Meeting with local MP; Mike Gapes

Hey everyone!

Welcome to my first post… this is so exciting!

In the summer June 2015 I had officially completed all of my AS exams, which was so relieving! One of my three subjects that I study include Government and Politics (Edexcel exam board). My politics teacher had set us an independent study task where we were asked to research on a current affair in which we were highly interested in. I decided my research question was ‘Should the West intervene in Iraq and Syria militarily to contain ISIL?’. This meant up until the end of the July term each lesson consisted of online research, and collating coherent arguments. I believe this was a great way to end our school year, as it was engaging, a challenge and also allowed me to investigate current affairs, which is a key aspect in journalism. Hence, the task allowed me to learn more about what it is really like to be a journalist.

During my summer holiday, I found myself engaging further with the issue resolving ISIL, therefore this led me to watching a fascinating documentary on BBC iplayer called ‘Jihadi brides: A world apart’. The documentary consisted of a further insight to how the terrorist group recruit young women.  One journalist in fact discovered a woman from Scotland known as Afsa Mahmood who was recruiting youngsters via twitter. This was actually the method that allowed the three girls from Bethnal Green to get in touch with the terrorist group. The documentary revealed one girl tweet: “Follow me so I can dm you”. As social media is constantly growing, this also arises a dangerous element, as it demonstrates how easily young people can get in touch with terrorist groups, and perhaps these calls for concern mean that there should be more boundaries within social media. The BBC documentary additionally interviews the families of other young girls who have gone to Syria, as well as displaying videos of the terrorist organisation doing shooting practice.

If you are able to, I highly recommend watching this documentary as it’s really interesting to find out about other people’s perspectives.

Not only did I stop there, but I arranged a meeting with my local MP; Mikes Gapes from the Labour party and interviewed him on ‘Should the West intervene in Iraq and Syria militarily to contain ISIL?’ where he believed yes, the West should. As well as intervening in Syria, Gapes also believes in getting involved with the Assad regime. Gapes displaced ‘perfectly legitimate reasons’ for the Air Strikes as action must be taken to stop the terrorist organisation rather than not do anything about it. I further asked Gapes on his views on the young people who have gone to Syia, and if this raises any concerns for him personally. Local MP responds with how only a minority of people from Ilford have been radicalised and have travelled to Syria, and considering the many people living in Ilford, it doesn’t raise a massive concern. In November, Gapes revealed he will be voting with the government, and support Prime Minister David Cameron in voting ‘yes’ for airstrikes. Ultimately,  Gape’s decision has led to an inner battle within the Labour party, and he was targeted by Jeremy Corbyn supporters on twitter.

Similarly, the abuse Prime Minister David Cameron receives on his twitter page also reflects how many of the public are strongly against air strikes in Syia. Tensions arose whilst the all-day debate took place in parliament before making the final vote on Air strikes in Syria.

In December, Cameron won Syria Air Strikes by a majority of 174.

My A level top tip: Go above and beyond in tasks set. In my sixth form particularly, independent study is really emphasised as it allows you to achieve better grades with informed and perceptive responses in exams.

Hope this post has been useful, and you’ve enjoyed reading!

Aishah Rahman  223



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