Interview: Fiona Edwards, The Students Assembly

On 19 November, members of The Students Assembly will march into central London in protest against the coalition government’s higher education policies. Building on the momentum created by last month’s Trades Union Congress (TUC) anti-austerity demonstration, their banners will read: ‘Free education: No cuts. No fees. No debt.’ Here, speaking to Loudhailr, The Student Assembly’s Fiona Edwards talks about tuition fees, student politics and the forthcoming demonstration:

What do you think of UKIP?

Whether you love or hate UKIP, here is a minute-long vox pop video I filmed last week about the polarising right-wing party. If you have any views about UKIP, please do comment below.

Newsnight: Paxman & Hitchens

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An artist’s portrayal of Christopher ‘Hitch’ Hitchens when he was (or seemed to be at least) in somewhat better health.

 
Christopher Hitchens and Jeremy Paxman, though at different ends of the political spectrum, are two of my modern-day journalistic heroes. Besides their political differences, both of them are incredibly well-read, supremely witty and, above all, fiercely intelligent. In this Newsnight interview, dating back to November 2010, just over a year before Hitchens died (quite suddenly, actually) from cancer-induced pneumonia, you can see how much Paxman—so widely renowned for his acerbic, no-nonsense tongue—respects the man sat before him. Addressing Hitchens’s poor health, Paxman holds his left hand for most of the interview just in front of his mouth. His pose almost makes you think that Paxman is restraining himself, not wanting to enter into a debate with Hitchens, who was always a superb orator. To power-phrase Sir Bob Geldof writing about his daughter Peaches four months ago, saying ‘was’ only serves to sadden me afresh.
 

Video: David Simon on Margaret Thatcher & Drugs

The decriminalisation of drugs is one of the most contentious issues in the modern world, one that instigates debate in United Nations Conferences, local pubs, government cabinets and committees, school classrooms, local pubs – any place in which people are prepared to share their opinion(s). Following my article on the subject (‘Should Drugs Be Decriminalised?), here is an interview with David Simon, creator of The Wire, a television series in which drugs were actually decriminalised, that appeared in The Guardian on May 25th, 2013. With drugs, specifically the American war on drugs, forming the crux of The Wire – each season adopts a different viewpoint in regard to how they infiltrate each part of Baltimore’s society, the city in which the series is based – Simon has clearly given the issue some considerable thought over the past decade. Indeed, he argues what is perhaps the most controversial point of view in the drug-decriminalisation debate, suggesting that the war on drugs, via the consistent condemnation of the lower classes for drug-related crimes over the past half-century, has become a class war – a war, in other words, of rich against poor.