We've decided to shut down PartyHardPolitics.com. We’re sorry to see it go, but we've decided it’s… [more]
Posted by Phil Since the overthrow of the previous regime in 2011, Egypt has appeared to many… [more]
Posted by Phil Over the past few weeks, I have been in one of my favourite cities in the world,… [more]
Posted by Phil While the media concentrates on the ongoing demonstrations in Brazil… [more]
Posted by Phil Over the past few days, one of my former homes has been in the news rather a lot.… [more]
Posted by Phil The Keystone XL Pipeline Project is the name given to the proposed roughly… [more]
We’ve decided to shut down PartyHardPolitics.com. We’re sorry to see it go, but we’ve decided it’s time to let go of this website and move forward with future endeavors and passions.
But before we go offline, why not have one final look at what we did the past three years? What actually happened after PartyHardPolitics.com went live on a cold, blustery January day in 2011?
We could look back on our stats. Our website had over 25 writers from over 20 different colleges in its peak, spanning multiple continents and countries. The site boasts 549 individual posts, 4,816 comments, 930 tags, and 41 WordPress pages of content. Our most popular article garnered over 20,000 views, and our own David somehow managed to post a whopping 77 times.
We could also look back on our accolades and projects. We live-tweeted and live-blogged debates and speeches, were commented upon by CNN reporters, Congressmen, and a White House Press Secretary, put up numerous viral posts and hosted high-level discussions, and made waves on eminent news sites and papers, from POLITICO.com to The Hartford Courant. Heck, we even broke national news one time.
But much more important than these numerical and specific accomplishments is something else we did, something more abstract: we came together, young people across the country, across the globe even, from all sides of the political spectrum, looking for earnest and productive discussion. We shared our ideas, often off-the-cuff, in hopes that we could persuade and discuss and give our meager opinions a platform. We had no particular party line, no monetary motive. Our agenda was discussion. Our accomplishment was education. And, perhaps most important of all, we had fun.
Because looking back, maybe that’s the message we really wanted to get across. When most of our friends told us that politics was deadly dull, or worse, deadly serious, we wanted to offer an alternative. Of course politics is serious—it affects real people’s lives in meaningful ways. And of course politics can be dull—it turns out that the nitty-gritty details of policy are often the most decisive. But that doesn’t mean that engaging in politics can’t be fun, too. We aimed to show that side of politics—whether it was through our corny jokes (see: our website name), quixotic journalistic practices, impassioned debate, or hopeful attempts at writing something worth reading. If you ever found yourself enjoying our website, then perhaps we succeeded. Perhaps we showed that some young people do care about politics, and want to have a voice; one might even say we showed that they had fun doing it.
In the “About Us” section of our website, we described our unique philosophy: “We subscribe to a concept that politics is really just a couple wild parties—we’re here to guide you through one crazy night.” We’re sad to say the night is finally over, and it’s time to go to bed. But don’t worry—there will always be next weekend.
Since the overthrow of the previous regime in 2011, Egypt has appeared to many as the barometer of the Arab Spring. The thinking went that if the largest Arab country was moving in the right direction, then the overall trend in the region was probably moving towards safer ground. While not allowing for some differences within the Arab world, this thesis has some merit. Above all, by looking to Egypt we are able to see the true motivation behind the Arab Spring. Surprisingly considered the usual media commentary, the true motivation has nothing to do with democracy.
Over the past few weeks, I have been in one of my favourite cities in the world, Jerusalem. This ancient and spiritual place is unique. The passion, the hustle and bustle, and the way that the extraordinary is such a part of everyday life, combines to leave visitors absolutely breathless. This is my second time in Israel, having been here last in 2011.
Although much about this incredibly complex country remains the same, I find myself saying the same thing to myself almost every single day. Israel is happy.
While the media concentrates on the ongoing demonstrations in Brazil and Turkey, it is easy to forget that there is still a conflict raging in what used to be Syria. To think that the civil war has now been going on for 27 months is fairly mind-blowing. Day after day people are being driven from their homes, terrorized and worse. Looking at it from the comfort of your television in London or New York, it is easy to turn to your family and say ‘how horrible’ before switching off the TV and going to bed. The picture above, taken by a friend visiting northern Israel a few days ago is more difficult to switch off. Just a few miles from where she was enjoying the Israeli summer, Syrian children were cowering in the rubble of the city of Khan Arnebeh as the Butcher of Damascus enacted his grotesque revenge on a people yearning to be free.
For the people of Syria, the fighting does not end when the television is turned off.
Over the past few days, one of my former homes has been in the news rather a lot. Georgetown, a Jesuit Catholic university in Washington D.C. has been attacked ferociously by an alumnus, successful author William Blatty regarding the increasingly liberal stance it has taken on many issues. In turn, the Washington Post carried an op-ed in which another former student, Jason Steidl, defended the university for in his view teaching the true spirit of Catholicism.
This episode is but the next step in a rather important discussion which is long overdue in modern Catholicism. Many Catholic institutions, orders and indeed parishioners seem to be completely at odds with the leadership and hierarchy that is so central to their Church. From a host of social issues, to the role of women, the fractures within Catholicism – at least in the developed world – appear to be too fundamental to ignore.
While Steidl and others have made laudable arguments in favour of their preferences when it comes to how they practice their faith, the reality is they have become utterly divorced from the religion they claim to profess. It is time for them to accept that they appear to have accepted a silent Reformation and abandoned the Catholic Church for good.
The Keystone XL Pipeline Project is the name given to the proposed roughly 1,700 mile extension to the main Canada-US oil pipeline, designed to expedite the transport of oil from the tar sands of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico for distribution and refining. A hotly contested issue during the 2012 US Presidential campaign, the pipeline now largely has bipartisan support and President Obama has stated that he intends to push for completion as soon as possible.
Those who support Keystone XL claim that it will bring huge economic growth, both in short term job creation from the investment involved in building the pipeline and stations along the way, but also in terms of reduced energy costs through cheaper fuel. Opponents are often unfairly described as fringe environmentalists – as if the environmental repercussions were not potentially catastrophic – but also have concerns regarding the real economic worth of the proposal, as well as the rights of current landholders along the route.
Unfortunately, as happens all too often in American political debate, legitimate environmental concerns have been dismissed without explanation, and big oil is now heading for even bigger profit.
The shocking murder of a British serviceman on the streets of London this week has raised once again the specter of Islamic extremism and the threat it poses to the UK. Unfortunately, legitimate concern regarding terrorism is crowding out another significant discussion that needs to be had. While major Muslim organisations laudably condemned the attack swiftly and without qualification, few of the commentators have spent time considering the following: Are we doing enough for our men and women in uniform?
Posted by Phil
On January 29th 2013 I went to lunch with my mother at a small café near her work, which is contained within a bookshop. As most of the clientele are eating in a rush and alone, there are newspapers and magazines spread out on the tables. The one next to me was one of the supplements which come with The Guardian. I remember taking a photo and thinking that I would send it to the Editor after the next terror attack that would inevitably come. Instead, I want to use it to talk about the way that a coalition of Libertarians and Leftists are putting our lives in danger. I want to talk about the march of the cowards into the abyss, and their attempts to drag us all in with them.
The University of London Union is one of the largest student unions in the world. Taking into account all of the constituent colleges, it has a membership representing around 120,000 students. By uniting so many young people in the capital, ULU could be a force for positive engagement of students with politics as well as strengthening the services available to members across the city. Instead, it has become a corrupt, irrelevant den of dishonesty, obfuscation and bullying. With debates circling about the viability of ULU, it is time for the University of London to cut the Union off at the source; funding. In short, it is time that we let ULU go bankrupt.
Speaking to Bloomberg in a trailing article for their May issue that will cover the former Prime Minister, Tony Blair has come up with one of his characteristically modest statements about his own ability:
“Frankly, if I’d had a fourth election, I would have given Cameron a run for his money. I’m not saying I would have won, but it would have been tighter than it was.“
As an occasional defender of the legacy of the longest-serving Labour Prime Minister in history, it feels strange to critcise him all of a sudden. On this matter, however, Blair simply must stop with the delusions.