The political week in 5 points

Alt-right Steve Bannon resigns from the Trump adminsitration. “I’m leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents – on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America.” These were the words of Trump’s former Chief Strategist after he resigned from his role earlier in the week. Bannon was a controversial figure from the get-go, given his involvement in the alt-right movement and one of the only aides to defend the Presidents foolish ‘both sides’ narrative after racial protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. Whilst it is good for progressive politics that a figure like Bannon no longer has any influence in the most powerful administration in the world, a Steve Bannon, unhindered by the rules and regulations of the political structure could be more dangerous than ever.

No tinc por!” The Spaniards refuse to succumb to fear after Barcelona Attack. Another devastating terrorist attack in Western Europe has left 14 dead and a further 53 critically injured after an Islamic Jihadist ploughed a vehicle into a crowd on the famous Las Rambles in Barcelona, last Thursday. The latest attack shows the war on terror is failing as politicians continue to fall short of offering a robust anti-terror strategy that preserves our way of life against such radicalism. Nonetheless, Spaniards gathered in the cities’ Playa de Catalunya, were shouts of “No tinc por!” (we are not afraid) rang out across the square. Similar to chants like that of the ‘Don’t look back in anger’, ‘Boston Strong’ and ‘Je Suis Charlie’, such unity in the face of terror lays clear that the west will not allow hard-won freedoms to be robbed via such cowardice.

Stephen Hawking defends NHS. In 2009, Professor Stephen Hawking claimed that he ‘would not be alive without the NHS’, as he slammed the American right and its failure to produce affordable healthcare for US citizens. This week Hawking was out on the defensive again, only this time against the Tories, whose harsh austerity measures have crippled our health system.

Northern Ireland high court throws out same-sex marriage case. The high court in Belfast dismissed the case of three same-sex couples, who challenged the current legislation that disallows same-sex couples in Northern Ireland enter civil marriage. Yet it came as no surprise that the case was thrown-out given it is the job of the legislature, not the courts, to amend the law. Therefore, the LGBT+ community have little choice but to rely on the reform of Northern Irelands contentious Petition of Concern; the petition of concern allows political parties to block legislation if 30 or more MLAs agree to sign it. It is likely that the reform of the petition of concern will act as a pre-requisite to any new Executive being formed come September.

A-level students achieve extraordinary results across the province, but Protestant boys still left behind. On Thursday, thousands of students received their A-level results across the province. Statistics show that 30% or more received grades A* or A. Whilst this is fantastic news for the upcoming generation, the academic performance gap between girls and boys has once again widened. More than that, protestant working-class boys still remain the lowest achievers. If we are to have a society that seeks equality for all its citizens, education, the greatest equaliser of all, must be readily available and moulded to fit the needs, not the educators, but of students.