Top Stories: Week Beginning 10th September


I am part of the resistance

An explosive op-ed was published in the New York Times, where a senior official within the Trump administration spoke not only of the President’s general incompetence at the role, but also suggested that the administration is actually attempting to prevent some of Trump’s more inane schemes, and instead push a more traditional agenda. The article has encouraged speculation over the identity of its author, as well as attracting criticism from those who see it as the members of the administration trying to save face for when Trump leaves office.

India decriminalises homosexuality

A historic ruling was achieved in India this week, after a law banning homosexual sex was declared to be discriminatory. India’s Supreme Court, consisting of five judges, unanimously passed the ruling against Section 377, with one judge stating that ‘history owes an apology’ to LGBT Indians. The law has been challenged in court for over 24 years, claiming that, although it is not regularly enforced, it encourages marginalisation. It was first conceived 160 years ago, whilst India was still part of the British Empire, and many consider this landmark ruling to be part of the process of decolonisation.

Nike’s campaign with Colin Kaepernick

For the 30th anniversary of its Just Do It slogan, Nike has ignited controversy by featuring NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the face of its campaign. Kaepernick is at the centre of a controversy surrounding whether NFL players should kneel for the the national anthem before games to protest racial inequality, leading to President Donald Trump arguing that kneeling players should be fired. Although the ad was met with negative reactions from some, with videos of people burning Nike products appearing on social media, Nike’s profits have actually gone up 31%. Whilst many have praised the company for its decision to support Kaepernick, there is still much to be said about corporations aligning themselves with social issues.

Home Secretary claims that UK will punish Novichok suspects if they leave Russia

Sajid Javid has announced that the UK will punish the two Russian suspects accused of conducting the Novichok attack in Salisbury if they leave Russia. After Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia became critically ill from poisoning back in March, it was soon discovered that the nerve agent Novichok was only available in Russia. This follows a statement by security minister Ben Wallace that Vladimir Putin holds the ultimate responsibility for the poisoning, as it is suggested that the suspects were merely following orders. Such events have led not only to the damaging of UK-Russia relations, but also deeper questions on the nature of spying and security carried out by both countries.

Trade Union Congress puts weight behind second EU referendum

In Brexit news, the TUC has announced that it would support a second referendum. If Theresa May does not provide a Brexit deal which favours and protects the rights of workers, the union has threatened to support the People’s Vote Campaign. This follows on from the GMB union head suggesting that a vote should be held on a final deal if a general election is not called in the meantime. The support of the unions is just the latest example of support for the People’s Vote Campaign, which began this summer and advocates for a second referendum on Brexit. Now there is continued pressure for Theresa May to act, with Brexit seeming more uncertain than ever.

#MeToo – is it too soon to start rehabilitating perpetrators?

The #MeToo movement, now nearly a year old, has now found itself in a difficult position. Louis C.K., accused of sexual misconduct by five different women, made his return to the comedy stage in New York just under ten months after being accused by the New York Times. His performance has led to many questions about how the #MeToo movement should handle rehabilitation, or whether rehabilitating careers is even possible. This follows on from the news that actress Asia Argento, an accuser of Harvey Weinstein, paid off her own accuser, leading many to ask if the movement had gone ‘too far’. These two developments have led to some uncomfortable questions about what happens next.

Labour adopts new anti-semitism definition in face of accusations

This week, after months of controversy following anti-semitism accusations in the Labour Party, it has been announced that Labour will adopt a new definition of anti-semitism, as set out by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, whilst Jeremy Corbyn apparently wished to allow an additional statement which was more lenient towards criticism of Israel. Not long after this, MP Chuka Umunna appeared to argue that Labour was ‘institutionally racist’, in light of the resignations of long-serving MPs John Ryan and Frank Field. It has become clear the anti-semitism debacle may continue for much longer.