Summer in the Sun

There is one easy way to enjoy a summer full of radiant sunshine, especially, if like me, you are British. The secret is to go abroad, leave behind the unpredictable and unforgiving British weather that we love to gripe about and fly, drive or sail to a country that has a more committed relationship with that great ball of gas in the sky.

And that is exactly what happened, a group of six of us , myself included, flew out to Zante (Zakynthos) for a week that promised to be full to the brim with frivolity and joyous occupations with Club 18-30. But this week was to be initially hampered by a two-hour delay departing from Gatwick. Alas we arrived, still filled with anticipation and now exhaustion, only to be pestered by our rep to purchase a two hundred and thirty euro package we could not live without. Having parted with the majority of our spending money we hit the pool.

This is what we had come for, glorious sunshine, cool water and a week of events that promised to provide the best nights out we could imagine. And for the most part it was delivered, two-hour free bars made up for the expense of the package, and at some points for the less then exciting themes for the nights (School Disco is done to death). The pool was ideal for a quick dip when it got too hot, or for a few games, the meals were well priced and the hotel reception was manned 24 hours a day, the benefit being they took your key when you went out so it could not be lost.

The perfect escape for a week, and whilst this might not be your ideal summer destination, although we did spend the day reading and relaxing, then there are plenty of places to soak up all that vitamin D. In short, camping trips don’t quite cut it any more, if you want a summer in the sun , even if it is only a weeks worth of summer, then grab your passport and jet set your way to a little happiness. I had an amazing week in great company, met some fantastic people and captured some memories that will stay with me for a long time. If that does not persuade you I don’t know what will, but if you do take my advice all I can say is: enjoy yourself ….. and don’t drink the tap water.


Political Identity

Political Identity is a concept that shapes our interactions with the political world, and is something that cannot be avoided. It harbours our political leanings, whether it be Party Allegiances, or whether we choose to ascribe to a political or ideological framework, such as Marxism or Liberalism.

It is often defined as “the general ‘pattern of orientations’ to political objects such as parties, government and the constitution, expressed in beliefs, symbols and values.” – Andrew Heywood.

It is formed relatively early, but Is susceptible to change as different circumstances and environments develop around us. Our political identities are shaped initially by Primary Agents (Overt forces of persuasion, such as, but not limited to, your parents) and then by Secondary Agents (More subliminal influences such as peer groups).

Primary Agents suggest that the political world cannot be separated from our personal spheres, the best example of this being a Primary Agent, known as a ‘locating agent’ – the Family. It is, at least to begin with, your family that teaches you who to obey, who and what to value, as well as the area of your life you draw your religious, class (potentially) and gender position in society. It is here that your political identity begins to spread its roots.

But how far do our families’ impact our view of political discourse? Personally it seems that my family life had little to do with it, I cannot say I even know the parties my parents support, for example. For others though, they may be raised in a very party focused family, similar to the way someone may have been brought up in a family savagely proud of a premiership side. These foundations are of course very important, but it is in the structure, the skyscraper of opinions you construct as you grow as a person that  nforms you of who you are politically.

Secondary Agents, your friends and colleagues, your peer groups and partners. This is where your views are challenged, changed and refined. It is only after you are asked,

“So why do you think that?”

“Why do you believe that?”

“Where do you ideas come from?”

Those questions that force you to stop and think, really think about why you believe so strongly in Liberal Democracy, or in the necessity of State intervention, that you can clearly define yourself as a political entity. Debate, being able to defend and convince others of your view point is an essential element in the development of an individual, a political group and ultimately a political identity.

So ask yourself , What defines you? What do you believe? But most importantly Why?