‘These are not the MPs you’re looking for…’

Ever wished you could just wave your hand and do a Jedi mind-trick on someone? Well if anyone has managed to succeed, can they please do something about David Cameron?

This morning, Twitter was going BANANAS about the Government Reshuffle. The first piece of news I heard was amazing – Michael Gove was gone! The Education Secretary was being demoted to the Chief Whip. No longer would he be able to fuck around with the education of the future generations. His ideological stance hasn’t been popular with teachers, and he was a goner. 

Then other bits of news starting coming in. Gove’s replacement would be Nicky Morgan, currently the Minister for Women. More women in Government is to be commended, but Morgan will still be Minister for Women, at the same time as Secretary of State for Education. AND she’s been given an expanded portfolio as the Minister for Equalities role has been combined with the Women’s minister role. So Morgan will be doing three jobs in one. Three quite large jobs. Add to this the fact that Morgan voted AGAINST Equal Marriage, and we’ve got a messy situation. I’m even beginning to think she’s deliberately been set up to fail.

I am a cynic, I admit it. 

I don’t trust the Tories, either. 

Cameron has been accused of being surrounded by his Eton cronies since he became Prime Minister in 2010.  Everyone has said that there are not enough women in Parliament, and not enough women in the Cabinet. So in what is probably the final major reshuffle before the General Election in 2015, Cameron finally promotes a number of women.

Does it matter why he has done it though? Maybe. Maybe not. I am more concerned with the ramifications of giving ministers too much work to do. 

I don’t think any one person can manage the portfolio of three others and come out looking like a winner.

There’s also the representational element to look at. Morgan is a privately educated, white, cis-gendered, heterosexual (anti- Same-sex marriage) woman. She’s more than qualified to represent women, and I wouldn’t want to try to suggest she shouldn’t be doing that. I do question the ability of someone who hasn’t been through the state education system, trying to manage it. I question someone who doesn’t believe in equal rights for all being responsible for Equality issues in government. 

I question why, knowing these facts, the Prime Minister has promoted her to this mammoth task.

She isn’t the only questionable appointment, either.

Philip Hammond becomes Foreign Secretary. Hammond is most definitely a Euro-sceptic.

Priti Patel joins Treasury team. Patel is pro-Capital Punishment. 

Ken Clarke is out. He’s famously pro-European.

Stephen Crabb becomes Minister for Wales. He’s kinda anti-devolution [But he’s got a beard, and that’s important apparently. Also he’s handsome. Allegedly]

This whole reshuffle seems slightly askew. We are still in the shadow of the UKIP gains in the Regional and Euro Elections.

Much surge. Such right. And just before the General Election…


I’ve got a bad feeling about this.


End of Chapter One

So yeah, I graduated this week.

It actually happened.

I stood patiently, then walked across a stage in front of about 800 people, shaking the VC’s then the Chancellor’s hand.

Then a few minutes later, I went back out onto that stage and I delivered the Vote of Thanks on behalf of all of the students from the faculty of Education and Society.

Here’s a pic of me on the big screen:


I don’t know how it happened. I mean, it’s me.
At school, I was always in the school plays. I even played Sir John Lambton in a pageant. Then my depression hit me in my late teens, and I lost all of my confidence.

I always say I came to uni accidentally, but maybe it was just destiny. I don’t know. Whatever happened though, I can now say that not only did I graduate with a 2:1 in BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing but I also gave a speech at my graduation.

I was massively surprised to be asked. I’m known as a bit of a gobshite; someone who has an opinion on everything, and doesn’t keep it to himself. Over the years, I’ve learned not to care too much about what most people think. I can even speak to strangers (although, I am exceptionally awkward). This obviously helped at Uni, and I’ve often found myself being the only one answering questions in class. So everyone knows that if you get me ranting, I can go on. And on. And on…
This is why I was surprised when I was asked to give the Vote of Thanks at the Graduation ceremony. The Powers That Be trusted me not to make a dick of myself by ranting about the difference in the highest and lowest earners at the Uni.

So I set to writing an honest thank you. Thanking the people who made a difference. Those who added to our time at uni. Those who made sure we graduated.

I’ve met some amazing people at uni, and I think I’ll write a blog post specifically about this part of uni. Check back soon!!

Here’s a transcript of my speech, if anyone is interested:

Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Chairman

On behalf of the students sat in front of us today, along with those couldn’t make it, it is my honour to be able to give thanks to the staff members who have taught us, and supported us, in our time at University.

At University we often hear, or are told about, the importance of the Student Voice. That voice is often a critical one, but it should also be used to give praise and thanks wherever and whenever possible.
First of all, I would like to thank the teaching staff.
University is not, as some often think, a job-factory.
It is a place for us to increase our knowledge.
A place to read and appraise.
A place to learn.
It is the teaching staff who are at the forefront of that mission.
They are the ones who turn up, while we are laid in bed with the worst kind of hangover.
They are the ones who grant us those last minute extensions.
They are the ones who give us the feedback which helps us improve our marks (leading to celebrations and more hangovers).
There is a reason why the teaching staff from this faculty have won so many Teaching Awards in the past three years, and that’s because they are fantastic.
Quickly, on behalf of my fellow Creative Writers and the English students as a whole, thanks to Father Colin Younger and of course Doctor Alison Younger. You really taught us to seize the day… Thank You.
Behind the teaching staff, we must thank the likes of Anne Lambton, Team Leader for Combined Studies and Steve Watts, Head of the Department of Culture, both of whom have provided immeasurable support, directly and indirectly, to countless students.
I would like to thank Steve in particular, as if it were not for him interceding on my behalf, I would not be in attendance today.
It is of course not only the academic staff who provide support at University.
The staff in the Student Support department give advice and practical help on a daily basis and deserve all of our thanks and praise. Thanks to Student Support, no student is left behind.
Our own families and friends give a level of support which cannot be underestimated, and so I would like to take this opportunity to thank those at home who give us moral and often much needed financial help. Please continue. We’ll always need you.
It would be remiss of me not to take this opportunity to thank the staff and officers of our Students’ Union. They have been my best friends, my University family, and I will forever be grateful.
There are many more people who deserve thanks, but we have celebrations to get to, so I would like to finally thank you, my fellow students. We did this.
We have been there for each other, and hopefully will stay in touch for many years to come.
As we all look to that exciting new future, the University’s Alumni Association will be working hard to maintain contact with all graduates, so let’s keep in touch through our online community at http://www.sunderland.ac.uk/alumni (can you tell I was asked to mention this?)
I would like to leave you with a slightly edited quote from Doctor Seuss:
be your name Karen or Sarah or Claire
or Stephanie, Ali , Empress Ellie, Okay?
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!
Once again, thank you all…

It was made even more special that it was in front of my little Mam:


And the awesome lasses from the SU Hub:


I’m looking forward to getting the DVD, so I can sink a few bevvies and watch it back. I don’t remember any of it, I was so nervous.

I think my only regret is not mentioning my role as LGBT Officer, and President of the LGBT Society. I’m proud, and I should have shown that.

Amazing experience though. If anyone gets the chance, do it! Excellent way to end three years of uni…

Now if only I hadn’t got drunk afterwards, and locked lips with someone I really shouldn’t have…