BLOG by Professor George Kassimeris: By heading to Belgium, the president of Catalonia missed his chance to stand up to Madrid – and to show himself as a leader sticking to his principles.
Funny things – Wolverhampton’s new comedy festival - will be joined on Friday by Dr Tracey Platt, who will be explaining the links between the Psychology of Humour and Well-being.
Why bother with the future? Well hopefully we will all have one. It is the future where we will be spending the rest of our lives.
The UK’s foreign minister, Boris Johnson, is set to address the Conservative Party conference today amidst suggestions that he is deliberately undermining Theresa May’s leadership of the party.
I was an extremely late starter, not going to University until I was 52 and then only for a year to do a Creative Writing Master’s.
Filmmaker Andrew Rutter recently won Leicester’s 2017 The Short Cinema Main Competition Award for Best Film which is the culmination of many years hard work for the local director.
The role of the news media has always had an almost sacred role in democratic societies. But a right to free speech does not entail a duty to tell the truth...
Caiçara researcher presents her PhD thesis at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, on geotourism potential and strategies of geoconservation on the tourist trails in the region
With a new season of 'Game of Thrones' just beginning, the frenzied fan talk starts once more. Dr Spencer Jones, a Senior Lecturer in Armed Forces and War Studies in the University’s Department of History, Politics and War Studies, takes a look at where the writers have found inspiration in real life historical events for some of the major storylines in the popular fantasy drama.
These are heady times for England Lionesses as they beat France for the first time in 43 years to reach the semi-finals of Euro 2017. As a nation that identifies football as its national sport, the question many are asking is what is behind this recent success?
Professor of Sport Jean Williams takes a look at the history of women's football, which once saw women banned from competing
Theresa May has a serious terrorist problem in her hands – there’s no question about it. In the space of less than three months, the UK has suffered 3 terrorist attacks, resulting in 32 deaths and there is most probably more to come, if we are being brutally honest with ourselves.
The threat of indiscriminate terror, even if our intelligence and police work improves a great deal, will be with us for some time. That's why we must understand its root causes rather than just try to defend against it.
So the NHS got hacked last Friday. Already evidence of “the blame game” is beginning to appear. Why were the NHS using outdated / unpatched systems? Why did the NSA “loose” a cyber weapon? Why did Microsoft stop patching XP?
Professor George Kassimeris, Professor of Security Studies at the University of Wolverhampton, has been researching and writing on terrorism and political violence for more than 20 years.
For International Women’s Day, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering and Professor of Science Education Nazira Karodia presented the University of Wolverhampton’s first Athena Swan Gilkison lecture. The event celebrated the University’s female professors. Here, Professor Karodia summarises some challenges in STEM education and the future.
A Coventry man has just been sentenced to four weeks in jail for being homeless and begging in a car park.[i] Professor Kate Moss asks: ‘Is this a good use of prison and does this approach demonstrate good governance or public policy?’
In a modern society where tolerance of failure can be low and fear of failure paralysing, it is important to learn how to manage adversity. England Rugby has shown that it is possible to create a climate where growth follows failure. This is something everybody can learn from.
The on-going toxic vendetta between President Trump and the American media establishment (New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, and NBC etc.) regarding fake news, alternative facts, lies and hypocrisy has to do with only one thing: political survival.
Tony Proctor gives his expert opinion on why not upgrading to the latest software can leave websites vulnerable to hacking.
Recently we blogged about the High Court ruling regarding the challenge to Theresa May’s ability to trigger Article 50
Professor Kate Moss and Lynn Ellison, from the University of Wolverhampton’s Law School, take an in-depth look at Article 50.
Expert comment on the news that retail giant Marks and Spencer is to close 60 stores in the UK
Where do the future cyber threats lie?
Images of armed police supervising the undressing of a Muslim woman on a Nice beach have gone viral in the last few days. The officers were apparently upholding the ban on the ‘burkini’, a swimsuit that covers the legs, arms and hair, and is contentious because of its religious connotations, read as provocative to the secular values of the French state.
Professor of Digital Learning John Traxler, is working with The United Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA) to support education efforts where schools are running within areas of conflict. Here, he recounts one of many experiences working in these conditions.
Despite charitable support and awareness-raising, homelessness is still being criminalised in many areas.
In a time of ‘bregrets’, Dr Stuart Connor, Reader in Social Welfare at the University of Wolverhampton, reveals how research at the University of Wolverhampton is identifying and developing potential scenarios for medium to long term futures.
“Seeking a competitive advantage” mind-set is embedded in modern sport with athletes following lifestyles, training methods and diets aimed at giving an extra edge
At the invitation of the China-Britain Business Council, I recently presented to a high-level Innovation and Entrepreneurship Education forum in Tianjin, one of China’s four provincial-level municipalities. My topic was ‘Entrepreneurship Education in Higher Education in the UK’.
Leicester City, The Premier League and the Steel Crisis
Feminist scholarship has exposed how men use respectability to ‘other’ women and exclude them from the public realm (Skeggs, 1997; Haram, 2004). There is however, limited literature on the respectability and inclusion projects of academic women, particularly in non-British contexts.
Valentine’s Day is almost upon us again. It is no coincidence that we are at the beginning of the new Spring; the sap flows, the leaf buds are ready to burst forth and the first flowers of new season are with us.
One of the prevalent aspects of post-recession Britain has been the rise in significance of food banks both in signalling a growing role for the voluntary sector in providing welfare, but also as a stark measure of the persistence of poverty in many neighbourhoods across the country
The need for drugs for cancer treatment is urgent but development of a new drug takes an average of 15 years and costs billions.
Three British players in a Grand Slam tennis semi-final. The Murray brothers and Johanna Konta
The NHS fails to recruit sufficient staff to fill all its vacancies, in nursing, some medical specialties and other clinical professions
In the local high streets and shopping centres store after store have sales on. But it is still several weeks to Christmas when buying at full price is supposed to be at its peak.
The death toll of migrants at sea has increased over the summer. The dramatic situation is mainly caused by the conflicts in Syria, and the unstable situations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Eritrea.
No doubt every politically conscious person in Britain has a pretty good idea by now of the main issues selected by the various political parties fighting each other for votes in the upcoming General Election. An obvious way of finding out what those issues are is to read the manifestos of each of the parties.
Despite all the media coverage about a potential EU referendum, leaders’ debates, and even a recent newspaper exclusive about Nigel Farage’s coat, the main issue of the forthcoming election and the one that genuinely affects us most should be what can be done about poverty...
“My personal view is that I don’t think it is appropriate and that I am uneasy at using the First World War to sell groceries, no matter how sensitively it is done or that it involves giving some monies to the Royal British Legion. I simply don’t like it.
As the latest version of the ultimate football management simulation, Football Manager 2015, hits the streets two University of Wolverhampton academics share their love of the series which even led them to research the relationships gamers struck up with the virtual football world and its players.
With huge fanfare the new JLR plant is opening today (Oct 30, 2014) at the i54. Britain's newest car plant is strategically situated at the junction between Wolverhampton's Stafford Road and the M54, just a couple of miles away from the M6. It is, says the local Express and Star, 'the crowning glory for the West Midlands'.
Lord Richard Attenborough died on 24th August and we lost an actor, producer, director, whose many achievements are well known and audiences can see his performances in many films, including In Which We Serve, Brighton Rock, The Great Escape, Jurassic Park, Miracle on 34th Street, or we can see his skills as a Director in Oh What a Lovely War and his Oscar winning production of Ghandi followed by Cry Freedom.
The death of a chess player in the middle of a match at the world’s most prestigious competition may have shocked those who view the game as a relaxing pastime. Kurt Meier, 67, collapsed during his final match in the tournament and died in hospital later that day. But chess, like any other game or sport, can lead to an immense amount of stress, which can be bad for a competitor’s physical health too.
There is much research linking creativity and madness - we all know about Van Gogh and Sylvia Plath – but mental illness blights the lives of comedians too; indeed, the image of the sad clown is one of the oldest clichés in the book. It is epitomised by the tale Groucho Marx tells of a patient who goes to see his psychiatrist with depression: the psychiatrist advises him to go to the circus and cheer himself up by watching the world famous clown, Grock. The patient replies, ‘I AM Grock.’
This notion reflects my interest in the event, the moment, the participation that holds the key - with photography reflecting these dearly held moments for reflection ‘after the event’. The role of the spectator can also be reflective of the moment when human presence through endeavour confounds even those without an interest in sport, providing the figure and ground for the photographer.
Looking back on the start of the First World War, we are conscious of a world and a Britain very different from our own. The countdown of events that led to Britain declaring war rings like a death-march in the heads of everyone who knows them.
The recent publication of the 2014 Deloitte annual review of football finance highlighted the ever-increasing financial power of the Premier League. For the 2013/2014 season it is forecast that total revenue will break the £3bn barrier.
A recent article in The Learner (http://thelearner.com/the-latest-news/parental-involvement-is-overrated ) and The New York Times claims that parental involvement in education rarely benefits children’s test and grade scores and in some cases has a negative effect.
After the fabulous start of the 2014 Tour de France in Yorkshire on Saturday, British hopes are somewhat dashed by the withdrawal of our two leading riders, the 2013 winner Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish, the Manx missile, and GB rider of the most stage wins. Interestingly the focus in the press has been on the tactics employed by team Sky and the decision not take former Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins as back up the lead rider.
“He’s bitten again," said a flight attendant as I queued to check in a flight returning from Spain. Uruguay vs Italy in the World Cup and Liverpool footballer Suarez goes to bite his opponent
Michael Gove has apparently ‘banned’ American classics such as John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men from the GCSE English syllabus in favour of a British-oriented curriculum.
In the past, countries hosting the world cup finals have had a high probability of winning or at least being runners up in their ‘home’ competition. England’s one and only success in the World Cup came on home soil in 1966, and more recently France in 1998 and Argentina in 1978 were both victorious as hosts.
2014 is a momentous year for military history. In November we commemorate 100 years since the start of the First World War. The BBC alone have already started over four years of programming which will ultimately result in over 3,500 hours broadcasting spanning radio, television and the internet.
Raising awareness about children who sleep rough on the streets of Europe.
n a recent blog entry in The Guardian (6/2/2014), Mike Cladingbowl, Ofsted’s national director for schools, raised a number of interesting questions relating to the future of Ofsted.
Recent months have seen a small number of high profile footballers openly disclose their homosexuality and once again the question of why this disclosure remains so fearful to these athletes has been raised across the media.
The English Defence League (EDL) emerged in 2009 as a mass street protest movement able to attract supporters in the thousands to demonstrate against ‘Islamic extremism’ in towns and cities across the UK.
The Channel 4 documentary series Benefits Street has caused a legitimate outcry from the residents of James Turner Street in Winson Green, Birmingham.
The five part series was filmed over a year and shows the residents of the area as people on benefits and living, what the production portrays as, a rather feckless life.
For Theo Walcott, the first sound he heard would have been the savage twist of gristle and the next his own screams of pain. The very moment the 24-year-old striker hit the turf in Arsenal’s recent FA Cup game against Tottenham Hotspur, he must surely have known how serious his injury was. The hope of performing on the big stage, the excitement in what that brings, the months of training in in the build-up were, he must have acknowledged, all lost in that brief moment in time.
The principle of open justice, in one form or another, has rarely been out of the news recently. Although the first few televised Court of Appeal cases have been aired, the introduction of legislation to permit the filming and broadcasting of court proceedings has been the subject of much debate.
The recent case of match fixing in football is nothing new. There have been a number of cases throughout the years in British football but few to mention. The problem is really spot fixing. This is a problem for all sport not only football. We blame wayward individuals and/or ‘foreign’ organised criminal elements or the gambling industry.
Earlier this month saw the publication of University Challenge 2013, a report into access to higher education for disabled students, commissioned by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.
Human rights and the empowerment of women who sleep rough in the EU.
The cure for poverty has a name in fact, it is called the empowerment of women– Christopher Hitchens.
It may seem strange, but I, like most South Africans who grew up under the Apartheid regime, only became aware of Nelson Mandela’s signifcance once I’d left the country. I was too young to follow the Rivonia Treason trial and by the time I was reading newspapers, all mention of him and the ANC was banned from the South African press. In those pre-internet, pre-budget travel days, South Africans had little exposure to international pressure groups such as the Free Nelson Mandela movement.
How about this, then? Richard Cairns, Head of Brighton College, wants it made compulsory for school pupils to assess the performance of teachers (http://yhoo.it/16rwEiz) Mr Cairns is certainly sincere - he claims to use this system in his own school already.
A recent study has shown that listening to music can help to alleviate physical pain. Four out of ten people who suffered persistent pain said listening to music helped relieve their symptoms, a figure which rose to 66% for young people aged between 16-24.
A recent Contact a Family survey of more than 400 families with disabled children provided disturbing results which highlights the lack of support inside schools.
The number of rough sleeping children across Europe is on the rise. These are young people who have mostly run away either from home or from sheltered accommodation. They may also include minors who have made border crossings in search of a better life and improved opportunities or for any number of other reasons.
As has been noted by Lord Neuberger, the President of the Supreme Court, we live in a country committed to the rule of law and central to that commitment is the principle that justice should not only be done, but also seen to be done. That is, court proceedings and a court’s decision should be open to public scrutiny wherever possible.
In 1977 the first national fire fighters’ strike took place over pay and conditions. After a bitter few weeks the settlement included a system whereby pay was index linked to the pay movement among other similar groups. This meant that there was no need for national pay strikes until 2002, when the system broke down.
On a Euston-bound train to the BERA (British Educational Research Association) conference that took place in the first week of September, I fell into conversation with three other passengers. Two were retired, one was close to retirement. The conversation began with stories about them looking after and reading to grandchildren and helping with homework.
Seamus Heaney, who died last week, is perhaps the only poet for whom a minute's silence will ever be held at a major sporting event: 80,000 Gaelic football fans paid their tribute to him before the Kerry-Dublin semi-final in Croke Park. Their response marks Heaney as a special cultural figure, in Ireland but also elsewhere. Before him, poets were often English and upper class: after him, most of them seemed to be from Northern Ireland.
Cyber bullying is a recent phenomenon, with health impacts. Recent postings on Twitter have contained threats of rape and murder, Facebook messages have been linked to suicides. Both can be anonymous. What is the link between anonymity and bullying?
The appalling murder of Daniel Pelka by his mother, Magdelena Luczak, and her partner, Mariusz Krezolek, has yet again been followed by soul-searching and a storm of criticism directed at ‘the authorities’ for their failure to protect Daniel from the child abuse that eventually led to his death.
I was way too young to watch Enter the Dragon (1973) when it was first available on video. but that didn’t matter because I watched it at my Uncle’s house (on his old ‘piano keys’ video recorder) and it was deemed infinitely more suitable than the ‘video nasties’ prevalent around that time.
The cast were joined on stage by two former Spice Girls who were “devastated” and “gutted” that the show announced its closure after a brief six month run in the West End. Producer Judy Craymer (famous for hit musical Mamma Mia) and writer Jennifer Saunders admitted that despite standing ovations from wonderful audiences, they just “couldn’t make it work”. They stand resolute in their assertion that the “legacy of the Spice Girls will never fade.”
Nick Drake was one of several wonderful musicians to emerge from the fertile folk and folk-rock scenes of the 1960s and early 1970s. While always a solo artist he worked with some of the great musicians of the time; Richard Thompson played on his first album, and John Martyn’s Solid Air was written for and about Drake. Nick Drake’s work is intimate, intricate and highly personal; the themes are universal and the performances captivating.
I was born in 1959, and, like most people of my age group, can remember watching the big Royal media events of the 1960s and 70s: the “Royal Family” documentary of 1969, followed by the Investiture of Prince Charles (clustered round the school TV set at St Michael’s Primary in Tettenhall). Then came the wedding of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips in 1973, and the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. But I was always conscious of having missed The Big One: the Queen’s Coronation of 1953.
Around this time of the sporting calendar, talk invariably comes round to the issue of what makes a winning team. Pundits start picking their dream teams. Various combinations of players are suggested but being individually brilliant is only part of what matters. “We all dream of a team of Carraghers” is a song lovingly sang by the Liverpool fans; a song that pays testament to the fighting spirit of Jamie Carragher. Would this team be successful?
In the next few weeks trials will be taking place with trained contractors attempting to cull badgers (largely by shooting) to wipe out TB in parts of Somerset and Gloucestershire. TB is endemic in some local populations of badgers and is also present in some cattle and it is thought (though the link is as yet wholly unproven) that TB is transmitted from wild badgers to individual cattle resulting in the need to destroy entire herds...
Better This Time? Afghanistan as the 'Graveyard of Empires' 1979-2014
The 25th anniversary of the Afghanistan withdrawal announcement by the Soviet Union
In February 2013, President Barack Obama announced the withdrawal of major United States combat units from Afghanistan by the end of next year. It is impossible not to hear the historical echoes.
The 16th/17th May 2013 marks the 70th anniversary of RAF Bomber Command’s iconic raid on dams in the German Ruhr valley. New books, magazines, memorabilia are being marketed and the BBC has commissioned various radio and television programmes to commemorate this event.
Olivia Colman was the undoubted star of the 2013 BAFTA Television awards. Colman triumphed for her work in the serious drama ‘Accused (Mo’s Story)’ and the sitcom ‘Twenty Twelve’, and both gongs were well deserved. While it is easy to be blasé and pretend that award ceremonies don’t matter, Colman accepted her two awards with enthusiasm and excitement, and it’s clear that recognition from peers is still a big thing for actors and actresses.
"So Sir Alex Ferguson has retired. We’ve had “Fergie time", “hairdryers", the “Beckham’s boot”, and rows with other managers – Kevin Keegan and Rafa Benitez being the most memorable spats. When it’s all said and done however he leaves Manchester United as champions for a record 20th time. So what comes next?
Memories of the MMR scare of about a decade ago had all but faded until news came of an outbreak of measles in Swansea. To prevent measles epidemics in other parts of the country, Public Health England has launched a vaccination catch-up campaign. They estimate that up to a million children aged 10 to 14 are at risk of catching measles because many of them were not vaccinated as babies owing to widespread fears that the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) could cause autism.
Among the many assessments of the Thatcher legacy, relatively little has been said about her role as a political communicator. In the understandable focus on her role in the Falklands War, the Miners’ Strike, the Poll Tax, the economy, Europe, and a host of other policy areas, there hasn’t been a huge amount on how she went about securing the three election victories without which none of it would have been possible.
So who were the biggest winners in this remarkable summer of Olympic and Paralympic sport? The likes of Mo, Usain, Ellie and Sarah, obviously. This was the year when not only Olympian but Paralympian heroes became recognisable by their first names alone. The Games Makers, unquestionably, along with Seb Coe and his team; the crowds; and all of the millions who have watched both festivals of sport with such keenness.
The success of the London Paralympics so far has rested on a number of factors: the obvious public appetite for tickets; the extensive media coverage; and, of course, the extraordinary achievements of a number of GB paralympians.
The ability to control emotions under pressure is a key skill.
Cyclist Sir Chris Hoy won a sixth gold medal with the weight of history on his shoulders, and we all watched heptathlete Jessica Ennis control her emotions under the extreme pressure of being the ‘face of the Games’, on top of the usual pressure of competing at the Olympics.
Team GB won its first gold medals of London 2012 yesterday, with an impressive first Olympic title for the women’s pair Helen Glover and Heather Stanning in the rowing and cyclist Bradley Wiggins winning the time trial in some style to add to his Tour de France victory.
The Olympics were once the preserve of the amateur, who competed for the love of the sport without receiving payment.
The Olympics are not just about the sporting events. The Cultural Olympiad which spans the four years before the Olympic Festival includes activities inspired by the event – 16 million people are said to have engaged in thousands of performances, workshops and events across the UK for the London 2012 games.
Excitement is building around this summer’s Olympics, and it’s great that Wolverhampton is having its turn in the spotlight this weekend. The city is, as ever, pulling out all the stops for the torch relay which makes its way through our streets on Saturday.