the world. In itself, London is the biggest financial sector in the world, with other large cities such as Edinburgh and Glasgow in the top 100. Why on earth are there people living on the streets in the freezing cold when we as a country are doing so well for ourselves? In fact, because of the increasing amount of homeless people, there is a record high use of food banks in the UK. The latest figures published by the Trussell Trust show that 1,109,309 three day emergency food supplies were provided to people in crisis by the charity in the 2015/16 financial year, which is an increase of 2% on the previous year. How is it possible that people living in one of the wealthiest nations in the world can’t afford to buy themselves food? And how have we become so self-involved that we don’t notice it going on right beneath our noses?

 

Let’s go back to the issue of the homeless, because I think that this is something that really needs to be paid attention to. According to the latest figures, there was an increase of 30% from 2014 to 2015 throughout the UK of rough sleeping, while since 2010 rough sleeping estimates show an increase of 102%. This means that on any one night, 3569 people are estimated to be sleeping rough. Is this acceptable? In Maidstone, rough sleeping is highly visible and there has been a tenfold rise in the number of households defined as homeless in the town. As I said before, I’m not shocked when I see rough sleepers in Maidstone – it’s become the norm. I should be shocked, but it’s too common. No one is immune to becoming homeless as there are many paths leading to this desperate place. What is the most shocking about the statistics regarding the homeless is that the average age of death for these people is 47 for men and 43 for women. If this doesn’t prove that we have screwed up as a society, nothing will. If we aren’t spending our billions of pounds on helping these people, what are the government’s priorities? However, it’s easy to blame people with more power than ourselves. What are our priorities? I could be out there fundraising to help these people, so why don’t I? We concern ourselves with the TV, celebrity gossip, where to go out for dinner etc. whilst others are wondering if they will get through the next night of sub-zero temperatures.

 

Now I’m going to go to the other end of the spectrum. In 2013 Ferrari sold more of its sports cars in Britain than in any other European country. This should give an indication of how wealthy we are as a whole. In fact, this year the richest 1000 people have more wealth than the poorest 40% of households. According to the Equality Trust, the richest 1000 saw their wealth increase by a staggering £28,508 billion – the equivalent of £78 million a day, or £901 a second. Just this increase could pay 20 years’ worth of grocery bills for all of the UK’s users of food banks.

 

From this article, I think we can pretty much say for certain that the gap is widening between the rich and the poor. Whilst the rich are buying their new 2016 model cars, others are losing their houses and in the worst cases, their lives. I appreciate that there is no simple solution, but poverty is real and here in the UK. More and more people are falling through the gaps in the welfare state safety net. It’s a disgrace. I actually really want a response to this article from any local politicians who are reading it. Why is the situation getting worse and the gap between the richest and poorest growing? And what do you propose to do about it? In fact, I’d like to hear from anyone who has any thoughts or ideas about this topic.

 

A Day in the Life of a Teacher

Posted on 7th April, 2016

Many people consider teachers to have an “easy” job, perhaps because of the “long holidays” and “short days” involved, and don’t forget that they get weekends “off” too! However, from my long fourteen years of schooling, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that their job is anything but easy. In fact, I think teaching has got to be one of the most stressful jobs out there. Think about it, teachers don’t just show up in the morning and expect to give a perfect lesson. Every lesson is planned meticulously beforehand, with learning objectives and activities to engage a class of students. In addition to this, if homework is set, which is expected by the senior leadership of the school, this has to be marked thoroughly in order to help the student achieve the best they can. All this work is completed OUTSIDE of their work hours, meaning it cuts into, if not completely diminishes, their “long” holidays. Many teachers also run extra-curricular clubs to help students either before school, lunch or after school. For example, my psychology teacher is in school before eight every morning, ready and available to help us if we need it. Without this extra support, I can honestly say I would not have achieved the grades that I now have, so I consider this to be essential. This is just a snapshot into the life of a teacher. They do so much work that is not recognised, and honestly, they aren’t paid for. However, if you think the stress ends there, you are mistaken because when exam season arrives, I’m pretty sure every teacher will suffer from a raised blood pressure. There is so much pressure for students to achieve good grades, that if they don’t, the blame will ultimately go to the teacher. It doesn’t matter if the student put in zero work. In my school, a class full of low grades means the teacher is more often than not out. Think about this for a second. To ensure job security for themselves, a teacher needs to get a whole class to want to try in their exams. Even in the most studious of schools, this is near impossible. However, low grades will reflect back on the teacher, whether it is their fault or not.

 

Anyway, the point I am getting to is that being a teacher is not easy. I know a few teachers who have quit because of the stress that comes with the job. Therefore, this new proposal to increase the hours in a school day is ridiculous. Most people look at it from the side of the students: when are they supposed to do their homework? What about after-school activities? etc. I’m thinking about the decreased time for teachers to complete all of their work. As it is, I have teachers telling me to choose a paragraph of my essay for them to mark, because they don’t have time to mark it all. I am in my last year of A Levels and my teachers don’t have time to give me feedback on my work.

 

George Osbourne is offering 25% of schools in England a pot of money to increase these school hours. How about instead of this ludicrous idea, the money is used to REDUCE THE SHORTAGE OF TEACHERS! If there were more teachers in the school, the workload could be shared out, meaning less work (and therefore less stress) for each individual teacher. My school, containing over 1,300 pupils, has two psychology teachers and one competent physics teacher. ARE THEY MAD? No wonder they feel overworked!

 

The point is, extending school hours is not going to higher the nation’s standing in the education league tables. I’m guessing that this is what it’s all about. There is no point in adding another hour to the day if all the teachers are going to be burnt out by the time they get to it!            

In or Out?

Posted on 7th April, 2016

                How many of you feel as though you have enough knowledge to make an informed decision about the EU? When you vote “in” or “out” will it be because that’s what the media have told you is the best option, or because it’s what you believe in? Who gave you the information needed to make that choice? Wouldn’t it be nice to know that the eventual outcome, whatever the answer is, is representative of the whole country’s views? Sadly, this isn’t the case, as many people will just rock up on the day with their vote, without even fully considering the consequences of it.

                This being my first time voting, I want to make sure I have considered every option before jumping to a decision. After all, Emily Davison didn’t jump in front of the King’s horse so I would make an ill-informed decision on the day of the referendum. If you think about it, it has taken a lot for the majority of us to be able to vote. Before 1832, the only people allowed to vote were men over the age of 21 who owned land or property over a certain amount! If not for yourself, then research this for the sake of those people who fought for your right to vote.

                Here comes the next issue. Where on earth can you find information about the EU referendum that is not biased in some way? Everyone is going to have an opinion, well-informed or not. Who can you trust to tell you the truth? Let’s get straight to the point. Looking to the politicians for answers is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Every single one of them will have their own agenda, regardless of which party they are in. Look at the recent events of this week! Despite both being major figures in the Conservative party, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove along with others have started campaigning against the leader if their own party!

                Speaking of campaigning, can it really be called that? It looks to me as though all the politicians are scaremongering people into voting their way. For example, the warning from David Cameron about the risk of illegal immigrant camps springing up in the UK. They liked to call this giving us “hard truths” but was that really the intention? Since there is a huge deal being made about the immigrants recently, it seems like the perfect time to release that bombshell in order to increase the votes for the “Yes” campaign. However, that’s not saying that the other side played it any cleaner. The Conservative MP, Iain Duncan Smith has also been accused recently of scaremongering, by claiming that being in the EU risks a Paris-style terror attack. As a way of scaremongering, I would say that’s pretty effective.

                In conclusion, I’ll admit that this makes it pretty tricky to decide what to vote. This is because we don’t know what is going to happen if we opt out. Therefore, we aren’t able to compare the outcomes. Honestly, I haven’t yet decided which way I will vote, because I feel as if I don’t know enough about it to do so. Luckily, the referendum is not until the 23rd June, meaning I have plenty of time to work out the best route to go.         

How long can YOU survive without your phone?

Posted on 10th February, 2016

According to my parents, the first “mobile” phone wasn’t exactly mobile. It came with a huge, heavy battery that was needed at all times to keep it charged. Looking at the phones produced today, you can see we’ve come a long way. However, it is an argument that people are now too dependent on their phones – especially teenagers.


Now introducing the concept of FOMO (fear of missing out). I am included in the large number of people who would feel completely lost without the familiar feel of their phone in their hand. But why? One reason is that we think if we don’t check our phones 24/7 we will miss out on the latest news, or in my case, school gossip. If I forget to charge my phone overnight (and this is a regular occurrence) I have no idea what people are talking about the next day. So many conversations are based around social media that you miss out on if you aren’t constantly checking your phone.


Let’s be honest, phones can get you out of some really awkward situations. For example; flicking through Facebook while waiting at a bus stop makes the time pass so much quicker, and also makes it look like you do have friends. Also, you’d be lying if you said you hadn’t faked a phone call to get away from someone who didn’t deserve your time.


This makes it sound as if it is only teenagers who can’t put down their phone. The common misconception is that very few people over the age of 65 own a smartphone, let alone knows how to use one. What isn’t known by many is that there are quite a few “silver surfers” out there (unfortunately, that is an actual name) and these are those above a certain age who are addicted to social media on smartphones. I don’t mean they like to flick through Facebook a few times a day, I mean it’s more like a few times an hour. To be exact 31% of all seniors actually use Facebook.


The truth is, smartphones and social media have become increasingly like a necessity for so many people that without them, they don’t have a clue what to do with their time. However, they are rarely used for their true purpose – to make calls. Instead the various social networking apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are what they are primarily used for. 

Should 16 year olds be given the vote?

Posted on 10th February, 2016

If 16-year-olds are classed as adults, then why shouldn’t they have any input into who governs the country? With the rise in university fees and the changes to A-Levels, we are affected just as much as everyone else. However, I am seventeen and if I was allowed to vote this year, I would probably just vote for who my parents voted for and this isn’t the point. People are supposed to vote for who they think would do the best job running the country, but although I have seen a leaders debate or two, I can’t say that I know what they’re talking about half the time. I can honestly say that I don’t know the differences between all the parties and what they have to offer to our society. The media tells us about the political leaders – but how much of it can we trust?


On the other hand, think of all the other things we can do when we’re sixteen. We can get married, join the armed forces and pay tax among many other things yet we aren’t allowed to place our vote in the ballot box. They expect us to be able to cope with A-Levels that are getting increasingly more difficult every year, but we can’t make on decision about the country that we live in. Did you know, an average student today has the same anxiety levels as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950s? We can deal with whatever schools throw at us, yet we aren’t mature enough to make this one choice. I believe that students should be taught about the elections as part of the academic curriculum. Politicians want the younger vote yet only 44% of 18-24 year olds voted in the last election. Let us make educated votes and be more independent by giving us more information in secondary school and you will probably find that most of us will vote. 


Think of it another way, whether we realise it or not, with every subject we choose to take, we as students are shaping the rest of our lives. We make decisions on a daily basis that impact us later on, which shows how mature we are when we are able to cope with it. Give us the opportunity to make our voices heard by the politicians. 

The Yulin Dog Meat Festival

Posted on 10th February, 2016

Due to the fact that I have three beautiful black Labradors myself, the issue I am about to discuss really disgusts me. The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is an annual occurrence in China and is a barbaric and cruel event, which capitalises on the torture and murder of thousands of dogs. These dogs are strays taken off the street and others are kidnapped from people’s homes. Without going into too much detail for fear of being too graphic, these dogs are subjected to incredible amounts of pain, before they are served up to waiting customers on a plate. There is no way we would allow this to happen in our country, so why is it happening over there? Why are people not standing up to these people?

 

The simple answer to this question is that people are standing up to them, but nothing is happening. Despite the international outcry about the festival, the local government in Yulin say that they cannot stop the businesses from preparing the meat, going as far as to say that the businesses were “legitimate”. In fact, it has been reported that business is only getting better for the meat traders as the controversy continues.

 

Celebrities such as Leona Lewis and Ricky Gervais have denounced the festival, and Ian Somerhalder has even used his Facebook page to encourage his fans to donate to the cause. This money would help local groups to intercept trucks crammed with dogs headed to slaughter and shut down intensive dog meat farms among so much more. In addition to this, a petition has been created which has already been signed by over three million people who want the festival to be stopped. I have included a link to the petition at the bottom and I would be so grateful if you couldspare the time to sign it. Just type it into your web browser and it will take two minutes!

 

I know a lot of people in this village have dogs, and can therefore understand the heartbreak that many citizens of Yulin and the surrounding area are experiencing due to the abduction of their pets. However, even if you don’t own a dog, anyone could understand that what is happening there is wrong and needs to be stopped.

 

https://t.co/Q7ul2toNOG   

Is using children as models, exploitation?

Posted on 10th February, 2016

Dior have announced that the new face of their brand for womenswear is Sofia Mechetner which has left many campaigners horrified. This is not because she isn’t “pretty” enough or doesn’t have the “right” body shape. She’s everything the brand is looking for. The problem is that she is just fourteen years old.

 

Sofia’s story is described by some as a Cinderella story. She was living in Israel on a housing estate when she was signed by a modelling agent. They booked her for a shoot in Paris, but when she arrived she was told that she was too young. Sofia and her chaperone then went to the Dior store to pass time where they saw the brand’s creative director, Raf Simons, and asked for a picture. Simons was so captivated by Sofia that he called her back a few weeks later to sign an exclusive contract to Dior.

 

But the fact remains, Sofia is extremely young. She is supposed to be what women aspire to look like, but how is that possible when her hips haven’t even grown yet? In addition to this, the pressure of being a model can be devastating for people of that age. Even Kate Moss has admitted that starting modelling at the age of fourteen has its consequences. She had a nervous breakdown and was prescribed Valium because of the pressure to adopt sexual poses when she had barely gone through puberty. There is also the inevitable rejection that comes with the job. Sofia is loved by the brand because of her thin features. If she gains an ounce of weight, which does happen when going through puberty, she will have extreme pressure put on her to lose it. This is especially true seeing as she has signed a two-year contract with Dior.

 

In 2007, the British Fashion Council set up guidelines which recommended that models on the catwalk should be at least sixteen years old. Obviously, Dior has decided to ignore these recommendations as Sofia has already been down the catwalk, wearing a see-through dress. Ultimately, the question is whether the young model is being exploited, or whether the £170,000 she will receive will be worth it.