how university admissions could be changed

And all the other politics news you need to know, in a handy format.

by Marie Le Conte
|
21 August 2019, 3:57pm

Hi! Welcome back! It is August and the weather has been gross and absolutely nothing has been happening because it is August. Let’s run through the political stories of the past fortnight but don’t worry, we won’t keep you for long - there is... not a whole lot to talk about. But then again the next column will be in September and by that point the whole country may well be on fire so let’s enjoy the relative calm while we can. In Brexit Britain, no news definitely is good news. Anyway! Let’s go:

One thing that actually mattered
Speaking of which -- you know how Boris Johnson won the premiership on a platform of saying he wanted a deal with the EU but without the Irish backstop, which everyone said would not happen but he ignored that and long story short he’s now in Downing Street?

Well strap in, friends, because what happened earlier this week may come as a bit of a shock. Prime Minister Boris Johnson (yikes! still not used to it!) told the EU that he wanted a deal without the backstop and [drumroll] the EU said it would not take out the backstop.

The European Council and the EU Commission reacted to Johnson’s demand with what was effectively a long sigh, a large sip from a glass of strong liquor, and a “....for the thousandth time,”. So back to the drawing board it is. Woo.

One good thing that happened
The Labour party has announced that they would completely overhaul the university admissions system if they get into power. Under the new system, students would only apply to uni courses once they know what their grades are, which would put an end to the incredible faff of students not getting their predicted grades and having to come up with a last-minute plan B, as well as students not getting into top courses because their grades had been underestimated. This is a story on it if you would like to find out more, but from where we’re standing it feels like a solid idea.

It is obviously unclear whether it will actually happen, as for that we would need to have an election (which we may or may not have soon!) and Labour would either need to win an outright majority or get in a coalition with other parties who back the plans (who knows!!) but hey, it’s a good plan, so we’re not complaining.

One bad thing that happened
Home Secretary Priti Patel (yep, that’s not sunk in yet either) wants free movement to end on October 31 is the UK crashes out without a deal, which given what we’ve discussed above, feels preeeetty likely at the moment.

The original no-deal plan was to keep freedom of movement until later in 2020 but she simply loves hard borders so much that she doesn’t want that to happen, but the whole thing is pretty much guaranteed to be a mess.

For a start, EU citizens in the UK still have quite a long time to apply for their settled status, so by October 31 a lot of them may well end up in weird limbo, and have to keep proving that yes, they did move before Brexit, thank you very much.

This is obviously not great to start with, but given the hostile environment and recent Windrush clusterfuck, the Home Office truly does not have the best reputation regarding immigrants with a complex legal status, so shit may well be about to go down.

One puzzling thing that happened
On a related note, our close personal friends at the Home Office have also been busy on the domestic front, and decided that something had to be done about knife crime. Would you like to know what they decided to do about knife crime? They decided to spend over £57,000 (!) printing positive stories about young people who chose, say, boxing or singing over getting into knife crime (!!) on the inside of cardboard boxes in chicken shops (!!!).

Everyone was thrilled, as you can imagine, and black Labour MP David Lammy put it fairly well when he told the Guardian: “This ridiculous stunt is either explicitly racist or, at best, unfathomably stupid. I know it might cost a bit more time, effort and money, but I would love it if you would announce a programme of investment in our local communities instead of spending five minutes on a harmful gimmick”.

One person to watch
Okay, we’re going to cheat a bit with this one but it’s for a good cause. Labour commentator and activist Owen Jones was celebrating his birthday in a North London pub last weekend and, as he and his friends left, they were attacked by a group of men.

He was thrown to the floor and kicked in the back and head by the thugs, and his friends were attacked when they tried to help. The Met Police are looking into whether it was a hate crime, as Jones believes that they were far right activists, and the attack was deliberate.

In conclusion: everything is awful and scary, everyone be safe out there.

One word/phrase worth knowing
[leaves room]

[returns wearing suit precisely two sizes too large]

[adjusts broken glasses]

Friends, colleagues; it’s happened. The “yield” “curve” has “inverted”.

“What is is a yield curve?” I hear you ask. Well, according to Google, “a curve on a graph in which the yield of fixed-interest securities is plotted against the length of time they have to run to maturity”, obviously, you imbeciles, you complete morons*. And that curve on a graph in which the yield (etc.)? It has inverted. So that’s big news.

*No I have no idea what that means either, not even a tiny bit of an idea, and do you know how embarrassing it is to be writing an explainer, have to look for explainers on something you want to include in your explainer, then not even understand the explainer of the thing? Because I’ll tell you. It’s mortifying.

ANYWAY, from what I can tell it means that another recession may be on the way, which is bad news for all those stocks and savings that you have, right? Lol.