Students urged to get involved in General Election

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Georgia Hollis

By Oliver Huxtable

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Matt McLoughin, left, and Freya Edwards

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Irene Depablo

With only two months to go until the General Election De Montfort University students are just waking up to the importance their votes could hold.

Students were asked a series of questions regarding their concern for politics after concerns of apathy and disinterest have been raised amidst their generation.

When asked if they were aware of the upcoming date of the elections, several students expressed concern over the lack of exposure they felt the elections have received so far.

“It’s just the whole society, you don’t see much interest any more,” said Freya Edwards, a 19-year-old art student.

“We are at the age where we should be interested in politics, but the elections should be displayed more often.”

Fellow art student Matt McLoughin, 19, said: “Even if the elections aren’t happening yet, I should see it mentioned more. It seems it’s only when I get wound up by politics that I get involved.”

Students recognised the importance of the elections but felt that there were barriers to participation.

Georgia Hollis, a 20-year-old sociology student, said: “I think being required to register to vote puts people off, it might help if they could just turn up.”

She believes encouraging student interest in politics could “come down to education, there is a responsibility too on parents to encourage their kids.”

Irene Depablo, a 20-year-old Journalism and Media and Communication student, believed previous elections and their effects on student fees could have both positive and adverse influences on student involvement in this General Election.

She said: “Some will feel driven to change this and others may feel disheartened and like they are not able to do anything about it.

“Students don’t feel represented or like they can change anything. They struggle to relate to the old family men in parliament.”

More information about the General Election on Thursday, May 7, is available at

What now for Greece after finance plan approved?

By Ali-Haider Hussain and Ilaina Skinner

Six years after the financial crisis in Greece, today’s decision by the European Union to accept a reform plan by the new Greek Government offers hope across Europe.

The plan, which was assessed by Eurozone Finance Ministers this afternoon, included planned economic reforms in its four-month bail out extension.

Billions of Euros are expected to be raised, according to the plan, by tackling tax evasion, corruption and smuggling. Approval was given today after being scrutinised in an hour-long conference call by the finance ministers.

Now national parliaments have to vote on Friday to give approval, with Germany playing a powerful role in the voting.

What does this mean for Greece? Professor Chris Goldsmith, senior lecturer in international relations at De Montfort University, says the decision offers a big step in the right direction but warned there are many obstacles to overcome.

He said: “The Greek Government would have to compromise, that is the basis of negotiation. It’s in the basis of both parties to find some solution, so I’m vaguely optimistic.”

Chris explained that a lot of the problems are down to Greek political history and that it has been controlled by an elite group.

He said the biggest victims of the Greek crisis are the younger generations, who have very few work opportunities. But he added that there are underlying causes outside the elite which are probably making things worse, and by helping Greece, its government needs to look at its internal issues rather than externalising their problems.

“Is this going to make a huge difference?” he said, “It will make some difference. “I’m not a complete sceptic but I am being realistic about what they’re achieving.”

Punishing racist Chelsea fans is not a black and white matter

Corum Franklin

Corum Franklin

By Andrew Clark

Racist Chelsea Football Club fans are not a product of the club, but an issue that should be dealt with by society, according to members of De Montfort University.
Supporters of the club were criticised for xenophobic chanting in Paris on Tuesday ahead of a Champions League game, when they prevented a black commuter from entering a train.
However, football fans and non-fans at DMU suggest that the club shouldn’t have to take as much responsibility as UEFA and society in general.
Kush Samaria

Kush Samaria

Corum Franklin, a 22-year-old drama studies student, said: “I don’t think it should be on the football club at all, it’s an issue of education; this isn’t a football problem, this is a culture problem.
“The fans don’t represent the team, they can’t help the type of fans they get.”
Zoe Van-de-Velde, an Art and Design teacher, said she believed Chelsea should not take as much responsibility as European law enforcement agencies.
She said: “I think they should be prosecuted. Obviously it’s illegal, because it’s discrimination.”
She also believes the punishment should not be restricted to the one fan stopping the black commuter from getting on the train.
Sam Tingley

Sam Tingley

“It goes beyond one person pushing another off a train, it’s a group mentality.”
Kush Sumaria, a 21-year old Manchester United fan believes the issue is a matter of disrespect beyond football hooligan culture.
He said: “Chelsea fans went there as guests and you can’t do that to the host country.”
He suggests that UEFA should be under more pressure than Chelsea FC, despite restrictions that prevent them from punishing fans’ misbehaviour outside of football stadiums.
“There’s the ‘Say No to Racism campaign’, so if they do stand by what they say, they should be kicked out by UEFA.”
Chelsea FC fan has also highlighted the hypocrisy of racist Chelsea fans.
Sam Tingley, a 22-year-old Business and Management student, said: “I saw the video and I was a bit disgusted to be honest.”

Apprentice star inspires DMU students

By Tony Thiedeman


The youngest ever contestant to appear on hit TV show The Apprentice arrived at De Montfort University today to inspire students and aspiring entrepreneurs who dream of running their own businesses.

Solomon Akhtar is the 23-year-old mastermind behind the popular app Instabear, a photo cloud sharing service that has taken the internet by storm.

He created Instabear, which is now endorsed by popular clothing brand Jack Wills, during his time at Exeter University with the help of his friend and now business partner Tom.

Solomon has also captured an ever-growing fan base after reaching the final five candidates in the latest series of the hit show, The Apprentice, headed by global business juggernaut Lord Sugar.

He was speaking to a jam-packed audience at DMU as part of the university’s Inspiring Creativity & Enterprise (ICE) campaign during Employability week.

Solomon shared his advice and tips to success in the business industry from his experiences.

“Go for it,” he told the DMU students. “Take a risk. Always be willing to change your business plan.

“Always be on the look-out for the next big thing and try and make it organically.

As one of my investors said yesterday, business is like a bucket with a hole -you’ve always got to be filling it with new ideas and innovating. “

He also shared tales from his school days when he encountered his first experience of enterprise.

“I sold sweets and pop on the bus which took all of us to school,” he said. “At 15 I was making £20 a week. But at that age I thought I was a millionaire. Times changed and I transitioned from chocolate and lemonade and went to the internet for business.”

The entrepreneur claimed his best business skill is his ability to market products, manage products and pitch to clients in a commercial field.

He recalled his time on The Apprentice fondly: “It’s weird. Lord Sugar’s all business, not a lot of small talk. But in the final five I got to know him a lot better. I have his email so if I ever need him I can contact him.

“I have become more confident in myself because of The Apprentice, But I am always still learning and I learnt from the experience.”

Fire brigade strike in pensions protest


m6qqQSkq3DH7aajeN5Q5hSwBy Alastair Ulke

Students in Leicester have been asked to be ‘vigilant’ ahead of a fire fighter’s strike tomorrow.

999 calls will instead be handled by a ‘contingency crew’ and callers are asked to expect a ‘slow response.’

Phil Coates, the Fire Brigade Union’s Regional Chair for the East Midlands, said: “From 7am tomorrow, fire services across the East Midlands will be on strike for 24 hours as part of an ongoing protest over fire fighters’ pensions.

“Students need to remember to be extra vigilant during this time and to take care in their halls and in their rooms.

“Remember to turn off your equipment at the plug in your room and not to leave your cooking unattended in the kitchen.”

Mike Haynes-Coote, Head of Health and Safety at DMU, said: “In the vent of a fire, students should follow the normal protocol by raising the alarm and calling 999.

“The fire brigade will still provide a service but callers should expect a slower response time.”

A back-up fire crew, made up of non-professionals approved by the fire brigade union, will be available during the strike.

The strike comes as part of an on-going row over pensions in the fire brigade.