The Weekly News Update

To keep up to date with all things news worthy follow us on twitter, @InsanityNews. You can also listen to our fortnightly news show What A Week Thursdays 6pm! If you missed this week’s show you can listen back on our Mixcloud. For quick news updates on the go; tune in at 12pm and 7pm daily for our bulletins.

In National News

What Would ‘no Brexit deal’ Look Like?

  • Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced that British farmers would produce more food themselves in the event of a no trade deal post Brexit.
  • Grayling’s comments are a response to industry claims that a no-Brexit deal could result in an average 22% tariff on all EU food bought by British retailers.
  • However, Grayling argues that a no-Brexit deal would force the British market to rethink.
  • It would force self-sustainability as supermarkets would buy more from home, benefitting British farmers.
  • This poses the risk of internal competitiveness and domestic producers could increase prices of household items.
  • Elsewhere, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond called the EU’s Brexit negotiators ‘the enemy’ which he has since described as ‘a poor choice of words.’
  • Earlier this week, Hammond was also criticised by a former chancellor for trying to sabotage negotiation talks.

Government Criticised over Universal Credit System.

  • The Government continues to face criticism from both Labour and Conservative MP’s with regards to the Universal Credit system.
  • The system aims to replace a series of current in and out of work benefits with a single benefits payment.
  • Controversy surrounds the rollout due to a series of errors and flaws. This includes a delay of up to 6 weeks for people moved onto the new system, resulting inability to pay rent and afford food.
  • Pressure on the Government has increased as Labour announces it has secured a vote on Universal Credit. A sizeable group of Conservative MP’s have indicated they will defy the Party and vote alongside Labour.

There’s a Storm Ahead:

  • The Met Office has announced an amber wind warning as 90 mph winds head towards the UK and North Ireland as category 3 Hurricane Ophelia approaches.
  • The peak of the winds will be on Monday between 3pm and 10pm, particularly affecting western parts of the UK.
  • The high temperatures over the weekend and the beginning of the forthcoming week are a result of Hurricane Ophelia forcing the warm air towards the UK.
  • The Republic of Ireland’s Met Office has issued a red warning for Wexford, Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Waterford.
Hurricane Ophelia news
Hurricane Ophelia approaching the UK CREDIT: EPA/NASA

In International News:

Austria Set To Elect The World’s Youngest Leader.

  • Sebastian Kurz served as Europe’s youngest-ever foreign minister, aged just 27.
  • Now aged 31, Mr Kurz is the leader of Austria’s conservative People’s Party, who are set to win the country’s general election.
  • Projections suggest they are set to win more than 31% but it is unclear which party will finish second.
  • Mr Kurz has focused his campaign on immigrant issues. He pledges to: shut down migrant routes to Europe, cap benefit payments to refugees, and bar immigrant benefits until they have lived in Austria for 5 years.
  • If Mr Kurz succeeds in the election he will be the world’s youngest national leader.

Trump Denounces Iran Nuclear Deal.

  • President Trump has announced he will not certify the Iran nuclear deal, alongside a review into the effectiveness of such a deal.
  • This has drawn significant criticism globally, with other countries pointing to the fact that an independent committee has found no evidence that Iran is attempting to bypass the conditions of the agreement.
  • The EU has stated that the US is not the only signatory to the Iran deal, and that they will continue to uphold the agreement in full.
Donald Trump news
Donald Trump’s speech on Iran included misleading and false claims. CREDIT: REX/Shutterstock/Rex/Shutterstock

Most Fatal Wildfires In Californian History Continue To Blaze.

  • Wildfires in California means the number of deceased continues to rise.
  • With 40 people dead and hundreds still missing, the six days of wildfires in the American state has been called ‘one of its greatest tragedies.’
  • Over 10,000 fire firefighters, 880 fire engines, 134 bulldozers and 14 helicopters continue to battle the 16 remaining blazes.
  • The fires spread so quickly and are so difficult to control because of the following reasons:
  • California had its hottest summer on record with less than 25% rainfall. This dried out vegetation, making it more  susceptible to wildfire.
  • The ‘Diablo Winds’ provided winds up to 70 mph which spread the flames faster than firefighters could tackle them.
  • California’s growing population meant that homes and other structures are increasingly built in ‘very high severity’ zones that are close to areas of woodland.

Terror Attack in Somalia

  • A bomb attack in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Saturday is now known to have killed at least 230 people.
  • It is the deadliest terror attack in the area since the Islamist al-Shabab group launched its insurgency in 2007.
  • It is not clear who staged the bombing, but Mogadishu is a target for al-Shabab militants battling against the government.
Civilians evacuating from Somalian explosion news
Civilians evacuate from the scene of the Somalian explosion CREDIT: REUTERS/FEISAL OMAR

In Entertainment News:

UK and New York Police Are Investigating a Number of Sexual Assault Allegations Involving Producer Harvey Weinstein.

  • The Metropolitan Police say he is accused of assaulting three women in separate incidents in London between the late 1980s and 2015. However, no arrests have been made.
  • The Hollywood film producer has ‘unequivocally denied’ any allegations of non-consensual sex.
  • More than twelve women – among them actresses Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rose McGowan and Cara Delevingne – have made accusations against him.
  • Weinstein has received more than 300 Oscar nominations and won 81.
  • Yet, on Saturday 14th October, the organisation behind the Oscars voted to expel Weinstein.
  • Weinstein’s wife, Georgina Chapman, has announced she has left the movie mogul following growing ‘unforgivable’ claims of sexual assault.
Harvey Weinstein and wife Georgina Chapman news
Harvey Weinstein and his fashion designer wife Georgina Chapman CREDIT: DANNY MOLOSHOK/REUTERS

General Election 8th June

On the 18th April 2017 Theresa May announced a snap election. On the 8th of June polls opened to the British public, allowing them to select a party to led us into the future of a nation away from the European Union.

May believed that the Conservative Party were in a position of strength that would win them a majority. Thus, she believed that she would have a better hand for negotiating a Brexit deal. However, the election resulted in a hung parliament, whereby no party received a majority. The Conservatives were the largest party but failed to achieve the 326 seats required for a majority government. The Conservatives lost 13 seats. Labour gained 30 seats. SNP lost 21 seats. The Liberal Democrats gained 4 seats. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) gained 2.


Notable Events of the Election Results:

  • Paul Nuttell stepped down as UKIP leader after the Party failed to win any seats.
  • Alex Salmond, who served as First Minister of Scotland from 2007 to 2014 lost his seat to the Conservative candidate.
  • Former Liberal Democrat leader nick Clegg lost his seat in Sheffield Hallam to the Labour candidate.
  • After a third recount, it was announced that labour had taken the Kensington seat from the Tories for the first time since the creation of the constituency in 1974.


What Happened After the Results were Announced?

Theresa May visited Buckingham Palace at 12:30 BST on the 9th of June to request permission to form a minority government. After prominent parties stayed true to their pre-election statements of not forming coalitions with the Conservatives, Theresa May turned to the DUP.


Any Questions:

More than 1600 people requested tickets to the BBC’s Any Questions scheduled on the 9th of June. However, only 300 were able to get tickets. The panel consisted of Jon Ashworth (Labour MP for Leicester South), Brandon Lewis (MP for Great Yarmouth), Tim Montgomerie (writer for The Times and creator of the ConservativeHome website) and Polly Toynbee (columnist for The Guardian and supporter of the labour Party).


Noteworthy Moments:

  • Brandon Lewis supported Theresa May’s decision to call for a snap election and even deemed it ‘necessary.’ He showed full support for May’s administration but also displayed hesitancy towards a DUP coalition.
  • Conservative Tim Montgomerie denounced Theresa May and her ‘failed vision’ of a new Conservative Party. Montgomerie stated that the Prime Minister and her advisers had made a mistake in calling the snap election without a manifesto. The political activist even went as far as to call for her to step down. Most memorable of the event was Montgomerie’s prediction for another election in the near future.
  • Jon Ashworth called the post-election Conservatives ‘weak and unstable’. Ashworth also stressed his concerns about the potential of a Conservative-DUP coalition. Ashworth stated that the uncertainty of this coalition was worrying but more importantly that the DUP did not represent the people of his constituency in Leicester South. Ashworth announced that at least with the 2010 Cameron-Clegg coalition the British public knew ‘what they were getting’ as the Liberal Democrat candidates had campaigned in his constituency and across the UK with a manifesto. However, Ashworth emphasised that DUP did not.
  • Polly Toynee commended Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for his success in gaining seats and in the party’s appeal to youths, despite the demonization in the press.


To hear the opinions of the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green Party candidates listen on the Insanity Radio News Mixcloud.
Disclaimer: All candidates from the Runnymede and Weybridge Constituency were invited to the Big Debate on Friday 26th May and to an interview with Insanity Radio afterwards. However, the Conservative candidate was unable to stay for the interview and the UKIP candidate could not attend either.

A Conversation with Sir Ben Kingsley

Tuesday 6th, Royal Holloway were fortunate enough to host a conversation with Oscar, Grammy, BAFTA and Golden Globe winner, Sir Ben Kingsley. His talent and popularity was shown in both the waiting list for the event and the number of individuals who brought books and films for Sir Ben to autograph at the meet and greet afterwards.

Despite, his overwhelming success with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and later within the film industry, Kingsley maintained an air of humbleness. Frequently, Sir Ben thanked his early work with the RSC for all the opportunities it provided him with. He then stayed to meet fans and answer any questions he had.

Kingsley’s acting career is immensely diverse; ranging from Shakespeare’s Twelfth night, the psychological thriller Shutter Island, Marvel’s Iron Man 3, his lead role in Gandhi and many more. However, the event hosted by Professor Robert Eaglestone and Professor Barry Langford, both members of Royal Holloway’s Holocaust Research Institute, focused on Kingsley’s involvement in the representation of the Holocaust. The night looked at his roles as Otto Frank in Anne Frank: The Whole Story and as Itzhak Stern in Schindler’s List, amongst others.

The Debate Over Representing the Holocaust

There is significant debate regarding whether it is moral or appropriate to attempt to portray the Holocaust on film. It is possible to accurately depict the horrors experienced? Will it desensitise us to human atrocities? How will Holocaust survivors feel about their stories being retold?

Originally, I too was amongst these skeptics. However, the Conversion with Ben Kingsley event began to reform my opinions. Perhaps with the right production, cast and research it would be possible, and an important tool in reminding forthcoming generations how important remembering the Holocaust is.
For me, the most harrowing part of the evening came from an anecdote Sir Ben told. Whilst filming Anne Frank: The Whole Story, a close friend of Otto Frank surprised Kingsley on set. After watching some of the filming his visitor commended Sir Ben Kingsley for bringing his dear friend to life. It was with the utmost sympathy, respect and caution that Kingsley approached his roles within Holocaust media.

In particular, his close relationship with Holocaust survivor and Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, allowed him to provide an authentic, emotional and personal portrayal in Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story.

Overall, the event was eye-opening and incredibly engaging. I heard nothing but praise for the actor and the event at the reception afterwards.

For further information on upcoming events look on Royal Holloway Holocaust Research Institute’s website or the Royal Holloway events page.