VICE feed for https://www.vice.comenWed, 12 Dec 2018 17:15:55 +0000<![CDATA[In an Age of Frenzy, Jeremy Corbyn Is the Master of Slow Politics]]>, 12 Dec 2018 17:15:55 +0000There's a solid argument that the most perceptive thing written about politics in the age of 24-hour news boils down to dril's cry: "Politic's is back baby. It's good again. Awoouu (wolf Howl)." There are days, these days, when Politics happens – days of blistering turmoil and uncertainty, when you can't look away from social media for even half an hour for fear of missing what's going on.

With breaking news communicated on live blogs, every scrap of useful or relevant information is immediately buried under an avalanche of gossip and speculation; investing the time necessary to follow the news means being too exhausted to understand it at all. The world becomes a magic eye puzzle: if you can see what's going on, you're already cross-eyed. These problems are compounded by algorithmic social media feeds, which mean that around half the news will only be seen later, as an echo, in posts marked as having been made 21 hours ago. By this time, they are often no longer relevant at all.

On Monday, Theresa May announced that the vote on her Brexit deal would be scrapped at the last minute, ushering in a day of Politics so fevered that it ended with someone grabbing the parliamentary mace. Today, we woke up to the news that she would be facing a no confidence vote in her leadership – and so the Politics begins again.

I hate Politics days. There is something so grindingly sickening about them, like being forced to remain at a party you never wanted to be at in the first place. I can't read live blogs without hearing in the background a sort of horrible, thumping noise, like I'm trapped in the corner of a club.

What's especially bad about the Politics days is that, at the end of them, nothing ever seems to have changed. Every Politics day recently has seen an embattled Theresa May clinging on to her leadership; by the end, we are promised, she could be gone. And is she? Is she fuck. Theresa May is beginning to look like proof that the coyote in Road Runner really could have kept running off all those cliff edges forever, if only he had never looked down.

She should have gone after her party de facto lost the 2017 general election. I'm beginning to suspect that maybe her time did come then after all, but whichever bureaucrat of the afterlife was responsible for taking her soul didn't want it (I mean, who would?), rendering her effectively immortal by mistake. Maybe this evening she'll lose the no confidence vote and go. But if the pattern holds, she'll be standing there outside Downing Street, assuring us, after another day of posturing and chaos, that nothing has changed. And even if she does lose the vote, well... will that get us any closer to a better world? One form of chaotic inertia will simply be replaced with another.

Amid this pandemonium, Labour are emerging as masters of Slow Politics.

What should Labour's stance on Brexit be? Either that they run the negotiations and secure a Brexit deal that won’t ruin their plans to democratise large parts of the economy. Failing that, they should use May's failures as an excuse to scrap the thing entirely, and avoid the economic hardship of a Tory Brexit. To do either, Labour need to secure a general election.

Under the 2011 Fixed-term Parliaments Act, a general election could be triggered by a vote of no confidence in the government. Given how incompetent the Tories are currently proving, that doesn't seem like a totally unrealistic goal.

If May wins today's vote, she will have another 12 months grace in which she can continue to fuck everything up, while making increasingly unconvincing announcements saying she's doing an amazing job. Even to certain Tories, that might seem unpalatable.

Given the mathematics of the current parliament, this could be the only way that Labour is able to get the support it needs to topple May's government with a vote of no confidence, because they're going to need some disgruntled Conservatives on board. It feels counterintuitive, but Corbyn probably needs May to win the vote among her fellow Tories today. That way, he could have a shot at winning a vote of no confidence in her government, voted for by the whole of Parliament.

Sit back, wait for the Politics to happen. Let the Tories screw themselves over once again and strike at the right time.

But what are Corbyn's critics doing? Urging him to throw himself into The Politics wholeheartedly, of course. Yesterday, there were repeated calls for Labour to force a confidence vote in May's government – from the Labour right, the SNP, even Tory Remainer Anna Soubry. At times, these calls were baffled in their incomprehension: why won't Jeremy Corbyn do it? Well, maybe because he doesn't want to accidentally unite the Tories behind a Prime Minister when they're just about to open up a yawning internal schism? Just something to think about, lads.

Early on in Corbyn's leadership, I remember his alleged "slowness" to respond to news events was considered by journalists as a sign of weakness: that because his office couldn't dash out statements at the same frantic pace everyone in the media was used to, that must be a sign he wasn't up to the job. But of course, there was always an element in this of enthusiasts sneering at an outsider for not sharing the same nerdish interest in their hobby. Most people are not waiting on tenterhooks on Twitter feeds, hanging on for slip-ups at Prime Minister's Questions; quite frankly, unless you do this for a living, you probably don't have time. The general public are unlikely to consider it an essential quality of any brilliant leader to be able to respond to every little thing in real time.

And now, amid the chaos, Corbyn's slowness, his caution, is proving perhaps his greatest strength.

In the aftermath of the Brexit vote, there was a case for saying his position looked as impossible as May's does now – perhaps even worse, so divided was his party. But somehow, Corbyn has manoeuvred himself into a position where he could now be the man to save the country from the Brexit mess the Tories have devised. If he pulls this off, Corbyn – naïve old duffer, pottering around his allotment with his marrows – has to go down as one of the most brilliant Machiavellian political minds of his time. And all because he chilled out and refused to get sucked into the frenzy.


vbaqm3Tom WhymanSimon ChildspoliticsLABOURBrexitJeremy Corbyn
<![CDATA[Question of the Day: Should Theresa May Lose Her Job?]]>, 12 Dec 2018 15:50:02 +0000Another day, another Brexit drama. This evening, Theresa May faces a vote of no confidence from members of her party. If she loses, there will have to be a leadership contest, which – unsurprisingly – May is not in favour of, because, she says, it will further delay the Brexit process, which goes against "the nation's interest".

Believing that Brexit is in the national interest is one thing, uniting her party behind her is another. But because we have to wait until 9PM-ish tonight to find out if she's managed to do that, we thought we'd kill some time by asking Londoners if they believe the Prime Minister should lose her job.

Sam, 50 and Steve, 52


Do you think Theresa May should go?
Christy: Theresa May should step down, because she didn't even vote leave. She says she’s looking out for the nation's interest, but if she in fact didn't even believe in [Brexit], she should have stepped down in the first place. It’s just her trying to hold onto power rather than actually looking out for the country’s best interest.

Do you have any candidate in mind who could replace her?
Not really. There's Boris Johnson, who obviously no one wants. So that’s the problem. I feel the best thing would be to do a general election.

Until the next general election, what should we do with Brexit?
Until then, I think the Conservative party is showing how disorganised they are. They don’t have a consensus within their party. They just cannot be in power.

Do you think there should be a People’s Vote on Brexit?
I know another referendum is chaos, but I think ultimately we were mis-sold what was happening. I don't think there should have been one in the first place, because [voters] were given options that weren't real. They were told, "This mystery box of Leave is all the same," and really what people voted for is for change rather than for Brexit or for Leave.


3k94z3Cecile BussyJamie CliftonpoliticsBrexittheresa mayQuestion Of The Day
<![CDATA[Psychology's Short-Lived Experiment With Nude Psychotherapy]]>, 12 Dec 2018 14:48:39 +0000This article originally appeared on Tonic.

As a social psychologist who studies sex for a living, I often think I’ve heard—and seen—it all. But I do get surprised every now and then, and something that surprised me recently was the discovery that “nude psychotherapy” used to be a thing. The nude psychotherapy movement, it turns out, lasted for a short time in the 1960s and 70s, but it was several decades in the making. In fact, we can trace its roots back to 1933 when psychologist Howard Warren published a controversial paper in one the field’s leading journals, Psychological Review, titled “Social Nudism and the Body Taboo.” Warren, a professor at Princeton and former president of the American Psychological Association (APA), extolled the therapeutic value of nudity.

The stated purpose of nude psychotherapy was to “guide clients to their authentic selves through the systematic removal of clothing.” In other words, this form of therapy was—in the most literal way possible—all about stripping someone down to their “true self.” Warren chronicled a week he spent at a nudist colony in Germany, which led him to conclude that nudity provided a healthy return to nature. Nudists, he claimed, had a “saner sex outlook and more natural relations between men and women.” Warren argued that Americans were being psychologically harmed by what he called the “body taboo” and that the way we repressed nudity perverted our sexuality.

The technique of nude psychotherapy wasn’t formally created until 1967, when psychologist Paul Bindrim published academic journal articles on the subject and popularized it in the media. Far from being on the fringes of the field, Bindrim’s work actually had the public backing of the APA president at the time, Abraham Maslow, who himself had commented in a book a few years prior that, “I still think that nudism, simply going before a lot of other people, is itself a kind of therapy.”

More from Tonic:

Bindrim, like many psychologists at the time, had been running what were called “marathon” workshops, in which 15-25 people would spend a day or two together as a group engaging in emotional exercises like “trust falls.” The idea behind these marathons is that being forced to interact with others for an extended period of time would lead people to take off their masks and expose their true selves.

Participants were clothed during these marathon sessions; however, after running one of them, Bindrim observed a group that spontaneously stripped down and went swimming together. This made him wonder if getting naked at the beginning of a marathon could get people to open up even faster, which led him to host the first of many nude psychotherapy marathons. People would pay between $45 and $100 to attend one of his sessions (depending on length), which often began by having people stare into each other’s eyes at close range as an ice-breaker. They would then disrobe, join a meditation circle, and begin sharing their most intimate secrets, including ways they had been hurt.

These sessions weren’t just about opening up, but also about shedding sexual guilt and anxiety. As described in a historical review of the movement:

Bodies were exposed and scrutinized with a science-like rigor. Particular attention was paid to revealing the most private areas of the body and mind—all with a view to freeing the self from its socially imposed constraints. ‘This,’ Bindrim asserted, gesturing to a participant’s genitalia and anus, ‘is where it’s at. This is where we are so damned negatively conditioned’…Determined to squelch the ‘exaggerated sense of guilt’ in the body, Bindrim devised an exercise called ‘crotch eyeballing’ in which participants were instructed to look at each others genitals and disclose the sexual experiences they felt most guilty about while lying naked in a circle with their legs in the air…In this position, Bindrim insisted, ‘You soon realize that the head end and the tail end are indispensable parts of the same person, and that one end is about as good as the other.

Bindrim promoted nude psychotherapy as a solution to multiple problems. It was a path to greater self-acceptance, happier marriages and relationships, more authentic communication, as well as a more spiritual, emotionally fulfilling life.

Although nude psychotherapy initially received a lot of popular—and favorable—media attention in magazines like Time and Life, it was, perhaps predictably, attacked by political and religious conservatives as a moral outrage. Also, academics and psychologists were split on it, with some calling it a “threat to human dignity” and an “abandonment of science.” And despite the support of APA president Abraham Maslow, the APA Ethics Committee opened an investigation into Bindrim.

The tide turned decisively against nude psychotherapy just a few years later, owing to a confluence of factors: the death of one of its biggest champions—Abraham Maslow—in 1970, increasingly outlandish and undocumented claims from Bindrim that this therapy could cure everything from impotence to arthritis, and growing questions about Bindrim’s true motives (nude psychotherapy was giving Bindrim fame and fortune).

Another nail in the coffin came when Bindrim renamed his technique “aqua-energetics” in the 1970s in an attempt to downplay the nude aspect of it. This name—unsurprisingly—landed with a thud and never really captured the same public interest. By the 1980s, the leading psychological and psychiatric associations came out and stated that nude therapy was “unethical” and “obviously” wrong.

Nude therapy no longer exists because it would be inconsistent with modern psychologists’ code of ethics. That said, there are still some people who purport to offer “naked therapy” today, but it’s important to note they don’t have the licensing or credentials to offer legitimate mental health counseling.

Likewise, nude psychotherapy is unlikely to make a comeback in the US any time soon, especially when you consider that, if anything, Americans have only grown more uncomfortable with nudity in recent years. (Just think about how uncomfortable millennials have become with the idea of changing clothes in a gym locker room.) More of our social interactions are also taking place online between people who often never really get to know one another because our virtual selves are so selectively presented that they bear little resemblance to our real selves. That could be part of the reason why we’re feeling lonelier than ever before—we’re having fewer and fewer meaningful social exchanges.

This isn’t necessarily to say that the solution to all of this is for us to start getting naked with our therapists—just that maybe psychologists of the 20th century were onto something in their search for a more authentic form of human interaction.

Justin Lehmiller is a Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute and author of the blog Sex and Psychology. His latest book is Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life. Follow him on Twitter @JustinLehmiller

pa5xgkJustin Lehmiller, PhDMike DarlingSexrelationshipsστίγμαtherapypsychologyrepressionbodymindhard datapsychiatrytaboos
<![CDATA[Getting to Grips with Labour's Brexit Puzzle]]>, 12 Dec 2018 13:58:45 +0000With the country in disarray as Theresa May faces a vote of no confidence from her own MPs, having kicked the can down the road in an attempt to save her job, the position Labour will take come crunch time remains in discussion.

We are in a moment when whole decades seem to happen in the space of a week, and yet nothing actually changes. Britain remains a car stuck in the mud, its wheels spinning frantically, going nowhere. Or perhaps the better metaphor is a car sitting in front of Angela Merkel, our lame duck prime minister trapped inside because the door won’t open.

An organic crisis created by the Conservative party now requires a response from everyone, however bewildered and exhausted by the whole thing they are. As with everything related to Brexit, the situation is ever-changing and confusing, even – or particularly – for those at the centre of the action. What was impossible two weeks ago now seems possible.

A lot has been said about Labour’s position on Brexit being one of "constructive ambiguity", but that take imagines a carefully and cunningly maintained illusion. In fact, the situation is that of a number of different views, concerns and opportunities bumping into each other and jostling for supremacy.

Last week in the Guardian, Jeremy Corbyn laid out his opposition to May’s deal, highlighted what Labour would do differently and wrote that if there was no election following the voting down of the deal, then all options – including campaigning for a public vote – would be on the table.

At Labour conference in September, delegates voted in favour of a Brexit motion saying that holding a second referendum should be an option. However, that cuts against their 2017 election manifesto, and when questioned about it by VICE a Labour party spokesperson said: "Our manifesto clearly laid out how we respect the result of the referendum and would negotiate a Jobs First Brexit." So it’s on the table, but not something they’re emphasising right now.

Nevertheless, those at all levels of the party backing some form of second referendum had said they were feeling quietly confident. Last week, a Labour source told VICE: "Us backing a second referendum is now more likely with May’s deal looking like it will be rejected." That was before May delayed her Waterloo on Monday. That was before her MPs tabled a vote of no confidence in her. Has that dented hopes for a second referendum? This morning, that same Labour source said: "It’s very hard to predict what will happen," which is a bit of an understatement.

Len McCluskey, general secretary of the union Unite and a key Corbyn ally, has reportedly told Labour MPs that backing a second referendum could be seen as a "betrayal". Some of the most influential people advising Corbyn are from McCluskey’s orbit and share his reservations about a second referendum. Some see the crisis in the establishment caused by Brexit as an opportunity to install the most left-wing Labour government since the war.

At least a third of Labour MPs represent seats that voted Leave, and most do not want to obstruct the wishes of their constituents. Corbyn takes the argument that a second referendum would be undemocratic – by undermining the first one – very seriously. Then again, "betrayal" is not a view shared by John McDonnell, shadow chancellor, nor Keir Starmer, Labour's shadow Brexit secretary.

Many of the most visible figures in the People's Vote movement are from the New Labour old-guard – think Andrew Adonis, Peter Mandelson and Tony Blair. That makes Corbyn nervous of being co-opted by the kind of people who hate him, and who are representative of an establishment that Leave voters were rejecting in the first place.

But while Corbyn is critical of the EU and no doubt sees the potential route to power thrown up by the Brexit crisis we find ourselves in, he’s not the staunch, secret Europhobe some fevered Remainiacs imagine him to be. Besides, plenty of people around him are pushing for a second vote. His constituency, Islington North, is a Remain stronghold – and among a sizeable chunk of MPs and the membership as a whole, there is support for a second referendum. "They will let Corbyn know that not backing it will have consequences," one insider said.

The public line from Labour top-dogs is that they want a general election – for May to "get out of the way". But a frontbench Labour source said that even if an election were to happen, "the widely acknowledged problem is what to fight the manifesto on. The leadership know if they fight on a manifesto of Brexit alone, the base won’t come out to campaign and we’ll haemorrhage support either to a breakaway centrist party or the Liberal Democrats. Our own vote would be suppressed."

The "only viable option", the source said, would be for Labour to run on a "soft Brexit offer with a final vote at the end on soft Brexit or Remain".

In all the confusion, it’s worth setting out the two basic positions Labour could coherently take.

The first is that Brexit is happening, so the positives in that need to be found. That essentially means taking a "Lexit" (left-wing Brexit) position that focuses on the more anti-democratic, neo-liberal nature of the EU and highlights what a left-led Labour party could do in government outside of the capitalist club. While the wider parliamentary Labour party is not into Lexit, there is support for it among some people in positions of power and among those who believe it is the only way of making the best of a bad situation. It could also represent the easiest way into Downing Street.

The second position is that Brexit is a bad idea: that it should be mitigated and, if possible, stopped. That would mean a second vote. A frontbench source backing a second referendum told VICE: "The world has changed very quickly and very significantly since we had a referendum. We have Trump in the US, the far-right on the march across Europe, a fascist in charge in Brazil and a clearer idea of the enormous threat posed by climate change. To leave one of the few organisations that might, if radically reformed, help us challenge these things on a global level seems misguided."

Michael Chessum of Another Europe is Possible, a group that has been lobbying Labour to push for a second referendum, stay in the EU and reform it from within, said: "The argument I think we have won is that there’s only one type of Brexit: Tory Brexit. Even if Labour could negotiate a new deal, it wouldn’t be much better."

For Chessum, any second referendum campaign to remain in the EU would be led by Corbyn and would be completely different to the campaign led by David Cameron in 2016. It would acknowledge well-established left-wing critiques of the EU and emphasise a desire to tackle right-wing elites in Brussels as well as at home.

Hanging over everything is frustration that what was for decades a marginal issue in British politics has, because of the efforts of one wing of the Conservative party, been put front and centre. Talk of leavers and remainers gets in the way of talking about the "divide between the many and the few".

Brexit has become a super-sized culture war that cuts across the wide social coalition Corbyn is seeking to build, and distracts from urgent issues relating to public services, poverty, inequality, work and so on. Brexit is now both a part of all these issues and something that is keeping them from being addressed.

And yet here we are, and for all sorts of reasons. The many and varied views on a second referendum within the Labour party continue to be heard.

A motion of no confidence has been called by Tory MPs, but then what? A second referendum might be on the table, but not yet. A general election seems more likely, but who knows?

The crunch has been postponed – we’re all going to be spending some more time living in the Conservative party's Brexit purgatory, and the struggle within the opposition looks set to continue. To repeat what that understated Labour source said: "It’s very hard to predict what will happen."


qvqndmOscar RickettSimon ChildsBrexitJeremy Corbynlabour partyjohn mcdonnellLen McCluskey
<![CDATA[The Dark Truths Behind Our Obsession With Self-Care]]>, 12 Dec 2018 13:42:45 +0000 This story appears in VICE Magazine's Burnout and Escapism Issue.

Sarah Baba was riding her local bus when a wave of panic hit her. Her breath quickened and she felt lightheaded and dizzy. She needed to get off the bus immediately. She stepped out onto a busy street in Brixton, South London, and walked in a daze, tears streaming down her face.

That’s when she knew—it was happening again. She’d been diagnosed with depression 10 years before, when she was in her mid 20s, and this time she recognized the warning signs: trouble sleeping, the urge to avoid other people, and bursting into tears for no reason. Now the depression had brought anxiety along with it, frightening her with intense panic attacks.

Baba was put on a waiting list for specialized and intensive therapy from the NHS, the national healthcare system in the UK, since her job didn’t come with coverage for mental health. While she waited, Baba turned to self-care.

She read books on depression and anxiety, listened to podcasts, and tried to follow the advice they gave her. She’d heard exercise was an antidote for anxiety, and began to run weekly. Her sister raved to her about mindfulness meditation, so she downloaded an app. She tried journaling to empty the burdensome thoughts from her head. But in the depths of depression, she often didn’t have the energy to pick up a pen to write the date, let alone pour out her feelings. The bigger issues—“the self hatred, the guilt, pressure, self-doubt,” as she described them to me—remained.

Baba’s story is illustrative of two converging trends: the inability of institutional healthcare to address a mental health crisis among young people today, and the rise of an industry selling the promise of mental health with the kind of aspirational messaging usually reserved for luxury brands.

It’s estimated that in 2016, 275 million people worldwide experienced an anxiety disorder and around 268 million experienced depression. For the same year, the National Institute of Health in the United States reported that 16.2 million American adults—most prevalently, 18- to 25-year-olds—had had at least one major depressive episode. I myself am one tiny part of these statistics; after dealing with confusing and sometimes crippling anxiety for most of my life, I was diagnosed with OCD at 26.

The crisis is not only in the diagnoses, but in the profound lack of proper care. In 2017, the nonprofit Mental Health America found that 56.5 percent of US adults with a mental illness received no treatment, and neither did 64.1 percent of American youths with major depression.

From the ashes of these increasing mental health burdens has risen a trendy, Instagrammable solution: self-care. We young people, suffering in unprecedented numbers, have been forced to take on the responsibility of caring for ourselves, and have fallen under the spell of this hashtaggable term to do so.

Self-care is a nebulous name for a group of behaviors that should have a simple definition: taking care of yourself. But it’s no longer just meditation and journaling; everything can now be #selfcare. Eating healthfully or indulgently; spending time alone or seeing friends; working out or taking a rest day; getting a manicure or forgoing beauty routines.

At the time this issue went to press, there were 9.5 million posts on Instagram about #selfcare, which is hundreds of thousands more than when I first started thinking about the topic critically. There’s a whole marketplace of self-care items capitalizing on our distress: self-care makeup, self-care manicures, self-care face masks, self-care massages, self-care detox tea. An article about self-care in the New Yorker noted that you could now buy Self-Care Planners and “‘self-care temporary tattoos’ in the shape of Band-Aids bearing reassurances like ‘This too shall pass’ and ‘I am enough.’”

These activities and products are not sinister in and of themselves. I would hope that a life includes leisure, time with loved ones, and exercise. But self-care has been appropriated by companies and turned into #selfcare; a kind of tease about the healthcare that we are lacking and are desperate for. As Baba realized, you can’t actually treat an anxiety disorder with a bubble bath or a meditation app, and the supposition that you can is a dangerous one.

If we lived in a world in which we were being properly taken care of, would self-care have the same appeal? Is self-care a symbol of a generation that wants to take care of itself, or does it reveal how our society has failed to take care of us?

Elizabeth Renstrom

This article originally appeared on VICE US.

zmdwm4Shayla Lovemental healthdepressionanxietytherapyhealth insurance self-care
<![CDATA[What You Need to Know About Those 'Crowdfund Your Way to Owning Property' Schemes]]>, 12 Dec 2018 13:36:33 +0000Remarking that millennials will never own their homes has almost become a cliche, it's talked about so much. But for a good reason: most of them won't! They're mostly destined to continue forking out a fortune for a flat-share in an "upcoming" part of town, where their landlord will continue to raise the rent every time a new Santander bike terminal is installed nearby.

However, it seems that elusive dream might be edging closer to reality, as 18 to 34-year-olds try their hands at property ownership via crowdfunding platforms such as Property Partner and Shojin Property Partners – the second of which has seen a 20 percent jump in millennials investing since the business launched last year.

These platforms work by pooling together smaller amounts of cash than your average deposit – usually around £5,000, although some sites go as low as £100 – to invest in a property through a crowdfunding platform. Once the property is sold or rented out, the returns are shared between investors.

True, this won't buy you an actual home, but it does throw up an interesting question: with the housing market closed off to so many young people in the UK, could this be an alternative way in?

I put this to 20-year-old student Nikita Shah, who invested her £5,000 of savings into a property with Shojin.

"Right now, property is such a big issue; so many young people are trying to save up for houses," she says. "Realistically, they're not going to be able to afford anything any time soon, so they're going to have to rent, which means they’re not going to be able to save up to buy a place. The main purpose for me investing in property development is because of the higher returns and hopefully one day being able to save enough or generate enough to buy a place of my own, preferably when I'm not 40 years old."

Clearly, not everyone has £5,000 of savings lying around – but with an average deposit in London around the £90,000 mark, you can see why people with a propensity for saving a little each month might be tempted to invest in one of these schemes, rather than keep on waiting another decade or two, hoping that prices don't rise as exponentially as they have for the last ten years.

The finance group Market Financial Solutions recently surveyed 2,000 UK adults, and found that one in five people have used the likes of crowdfunding to buy property since 2007, jumping up to nearly a third among those aged 18 to 34.

Musing about this peak in interest from millennials, chief executive Paresh Raja tells me, "Property crowdfunding might be an alien concept to older generations, but the ability to pool money together to buy a home and share the returns can be an enticing proposition to those who are struggling to raise a deposit."

That said, Raja does red flag a pretty significant risk attached to jumping into property crowdfunding; one that would-be investors should bear in mind: "Property crowdfunding platforms claim high rates of return, and this can be tempting for those seeking to make a quick profit on their investment. The reality, however, is that the real estate market is cyclical in nature and property crowdfunding has not been around long enough to have dealt with significant economic shocks, like recessions and house price falls."

There are other risks to consider too, says Sam Spurrell, who runs financial planning company Hatch: "Liquidity could be an issue. If you save money in an account, you can take it out whenever you need it for a deposit or emergency, but with crowdfunding you can't always get your money out easily, and if you do you may have to take a low price."

In other words, if everything goes to shit in a 2008-style apocalyptic market crash, you could be left with your pants down.

For Nikita, though, the potential to reap much higher returns compared with leaving her money in the bank was a no-brainer, so she invested it in a development project. This is much riskier, because you're betting on a number of things coming off, like the scheme getting planning consent, or it being built on time and to-spec, which many projects aren't. Mind you, if it all goes to plan she could earn between 18 to 35 percent a year on her investment, compared with an average UK bank interest of no more than 1 percent.

For the risk-adverse, there are comparatively safer investments on offer through these sites, such as buy-to-let schemes, where you share on the rental stream without the hassle of being a landlord. Or mini bonds, where you spread your risk across a bunch of properties, rather than just one, and get a fixed return.

This is what 18-year-old Piar Kahai did, investing £5,000 of birthday money and general savings to help him eventually pay off his student debt.

"I was given 10 percent return per annum [on my investment], so £500 a year, which is better than it sitting around in the bank," he says. "I don't need that money in the short-term, so I can cash out in two years and pay off some of my tuition fees or use it for living expenses."

Again, when it comes to being being gifted large sums of money, Piar is obviously in the minority. But there are young people out there who are sensible with their money, who actually put away a bit after every paycheque – you might be one of them! – and, risks aside, there are some interesting opportunities out there for young people to take advantage of.

As Nikita puts it: "Mostly, people aren't aware of how to invest their money in my generation. They're becoming more aware of it, but it'll be a slow process. Maybe eventually people will start to realise they can do a lot more with their money."


gy7dq9Robyn WilsonJamie CliftonhousingcrowdfundingMillennialspropertygeneration rent
<![CDATA[What Does Tonight's Vote of No Confidence Mean for Stupid Fucking Politics?]]>, 12 Dec 2018 12:47:31 +0000The little game of Blind Man's Bluff – where no Tory MP was quite sure how many others had submitted letters of no confidence in Theresa May – is over. The required threshold of 48 MPs, 15 percent of the party, has been met.

At 6PM tonight, in Meeting Room 14 of the House Of Commons, Theresa May will be facing a Vote of No Confidence (VONC) from her 315 MPs. Crucially, they will vote secretly. While few have spoken up against the leader publicly, in private, MPs will tonight be free to go with their darker impulses.

No one is yet sure where that takes us. What we do know is that the Tories are always more than happy to wield the dagger.

In 2001, Iain Duncan Smith became the first Tory leader to be elected under the new rules drawn up in 1998. In 2003, he became the first to be dumped by the party under the same rules. Back then, he lost by 90 votes to 75. Theresa May would be quite happy to win by a majority of one. In 1990, Mrs Thatcher famously won the first round of a leadership ballot, but decided to resign because she didn't win it by a large enough margin to command the respect of her party. Even in the second round, after she'd pulled out, she still polled more than John Major.

But Mrs May has no great interest in the respect of her party. The old honour codes have faded away, in part because she views her present mission as too serious to be diverted from. In part because she is scrapping to save her historical reputation: to avoid pulling the wooden spoon from a hundred years' worth of PMs.

A win of one will allow her to keep going. And winning by even one will mean she is safe from another leadership challenge for 12 months. Given the fevered state of politics, that means she could be doing the one thing MPs swore they wouldn't let her do: face another General Election. This will weigh heavily upon their minds.

In previous weeks, many thought they could time their run. Use her to get through the bloody, messy, unpopular bit of deal-making, then dispense with her services once that was done. But now she has lost even that level of backing. Monday’s withdrawn vote was final proof for many that she has completely lost control of her party.

She cannot govern, and either the Tories tell her that or Parliament will, soon enough. Even if she wins today ­– in a VONC among the Conservative Party – she may in any case face a VONC in the House of Commons this side of Christmas, brought about by the Labour Party.

If the DUP won’t back her in that, then we go to a snap election. Which, logistically, couldn’t really be held before the middle of February.

We’d then have six weeks to think of a way to exit the EU, and Parliament would also be required to have its say – let alone the fact that the EU Parliament would also have to rubber stamp it.

If May survives today, the Brexiteers could be judged to have lost. They will be under increasing pressure to back the hated Draft Agreement. The only option left to them would be a selfish one – continue to vote against it, and wantonly tip the party into a crisis General Election.

If May loses, everything is down to the wire. In 1998, William Hague devised a new system for Tory leadership contests, and its structure is now crucial. MPs vote to whittle the candidates down to a final two. These are then sent out to thousands of Party members, for balloting. The whole process is supposed to take three months. That can’t happen now.

Things must be sped up, and various voices are trying to assure everyone that this can happen (perhaps the ones that assured us Brexit could be painless and civil?). In short, the Conservatives are staking their credibility on the efficiency of the privatised Royal Mail to deliver their leadership race ballots, at Christmas.

Suppose it comes to that? The moment Boris Johnson makes it into that final two, he wins. His popularity in the country is vastly more than his popularity in the party. But Boris is not popular with his colleagues. He might be affable, but he is a loner, aloof from the tearooms and quiet drinking holes that make up Westminster life. The race, amongst his many detractors, will be to take him out, ahead of time.

It won’t be easy. Last week he was displaying a nifty new short haircut, and he has apparently lost 12 pounds in a fortnight. He seems to be answering questions in full sentences. This is his Rocky sequel. He is in no mood to tit it up again.


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<![CDATA[God Sesh Us Everyone: The 12th of December]]>, 12 Dec 2018 12:32:27 +0000It's December, which means it's Christmas soon, which means for the next few weeks Britain's streets are going to be teeming with adult men and women wearing novelty jumpers and trying to not throw up on themselves. To celebrate this special time of year, we're running a photographic advent calendar with our friend, photographer Orlando Gili, called "God Sesh Us Everyone".


Today's Christmas Fact: The word "Xmas" does in fact have religious connotations: the letter X is a Greek abbreviation for Christ.

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<![CDATA[How to Eat Your Lunch Like a Filthy Rich Winner]]>, 12 Dec 2018 12:06:24 +0000Will Laren's back on VICE, baby! And he's showing you chumps up for your single-figure grilled cheese!



7xyd5eWill LarenJamie CliftonSandwichComics!will larensammie
<![CDATA[Tijuana's Tourism Is Booming Even as the Homicide Rate Spikes]]>, 12 Dec 2018 11:29:36 +0000A version of this article originally appeared on VICE en Español.

In Tijuana’s only morgue, 150 bodies fill 150 refrigerators, and on the blackboard where tomorrow’s autopsies are scheduled in tiny lettering, there is no room for another name. For a week now, Melina Moreno—the deputy director of the city's common grave for unclaimed bodies—has been anxiously waiting for authorization from the central morgue in Mexicali to bury all the unidentified bodies, which make up the majority of the corpses the Tijuana facility receives. In the lobby, a handful of family members are waiting to identity their deceased relative. Sometimes there are so many bodies that the facility’s courtyard serves as extra storage for the dead. On those days, the residents of the luxury building next door complain about the putrid smell of death.

Never in the history of Tijuana has there been so much murder: In 2018 alone, over 2,300 people have been killed, an increase from the 1,647 homicides in 2017. The city has one of the highest homicide rates in the world, at 125.7 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the National Public Safety System. But while residents of Tijuana have adapted to the violence that permeates the city, the crowds of tourists who visit—11.5 million in 2017 alone—hardly notice it. In fact, that number is projected to increase by 9 percent by the end of 2018, even with intensified militarization at the border in response to the thousands of migrants awaiting asylum in the US and the possibility of hours-long crossing waits.

Derek Chinn takes tourists on a guided tour through various cultural sites in Tijuana, away from the typical vacation spots.

“Everyone wants to live the ‘real Tijuana’ experience,” he said, echoing the company’s slogan, Experience Mexico Like a Local. But living the true experience of Tijuana isn’t exactly possible if you’re a tourist: Modern Tijuana and violent Tijuana coexist but rarely intersect. Many of Chinn’s tourists ask him to procure drugs for them or shuttle them to the Hong Kong, but he always refuses, he says, suggesting the company’s slogan has more to do with respect for the city than it does the services it offers.

Chinn is originally from Ohio. When he moved to San Diego in 2006, his friends told him terrible things about Tijuana: They’re going to kidnap you, they’re going to kill you, you’re going to get robbed. But it was hard for him to believe it. Tijuana’s brand was that of a prohibition-era city filled with violence and vice, but he wanted to discover it for himself. The first time he crossed the border into Mexico, he found something entirely different: a cosmopolitan city filled with electric energy and endless things to do. In 2010, when the first wave of drug-related violence ended, he moved to the city. Back then, his friends refused to visit him. But today—even as the homicide rate has more than doubled—the dynamic has reversed.

“It’s ironic that tourists aren’t afraid even though the violence is worse than ever. They aren’t aware of what’s happening,” Chinn said with an easy smile. “Those of us who live here are frustrated and hurting, but it’s like being sick with a chronic illness. We live with it constantly and it always comes back. So, you have to adapt.”

Moments before starting the tour of the day, he disclosed Tijuana’s homicide rate to the group. People seemed mildly shocked, but nobody was scared.

This article originally appeared on VICE LATAM.

ev3z7nAlejandra Sánchez InzunzaJosé Luis Pardo VeirasSalvador FraustoHans-Maximo MuseilikYeiry GuevaraÁlvaro GarcíaMeredith BalkustravelDrugsCulturecrimemexicoTijuanadrug traffickingFeaturesTOURISMSinaloa CartelVICE InternationalUS-Mexico borderVICE en EspañolTIJUANA CARTELarellano felix brothers