Mayborn in London 2017

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Photojournalism 3700

Alternative Assignment – Nisbett

Walk into any bar on Rainey Street in Austin, Texas and you’ll see a room full of young, tattooed hipsters comparing music tastes and discussing the newest reason why Trump is the literal worst. Walk into any bar in the old Truman Brewery or any other hip bar in Shoreditch and you’ll hear the exact same conversations, just with an added British accent.

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Bar on Rainey Street in Austin, Texas

The difference? It’s in the drinks. While Hackney hipsters are resigned to staples like Bacardi and Smirnoff (along with as some local brews to keep things interesting), Austinites have an array of local choices, the top of which is Deep Eddy Vodkas and I think it’s about time Austin shared the love.

The formal borough of Hackney includes Stoke-Newington and Shoreditch and together they make one of the most up and coming, dangerous, and hipster boroughs in all of London Proper. It is also a sister city to the one and only Austin, Texas, creating formal international trade ties as well as informal cultural ties.

“Hackney is cool,” 23-year-old Oli, a Hackney native said. “I don’t know how else to describe it other than cool. And diverse.”

With over a quarter of its population under the age of 20 and 21% between the ages of 20-29, Hackney is very much a young borough and therefore that would be the main clientele of Deep Eddy. While there would be the obvious issue of making a name for themselves in a nightlife literally built in a centuries old brewery and bars seeping with Ciroc and Smirnoff, Deep Eddy has always had a youthful brand that would fit right in.

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Big Chill Bar in the Truman Brewery of Shoreditch

This is a community with an ever changing history and demographic. This is also a community rapidly facing the effects of gentrification at the hand of the London hipsters. With the help of street artists like Banksy and Space Invader bringing a cool factor to the area, the once Kurdish-heavy, older and poorer demographic has shifted with the influx of new, hip businesses.

“This area has gotten much safer in the past few years and a lot of the people who’ve lived here forever have seen the shift,” longtime resident Hettie, 54 said. “All these young people move in and bring new stuff to the area but it’s gotten quite expensive and some areas that used to be quite dangerous are now in hot demand.”

There are many reasons I believe this is the perfect neighborhood for Deep Eddy to expand into. For one, the nightlife scene is already established. There is a need for a wide range of new, cool alcohol brands to set these bars apart from those in Soho or Covent Garden.

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Deep Eddy Advertising campaign in Austin

Instead of coming to these bars just to get drunk and dance to house music, the people that go to Big Chill House and others in the old brewery come to socialize and show off their knowledge of craft beers and indie bands. The drink you’re holding is just as important as the cigarettes in your pocket and the vintage shop you bought your top from.

Also, I believe the brand would translate really well into this neighborhood and this clientele. Since it is so culturally similar to Austin, I feel like it would allow for the brand to use a similar marketing strategy to that which they already use, just with a few modifications.

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Gentrification in numbers

Another reason I’m confident in Hackney is due to the rapid gentrification mentioned earlier. With so many new businesses pouring money into the area and social and local medias portraying the area as the hot new thing, the buzz will open the door for the brand but Hackney’s new residents who aren’t going anywhere anytime soon will give it its staying power.

While gentrification has its obvious negatives especially when it comes to preserving the culture of a city, it can have positive impacts on companies looking to get into an up and coming area from the beginning. It gives them street cred to say “we were here first” and to hipsters, that’s usually the most important thing.

In the next ten years, I see Hackney continuing to grow and evolve from the “murder mile” era into something much more similar to Austin or even Denton. Hopefully a place that hasn’t lost sight of its roots and the cultures that make it unique but has changed into something safer and more prosperous.

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Due to their sister city status, Austin held a Hackney exhibit during SXSW showcasing Hackney innovators and creators. The relationship is already there!

I think this would be a great opportunity for Deep Eddy to make a name for themselves not only in Hackney or London but in Europe as well. Starting somewhere familiar to gain a reputation then expanding throughout the wealthier boroughs and on to other parts of the UK seems like a good way to go. And if they manage to make the same great drinks for the Brits that they do for the Texans, they’ll have nothing to worry about.

Yours Politely, Natalie

 

Alternative Assignment – Thorne

 

Walk into any bar on Rainey Street in Austin, Texas and you’ll see a room full of young, tattooed hipsters comparing music tastes and discussing the newest reason why Trump is the literal worst. Walk into any bar in the old Truman Brewery or any other hip bar in Shoreditch and you’ll hear the exact same conversations, just with an added British accent.

blog-bungalow-austin.jpg

The difference? It’s in the drinks. While Hackney hipsters are resigned to staples like Bacardi and Smirnoff (along with as some local brews to keep things interesting), Austinites have an array of local choices, the top of which is Deep Eddy Vodkas and I think it’s about time Austin shared the love.

The formal borough of Hackney includes Stoke-Newington and Shoreditch and together they make one of the most up and coming, dangerous, and hipster boroughs in all of London Proper. It is also a sister city to the one and only Austin, Texas, creating formal international trade ties as well as informal cultural ties.

“Hackney is cool,” 23-year-old Oli, a Hackney native said. “I don’t know how else to describe it other than cool. And diverse.”

With over a quarter of its population under the age of 20 and 21% between the ages of 20-29, Hackney is very much a young borough and therefore that would be the main clientele of Deep Eddy. While there would be the obvious issue of making a name for themselves in a nightlife literally built in a centuries old brewery and bars seeping with Ciroc and Smirnoff, Deep Eddy has always had a youthful brand that would fit right in.

big-chill2.jpg

This is a community with an ever changing history and demographic. This is also a community rapidly facing the effects of gentrification at the hand of the London hipsters. With the help of street artists like Banksy and Space Invader bringing a cool factor to the area, the once Kurdish-heavy, older and poorer demographic has shifted with the influx of new, hip businesses.

“This area has gotten much safer in the past few years and a lot of the people who’ve lived here forever have seen the shift,” longtime resident Hettie, 54 said. “All these young people move in and bring new stuff to the area but it’s gotten quite expensive and some areas that used to be quite dangerous are now in hot demand.”

There are many reasons I believe this is the perfect neighborhood for Deep Eddy to expand into. For one, the nightlife scene is already established. There is a need for a wide range of new, cool alcohol brands to set these bars apart from those in Soho or Covent Garden.

deepeddyvodka-02.jpg

Instead of coming to these bars just to get drunk and dance to house music, the people that go to Big Chill House and others in the old brewery come to socialize and show off their knowledge of craft beers and indie bands. The drink you’re holding is just as important as the cigarettes in your pocket and the vintage shop you bought your top from.

Also, I believe the brand would translate really well into this neighborhood and this clientele. Since it is so culturally similar to Austin, I feel like it would allow for the brand to use a similar marketing strategy to that which they already use, just with a few modifications.

Hackney.jpg

Another reason I’m confident in Hackney is due to the rapid gentrification mentioned earlier. With so many new businesses pouring money into the area and social and local medias portraying the area as the hot new thing, the buzz will open the door for the brand but Hackney’s new residents who aren’t going anywhere anytime soon will give it its staying power.

While gentrification has its obvious negatives especially when it comes to preserving the culture of a city, it can have positive impacts on companies looking to get into an up and coming area from the beginning. It gives them street cred to say “we were here first” and to hipsters, that’s usually the most important thing.

In the next ten years, I see Hackney continuing to grow and evolve from the “murder mile” era into something much more similar to Austin or even Denton. Hopefully a place that hasn’t lost sight of its roots and the cultures that make it unique but has changed into something safer and more prosperous.

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I think this would be a great opportunity for Deep Eddy to make a name for themselves not only in Hackney or London but in Europe as well. Starting somewhere familiar to gain a reputation then expanding throughout the wealthier boroughs and on to other parts of the UK seems like a good way to go. And if they manage to make the same great drinks for the Brits that they do for the Texans, they’ll have nothing to worry about.

Yours Politely, Natalie

Additional Links:

The World’s 25 Most Hipster Neighborhoods

Hackney Wikipedia

Austin vs. Portland: Which City is More Hipster

Its a London Thing.

The past five weeks of my life have been spent studying abroad in London and they have been both the best and worst weeks of my life. I have always had a love for British culture and for experiencing the world and I never thought I would actually get this opportunity and while it was wonderful and I will remember this for the rest of my life, it was, in reality, very different than the vision I had in my head.

In the weeks leading up to my trip, amid packing, my sister’s wedding and finishing up spring semester, my boyfriend of two and a half years broke up with me and I was devastated. It turns out the timing could not have been better as having a way to literally put an ocean between me and my problems was the best solution.
I needed this trip as a way to grow away from the expectations of my everyday life. I left the States in a place where I was less sure of myself and where my life was headed than I had ever been and knew that if I used this trip correctly, I could figure out who I am, in my own terms.


I can’t say with certainty whether or not I achieved this in my time here. Am I a different person than the one who boarded the plane five weeks ago? Yes. I’m more confident and capable and can appreciate myself more. Am I the perfect or complete version of myself who has all her shit together? Not even close (and I have many memories of crying on a London fire escape to practical strangers to prove it).


I can say, however, that the experiences, both positive and negative, as well as the people, those I bonded with and those I didn’t, have left an incredible and lasting impact on my life. I think I will look back on these five weeks and the people I met here as the turning point in my life. I am capable. I am strong. And I lived in a freaking foreign country for a month and kicked its ass.

Yours Politely, Natalie

 

Hackney: The Times are Changing

For my neighborhood assignment, I wanted to pick a neighborhood I knew nothing about but that would be somewhere I would spend my time if I were a local. I decided on Hackney because I had heard there was a music scene there but my expectations were pretty open. I decided the best way to experience the city was to spend a day there alone, walking around and finding the cool places on their own, without help from TripAdvisor or any other place aimed at tourism.

When you get off the train at Hackney Downs, it looks like a pretty sketchy borough of London. This unassuming city which has in recent years become a hipster hotspot, has a long history within London.

The borough the way it is today was founded in 1965 when it merged with Stoke Newington and Shoreditch, both of which share a large present day hipster population and have recently been facing the effects of gentrification. The name Hackney, however, dates back to the 1200s when the area was believed to be surrounded by marshes, making it somewhat inaccessible and therefore deemed an “island”.

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Hackney coat of arms which is a combination of the three combined boroughs

Both Shoreditch High Street and Kingsland Road, prominent Hackney avenues were once apart of a large Roman road that ran through the borough.

What was once a place frequented by nobility, the borough now stands as one of the most economically struggling parts of London with every ward in the 10% of “most deprived” in the country with “47% of its children living in low income homes. It also has a reputation of being very unsafe, at least in recent history but has seen a significant drop in recent years.

This low income, dangerous vibe is still apparent when you step off the tube with rundown shops and homeless people on every corner. When I first got there, I thought perhaps I was in the wrong place, while I know hipsters are known for getting in before the rush, this place seemed like a sleepy town full of people just trying to get by.

After wandering through residential streets for a while, I finally arrived at Mare Street, one of Hackney’s most popular. The shift in atmosphere was palpable. All of a sudden there was free wifi, a huge museum, manicured gardens in front of the courthouse and a picturesque art film theatre. The people shifted too, gone were the shop owners and families heading home and in their place were young, rainbow-haired “cool kids” toting their vintage shopping bags and casually taking drags from their hand-rolled cigarettes.

Unlike near Shoreditch High Street and the markets there, the hipster seen in central Hackney is a little harder to find and is much more word of mouth than tourist attraction. While Mare Street stood out, it was only after a little bit of searching that I came across it.

They’re were Labour posters in many windows, and anti-tory stickers littered among the streets.

“It’s not uncommon to see labour posters,” Viki, 34 said. “People who’ve been here their whole life are much more conservative than the kids moving in who are very liberal. They’re bringing a new mindset to the city.”

There is definitely a variety of cultures but they haven’t quite mixed yet. There is a lot of Turkish and Kurdish influence due to its high population and I saw lots of orthodox Jews walking around with their children which lends itself to an interesting culture.

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Orthodox Jews walking through Hackney

“The [Kurdish] community here is very welcoming,” Olan, 52 said. ” My family has lived here for a long time and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else other than my home.”

There is lots of local media like the Hackney Gazette and the Hackney Post which focuses on community news and attractions like Hackney One Carnival and Hoxton Hall events.

While I chose this neighborhood to focus on the hipster music scene, what I found in the heart of Hackney was much more intriguing. A meeting point of culture as well as a once overtly dangerous neighborhood now dealing with the effects of gentrification.

“Things have been changing a lot in recent years and it’s not all bad,” Freddie 21 said. “The hipsters yeah, have been changing the culture but its the companies moving into places like Shoreditch that are changing things. It has gotten a lot safer though I think.”

For a city once nicknamed “murder mile” and has recently been in the news for the mugging of a 92-year-old woman, theres is quite a distinct and vibrant culture that hopegully will be able to retain its sense of self with the current influx of outsiders, although I do hope the upward trend of safety continues for the sake of its residents.

Yours Politely, Natalie

 

External Links:

Hackney Wikipedia Post

Woman, 92, dragged along ground by robber in Hackney

Hackney Gazette News

 

 

 

Spare Change

Since getting to Europe four weeks ago, I’ve visited three countries and seven cities.

Though this traveling was a new experience for me, after a month here, I feel like somewhat of a pro at navigating new places. I’ve been the go to navigator and somehow always manage to figure out how to get us home, even when I’m five drinks in. The one thing I haven’t managed to get used to, aside from the traffic driving on the wrong side of the road, is the amount of homeless and poor people I’ve seen in and out of London.

From Italy to France to Dover and Brighton, everywhere you go, there’s frail, pleading people trying to survive. And it absolutely breaks my heart.


I noticed it most just outside Vatican City. There were fragile women lying in prayer at the walls of the City holding out dirty cups, hoping for a helping hand. The contrast between the eloquence and holiness of the Vatican and the people begging for a handout really put my trip in perspective. I am fortunate enough to tourist all of these wonderful countries and bask in the gems that you can’t find in America while these men and women who get to see this beauty everyday only want what I have. A bed and a guaranteed meal.


While we were at the Trevi Fountain eating gelato and enjoying the end of our dinner wine buzz, I noticed a man, sitting on a skateboard with a boot on his hand. His feet looked like they had been handicaped in some way and he used the booted hand to scoot along the cobblestones. Instantly my buzz was gone and my heart sank. How can I enjoy the beauty around me when there’s so many people in pain?

This thought had stayed with me the entire trip and I believe it will my entire life. This trip and the people I’ve seen in he streets have sparked a new interest within me to want to help these people in a meaningful way, not just giving them a pound or two but really learning about their problems and finding ways to fix them.


While the pretty photos and newfound friends will also stay with me once I’m home, the way I feel when I see someone in a position of misfortune has forever been changed and for that I am grateful.

Yours Politely, Natalie

Where Austin Meets Shoreditch

In a country with a drinking age of 18 and a huge population of people from countries like Ireland who are known for their drinking, having a variety or liquors at your disposal at all times of the day is a vital part of London and U.K. culture.

Going out in London means paying at least five pounds for a beer and at least nine for any drink that actually tastes decent.

This city is drowning in alcohol but what they’re missing is a alcohol company with a cool factor. From Bacardi to Guinness, the liquor companies here are as old as the buildings the bars sit in. They’re lacking the one thing that Shoreditch hipsters value most and that is the new, underground and unheard of thing that makes them different from the masses. Deep Eddy Vodka could be that thing.

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Deep Eddy is an Austin, Texas based company that began in 2010 and currently distributes to all 50 states in the U.S. Not only do they still produce their product out of their native Austin, they sponsor many city-wide events like Austin City Limits Music Festival as well as being the main sponsor of the annual free Blues on the Green concert series. Their devotion to live music, keeping cool and supporting their community would translate perfectly into the more hipster boroughs of London.

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With so many well-known competitors here already, it is important for Deep Eddy to make an impact with its arrival. The perfect way to show the community who they are at their core as well as get their name out their would be to host a free live music event at a hip rooftop bar, like Big Chill in Shoreditch, complete with local bands and foods, free merch and of course, Deep Eddy Vodka, both for free tastings and for sale in drinks and bottles.

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Hipster Haven AKA Shoreditch

By drumming up local media coverage through local Hackney and Shoreditch publications like the Hackney Post and Made in Shoreditch, they could appeal to the local young people as well as local business owners who may be interested in participating in the event by contributing food, entertainment, locally made products etc.. It would also be wise to appeal to more traditional media outlets that perhaps lean more liberal like The Independent and The Guardian as that is more likely to have young readers.

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Possible venue The Big Chill in Shoreditch

By creating media coverage and hosting an event that is tailored to the community, gets them involved and peaks their interest, Deep Eddy could make a name for themselves as the “Official Drink of London Hipsters”.

Yours Politely, Natalie

Social Class and the Way England Is Failing Its Citizens

Every society has its own unique social structure. In the U.S. it revolves mainly around racial economic issues resulting in distinct social groups.

Economically disadvantaged people in the U.S. are stereotyped as poor, black or hispanic minorities taking advantage of welfare and other social programs. The terms “Inner City” and “Welfare Queens” bring to mind images of single black or hispanic women with many kids or gangs of minority men terrorizing the streets. Whether accurate or not, these stereotypes infiltrate the class system that dominates America.

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In the UK, however, the class system is built less around race and more around wealth and geographic location within the country.

The south of England, which includes London, has been long known as the affluent part of the country, producing different accents that are seen as “posh”.

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The north of England, which is home to places like the shipping town of Liverpool and Bradford, which relies on a textile industry. 10 out of the 12 most economically struggling cities are in the North and none are in the true south, according to a 2016 report on the Independent.

“There’s definitely a class divide in England,” Maya, 24 said. “People here can tell the difference between a northern accent and a southern one and totally has class connotations.”

Broken up into an elite class, middle class, working class, service workers and the precariat, the UK has much more obvious and unbreakable class divisions. Its not impossible to move between classes in the United States (although crossing racial lines is much more unreachable) in the UK, the crossing of class lines is more challenging.

The gap between the classes is also much more noticeable in the UK and the wealth gap that comes along with it is more damaging than the “one percenters” of the US.

Look at the Grenfell Tower tragedy, for example. Government housing in a wealthy part of town feels the consequences of the higher classes cutting corners in an attempt to rejuvenate the city. Lower classes are seen as exactly that, lower citizens, a sect of people that is somehow beneath.

Grenfell tower is a perfect example of the government and governing classes putting their own economic and personal gains over the wellbeing and safety of lower castes, according to local 38-year-old Londoner, Greg who visited the tower in the days following the fire.

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Overall, the concept of social classes is not an English invention but it is one perfected by them, possibly as a result of their ever-present monarchy, a symbol of status and class. Perhaps it;s due to how much longer of a history England has than America that makes the persistence of seemingly outdated social classes possible or maybe it’s that their ruling class stems from a long line of royalty who have been in a place of power for centuries.

I don’t have a solution for England’s class problems and I don’t have a solution for ours either. I do know that with class gaps come inequalities that in some cases put the lower classes in danger and that there needs to be something done to bring the classes together as a singular England.

Yours Politely, Natalie

 

 

Additional Sources:

The Telegraph: The seven social classes of 21st century Britain – where do you fit in?

BBC News: The Great British class calculator: What class are you?

The Independent: Northern Powerhouse? 10 of the UK’s 12 most struggling cities are in the North, report reveals

Making Our Mark

One of the things I was most excited about when coming on this trip was seeing things that are old. Like really really old. The fact that there are buildings here that were built thousands of years before America was even “discovered” excited and fascinated me.

Over the weekend, a group of us went to Dover to see the coast and the famous white cliffs. What really sold it for us though, was the Dover Castle. Perched up on a hill overlooking the picturesque town and the distant cliffs, the Dover castle is the largest castle in England dating back to around 1180. While castles aren’t the beautiful, ornate palaces of Disney, due to their functionality as a literal fortress, it’s shear size and looming presence on the hill was breathtaking. 

Thinking about the history inside the walls and all of the lives that have shared that space really solidified how huge and mind blowing the world really is.
This weekend, we took a trip to Rome, a city dripping in history. While London is old, Rome is ancient. Everywhere you look there’s buildings older than you can wrap your head around from the Coliseum, which was completed in 80 AD to the oldest fully complete building still standing which was from the first century.


Seeing this history and walking the halls of buildings built by civilizations long since extinct really puts into perspective how much your life doesn’t matter but also, how much it does.


Our individual lives may be forgotten in a few short centuries but the impact we make and the things we leave behind may inspire and amaze future generations who might find solace in knowing about those that came before and that they aren’t the only ones desperate to leave a mark on this earth.

Yours Politely, Natalie

London: The Real Melting Pot

In general, Western cultures do a really crappy job of representing all types of people in any real way. Coming to London, a crowded, big city in a “white” country, I was expecting about as much diversity in advertisements as you see in Austin. In some cases this is true but there have been times where the casual use of diverse people in campaigns has surprised me.

The demographics of London and the country as a whole, I think has a lot to do with why there is a bit more inclusion in their advertising. It is very much an international city and its proximity to so many other countries helps keep up a multicultural vibe, this is sometimes but not always, reflected in their ads.

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“In 2007 there were over 300 languages spoken [in London] and more than 50 non-indigenous communities with a population of more than 10,000,” according to Wikipedia. Only 44.9% of London’s population is “White-British” making minority representation all the more important.

I have seen a lot more racial representation here when it comes to groups like muslims and blacks than there is in America. Instead of only seeing these groups in stereotypical or intentional ways (like seeing black basketball players or muslims in a religious setting), there is integration in the way that they are represented as normal citizens.


Compared to the U.S., the self-proclaimed melting pot of culture, London seems to do a slightly better job at inclusion and remembering to represent all citizens. In the U.S., its news when a large company casts a minority or underrepresented person in a major ad campaign, even when those minorities are celebrities like Gabby Douglas during the Olympics.

I by no means think that London has enough inclusion or diversity but I think that they are at least making some effort. Seeing minorities on billboards or in newspaper ads should not be exciting or shocking, it should be commonplace and we have yet to reach that point.

The diversity of London is one of the things that makes it’s culture the way it is and without it, the city would look and sound entirely different. With so many immigrants and minorities living here, it would do ad agencies good to appeal to these consumers and show them equal representation if not out of morality than out of economy and to increase their customer pool.

From Left to Right: A British Politics Summary

As we’ve been spending more time in the United Kingdom, it has become more clear that there are many things unique about UK politics.

Like us in the States, their politics are on a spectrum of left to right with the right leaning conservative and the left leaning liberal. In the past few elections, the Conservatives, or Tories, and UKIP were the major right leaning parties with the Labour and smaller Liberal Democrats were the left parties. spectrum

What to Know About the Left:

  • Leader of Labour: Jeremy Corbyn
  • In favor of the NHS, the government funded health care service
  • In opposition of Brexit, referred to as “remainers”
  • In favor of pro-immigration legislation in the name of human rights

What to Know About the Right:

  • Leader of Conservative (and Prime Minister): Theresa May
  • In favor of privatizing the NHS
  • In favor of Brexit and cutting all ties with the EU in hopes of English economic gain
  • In opposition of opening borders to immigrants escaping from countries like Syria in the name of national security

Overall, the issues like immigration and health care are very similar in views to the left and right in America. The demographics of voters who vote each direction are very similar as well.

“Young people are sort of seeing through the bullshit of the mainstream conservative media and are becoming sort of antiestablishment,” 19-year-old student Gigi said. “We get our news from twitter and social media because were tired of seeing lies about Labour and for our government to not represent our interests.”

On the other side of things, older conservative voters feel that the Labour party and their young supporters are being fed lies that sound wonderful but in reality aren’t possible to obtain.

“All these news outlets like the Guardian and the Independent along with Corbyn are telling these kids that free college and free healthcare and free whatever are totally possible when they’re not realistic,” 52-year-old banker Thomas J. said. “Corbyn has all these grand ideas but no concept of how to actually do any of it.”

My overall impression of UK vs. US politics is that although on paper, they seem just as polarizing between the left an right, there seems to be less of a divide in terms of everyday life. Unlike in America where Trump supporters are some of the most hated members of society and Liberals are deemed “fragile snowflakes” who can’t function in a normal society, people here coexist seemingly without issue.

In conclusion, while there are many similarities in platform and mainstream media backing, the political culture of the country is much less ostracizing and polarizing than that of the United States.

Additional Information:

How left or right-wing are the UK’s newspapers?

Yours Politely, Natalie