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February 07, 2008

Students should be more worried about their Civil Liberties than Terrorism– David Davis MP

After the recent revelations regarding the forbidden bugging of Labour MP Sadiq Khan, and the government’s push to raise the terrorist detention limit to 42 days, RaW news has been speaking to the Conservative and Lib Dem Shadow Home Secretaries to tell us why they believe that raising the limit above 28 days is wrong, and why they opposed ID cards. We have also been looking at the reasons behind the government’s attempt to infringe on civil liberties for needs of security.

The government has been under pressure from the police to raise the time in which terrorist suspects can be detained without charge, which has slowly risen from 3 days, to 14 days, and now to 28 days. At the end of the Tony Blair’s premiership, the government tried to push through 90 days, but this led to Labour’s first Commons defeat. As a result, they have now reduced their demands and in the new Counter Terrorism bill, they low want 42 days after they bargained down from an earlier position of 56 – this has led to accusations of indecisiveness,… and confusion. However, the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said to her defence, “We have listened to the concerns of community groups and others and the proposals brought forward today aim to strike the right balance between the need to protect human rights and ensuring police have the powers they need, when they need them, to tackle terrorism.” Yet, this still has little impact on the views of the suspected 38 Labour rebels, who will be able to bring about another government defeat if they combine forces with the opposition.
David Davis Speaking to RaW News
The police have argued that they need these extra powers so that they can collect more evidence in order to prosecute terrorist suspects. It will then supposedly enable them to prevent more terrorist attacks. However, the opposition and a some parliamentary committees have argued that they
can already use the Civil Contingencies Act to detain suspects in exceptional circumstances.

As for ID cards, the main legislation to make them compulsory has been passed, but it will need further government action for introduce them for all citizens in 2012. From 2010, if you need to renew your passport, you will have to get an ID card at the same time which will contain biometric data. With the recent disk fiasco when details of 25 million people were lost by a government department, support for ID cards has dropped from 80% of the population to about 48%. The government has said that they still want to introduce them, but according to a Home Office Minister, it will be unlikely that we will need to carry one for another several years – perhaps another move away from Blair’s legacy which Gordon Brown may be hoping to dismantle, or an attempt to remove the largest dividing line between Labour and the Opposition parties.

The issue of ID cards and detention without trial is on of Liberty vs. Security. There is in fact a group run by Shami Chakrabati called Liberty, which campaigns to protect basic rights and freedoms through the courts, in Parliament and in the wider community. It does this through a combination of public campaigning, test case litigation, parliamentary lobbying, and policy analysis. They are the lobby group which has been most vocal on the side of the opposition. The government, on the other hand have been supported by the police, most prominently the Met. Commissioner Sir Ian Blair.

This week,we went to London to speak exclusively with David Davis MP, the Conservative Shadow Home Secretary, and former Warwick student, to hear his views on the recent events. We interviewed him in his office adorned with pictures of the Liberal Prime Minister William Gladstone, something which was a bit of a shock considering that he is always painted as a great right winger. He said that students should be more worried about their civil liberties in the future, rather than the terrorist threat.

Listen to the edited down interview here:

You can listen to the full interview here (includes a question about whether he believed he was a liberal and his view on MP – Constituent confidentiality):

Before interviewing David Davis, we spoke to Chris Huhne, the Lib Dem Shadow Home Secretary to hear his views on the matter. Like David Davis, he came second in his party’s leadership battle and has ended up shadowing Jacqui Smith. Interestingly, Chris Huhne said that he adrmired David Davis’ liberal traits, whilst David Davis said at the end of the interview that he quite liked Chris Huhne too. He was concerned that Britain was sleepwalking into a surveillance society.

Click here to listen

We tried to speak with the government but they did not have anyone available.

You can also listen to our exclusive interviews with Dominic Grieve MP, the Education Officer at the National Theatre, and Ed Vaizey MP next Friday on RaW News Insight at 5pm. Please leave your comments below.

Sam Shirley
Head of News

May 31, 2006

The AUT Strike: An independent view

Why's the lecturers' strike still continuing and who is to blame? RaW News has spoken to the Guardian's Education Correspondent, Matthew Taylor, and according to him the Universities are behind the problems that students are facing, but the Unions' claims for 23% aren't genuine.

Listen to the full interview on the RaW News Podcast and keep up–to–date with all the latest on the lecturers' strike.

Don't forget we've got a one–hour special tomorrow at 5pm, where we'll be looking at all sides of the debate and assessing how badly students have been affected.

P.S. We've got Anne-Marie Greene from the AUT on tomorrow's show. She'll be telling us why the Unions feel they need to strike, how she's reading the comments on Warwick Blogs and why they've not put the current offer to members.

Latest on the AUT Strike

The AUT look set to continue their strike action, having rejected an offer put to them by universities yesterday.

The "best and final offer" (which would result in a rise of 13.12% over three years) was conditional on the Unions calling off their 'action short of a strike' and putting the offer to its members.

Not wanting to agree to such a deal, it seems the AUT will formally reject the deal later today.

The result for students is that a deal seems further away than ever. More negotiations are unlikely to begin for at least a week, and then concluding a deal could take as long again.

It seems increasingly unlikely that graduations will go ahead in their traditional form. Instead, the university is likely to have to carry out their contingency plan which would see 'unclassified degrees' being awarded.

May 30, 2006

Union EGM: The Motion

Well, the Union still haven't uploaded the EGM policy yet, so here it is in full:

This Union Notes:

1. The current action short of a strike called by the Association of University Teachers (AUT), and their call for better pay

2. University and College Employers Association (UCEA)

3. That University funding will increase by 25% over the next 3 years as a direct result of Top–Up fees

4. The policy passed by Union Council in Term 2 2006, in support of the AUT

5. That the National Union of Students have taken a stance to support the AUT in their call for better pay and in their action, with the exception of the exam setting boycott which the NUS does not support.

6. The considerable amount of extra stress that students are experiencing at an already stressful time of year, as a result of the current pay dispute.

7. That an agreement between UCEA and the AUT will bring an immediate end to the industrial action

8. That Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for Education, described the state of academic pay as a “very serious and deep seated problem” (noted in House of Commons transcripts – Hansard)

9. Academic recruitment is an international market, and that lecturers in many fields can move away from UK Universities and from academia in general to be paid significantly more immediately

This Union Believes:

1. That the situation where academic staff are forced to withdraw their labour should never have been allowed to arise.

2. That the withdrawal of labour by academic staff is having a devastating effect on students

3. That low pay for staff has a negative impact on student learning

4. If we sort out academic pay now we will prevent action in the near and foreseeable future

5. That students deserve properly paid, better motivated, and more committed lecturers

6. That by paying academic staff competitively, Universities will be able to attract and keep high quality academics

7. That the Universities have to power to end this dispute now and that by using stalling as a negotiation tactic they have harmed students

8. That putting pressure on the Universities, in a coalition with the AUT, is the fastest way to end the dispute

9. That taking action short of a strike was the last resort for the AUT

This Union Resolves:

1. To continue to support students by:

  • Providing the facility for students to complain to the University, to UCEA, and to the government on the Union Website
  • Making graduate recruiters aware of the situation, and seeking their reassurance that students with partial transcripts will not be penalised
  • providing updated information about the dispute as and when it happens, via flyers, posters, leaflets, and on the Union website.
  • Providing specialist support and help for individual students from the Education Officer, the Welfare & Equal Opportunities Officer, and from the Advice and Welfare Service

2. To continue to put pressure on all parties to SORT IT OUT as soon as possible

3. To continue to support the AUT, excluding their exam boycott.

4. To continue to work with the University to limit the damage to current students, especially by doing the following:

  • Making sure that students will graduate, and that they will be provided with as much of a completed transcript as possible when they leave University
  • Calling on Universities to take special measures to meet the specific needs of international students.
  • Putting pressure on the University to make sure that appropriate people mark students’ work and that where necessary this is the academic who set it.
  • Putting pressure on Universities across the world to not penalise students entering PG courses with partial transcripts
  • Making sure that all students effected by the dispute are given a letter from the Vice Chancellor to take to their future employer etc explaining the situation

5. To hold a “SORT IT OUT” demonstration in week 9, not supporting any party, expressing student disgust at the situation!

6. To call on UCEA to put an end to the dispute over lecturers pay and restore the full educational experience that students deserve at this important time.

7. To lapse policy 638 “Supporting the Lecturers Strike”

Note that the policy hasn't been through Steering yet, and so is not final.

April 27, 2006

RaW News: Insight – LIVE NOW

On tonight's RaW News: Insight at 5pm tonight:

  • Kat Stark and the AUT Strike
  • Exeter University tell us how the strike's affecting them
  • Warwick World Cup
  • And all the latest headlines

Listen to RaW by clicking here!

February 15, 2006

Fancy being important?

Are you at a loose end for the next....12 months?
Fancy running the best news team in the world, ever*!

RaW News needs a new News Editor, or else I'll have to do it until the Summer. And that'd be crap. For you. And for me.

So pull your finger out and do something cool!


February 01, 2006

Student Union Elections

What do you make of the candidates!!??

RaW would like to know your opinions in advance of this weekend's The Big Decision, to be broadcast from 5pm on Saturday.

Who do you intend to vote for?
What do you make of the candidates?
Are you bothered!?

Leave your comments on this blog, and we'll use them to find out how popular the candidates are. You might even get invited to speak on RaW.

And make sure you tune in, online or on 87.7FM, this Saturday from 5pm until 1am.

January 27, 2006

Listen again…

You can listen again to last night's Insight here:

Download Insight

Listen to the rest of Best of the Blogs, and hear about the latest news on the Christian Union, Simon Hughes and Palestine.

And don't forget to tune into the Big Decision next Saturday at 5pm!

January 26, 2006

What's Best of the Blogs?

Every week, RaW News: Insight does 'Best of the Blogs'
It's our review of who's been the best commentator on the Blogs this week. You can hear the full details on tonight's programme (5pm on RaW 87.7FM), but here's what you've been saying about George Galloway this week:

Listen to Best of the Blogs, 26th January

January 24, 2006

On tonight's RaW News…

In 25 minutes time…

– Honest reporting or 'reckless journalism'? Was the Boar's reporting of a stabbing in the Union accurate or alarmist?
– The Arctic Monkeys break HearSay's prestigious record
– And we'll have all the details of What's On tonight.

Tune in to the new-sounding RaW News. At 5pm.

Listen Online

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