Posts Tagged ‘Ian Silvera’

Equal pay for the under 21s – it’s only fair

12/02/2011, 10:30:33 AM

by Ian Silvera

Consider the example of two workers: Bill and Ben. Ben receives £59.30 in return for his ten hour shift at the local restaurant. In contrast, Bill receives £49.20 for the same shift at the same restaurant. Now, ask yourself would the £10.10 difference be justified if the workers were members of a different sex? Surely, you would answer “no”. Equally, ask yourself would the £10.10 difference between the workers be justified if the workers were members of a different race? Again, you would answer “no”. You answer no because discrimination is wrong. It contradicts your belief in equality, justice and fairness. So why, today, is pay inequality legally accepted?

When New Labour gained office in 1997, it was on a mandate of fairness and equality. Gone were the 80s, a decade marked for the repulsive worship of money. In 1999, Tony Blair’s government introduced the minimum wage. The £3.60 minimum, rising, eventually, to £5.93 over the years, was hailed as a great success for social justice. The poorest were being brought out of poverty with pride. (more…)

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What video game characters would our political leaders be?

26/01/2011, 11:30:58 AM

by Ian Silvera

As a gaming enthusiast, I welcomed the news that 16 MPs from across the political divide attended the recent Parliamentary games day. But putting the joystick in their hands is all very well. What would happen were they on the other side of that screen? What video game characters would our political leaders be?

Ed Miliband – Gordon Freeman in Half-Life

Caricatured as a political geek with Machiavellian undertones, the leader of the opposition could be mistaken for the main protaganist in the Half-Life series. A stereotypical “geek” complete with thick-rimmed glasses and a PhD in theoretical physics, Gordon Freeman is a hero in gaming circles. His appeal? Not your typical gun-toting, alien killing, muscle-bound gym monkey, Freeman is a cool, calculated killer who would certainly approve of Mr Miliband’s rise to power. Like his equivalent at the dispatch box, while sometimes quiet and unseen, when Freeman does speak, it is usually notable and damning. With this in mind, like Freeman, it would be dangerous to think of Miliband as a shrinking violent. Personal attacks will not stop this ambitious man’s progress. (more…)

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Even Santa is not what you think

26/12/2010, 01:00:35 PM

by Ian Silvera

Christmas is a holiday dedicated to a mythical event in the middle-east. Not Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, but the birth of Jesus of Nazareth our Lord Saviour and the main idol of the Christian religion.

The exchange of Christmas cards, cheap alcohol, mistletoe, nativity scenes and awkward reunions with unknown older relatives are mandatory throughout the festive period. I am a cultural Christian over Christmas. A champagne atheist. That is, I take part in the Christmas celebrations even though I know that the religious side of proceedings is nonsense.

Christmas is an uneasy mix of cultural events, religious and pseudo-religious beliefs. The use of an evergreen coniferous tree as a festive ornament originates from pre-Christian Europe. The Norse pagans were probably the first to use a Christmas tree this way. There is a debate over the specifics of its origin: the worshiping of oak trees complemented the pagans’ beliefs, which centred on worshipping nature. With the advent of winter, the pagans believed that dark spirits would enter the forests in Europe. In order to combat these magical forces they used mistletoe and holly to ward off the spirits. Moreover, during the winter solstice, when winter is at its darkest, the pagans would make sacrifices to their god Jul, which became Yule. And now the pagan god has a piece of confectionary named after him. And they brought evergreen trees into their houses, in an attempt to promote good spirits. (more…)

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Sorry, you have the wrong genitals: young Labour’s new election policy.

23/12/2010, 12:00:25 PM

by Ian Silvera

Recently, I received a letter from young Labour, Labour’s youth wing. Nothing new, I thought, probably trying to promote another public affairs event with the persuasive allure of free tea and biscuits. However, my inclinations were wrong. I had been asked, with thousands of other members, to consider taking part in the party’s youth elections. The particular election that stood out to me was the regional representative election. I was elated that I had been given an opportunity to represent my home region, the West Midlands, on young Labour’s national committee.

Alas, in the rest of the letter I was presented with some bad news. Although I had a gender – “there are rules relating to gender” – my gender was the wrong one. I have a penis. Apparently, the letter explained, Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) has agreed that half the regions will be required to elect women and the other half will be open to men and women. Skilfully, the NEC has alienated roughly half of their young members (the ones with penises) in the following regions: East Midlands, Eastern, London, South East, West Midlands and Yorkshire. (more…)

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