Sunday, 26 February 2012

What Pokémon can teach us about politics

There are few worlds more pleasant than Kanto. The land of Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow was a land of innocent joy, of green forests and dark tunnels, mythical caves and pleasant sea-side towns. There is nothing so heart-warming as the ability to talk to every stranger, and to receive nothing but friendly advice in return. There can be no one who, having played the game, has not wished that Kanto were a real place. So what is it that makes Kanto so great, and what can we learn from it?

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Truth, lies and tall tales about "Work for your Benefits"

An in-depth investigation of Workfare

A spectre is haunting our futures – the spectre of unemployment. Most of us are soon-to-be graduates: some of us, inevitably, are the soon-to-be unemployed. With every month, increasing numbers of young people are finding themselves jobless, and increasing numbers are turning to the government for support.

But what kind of support do they receive? The “Work for your Benefits” scandal has filled the media with allegations and insinuations about the government’s treatment of the unemployed: is it supportive help or slave labour? As graduation day approaches, we all need to be aware of what is really going on; we need to be prepared for when unemployment comes for us.

Friday, 17 February 2012

The career advice scandal

How Imperial's Careers Advisory Service has been effectively privatised.

In my inbox last week, I received 12 emails from banks. “Come to our networking event!”, “Join our Graduate Recruitment scheme!”, “Apply for an internship!” For many students this would not be a problem, but for me it is. You see, I never wanted to be a banker, a consultant or a financier; I didn't seek the bland, high-earning, suit-wearing, BMW-driving life of the City worker. But with its daily banking emails, its entirely corporate careers fairs and its finance-focussed careers “guides”, life at Imperial started to alter my perceptions from my very first day.

For several months I completely forgot that jobs like teaching, journalism or charity work existed at all. Whenever I thought a non-corporate thought, another banking email or careers fair would come to the rescue to cleanse the dirty thought from my brain. I'm not sure when it occurred to me that I had been a victim of corporate marketing bollocks, but when I realised what had happened I was furious, and I decided to do some research. Here is the result: the story of how Imperial's Careers Advisory Service (CAS) has become susceptible to the influence of wealthy corporations.