EU Referendum

At school we’re going to have our own EU Referendum vote on 23rd June.

Do you know if you’re going to vote to remain in the EU or leave it?

If you’re undecided, here are some easy links to help you understand all the pros and cons:

  • Newsround is often a good place to start if trying to get your head round a difficult topic. It has a few useful pages to help you understand the topic.
  • Most news websites have special sections dedicated to the EU referendum. When you’re reading be aware of possible bias as most newspapers have an opinion of whether Britain should stay or go. The Guardian tries to shine a light on some of the claims made by Brexit or Remain groups. The Independent has plenty of articles about the division currently faced by the people of Britain. The Daily Mail has numerous articles too, though it’s less easy to find them all in one place, you’ll have to search for them. The Daily Mirror is my last link for you, with a plethora of articles and even a quiz for you to fill in so you can find out whether you should vote remain or leave.

Norway Murderer Wins Human Rights Case

This is a Human Rights case which really makes you think about what is morally right: should someone who has taken so many people’s lives away by killing them indiscriminately receive the same human rights as others?

It was five years ago that Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik killed dozens of young political activists who were meeting on a Norwegian island and killed eight further people in a car bomb in Oslo. Well today he won part of a human rights case against the Norwegian state. In class we talk about how human rights were first made into legislation with the UDHR – Universal Declaration of Human Rights, by the United Nations and were then filtered down to a European and National level of law. It was the European Convention on Human Rights which Breivik believed he was being denied, and the this is also what the court agreed.

In article three of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) it is required that prisoners be detained in conditions that did not exceed the unavoidable level of suffering inherent in detention, given the practical requirements of the particular case. The court upheld Breivik’s claim that some of his treatment amounted to “inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. The judge Helen Andenaes Sekulic said the right not to be subjected to inhuman treatment represented “a fundamental value in a democratic society” and also applied to “terrorists and killers”. Do you agree?

Breivik, a right-wing extremist, killed dozens of young centre-left political activists in an attack on the island of Utoya in July 2011. Earlier that day, he set off a car bomb in the capital, Oslo, killing eight people.

Where’s our sympathy towards Turkey?

First there was this cartoon by a French artist to show solidarity with Belgium after this week’s terrorist attack.


Then came another version of this cartoon which questioned why nobody was showing such solidarity with Turkey…

turkey too

It does seem unfair that when there is a terrorist attack right on our doorstep, Paris and now Brussels, our Prime Minister speaks out and famous landmarks get lit up in a nation’s colours to show our sympathy. But when a country that little bit further away is attacked repeatedly it goes largely unnoticed.

“La plume est plus forte que l’epee”

There is so much in the news right now about the Charlie Hebdo journalists being attacked and killed, and how Muslims feel about their faith and especially the prophet Mohammad being satirised.

There has been horrendous loss of life and today more danger unfolds with hostages being taken in a kosher supermarket in France.

pens versus terrorist

Questions of freedom of speech, religious beliefs, multiculturalism, terrorism and how people respond to safety threats – all issues which we study in GCSE Religious Studies. Watching the scenes in Paris not only makes me fear for the safety of loved ones, creates anguish when I consider the families who’ve lost their soul mate, parent or child, but also immediately makes me want to learn more about the world and where we live.

An interesting article on the BBC debates the origins of the famous phrase “the pen is mightier than the sword”.

Another BBC article ponders how well Islam has integrated in Europe.


Meanwhile comments by British politicians about the risk of similar terrorist attacks in Britain also allude to the need for our secret services and police to have more power. It is always worth keeping eye on when there seems to be a promotion of stronger police powers and less liberty for the people.

Charlie-Hebdo- not afraid

Then with all the fear and shocking news coverage, perhaps we should take time to give names and identities to the dead, learn something about them, what made them tick, what drove them to make risky decisions in the name of freedom of speech. The Guardian reports about Georges Wolinski and interviews his daughter.