All entries for Tuesday 24 October 2006

October 24, 2006


Below is this week’s newsletter, written by our esteemed Chair, Joe. If you want anymore information about the society, check out the ‘About Us’ section above, and also feel free to email me (address also in ‘About Us’).

Meeting this week: Wednesday 2pm S0.13 (as per usual)


Firstly, to Hungry. The Commemoration of an attempted uprising against the communists in 1956 ironically turned into a riots as protesters against the government clashed with police. Over 1000 people were actively involved in the clashes. They stem from comments which came from the Hungarian Prime Minister who admitted that his socialist party lied again and again in order to win the election. What I wonder is; how far can people morally go in order protest? how far should people go to change a government?

Secondly, on Prisons. The prisons in the UK are reaching capacity (of around 80,00), now police cell! s have had to be drafted in to meet the gap (interestingly the last time this happened it cost £325 per person per night to keep them in the police cells – more than the Hilton costs!), the government is even considering resurrecting the idea of “prison ships”, which will hold prisoners off the coast. We can all agree that this situation is a bad thing (I would think…), but what is the best way to deal with this? One traditional response is to build more prisons, but does this help to reduce crime? If it doesn’t (which, to be fair, it doesn’t seem to be) then how can we best reduce crime and the prison population? Death, community based sentences, treatment, harsher treatment in prison – have your say.
The BBC has a special report on prisons at

Finally, smoking and the dangers it creates. An NHS trust has decided that people who smoke will not be! given life-changing operations (although essential eme! rgency t reatment will not be affected). Operations which will be affected include hip and knee operations. Smokers take longer to recover from operations and therefore cost the NHS more money, so this will be a good way of saving money, but Smokers have complained they are being discriminated against. Neil Rafferty, of the pro-smoking pressure group Forest, said: “This is blackmail, pure and simple. Smokers pay their taxes like everyone else. In fact, because of the very high duty on tobacco, they probably pay a lot more tax than the average person. They are entitled to free healthcare and health trusts do not have the right to make up conditions.” Does the NHS have the right to enforce these rules if other people who live dangerous life styles are still offered free treatment (like people who do extreme sports)? Or does the NHS have the right to protect its interests and force people to take actions which are sensible for themselves. (I know, it’s the Daily Mail – but this time they did genuinely have the best write up)

With thanks to Ceri on suggestions for stories. If you want any more info or have suggestions for the newsletters or society (you might even get your name here – wow! ) you can e-mail me at;
-Joe (the Chairman)

ICA: TV Guide – By Rose

Hungary 1956: Our Revolution (BBC4)
(24th Oct, 9.00pm-10.00pm)
This documentary recalls the Hungarian uprising of 1956, repressed by the Soviets and their collaborators. The film brings together the memories of a varied group of men and women who tell the story of 1956 from a personal point of view, recalling the drama of the events, how they affected them as people, and how they shaped the mood of Budapest as a whole.

This World: Iraq: A Doctor! ’s Story (BBC2)
(24th Oct, 9.50pm-10.30pm)
This documentary was filmed by an Iraqi doctor working inside the Al Yarmouk Hospital in Baghdad where every day at least 40 civilians are brought in with gunshot wounds or bomb injuries. It captures the fear and despair that pervade the city and reveals that some Iraqis would rather endure the known terror of Saddam Hussein’s regime than continue to suffer the current random violence.

Question Time (BBC1)
(26th Oct, 10.35pm-11.35pm)
The panellists include the former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Paddy Ashdown and the writer and broadcaster Janet Street Porter.

The Russian Newspaper Murders: Storyville (BBC2)
(30th Oct, 11.20pm-12.20am)
Documentary about the murders of six Russian journalists between 1995 and 2003 and the subsequent police investig! ation which some, including human rights lawyer Karen Nersisyan have seen as a cover up.

EU Immigration

The government today have decided to apply restrictions on immigrants from Bulgaria and Romania when the countries join the EU in the New Year. In the plans, the immigration policies of the two countries will remain, to all intensive purposes, exactly the same as they are now. The only effective alteration will mean Romanian and Hungarian tourists will be allowed to travel without a visa.

This is in stark contrast to the last enlargement where TEN countries joined, and no restrictions were imposed. The Daily Mail et al. had a field day then showing ‘hoards’ of Poles swarming the immigration centre in Warsaw. (They didn’t mention that the place had been shut for many days before and this was simply the backlog.) Some time after this it was reported on the ‘devastating’ effect of the ‘600,000’ new immigrants had arrived. (Again, not mentioning that over half had already left to go back home.)

NEWSFLASH: EU enlargment didn’t bring the country to it’s knees, the street corners aren’t full of eastern european prostitutes.. For god’s sake, find some real news..

Sorry..went on a bit of a tangent there..Going back to the topic in hand.. It strikes me as odd that no ‘restricitons’ were placed on the last 10 countries that joined (remebering they all joined at once), and now we seem to pick on Romania and Hungary.

I want to know what position the country I live in takes. Do we support a liberal, free EU market (which must include the free movement of labour), or are we going down the line of crude nationalism and market protectionism. At the moment, we seem a bit schizophrenic, although I guess that’s politics for you.

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