Monday, 4 May 2009


It’s not a good idea to mention Margaret Thatcher much in Sheffield - they don’t really like her up here. Many a late-night discussion in halls was had in my first-year with local friends complaining she ruined their parents’ lives. One complained last week that Thatcher should never be given a state funeral when she dies because of all the damage she did to the northern economy. I think they would rather have a state party. This is in slight contrast to many of my friends back home in the south who actually quite like what she did for this country. I only mention this because it is 30 years since she came into power and saved this country from going down the drain.

Just watching videos of her exchanges in parliament with the Labour opposition are enough to make anyone appreciate that she was an exceptionally good public speaker. This one’s a good place to start: The basic point of angst for people from the north is that she closed the mines and marked the end of British industry as we knew it. The basic economics that many people from the south quote is that if an industry is failing because of better overseas competition, you close it down and concentrate on something else. If people are striking for whatever reason, and you don’t agree with this as a government, then you should not give in. No, no, no. ‘The Lady’s Not For Turning’, as she famously said, and that was why she was so successful.

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I was very interested to read how a four-year-old girl gave evidence in court last week that resulted in the conviction of Baby P’s stepfather for rape. I’ve been to lots of court cases in Sheffield Crown Court and Sheffield Magistrates Court over the last few months as part of my course (I haven’t been in loads of trouble for football hooliganism) and often see witnesses break down under the pressure and emotion of giving evidence. But asking a toddler to talk in detail about being raped two years ago was unprecedented at the Old Bailey, and would rarely happen at any other courts. There has been some argument in the press over whether such young toddlers should be subjected to questioning, but I think if it’s necessary for justice, then it has to be done. It would have been uncomfortable to watch that trial though, and the legal system must be praised for the way in which it handled the case.

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Ah well, we thought we were safe after it was announced the economy was beginning to show signs of recovery, but it seems we’re all going to die anyway of swine flu (if you believe the Daily Express). So what is the biggest crisis? Is it the economy going down the pan, many people losing jobs and investments plummeting - or - people being isolated, a major panic over a pandemic and fearing for your life? At least the share prices of face mask and Tamiflu manufactures have risen over the last few weeks. My conclusion is that most people would rather be alive during a recession than dead during healthier economic times. But let me know if you disagree!

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I was devastated when the last episode of Skins Series 3 finished on E4 as I just didn’t know what I was going to do on Thursday evenings at 10pm. Thank goodness therefore for The Inbetweeners! For those of you who haven’t been fortunate enough to watch it, the series follows a group of four male sixth-formers through a series of events. They are completely different personalities, which makes the show an absolute joy to watch as it reminds me of lots of people I used to go to school with, and situations which I’ve found myself in over the years.

Much of it is exaggeration, but this helps the drama to highlight how funny life can be as a teenager. However, I would like to point out that although I can relate to some of it, I have never stuffed a wig down my trousers, borrowed a tramp’s shoes outside a nightclub, or been thrown into a pond after a day’s work experience. OK, so the series isn’t that realistic, but it’s meant to be a comedy more than a drama anyway! If you haven’t seen it already, don’t miss this Thursday’s episode at 10pm on E4.