2016 is the biggest ever year for vegans, with brands such as Quorn releasing egg-free products, Guinness planning to create a vegan beer, and Ben & Jerry's announcing dairy-free ice creams. Universities are generally known as places that advocate this sort of forward thinking and embrace positive change. Why then do so many British universities seem so behind on providing vegetarian and vegan options in their student unions?
It was four years ago while speaking at a public meeting on society's responsibility to tackle domestic abuse that I was approached by Irene (not her real name), a lady in her late seventies. She told me that her 40-year marriage had been abusive but her husband, whom she had loved, had now been dead 10 years. I still remember how she gripped both of my hands in hers as she whispered, "I'm now having the time of my life"...
Well if you ask me the whole December/January transition is ridiculous. Being a glutton one minute and then abstaining the next seems like a sure fire recipe for a bipolar episode. Surely we would all be much better off changing our habits in a less drastic fashion? Perhaps we could start a detox in February... or March... maybe July?
Imagine what would happen to Britain if the Home Secretary had the power to expel anyone from the country "without assigning any reason." Then imagine what it would be like now if the power had always existed: no dissenting voices left, no debate; anyone in a minority either too intimidated to speak out or already deported.
This isn't simply about the 235 Sussex staff losing their jobs, but the insidious, unaccountable nature of political decision making about universities. Pause to think for a moment how the flagship Tory mantra "There Is No Alternative" specifically discourages debate about the absent merits of their radical restructuring programme.