6 May 2020

The History and Politics Society: third year to fifth year boys, is busy working on articles for the soon to be published History and Politics Magazine which will be sent electronically to all parents.

Below are some gems on Donald Trump, Norse mythology and newspaper bias in the UK press. They offer an interesting preview of content to come when the magazine is published online.

Trump: Should he be removed from office? by Jonathan Evans, Third Year

Editor’s note: this article was written well before the global Covid-19 pandemic.

When Trump came into office he wasn’t the most popular with the people but with the election system being practically the same as Britain, Hilary Clinton won more of the popular vote by around 3,000,000 but in bigger states the vote is worth more than smaller states. (eg: Florida, Rhode Island). In the end Trump won the Electoral College vote by 304 to 227 and got into office. Many people have said he has done things that he shouldn’t have done in the first place and I will look at where it has gone wrong and how he has been known to people as a demagogue.

Recently, Trump was impeached over allegations he improperly sought help from Ukraine to boost his chances of re-election. So what is impeachment? For impeachment to happen there are two stages. Firstly, the House of Representatives (equivalent to our House of Commons but with 435 people) have a vote on whether the President should be impeached. This did happen and Trump was formally impeached but this doesn’t mean he is removed from office. The next stage is for the Senators (equivalent of our House of Lords but with only 100 people) to vote and for Trump to be completely removed from Office there has to be a ⅔ majority in favour for Trump to be removed. It never really looked likely as no US President has ever been removed from Office. So why did this impeachment happen? I am going to explain what caused the trigger.

Since the 2016 election the Democrats have never really accepted the result and have always wanted Trump out. They have been waiting for Trump to make a mistake or something that comes under an impeachable offence. Under the US written Constitution there are only three ways that Trump could be impeached; “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanours”. The Democrats accused Trump of high Crimes and Misdemeanours in relation to his dealings with Ukraine. They alleged Trump of trying to gain information about Biden’s business in Ukraine. Mr Trump and his supporters had accused Mr Biden of abusing his power to pressure Ukraine to back away from a criminal investigation that could implicate his son, Hunter, who worked for a Ukrainian energy company. Many people said this allegation was false. Then Trump asked the Ukrainian President to investigate the Bidens and the accusation of the Democrats is that he made US support conditional on the investigation. Trump strongly denied any linkage between the two issues.

Although there was evidence that Trump had a conversation where he implied that there would be no military aid unless there was an investigation into the Bidens, the Republicans were able to argue that this was not sufficient to impeach him. In a way the Democrats would have had a stronger case had they argued that the President’s conduct amounted to treason. This is because the US wanted to help Ukraine to calm the threat of Russian aggression. This would mean that Trump is going against the interests of the American people and Western society.

Ultimately, impeachment is a highly political act so to succeed the Democrats would not only have to control both the House of Representatives and the Senate and have a two thirds majority in the Senate. In the end is it right for the politicians to decide whether to remove him from office or is it the people and only the American people that should decide whether Trump should stay in Office or not in American Presidential elections in November 2020.

Norse Mythology by Ruairi Tilley, Third Year

In this article I will be going over 2 aspects of Norse Mythology, 1:The Gods and the 9 worlds, 2:The myths themselves.

1:The Gods and the 9 worlds.

There were two main types of gods, the Aesir, from Asgard, and the Vanir, from Vanaheim. The Aesir were mainly war gods, with the main Aesir gods including, Odin, the king of the gods, Frigg, goddess of wisdom, Tyr god of bravery and single combat, and Thor, god of thunder and lightning (very very frightening), with Frigg and Odin being the power couple, as King and Queen of the gods. The Vanir were mainly gods of Nature, with the main Vanir gods being, Njord, god of crops and sailing, Frey, god of fertility and summer, Freyja, goddess of beauty and gold. The 9 worlds were called: Asgard, Helheim, Vanaheim, Jotunheim, Niflheim, Muspelheim, Midgard(earth), Alfheim and Svartalvheim. In Helheim, the goddess Hel lived in this world and she was the goddess of the dead, Helheim was also where all dead beings went. Jotunheim, where the Jotuns lived, Jotuns were giants. Niflheim, was where the ice giants lived, as it was really cold. Muspelheim was where the fire giants lived, the leader of these was Surt, also known as the ‘ Black One’. Alfheim was where the Alfs(elves) lived, there was no such thing as night in Alfheim. Svartalvheim was where the Svartalves, dark elves (dwarves related to the goddess Freya), and the dwarfs.

2:The myths themselves.

The myths are complete opposites to the modern stories of gods; in the modern stories they talk of kind, loving gods who are peaceful. The norse stories of gods told of great prowess in battle, and betrayals to defeat the giants and sometimes other gods. One great tale of prowess in battle, tells of when Thor’s hammer, the great mjolnir, was stolen by a giant lord, who began to boast about his ability. He said that he would only give back Thor’s hammer if he could marry the beautiful goddess Freyja. Freyja refused. All was lost. Until Loki had the idea to dress Thor as Freyja, by putting him in a wedding dress and covering his face with a vale, so the giants wouldn’t realize it was him. When he went he ate 3 oxen and 10 fish, drinking many barrels of mead. When the giant got the hammer out to bless the mirror, Thor leapt up and massacred all of the giants, getting his hammer back. Another story, this time of deceit, when Loki was in Svartalfheim, the dwarves were smithing, so he offered them a competition, ‘we will both make gifts for the gods and whoever’s they like more wins’, the dwarves then said that if they won they could have his head, Loki agreed. The gods liked the dwarves more, with their gifts including Thor’s hammer and Freys spear. They then went to cut Loki’s head off, he then reminded them that to do that they would have to cut his neck, and they were only allowed to touch his head. They heeded this and sewed his mouth shut.

Do newspapers really tell the truth? by Dhruv Hegde, Third Year

Many newspapers have a view and will support different governments and political parties. They also create hype around certain things such as the coronavirus. This means that they can sway the mood of the population and hijack their views. In this article I will highlight which UK newspapers support which parties and how they stir up the population.

Labour – The Guardian, The New Statesman, The Daily Mirror
Conservative – The Financial Times, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Daily Express
Lib Dems – The Economist
Neutral? London Evening Standard

Here we can clearly see that the Conservative party has the most
press backing.

The newspapers also tend to stir up the population by putting half-truths on their papers. For example, all newspapers will make a problem seem much bigger than it really is. Another thing that newspapers tend to do is put negative news on their papers as the reader will then take more interest in the news. We find negative news more compelling without even realising it. This is called the ‘negativity bias’, the term used for our hunger to hear negative news. This is what draws the reader in. Newspapers are a lot like books in the sense that they have to draw the reader in in order to gain their attention.

As a result I believe that it is better if you take in a wide range of views on a certain topic and create your own conclusion rather than theirs.

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