‘More stability likely’ after next general election, says De Montfort University politics expert

By April Pollard

A more stable political scene in the United Kingdom is on its way, according to a politics expert at De Montfort University.

Mr Chris Goldsmith sitting at a desk in De Montfort Business School
Looking to the future: Chris Goldsmith

At a time of such political unrest, the reassuring sentiment came from politics lecturer Chris Goldsmith, Associate Dean Academic for business and law at De Montfort University, who believes that regardless of the result of the next general election, a more stable Prime Ministership is on its way.

Mr Goldsmith said: “We’re likely to see more stability, because if the Conservatives win, Rishi Sunak will have delivered an election victory, it’ll be a miracle recovery and that will give him a great deal of personal authority over the party.

“If Starmer manages to deliver a Labour government, even in coalition, people will think he’ll have a certain amount of authority over his party. We’ll be looking to have more stable Prime Ministerships, because in the end it’s all about party unity.”

This stability in Number 10, however, may be met with unrest elsewhere in the country.

If a coalition forms, Mr Goldsmith said any deal between Labour, the likely winners of the next general election, depends on how well the Liberal Democrats do.

He said: “If the Lib Dems take seats from the Conservatives, that’ll be good for Labour, they’ll have to look at working with them.”

However, the national parties of Scotland and Wales must be taken into consideration. Mr Goldsmith believes a coalition deal with Scottish nationalists may result in the cost of their support being an independence referendum.

Mr Goldsmith said: “This unrest certainly has been in recent times. If we go back to the 20th Century, this is the most prime ministers we’ve had in such a short period.

“We’ve seen more volatility in the last 12 to 13 years, we’ve had a coalition and we’ve had Brexit, and that’s been a big driver behind some of these things.”

DMU’s African & Caribbean Society offers a serious message as well as its social activities

By Beni Azakaye

One of the most established societies at De Montfort University in Leicester is aiming to show it has serious aims this year as well as being a hub of social activities.

With the first semester coming to an end, the DMU African and Caribbean Society, known as ACS, has quickly got activities up and running, as has its similar branches across all universities in the UK.

The society represents students from African and Caribbean background at DMU, bringing them together whilst also welcoming people from other races and cultures to educate and involve themselves during their time at the institution.

Malachi Robinson, president of the DMU branch, said: “Our aim for the year aim is to have serious talks about mental health in the black community, its effects and how it is being handled.

“We aim to show freshers that it is not all about the social event but also more educative events with unis like BCU, NTU and others reaching out to do the same.”

He advised any student struggling with clothing or food to get in contact with the De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU).

Malachi has been a student of DMU since October 2021 and got voted in as president of the society in June this year, alongside other committee members.

The DMU ACS was recently nominated for the prestigious award, ‘Most Improved ACS of the Year’ at the national ACS Awards, and has a dedicated committee which includes roles like President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, African and Caribbean consultant, health and welfare officer.

The society tries to make students feel welcome in Leicester as most arrive from other cities. For the rest of the year, the society aims to achieve this by hosting more debates, networking campaigns, social outings and invite speakers.

The ACS mission “is to ensure our members enjoy their experience to the fullest, an everyone receives an equally beneficial experience outside of the academic classroom and basks in the enjoyable familial atmosphere.”

Maslachi added: “As a society, we want DMU to look appealing to students wanting to reply.”

Friendly: The DSU campus centre building.

Beaumont Leys park and ride site delayed indefinitely

By Em Brooks

The planned Beaumont Leys Park and Ride scheme which was scheduled to be completed for summer this year has been delayed indefinitely due to a lack of interest.

The £1.4 million site was planned for launching in Summer 2022 with an aim to bring more people to the Beaumont Leys area. 

However, the pandemic saw a massive decline in users and numbers still have not recovered to their pre-lockdown statistics.

Andrew Gibbons, the Programme Manager for Buses at Leicester City Council, said: “The site is currently on hold pending a review of the business case for P&R post-Covid.

“The other three sites remain at 35 per cent of pre-covid use.”

Before these statistics were released, Deputy City Mayor Adam Clarke had described the site as “a great asset to the city.”

The original plan for the park and ride site was not revamping or changing the original bus service, just extending the routes to involve the site which would have worked the same as the other three sites currently in the Beaumont Leys area which offer free parking.

The site was planned to offer 300 spaces and proposed to see 30,000 passengers a year as well as 118,000 km of car travel saved per year through people using the site instead of driving to the shopping centre.

The Park and Ride scheme was a part of the city council’s climate emergency action plan which planned to reduce emissions through use of electric buses like those seen at St Margaret’s bus station as well as the completed plans to establish e-bike hiring stations around the city.

The proposed site

Students discuss their experiences with antidepressants and deduce the stigma surrounding dependency and reliance 

By Kelly Gowe

The prevalence of antidepressant prescription is astounding with 70 million prescriptions written last year for the 7 million adults who used them.  

It is time to take a more nuanced approach: Antidepressants can be lifesaving for some people while having no effect on others.  

But who are we to say that someone is wrong if they see it as a last resort or something to make them feel better? The stigma must be lifted. 

I interviewed two students about their university experiences with SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) to see how the medication affected their lives. 

Valuable: Abubakr Razak (left) and Heebah Hussain found antidepressants helped them

Abubakr Razak, 19, began taking SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) while studying law.  

He had struggled with anxiety and depression throughout college, which led him to being prescribed an SSRI called Sertraline. 

“I often had anxiety in social situations,” he said. “But very traumatic situations as a child eventually built up to this. My SSRIs were paired with talking therapy, which helped massively.” 

He said they made him feel “level” throughout university and found dealing with difficulties a lot easier. 

Heebah Hussain, 18, said: “I’d encourage anyone in a dark place to think ‘If I were really physically unwell, would I take medicine to help me feel better?’” 

Unfortunately, many people are still reluctant to take medication for their mental health because society has often portrayed it as a sign of failure.  

In fact, making such a decision for yourself is a sign of strength. There is nothing to be ashamed of if you require some additional assistance. 

So, even if you are aware of the risks, your only option is to take it or leave it; our mental health system lacks ambition. 

If you are a student who is struggling, I strongly advise you to reach out to others, even if it is just one person.  

If you know a loved one who is struggling, you can  find out more about how to help here

You can contact the Mind helpline by calling 0300 123 3393.  

Leicester’s ‘Stabby’ park leaves students fearing for their safety

By Daniel Bellamy

Leicester students are fearing for their safety after sharing concerns over lighting around a popular park route through Bede Park.

An image of the green space Bede Park
An overview look on the popular open green space, Bede Park located in Westcotes

The calls for lighting improvements followed a previous initiative shared by the city council in which they aimed to turn Leicester street lights ‘greener’ by using LED alternatives.

Bede Park is the route for many students to and from campus and, more importantly, the route for students to social events at night.

Students and many users of the park nicknamed the space ‘Stabby’ Park referring to knife crimes and other anti-social behaviour that occurs across the park typically when darkness overcasts the area.

On several occasions, including September 24 last year, police cars were parked at the end and sides of the park, not only this, on a couple of mornings police have been spotted at the entrance of the park near a weapon detector gate.

Police were seen around these gates speaking to members of the public in a general manner.

A Leicester City Council spokesperson said: “The lighting provided is in line with permitted lighting levels for public green spaces to ensure a compromise is met between user safety and wildlife/biodiversity on the site, in particular minimal impact on bats.

‘”The site is regularly patrolled by parks wardens. Where there are repeat criminal offences recorded, this creates a profile with local police who then align police patrols in order of need, public safety.”

According to Leicestershire Police crime map data there were 17 reported incidents in September last year when students began arriving, which was a high number for that year.

One student said: “I feel anxious any time my friends ask me out, knowing I have to cross the park as my way to get there.”

The park is set to have CCTV surveillance installed in the future, with additional monitoring making it a safer place.

The city council spokesperson added: “In summary, safety in any site is dependent upon both the common sense informed decisions made by users, together with the provisions and maintenance incorporated into the location. Amalgamated, they contribute to designing out crime and anti-social behaviour wherever reasonably possible within the resources available.”