The Political X Factor

It is the general view that the UK is a democratic country, whose government is built upon electorate representation and the response to popular grievances. This is why we have referendums, we vote for our MP and are able to express dissatisfaction with policy through protests and petitions. This may be so, but there are conventions in Parliament taint any aspect of democracy.


The fundamental example of this is seen in the use of parliamentary Whips in the Commons. Whips are a name given to ministers whom ensure MPs’ align their votes on legislation with the party’s guidelines, known as ‘toeing the party line’. These Whips essentially circulate their party’s MPs before votes on major pieces of legislation, and observe the voting doors to pressurise MPs into voting as advised. It can be argued that this ensures cohesion of politicians within a political party and creates unity on key issues debated in Parliament. The Chief Whip, currently Julian Smith, has official residence at 12 Downing Street, showing the close knit relationship between party leaders and the Whip’s office. Ensuring MPs are abiding by the hypothesis of the current party manifesto would make sense if the representation of the electorate did not hang in the balance.

Surely disregarding constituents and voting on vital, life changing legislation purely to appease one’s party is inherently undemocratic and extinguishes all attempts at representation our political system seeks to implement. It is no use voting for an MP to address your grievances in Parliament if they do not use their position in the Commons to be the voice of their constituency. After questioning my local MP, Steve Baker, he commented how all MPs are torn between ‘their conscience, their constituents and their country’. To me, there is no contest. Why bother having 650 MPs for all constituencies in the UK if they are not all going to be mechanisms for representative democracy? MPs who do not obey Whips are labelled as ‘rebels’ in Parliament. The negative connotations to this reference are unfit. It should not be seen as rebellious to listen to popular grievances and vote on legislation according to what your constituents desire, whom elected you in the first place.

Clearly, politics is no longer a selfless career; the advancement of a party and achieving a large majority in general elections is the main objective of modern political parties. Surely having the best manifesto to suit the public at that particular time is the most significant aspect of democracy. Responding to the public is what Parliament appear to have at the top of their agenda, but the competitive drive behind politicians is something that cannot be overlooked any longer. It should not be a matter of choice between two polar opposite parties, constituents should feel they can relate to their elected MP and the policies they seek to implement in their particular region, which will inevitably differ from others.

It is clear that true democracy cannot be achieved whilst party Whips are still in operation in our parliament. This fashions a dictator-like government which alienates the electorate from the decision making process. A so-called ‘political X factor’ is seen in the workings of Parliament, making the main objective of the political parties a competition-like triumph, rather than democratic representation of the people.

Angel Witney


Feminist Fakes

Feminism has endured a lot of stigmatism in recent years, being misunderstood for an ideology about the superiority of women, instead of the true premise of gender equality. Despite women anachronistically experiencing more discrimination than men, it is clear that archaic gender stereotypes are the root cause of gender inequality, not just female disadvantage. By seeing all genders as the same species, free from architypes and traditional roles, true equality will be achievable.

Rose McGowan, acclaimed actress and author, whipped feminists into a frenzy after her shocking and somewhat uncalled for response to a transgender woman criticising McGowan’s lack of support for transgender victims of sexual assault. Asking her “what have you done for women?” and saying “I don’t come from your planet” unveiled a side of McGowan that was far from the compassionate feminist campaigner. This factionalism within the community of women exacerbates the fragility of the feminist movement and inhibits commendable progress with the absence of cohesion and support from all genders. Both considering themselves feminists, Rose McGowan and the lady who criticised her actions, exemplify the issues with the feminist movement and how a universal agenda has been lost amongst internal conflicts. The same applies to men; everybody has to be on board for gender equality for it to be achieved, especially due to the male dominance in Parliament.

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In terms of male equality, concepts like paternity leave and child custody disadvantage men severely. 88% of men who apply to court to have contact with their children are granted visitation rights, with most of these scenarios being an every other weekend arrangement. Although we like to think our justice system has evolved with society and has overcome gender stereotyping, it is clear that women are still viewed as the rightful parent, and has advantages when it comes to custody. Surely by allowing men the ability to take on roles that are traditionally for the women, this breaks gender stereotyping on all levels, and allows women to break free from the Victorian ‘Angel in the home’ label that still lingers in modern day society. Implemented from above, these laws and conventions are a significant setback in the advancement of feminism, and will continue to be until enough influence is exerted from below.

In light of this, the stigma attached to sexual assault allegations also inhibits the advancement of feminist ideals. I recently heard a true story of a man being pressured into having sex with a woman, after repeatedly declining her advancements. Although the man was not raped, the uncomfortable, trapped feeling he described was clearly the same as any female’s endurance of sexual assault. Where this differs comes from his following comment: “imagine if it was the other way round”. The dismissal of male victims of sexual misconduct emphasises the gender dichotomy in modern society, inadvertently disallowing the progression of all genders as equal. It is factually clear that women are more frequently the victims of sexual assault, with 82% of all juvenile victims and 90% of adult rape victims being female, however it is important not to ignore the minorities in light of true gender equality.

Therefore, it is clear the true way forward for feminism is a cohesive vision with all genders, in order to tackle gender inequality from all angles. This method abstains from factionalism within feminist ideals and breaks down stereotypes from the male perspective also. Where this gets difficult, is when feminists focus on solely the female perspective instead of seeing gender inequality through all lenses, making a feminist vision more powerful and achievable. For example, ending the gender pay gap will only make women equal to their male counterparts; no one is hurt and everyone propers under gender equality.

Angel Witney


Cult Clash’s 2017 Music Roundup

2017 has been an incredible year for music. Not only have some amazing albums been released, but we have also seen some new artists take the year by storm, completely upturning the music scene. Before we announce the countdown to the best album of 2017, the Cult Clash team have complied their favourite 5 songs from last year.

Cult Clash’s Top Songs of the Year:

  1. Crew – GoldLink
  2. XO Tour Llif3- Lil Uzi Vert
  3. Chanel- Frank Ocean
  4. The Weekend- SZA
  5. Bank Account- 21 Savage

Now what you’ve all been waiting for; you all voted for the best albums to emerge from 2017 and we have compiled a top 10 list for you to indulge. In reverse order…

10. Culture- Migosa3

The trap trio released a stunning album last year, featuring some big names in hip hop including Lil Uzi, Travis Scott and Gucci Mane. Their quirky group dynamic makes this fun filled album a proper party soundtrack.

9. Common Sense- J Hus

London’s own J Hus released his album Common Sense last year, introducing a new form of Afro-beat reggae influenced hip hop. The album has some memorable tunes including Did You See, Bouff Daddy and Plottin. We are predicting great things for J Hus in the forthcoming year.

8. Luv is Rage 2- Lil Uzi Vert

Lil Uzi hit us with another album this year, upholding his quirky Hip Hop style. XO Tour Llif3 comes at a close second for our best song of 2017, with its contagious hook, not to mention the amazing beats of other tracks on the album.

7. At What Cost- GoldLink


With two years since his debut album, GoldLink has obtained his enthralling hooks and refined beats. The album also flaunts some great tracks like Herside Story, Meditation and of course our chosen song of the year, Crew.


Well, it was too hard to rate all three versions of SATURATION released in 2017, so we are just going to appreciate them for the incredible trilogy they are. Not only is BROCKHAMPTON’s dedication to making music extremely impressive, but the continuity in their rap style gives them a place in our top 10.

5. More Life- Drake


The pop-rap artist we all know and love blessed us with another dance provoking album in 2017. Not only has Drake stayed true to his party rap style with tracks like Passionfruit and Fake Love, but the refined beats and lyrics in all of the tracks on More Life, show a fresher dimension to his music that we really hope is taken into 2018.


4. Yesterday’s Gone- Loyle Carner

This delicate rap album, with its heartfelt lyrics and soft vocals from Loyle himself, not only melted everyone’s heartstrings but also fused the boundaries between Hip Hop and lyrical pop. The artist also had 2017 in the palm of his hand in terms of live shows; touring twice and being a significant act at many major worldwide festivals.

3. DAMN- Kendrick Lamar


After the drop of single HUMBLE, loyal Kendrick fans went wild for the release of his latest album, and he definitely did not disappoint. The rap artist dished out tune after tune, undeniably owning the Hip Hop scene in 2017. Our team at Cult Clash are also very looking forward to his shows in February this year.

2. Flower Boy- Tyler, the Creator

a2This majestic rap and melodic infusion is more than deserving of our number two spot.  Tyler has collaborated with indie pop artist Rex Orange County, whilst also featuring both established and up and coming names in Hip Hop Frank Ocean, Kali Uchis, A$AP Rocky and Jaden Smith; this has made his latest album tap into a range of genres whilst still staying true to the melodic Hip Hop roots of Tyler’s music.



Unsurprisingly, the Hip Hop female solo artist, SZA, and her second album CTRL took 2017 by storm. With a beautiful recipe of pop and RnB flavours, this album more than definitely deserves Cult Clash’s top spot. Particular tracks that have caught public attention include Love Galore, SZA’s collab with Hip Hop artist Travis Scott. Moreover, the unsuspecting popularity for track The Weekend, that went platinum without even being released as a single.

It is clear to see it has been a great year for music, Hip Hop in particular, with SZA’s second album undeniably nabbing the number one album of 2017. We hope that 2018 blesses us with as much incredible music as last year.

Angel Witney


Toff for PM?

Georgia Toffolo, most commonly known as ‘Toff’ is the 23 year old blonde bombshell, who is most well-known for winning the most recent series of ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’. As well as being a white, privileged, socialite, Toff has recently utilised her platform to advocate her political support for the Conservatives, appearing on multiple reality shows and interviews expressing her passion and support for the party. Despite all of the Tory bashing appearing on my twitter feed, it is clear that Toff should not be condemned for her political persuasion, but the reality that her ideology is fundamentally flawed and misunderstood.


The clip of Toff on ‘Celebs go Dating’ circulated social media extensively, receiving so much criticism that E4 deleted the video entitled ‘Toff for PM?’; the video angered me, not due to my own self-proclaimed title of ‘Lord Left Wing’, but the hypocritical and contradictory statements Toff made. Conservatism is based on the belief in hierarchy. The idea that the working class are born into a rightful place, compared to the middle and upper class deserving their privilege, is engrained in Conservatism, provoking her claim that the party believes in prosperity to be ultimately deceiving. Being born into wealth has blinded Toff of the Cycle of Deprivation and that the working class are genuinely hindered by society’s favour of the middle class. Although Toff stated that she couldn’t understand how someone who is ‘young and wanted to do well’ could have a socialist ideology, this is merely applicable to the already privileged classes.

Toff also advocated her support of fox hunting as a ‘great British tradition’, showing her narrow-minded beliefs are motivated by her background (even though she did go to a grammar school for an entire month). The disregard for the working class’ disassociation with fox hunting as a tradition rather than merely the barbaric murder of animals, shows her closed-mindedness and lack of respect for those not from a privileged background, whom construct the majority of Britain’s population. Thus, Toff’s candidacy for PM is fundamentally flawed through her lack of empathy in terms of the working class. Her claim that the Tories have failed to utilise social media as a platform for youth support was criticised by her interviewer saying ‘but they need to have something to say’. This was a prime exemplification of the young socialite being absorbed in her own societal advantages, and a lack of respect for other walks of life.

Some may say that is what politics is; believing in policies that are primarily motivated by one’s upbringing and background. I disagree. In my eyes, a political ideology should be based on a view of a future society. In light of this, Toff’s attacks on socialism are nonsensical, as she seems to view socialism as a hindrance to prosperity, whereas it is based on equality in terms of aiding the working class. Her failure to understand life without privilege has consequentially altered her view of the Conservative party’s real goals; yes, they believe in prosperity for the higher classes, but not universally, with Conservatism being primarily based on obtaining the natural hierarchy. Toff for PM? I bloody hope not.

Angel Witney


Industrialised Education

My secondary school has recently instilled a crackdown on the uniform policy, provoking a lot of unrest amongst the students throughout the year groups. As someone who takes pride in individuality, believing that allowing young people to express themselves is a core ingredient to a better quality of life, the clone-like, oppressive and unnecessary enforcement of such uniform rules has really hit home. In conjunction with this, it is clear that the UK’s approach to education is invariably industrialised and archaic, instilling hierarchy and authority, with the absence of creativity and individuality.

Our current education system was designed during the industrial revolution, ignoring the concept of uniqueness. Uniform is a form of oppression. It is enforced to differentiate between those obeying and those to be obeyed. Therefore, a strict uniform policy that is currently being forced upon students in my school, is inadvertently instilling the extreme right wing notion of permanent hierarchy. The senior staff at my school retaliated saying that uniform ‘promotes equality’, which made me chuckle. Yes, there is physical quality between students through looking the same, but what about spiritual equality? Surely giving students the equal ability to express themselves and portray themselves in a way which they are most content with, promotes freedom. Moreover, I can speak on behalf of many, that by being able to express myself and feel unique, I am a more effective learner, more willing to obey authority that allows me the freedom to be myself and instils a generally more accepting and diverse atmosphere. The argument to suggest that uniform creates an absence of bullying based on materialistic wealth is frankly hypocritical. Through a normalisation of clone-like synchronisation, it is creating a more divisive attitude towards various faiths, styles, cultures and interests, due to the absence of familiarisation and acceptance. This is inherently industrialized. Schools are fizzling out every aspect of individuality of our students, diminishing the creativity and imagination essential to success.


Industrialistion endeavours to specifically produce obedient workers; the training to obey authority and follow instructions is deeply engrained in schools today. Linking to Illich’s de-schooling theory, the monotonous structure of examinations, lecturing and a consensus level of progress to follow is designed to determine success through one vehicle, making anyone who does not suit this style of testing, a failure. The industrial age of factory workers based success on the ability to follow instructions, however, in today’s society, success quintessentially derives from the ability to be creative and different. The memory-based inauthenticity of the education process is superfluous, examining students on their ability to retain information, which is inevitably forgotten imminently after the exam is finished. The skills of creativity and innovation are barely associated with one’s ability to memorise the equation of momentum of a moving object (or whatever useless information I had to engrain into my brain during Physics GCSE), meaning students are being stressed and tested on things that literally do not matter to their desired career path.

The lack of autonomy advocated by schools is failing to prepare our students for adulthood. Every aspect of a student’s life is controlled by the school. In the real world, people need to effectively manage their own time to suit individual needs, which inevitably differ between all individuals. The generalisation of a year group as a whole fails to suit all students, which is why a class can contain a huge variety of academic progress and achievement. Being in year 13, my school allows us to have Wednesdays off school. However, for some students this privilege has been taken away, due to an ‘inadequacy’ of grades and progress. It is extremely oppressive and unjust to give certain students this advantage and not others, purely based on academic success, when it is the school system itself that disables certain students to progress as quickly as others. This meritocratic approach to scholastic achievement is extremely harmful to students’ self-esteem, as well as disabling a true representation of the adult world. By instilling the idea that success comes from following orders and not from critical thinking or imagination, our archaic education system is failing us.

To conclude, it is clear that the only way our education system can be saved is through intensive reform, ensuring creativity is measured and valued as much as academic achievement. The infrastructure of our schools is built on industrialisation and meritocratic order-taking that merely hinders the independency of our students.

Angel Witney


Artist of the Week: Saffy Paget

“I started photography because my dad is a photographer for some massive brands and I wanted something I could bond with him over . He lent me a camera and I took a few snaps and realised this is something that I really want to do.”

Saffy Paget is 17 years old and a photographer and videographer from Cambridge. She is now a content creator for a brand created by Vodafone, VOXI, as well as a photographer for modelling agency ‘Milk’.

“I only started doing art a few years ago and it’s just exploded for me from there ; I just want people to see and appreciate my work”

saff 11

She also comments how her supportive friends, who buy her zines and give her feedback, is a huge help in moving forward.

“I’m currently applying to study fashion photography at UAL, and then I’m hoping to move on and be a photographer for magazines like Dazed or iD, that’s the dream really.”

saff 9

Saffy’s zine is available on the link below!


Gordon Brown: A Life in Politics

Gordon Brown’s A Life in Politics lecture at the LSE was as compelling as it was insightful, as the charismatic ex-Prime Minister took attendees on a journey of his political career. His talk opened with a humorous anecdote unveiling his first experience of the LSE was having £50 stolen from his jacket in the university library, following an overview of issues he encountered during his time in politics, whilst also offering his view of current affairs.

His talk began with a focus on leadership and what it means to be an effective leader. He solidifies this by saying the most important factor of leadership is a “clear and hopeful vision of the future, compelling enough to persuade people.” He then went on to apply this to the South-African anti-apartheid revolutionary, Nelson Mandela; his equal treatment of everyone, including his greeting to the Queen during one phone call as “hello, Elizabeth”, gave him a cohesive vision that enabled his political career to be so successful. When applying Brown’s own theory of leadership to his role as Labour Prime Minister, it is questionable that his governance serves as highly as his sense of humour. It is hard to ignore the illegitimacy of Brown’s role, as he inherited his position from Blair in 2007 and opinion polls for the Labour Party plummeted during the 2008 recession. Moreover, it is hard to decipher what Brown’s “clear and hopeful vision of the future” actually was. Although the ex- Prime Minister supported a range of legislation, he is not known for any iconic implementation or movement during his leadership; in conjunction with this, one can argue that Brown’s time as chancellor was more successful for him than his time as Prime Minister. However, his dealing with the recession meant that Brown was so consumed with domestic economic policy that it was difficult to produce revolutionary legislation. Leadership also goes hand in hand with public image; Brown was never known for his charisma, despite this shining through in his talk at the LSE. Opinion polls of Brown were generally negative throughout his governance, not to mention his faux pas with Gillian Duffy calling her ‘bigoted’. Following such a popular figurehead as Tony Blair was always going to be a challenge, but it is clear that Brown’s leadership skills do not adhere to his definition.

During his time as chancellor, Brown played a key role in some of Labour’s most praised pieces of legislation, including the minimum wage. The 2008 financial crisis also flaunted Brown’s ability to deal with economic decline, organising the G20 meetings in 2009, as well as naming tax havens and a 5% target for ‘go for growth’ inflation. However, Brown admits he “failed to convince the people to run a deficit”, provoking the highest rate of unemployment in 2011 after his leadership. Through this, we can see Brown’s prime focus in his career was economic policy, largely as a consequence of the recession.

The socialist ideological tenet of cooperation proved dear to Brown’s heart as he applied it to many political concepts. As well as his stress of popular sovereignty, Brown proposes the need for “global solutions to global problems” as “national prosperity relies on international cooperation.” In so many words, the ex-Prime Minister associates the failure to tackle issues like pollution and inequality as a lack of cohesion on an international scale. The compelling example of Trump’s economic policies was utilised by Brown to suggest that the slashing of imports in order to obtain a more nationalist approach to US politics, consequentially diminishes exports due to a lack of international cooperation. This is evidence that cooperation is the prime resource to economic success on a national scale, proving why Brexit is ultimately more pain than its worth. The critique of neo-liberalism also shined through as Brown claimed “autonomy is impossible in an interdependent world”, and that Labour is “swimming against the tide of a neo-liberal government”, whom wrongly puts inflation before unemployment.

The finality of Browns visit to the LSE ceased with an anecdote about the novelist Anthony Burgess. After meeting the author at Edinburgh festival, Burgess told Brown of a 21st chapter in his phenomenal book ‘A Clockwork Orange’ whereby the protagonist, Alex DeLarge, repents for his sins and embellishes the author’s Catholic background. However, this chapter was erased by publishers and Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation. Brown brings this narrative back with a claim that “we need a chapter 21”. The government need to iron out all issues like Brexit, Priti Patel’s secret Israeli meetings and the surge of sexual misconduct allegations circling the Commons, in order to redeem themselves.

Angel Witney


Artist of the Week: Dom Lord

“I respect realism in art, but I find it so boring; why not take a photograph instead? So for me, art is about getting stuck in and expressing yourself.”


Dom is from Blackburn, Lancashire, and has recently started his third year doing Graphic and Communication Design student at the University of Leeds.

“Similar to a lot of my friends on the course, I’ve taken third year out to gain experience by interning at Graphic Design studios. I’m currently interning at a small studio close to home.”

Dom started doing art at an early age. Spending most of his time developing his style. Dom mainly focussed on two things; portraiture and album covers.


“When it came to the end of college, I felt art just wasn’t enough for me. I had also studied Graphic Design for two years at College, at the end of the two years I finally realised I wanted to pursue Graphic Design, whilst implementing my own art and style.”

As Dom looks back on his college work, seeing how far he’s come in the past four years, he grows excited for the years to come, to see the development and improvement in his work.

To check out more of Dom’s work head to his website at

It’s Not Just Left-Wing

Many people generalise the political spectrum as a mere Left and Right, and give themselves a political diagnosis based on equally generalised archetypes of the two. In reality, it is a lot more complex than that; even political theorists sharing a Left-Wing vision have disputes. Knowledge of these denominations help one understand their political agenda in far better detail.


On the extreme left of the spectrum we have Communism, the basis of which is the oppression of the proletariat from the bourgeoisie. Karl Marx and his ‘Communist Manifesto’ is the general image of radical left politics, with his belief in a possibly violent revolution in order to overthrow a Capitalist system.  The intolerance of Capitalism is the shared idea of far left theorists. Marx also endeavoured to achieve utter democracy through complete nationalisation of industry and the eventual abolition of money. This essentially depicts the far left’s agenda as absolute rule of the people in a socio-economic setting, ridding society of the toxic nature of exploitation from the Bourgeoisie.

Other theorists who adopted Marx’s ideas include Lenin, Stalin and Mao. These figures followed the revolutionary aspects of Marx’s teaching with slight alterations. Lenin adopted Marx’s ‘Dictatorship of the Proletariat’ idea (whereby the working class seize the means of production and re-educate the Capitalists) and implemented Vanguardism into his ideology. This essentially discusses how in order for Communism to be achieved, someone needs to lead the working class revolution, acting as a Vanguard to spur it on. However, it can be argued that Leninism is slightly less radical that Marxism, due to his ‘New Economic Policy’ whereby some industries are privatised after a successful revolution. Similarly, Mao agreed with Marx on the majority of his policies, whilst also believing that a Communist revolution could be achieved in a feudal society, and that the overthrow of Capitalism was not a necessary factor. Stalinism provides an alternative far left idea, with the complete belief in a violent revolution and a specific focus on a centralized economy. Therefore, whilst all share a far left basis, it is clear that this is split between various means of achieving similar ends.

This idea of split ideologies is also present in central-left views. Democratic Socialism is the predominant ideology in Venezuelan politics, exercised through the rule of Chavez and Muduro. Although Democratic Socialists do not endeavour to achieve a communist society, the shared implementation of large scale nationalisation deems Democratic Socialism the middle of the left spectrum. Where they differ from Communist ideas is through the belief in social welfare instead of simply a stateless, classless society, and also the idea of gradualism whereby society permeates socialist ideas to eventually reform, rather than a revolution. This is in support of Socialism’s ‘equality of outcome’, meaning aid is given to those poorer in society, in order to achieve an equal product of wealth distribution. Economists argue that Democratic Socialism is only achievable in an economically strong country, due to the immense government funding required to finance nationalised industries and social welfare. This produces a valid explanation why Venezuela still experiences mass poverty today; it is not a fault in the ideology but an inadequate economic structure.


Despite its stupidly similar name, Social Democrats provide an alternative centre-left ideology. It is argued that every Western country has a Social Democrat party, the UK’s being Labour, due to their more centralist ideas compared to other Left Wing factions. Social Democrats advocate a mixed economy, with some main industries nationalised and governmentally owned, whilst others are privatised to invoke competition. This resolves the argument regarding the poor quality of goods and services from nationalised industries, as companies feel obliged to obtain customers and avoid them reverting to competitors. However, Social Democrats share ideas with other Left Wing thinkers; a belief in social justice and an extensive welfare state proves their prime focus on aiding the working class, a trait shared across the scale of Left Wing ideas. Similar to Marxism, Social Democrats believe in the inevitability of Capitalism’s failure, and it being the root cause to unemployment.

blairThe most centralist, and frequently argued Right Wing influenced ideas of Tony Blair and the Third Way can be seen to stray away from Socialism’s tenets more than any other ideology. Whilst Communism is built on the idea that there is a natural conflict between the Proletariat and Bourgeoisie, Blair offers a consensus class view. A knowledge economy replaces the belief in nationalisation, advocating knowledge as the prime resource, consequently increasing competition. Despite the Third Way straying far from Socialist ideals, it is technically still Left Wing, despite Blair not being a socialist- but that’s a whole other article.

I have in no way touched upon the broad scope of ideologies within the Left Wing spectrum, but offer a flavour of the variants, from radical to tempered. It is important to know where you stand specifically in terms of your views, and not to generalise the scale as a mere Left or Right process.

Angel Witney