‘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.”

7 simple ways Leicester City could improve the atmosphere at the King Power Stadium

By Jayden Whitworth

Leicester atmosphere
Atmospheric: Small safe standing singing section at Leicester’s Europa Conference League clash with Rennes

What do you love most about the football? Is it the air littered with smells from the burger van? Is it the opportunity to engage in some light-hearted friendly banter? Is it that ice-cold pint of lager that beckons every weekend? Or are you just a sucker for pain and heart ache and enjoy the Leicester City rollercoaster of emotions? 

For some people it might be the atmosphere.

The opportunity to feel a sense of togetherness and unity.

People ramming themselves in like sardines – equipped with a vocal cord-warming hot cup of Bovril – set to belt out those iconic chants.

On good days, the King Power Stadium is bouncing.

Packed to the rafters. Entertaining football. Chants ringing round non-stop.

On bad days, the King Power can be flat.

Boring, lethargic football. People not quite up for it. It can be toxic.

This season the atmosphere has been far too inconsistent. The bad days outweigh the good days. 

The boring, sideways football we have seen at points this season is partly to blame.

But I think there are some changes that can give the atmosphere a little boost. A bit of a lift.

It is all put into perspective when you see the atmosphere created at Rennes. It’s a whole new ball game when it comes to European atmospheres.

I’ve put together a list of seven changes I would make, given the chance.

1. Bring in Safe Standing

This one feels like a slightly obvious shout. With the club beginning to experiment and test singing sections this season (in games against Watford and Rennes), the likelihood of Leicester City introducing safe standing in the future is increasing.

Safety first: Safe standing in operation at Wolves during their Premier League fixture against Leicester City

Safe standing isn’t a novel thing with some Premier League clubs having already introduced safe standing. Liverpool have built safe standing into their ‘kop’ and the away section. Wolves have incorporated it into their ‘kop-like’ stand. Both stadiums are notoriously loud. 

The atmosphere at home to Rennes was the best I have seen in a long time.

It was booming.

It is no coincidence that the atmosphere was this good at a fixture with a standing singing section.

As I’m writing this, the club have yet to announce a singing section for the PSV game, after the success of it against Rennes. One step forward, two steps back. Odd.

With the legal safety requirement of having an all-seater stadium loosening, I think we will see them more and more often. It will be a good thing.

2. Just get rid of the clappers, please

Hoarder: At least a few years back they gave some player information, remember that?

I don’t want to milk this too much. I feel like I spend half my life moaning about the clappers. But like a poor-man’s Ebenezer Scrooge, I too am being haunted by the past, so here we go again. There is no doubt the atmosphere would improve if the clappers were gone. 

It has almost become part of my match day routine to trundle up the stairs to my seat on row Z, grab the clapper and chuck it down the back of my seat. Out of sight, out of mind.

Make them optional. Put them in the concourse and give people the choice of taking one up to the stand.

Kill two birds with one stone. Better for the atmosphere. Better for the environment.

If you want more of this clapper-bashing chat, check out this article dedicated entirely to the clappers. It’s a good read, I promise.

3. Adopt a powerful club anthem

Trust me – I know I’m waxing lyrical about Liverpool here.

I don’t want to.

But again, they get this right. Everyone knows ‘You’ll never walk alone’. It has been adopted by Liverpool fans. West Ham’s ‘I’m forever blowing bubbles’. Leeds’ ‘Marching on together’. Sheffield Utd’s ‘Greasy Chip Butty’.

The list goes on. 

It’s an opportunity to rally the troops. Get the vocal cords warm.

There is an obvious option here with Leicester’s very own – Jersey Budd. ‘When you’re smiling’ is already largely recognised as a Leicester chant and for a period was the anthem.

We miss a trick here. Make this the club anthem. Get rid of the electronic tripe. Blast it out just before kick-off. Get the scarves up. Get the atmosphere buzzing. Sell scarves with ‘when you’re smiling’ on one side. Sell as much merch with this plastered on as you like. 

It’s a song that encapsulates the city of Leicester. 

Make it ours.

4. Move L1 and SK1 together

I could be wasting my time here. This might be a logistical nightmare.

It has been a debate across Leicester social media for a few years now, as to who does it better? L1 or SK1? 

As I see it, it seems completely counterproductive to have a section of ‘die-hard’ Leicester fans in SK1 at one end of the ground. And another group of ‘die-hards’ at the other end next to the away fans. 

I guess the problem here is where you put them. 

Historically the ‘die hard’ fans usually congregate near the away fans. The back-and-forth abuse is usually what makes them ‘die-hard’. So, you probably don’t want to move them away from the away support. So, do you move SK1 fans over to L1? But that leaves a Kop with no vocal fans.

Could you move the away fans? Over to the Kop. Away from the family stand. I don’t know.

I’m not as confident in this suggestion. Hypothetically, it would improve the atmosphere. Logistically, I’m dreaming.

5. Give more freedom to dedicated fan-led supporter groups

When the likes of Union FS have been given the freedom to create organised displays, they’ve looked amazing. They were a regular fixture in our dazzling Champions League campaign back in 2016/17. But, they have fizzled out in recent times. 

The displays are now few and far between. With any display usually confined to the corner in SK1.

Newcastle supporter groups have shown what they can do now they have been released from the shackles of Mike Ashley. Creating stunning displays and having a bit more control over what happens on matchday. Creating a better atmosphere.

We don’t see it as much at Leicester anymore. Very rarely are their flags or banners. Or mosaics. There should be more.

They just help to give people a bit of a buzz.

My five picks for best atmosphere at the King Power Stadium:

5. Leicester City vs Liverpool (1-0, 28th December 2021)

This was the hardest one to pick, the others just fall into place. Perhaps a surprise inclusion, but this was the best atmosphere I’ve heard at the King Power since our glory days in 2015-2017. I found myself cheering every tackle, every block. They worked really hard that day. This game came a few days after they knocked us out of the cup, even better.

4. Leicester City vs Manchester United (5-3, 21st September 2014)

It almost feels criminal to put this so far down. It was the day that this Leicester City side announced themselves to the Premier League. I remember this being the first time I could walk into school with my head held high, knowing I wasn’t going to be berated for supporting Leicester. Little did I know it was a feeling I needed to get used to. I couldn’t believe we had beaten Manchester United.

3. Leicester City vs Atletico Madrid (1-1, 18th April 2017)

The King Power has never quite been the same, since this night. For 15 minutes we had the best defence in Europe on the ropes. A night full of if’s and but’s. An unbelievable night.

2. Leicester City vs Everton (3-1, 7th May 2016)

This was just one big party. The result didn’t matter, no one cared. All that mattered was Leicester City was going to lift the Premier League trophy for the first time. An outpour of emotion. What a day.

1. Leicester City vs Sevilla (2-0, 14th March 2017)

An out-an-out obvious winner. The night we all asked ourselves, we couldn’t, could we? We dared to dream. Goals from Morgan and Albrighton had the King Power bouncing. Nothing comes close to those Champions League nights. Unreal. Will never be topped.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Leicester vs Norwich (1-0, 27th February 2016) – Earth-quaker
  • Leicester vs Manchester United (1-1, 28th November 2015) – Record breaker
  • Leicester vs Liverpool (2-0, 2nd February 2016) – Absolute screamer

You might notice all these games fall into the 2010s. Am I a glory-hunter? Not quite. You were more likely to find me in front of the TV, watching Postman Pat, with my lips-locked around a dummy in 2005. If I have missed your favourite. I’m sorry. I might not have been born.

What would you say was the best atmosphere? Have your say below.

6. Stop the goal music

I don’t understand how I’m having to write this. Why is the goal music back?

For a couple of seasons the goal music had disappeared. How it should be. ‘Fire’ by Kasabian had gone. I have nothing against the song, of course not. That would be like shooting myself in the foot. But not as goal music.

There is a serious problem if you need goal music to lift atmosphere. The raw emotion of the joy of scoring a goal should do the job.

7. Stop leaving 10 minutes before half-time and full-time

Disclaimer: if you are absolutely bursting for the toilet or you are seriously going to miss the train. This does not apply.

This might be mostly born out of jealousy at the fact that some people missed the painful last few minutes against Spurs and West Ham, and I had to soak it all up. But I don’t really understand the benefit of heading to the concourse 10 minutes early to beat the queues, when the whole stadium has the same idea as you. 

8pm on a Monday night. Fair enough. I can understand that slightly.

2pm on a Sunday afternoon. Really. I think your Sunday roast can wait 5 minutes.

Unfortunately, I sit on the end of the row and usually spend the last 5-10 minutes of each half staring into someone’s backside. So, I might be very much in the minority on this topic. It just irritates me.

Bare: Empty seats during the second-half of Leicester City’s Europa Conference League clash with Rennes

Whilst I’m in full-on rant mode. It baffled me as to how both the games against Rennes and Randers failed to sell-out. I know it’s the Europa Conference League. I get it. On the same night we played Randers at home, we could have been jetting off to Catalonia to face Barcelona. I get that it isn’t a glamorous competition.

It’s still a European competition. One that we probably won’t have the luxury of playing in next season. European nights are why we do it. They’re the big nights, under the lights. It might be because I have grown up in a generation where Europe is the pinnacle and competitions like the League Cup and the FA cup fall by the wayside.

I just hope that those who don’t turn up for the games against Randers and Rennes in the early rounds, aren’t expecting a ticket for the trip to Albania for the final (if we get there of course).

It makes sense that if there are more people in the stands, there will be more noise, right?

After all, it could be worse. We could be stuck in administration. Sat in the EFL Championship relegation zone. Facing the frightening truth that soon enough we could be owned by Mike Ashley. Sorry, Derby. 

Why time should be up for Arteta

Long-time Arsenal fan and DMU journalism student Vivek Julka shares his views on the Gunners’ manager.

Mikel Arteta is still in a job at Arsenal. Somehow.

It has been just over two years since Arteta was appointed as Arsenal boss back in December 2019.

It is safe to say there have been a few highs, but many lows, in his current reign at the Emirates.

I am going to take a dive into his reign and show why I feel he should have been sacked by now.

He took over from fellow Spaniard Unai Emery in late 2019 which raised some eyebrows due to Arteta’s only managerial experience coming from sitting next to Pep Guardiola at Man City, where he was Pep’s number two.

However, there was some optimism from sections of Arsenal supporters and pundits alike due to feelings that he might bring elements of Pep-esque football to North London.

Two years on we know this has far from happened, Arsenal fans are instead treated to drab, boring football with little freedom given to the players.

Arteta did get off to a positive start in the second half of the 19/20 season. Despite being dumped out of the Europa League in the round of 32 by a much weaker Olympiacos team and finishing a disappointing eighth in the Premier League outside any European places, he did manage to win Arsenal’s fourteenth FA Cup. It was an impressive run too, as Arsenal beat Man City 2-0 in the semi-final and Chelsea 2-1 in the final, with world-class performances coming from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Emi Martinez especially.

However, the FA Cup triumph became a distant memory after the end of the 20/21 season for Arsenal fans who have real ambition and hold their club to a high standard as Arteta finished eighth again and finished his first full season without a trophy, which resulted in a first season without any European football for 25 years for Arsenal. Another record that Arteta has broken.

He also threw away the FA Cup in the fourth round against Southampton by fielding a weak starting line-up, even though he had his best players available – the same trophy which gave him a bit of credit in the bank. He then did this once more this season against Nottingham Forest and we went out again.

He has managed to turn £45 million man Thomas Partey, who was world class at Atletico Madrid, into a poor midfielder who has struggled for consistency. Though saying that, it does make a huge difference from being coached from Diego Simeone, one of the best managers around, to then being coached by a rookie in Arteta.

Also, in his first full season as Arsenal boss, one of the best strikers in the world at that time, Aubameyang, had his worst ever season in his career. However you could argue he lost motivation after his big contract, but it doesn’t help when your role is to score goals and you are being ordered by your manager to stay on the halfway line and play left wing. He should have been playing up front in a two with Alexandre Lacazette as they were lethal together under Unai Emery.

To make matters even more embarrassing the former boss Emery schooled Arteta in both legs of the Europa League semi-final last year and went on to win the trophy making him the most successful manager of that competition.

When it comes to transfers Arteta and technical director Edu Gaspar, have barely got a thing right since they have started dealing with recruiting players for Arsenal.

They sold Emi Martinez for £20 million to Aston Villa off the back of his stunning performances during the FA Cup run and instead opted for a clearly worse goalkeeper in Bernd Leno. Despite that, the mistake was rectified this season when Aaron Ramsdale was brought in for £30 million which again raised a lot of eyebrows myself included, as he was relegated three times previously. However this gamble has paid off so far as he has been Arsenal’s best player this season.

Paying £50 million for Ben White was a bad decision as he is nowhere near the quality required to get Arsenal competing for major honours again. He has often looked shaky and simply not good enough. How Arteta and Edu went to Brighton with £50 million and came back with White not Yves Bissouma a top midfielder which is what Arsenal desperately need, switched-on club fans will never know.

Also, the permanent signing of Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid was another mistake as his loan stint in the previous season was inconsistent, which is what is his performances this season have been too.

If Arsenal were a serious club, they would go all in for someone like James Maddison instead who has proved it in the Premier League for a few seasons now.

New contracts being given out to deadwood players like Granit Xhaka and Rob Holding is another problem. Xhaka has been a liability since he has arrived at Arsenal and should have been moved on a long time ago. But Arteta still persists and constantly plays Xhaka who continues to cost the team from his stupid challenges and gets a pass from the manager and sections of supporters who in their eyes he can do no wrong. On the other hand, when Nicolas Pepe got sent off one time, Arteta outed him in front of the press. One rule for one and one rule for another.

Lastly, the treatment and man-management of some players by Arteta has been a disgrace. Aubameyang was stripped of captaincy for allegedly being late to training and now has been forced out the club. It is okay for Xhaka to do much worse though, according to Arteta’s actions. We have not heard the player’s side of the story so we cannot judge on this situation.

I think Arteta cannot deal with top experienced players like Aubameyang. Yes, his performances have not been as good as they once were, but Arteta’s failing system has ruined him, and he will show his class at FC Barcelona. Remember this is the player who has kept Arteta in a job effectively as he won Arsenal the FA Cup.

Similarly Mesut Ozil was another victim of Arteta’s treatment. Another world class player and big character Arteta could not handle. A victory that Arteta fanboys still laud up to this day even though it was nearly two years ago. Some fans and the manager have short memories and should remember what Aubameyang has done during one of Arsenal’s toughest periods.

Another pair of players who have received disgusting treatment by Arteta are French duo William Saliba and Matteo Guendouzi.

Saliba, who is currently out on loan to Olympique de Marseille, has not even made one appearance for Arsenal despite joining back in 2019 for £27 million. He is a highly rated prospect and is consistently included in the French pundits’ Team of the Week in Ligue 1. His best performance came recently against Paris St Germain when he kept world class players like Kylian Mbappe and the best football player of all time Lionel Messi quiet.

However Arteta decides to opt for clearly worse defenders in Ben White and Rob Holding.

Matteo Guendouzi who is at the same team as Saliba, has been pulling up trees in France too with a tenacity and quality in midfield that Arsenal lack. I feel Arteta has exiled him due to his quick temper but there is nothing wrong with showing passion for the team. Which again shows Arteta cannot deal with big personalities and characters who challenge him.

Also, the over reliance on Bukayo Saka has made the young player go backwards in his development. Arteta even said in a press conference ‘he should learn to play through injury’ which is absurd. He is a good player but should be in and out the team, learning his trade. However, the experienced players he has to look up to include figures like Granit Xhaka due this to ‘youth project’ which is a sham and is a cover for the failings of this club for the past decade.

There is no doubt that Arteta should be sacked but it is up to the fans to raise the standards of the club and push him out as he is clearly not good enough to get Arsenal competing with the likes of Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool. Instead, most of the deluded fan base go for an easy target in Stan Kroenke the owner of the football club who apparently does not spend money on transfers, even though Arteta has had about £200 million spent on players he wanted. This is mostly his squad of players now, due to players he brought in and contract renewals to players that were there before, and we are nowhere near we should be.

Arsenal missed a trick in not getting Antonio Conte as we would be competing if we gave him £200 million to spend. A manager like Graham Potter would be great too as he would bring exciting football to the Emirates. He has shown what he can do with a weak squad at Brighton.

All in all, time should be up for Mikel Arteta now and in reality, he should have been sacked a while ago.

Vivek Julka

Restaurant review: ORSO Leicester… does it live up to the hype?

During Leicester Restaurant Week, Ana Goncalves pays a visit to ORSO Leicester to see if the place lives up to the hype after tirelessly hearing numerous recommendations.

[Read more…]

Five Get #Cancelled on Social Media: is it okay to enjoy classic children’s stories written by authors who had bigoted views?

Photo by Corrie Barklimore. flickr.com/photos/80144821@N00/2767723506

Last night I broke the lockdown rules, writes Nikita Sharma. I went to a place I have been visiting since I was a child. Kirrin Island. I spent my time jumping over rocks encasing natural pools of crystal-clear water and feeling the soft as powder sand beneath my feet as I explored the castle ruins.

Of course, I wasn’t there physically but who said you couldn’t feel something so vividly so wholly, you feel as if you were truly there?

I think that’s the magic of books. The ability they have to transport you to a different time and different land. That’s what I like best about the children’s books I still keep close to my heart. But whilst reading them in these past few years, I’ve had guilt and outrage swirling inside and then like smoke, hanging over me.

Finding out your favourite childhood authors held racist and sexist views and realising now that they incorporated those views into their writing? It doesn’t feel good. And rereading today, you can see a line here and there not sitting right, suddenly you see the hidden messages and understand the double meanings.

Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl. These were my heroes. Their works are legendary.

It really is upsetting thinking that if I were to meet my favourite childhood writer, they probably wouldn’t like me very much. And the reasons would simply be because of the colour of my skin.

Being a woman of colour, issues like these really mess with my conscience. But I can celebrate the books that mean so much to me without excusing the person behind them

Someone of my generation shouldn’t be enjoying these books after finding out the truth. Nowadays, typed in bold HASHTAG CANCELLED on social media platforms is the only direction you need to know what persons should be avoided. Everything is either black or white. But it was one of the things that welcomed me with a warm embrace. The words called me back.

And it wasn’t just me – millions of others felt it too! Introducing us to a world of giants and witches and made-up nonsense languages to decoding secret messages and catching smugglers; these books had humour and originality, they encouraged us to broaden our imaginations.

So, we have these clearly wonderful pieces of works unfortunately written by problematic people, what do we do? Is this just a case of separating the art from the artist?

Should we even judge people for ideals that were the norm to have ‘back in the day’ with values we hold today? Was Roald Dahl and his anti-Semitism simply a product of his time? These are outdated views, and we must accept that it was a different time.

But this frame of debate takes me back to the essay I was forced to write on Winston Churchill a few years ago. I remember my blood boiling as my teacher chattered about what a great man he was, knowing his racist views and inactions were to blame for the three million people who starved to death during the Bengal Famine.

However, apart from collecting ‘woke points’ on Twitter, holding dead writers accountable isn’t doing much. It gives no productive support to movements and organisations that aim for change. Being a woman of colour, issues like these really mess with my conscience and to ‘forgive and forget’ isn’t something I can apply. But balance is helpful. I can celebrate the books that mean so much to me without excusing the person behind them.

We can enjoy literature and art that have outdated views as long as we accept that they are just that, outdated, while we work towards creating pieces that are tolerant, kind, and fair to all.    And with that, I’ll be off on my next adventure! So long.