SU elections open 

Elections for UEA Student Union full-time and part-time officer roles opened on Monday (March 14th), with 54 candidates standing as nominations closed.

Students are standing for five full time, and 14 part time officer posts. The full-time roles are Undergraduate and Postgraduate Education Officers, Campaigns and Democracy Officer, Welfare, Community and Diversity Officer, and Activities and Opportunities Officer.

The part-time roles are: Environment, Ethical Issues, LGBT+ Open Place, LGBT+ Trans & Non-Binary Place, Women’s, Students with Disabilities, Ethnic Minorities, International Students, International Students EU Place, and Mature Students officer roles, and four Non-Portfolio Officer positions.

The number of nominations has remained consistent with the 2016 figure, with the same number of students standing. However, there are significantly more candidates than in 2015, when only 40 students stood for 18 positions.

Voting will close at midday on March 21st. All UEA students can go to www.uea.su/votes to cast their votes.

– Caitlin Doherty

Former Norwich South MP attacks Labour

Charles Clarke,  former Labour MP for Norwich South has described his own party of responding to Brexit “cravenly”.

Writing for The New European, the party grandee argued that Labour’s “confusion and incoherence to the EU referendum […] has given the Conservatives a free ride.” Clarke suggested that Labour did too little to oppose Prime Minister Theresa May’s claim that there was no alternative to her Brexit.

Mr Clarke represented Norwich South from 1997 to 2010. He also  served as Home Secretary and Education Secretary.

Although Mr Clarke maintains that Labour should support the result of the referendum, he suggested they should only do this “in a way which minimises damage to the country,” and should, for example, allow the British people a right to change their minds.

John Rentoul, the Chief Political Commentator for The Independent, tweeted that Clarke’s argument was “weak”, as 498 MPs voted to trigger Article 50 including 70 percent of Labour MPs.

– Matthew Nixon

NR6 one of UK’s best postcodes

Royal Mail have released an update on a 2015 study which listed the most desirable places to live in England based on postcode. The study found that the suburbs of North and West Norwich with the NR6 postcode are the second most desirable neighbourhoods in the country.  Norwich was beaten by CH63, Bebington in Wirral.

The study said that NR6’s inclusion “leads an increase in the number of areas in the south included in the top ten.” In the last study, the Royal Mail included only three southern postcodes, a number which has increased to six. The research concluded: “Good local schools and lower unemployment helped facilitate the change.”

This latest ranking was carried out by the Centre for Economic and Business Research. Variables taken into account included schools, green spaces, employment prospects, working hours, affordable housing and average commuting time. Royal Mail researchers did not visit any of these areas, and reached their conclusions from analysing statistical data.

– Ines Abdelli

Free sanitary items introduced by Union

The SU has introduced free sanitary products in the gender neutral toilets in Union House “for the rest of the year”. Welfare, Community and Diversity officer, Jo Swo said the new campaign is in response to the so-called “tampon tax”, whereby sanitary products are taxed as “luxury items”.

Sanitary products have been sold at a not-for-profit price in the SU shop since 2014, in opposition to the 5 percent VAT rate imposed by the government and EU VAT law. The SU announced the introduction on International Women’s Day and Miss Swo said they aim to alter the view that sanitary products are a “luxury item”. In a blog, a representative quoted NUS statistics showing that the “average person spends around £77 per year on sanitary products.”

The policy follows that of other universities, including Kings College London and Leeds, whose student unions have introduced similar provisions of free tampons for students.

Swo said: “I believe that it’s unfair to discriminate against people who have periods by forcing them to pay for such essential items.”

– Bella Dunning

What do you think?