In two-party democracies such as ours in the UK, true representation can become a tricky thing to achieve. Voters are often left to choose whomever they perceive to be the lesser of two evils, and third-parties can seldom achieve any real power in Westminster (the exception of course being the Liberal Democrat’s short-lived stint between 2010 and 2015). Indeed, democracy in Britain has long been criticised for its inability to provide real representation to its citizens.
Recently, many supermarkets in the UK have voluntarily decided to impose a ban on selling highly-caffeinated energy drinks to children under the age of 16. In an interesting turn of events, the retailers themselves have decided to self-restrict in this manner, without the state’s usual heavy-handed imposition.
This is really a first for the UK, whose government is usually chomping at the bit when it comes to controlling our decisions. Be it protecting us from the dangers of cigarette packaging, or the second-largest party suggesting a ban on junk food commercials, or simply taxing all of our favourite vices to death, Britain is usually the European flag-bearer of nanny statism.
The unique British brand of state interference, however, has left teens in the UK with some rather juxtaposing freedoms. Here are three fun things you can do as a British 16-year-old (and three things you can’t).
Scotland will become the world’s first country to set minimum prices for alcoholic beverages, following a clearance for the law by the Supreme Court. Beginning in May 2018, vendors shall be legally required to charge at least 50 pence-per-unit. To put this into perspective, an average 750ml bottle of wine contains 10 units; Scottish vendors will thus be unable to sell bottles of wine for any cheaper than £5.00.
The idea behind minimum pricing is that the cheap, strong booze popular amongst alcoholics and teenagers will be less easily attainable, thus reducing alcohol-related illnesses, injuries, and deaths.
In reality, minimum pricing is likely going to do more harm than good.
Education used to be the realm of the wealthy aristocracy; to be educated was to be rich, while the impoverished masses remained illiterate and ignorant. Today it’s a human right of every child, as enshrined in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The 23rd of June 2017, marked the one-year anniversary of the pivotal Brexit referendum. While some have dubbed it our ‘Independence Day’, to me it represents a year of broken record discussions and copy-pasted headlines. The sheer amount of coverage given to the referendum and its outcome left me more or less brexit-ed out after a couple of months.
The market for articles about populism is fairly saturated these days. However, I’ve noticed a rather sizeable gap. While everyone writes about Trump, Le Pen, Wilders and co., there seems to be a strange ignorance of the equally-concerning populist left.
US President Trump receives ample scrutiny for rallies & rhetoric, but at the same time no-one seems all that bothered by Jeremy Corbyn’s appearance at Glastonbury this weekend.
Thus, allow me to present to you an article on the other side of populism, and why you should be just as worried about it.
Having grown up in suburban South-East England, I’ve seen my share of trashy nights out drinking cut-price vodka in a park, which was probably bought by someone’s older brother or swiped from parent’s liquor cabinets after we all failed to get served.
That was what constituted a good night out for a 15 year old in Cambridgeshire, and indeed the rest of the UK. Heavy drinking has become a part of British culture, which is why we have some of the highest rates of binge drinking worldwide. But why is this the case? Why do Brits start drinking so much so early?