Amy Ramswell

My name is Amy. I'm a law undergraduate at the University of Leeds and a Features editor of The Gryphon. My journalistic claim to fame came at age 10 when my grainy picture of an adder was featured in National Geographic Kids. Since then, I've written on many subjects for my college and university newspapers, as well as elsewhere.

Blame young people, says blameless government

By August, it felt as if we’d ridden out the Covid wave. Cases trickled into three digits, and, overcome with relief, people emerged from their houses with gusto. From Eating out to Help Out to foreign travel, we gradually returned to normality – albeit a masked and distanced one, with hair at lengths not seen since the 1970s. It was our “patriotic duty” to return to pubs, according to Boris Johnson. We obliged. Yet now we’re in the midst of a second wave. Throughout September, case numbers hav

My Grampy (75) & running the London Marathon 2020

It is the 4th October 2020 and storm Alex is causing carnage. For many people though, neither Alex, nor Covid-19, will be stopping their plight to run the gruelling 26.2 miles of the marathon. On the best of years, the marathon is the race of the brave. Named after the run of the Greek soldier Pheidippides, who was said to have run 26 miles to share the news of battle victory, the London marathon has since become one of the most coveted and oversubscribed races in the world. Yet this year, runn

Drinking Culture at the University of Leeds: a Quest for Moderation

The first thing I learnt at university was that anything could be used as a mixer. Hold your Ribena’s close, my friends: my sweet squash was taken as a token gift to another flat’s pre’s on day 2, never to be seen again. I could almost see it evaporating from my flatmate’s hungover forehead the next day… too many vodka-ribenas, it seems. Because, during freshers week, alcohol was our 6th flatmate. We socialised over drinks, did shots in clubs and went to events where alcohol was the centrepiec

300 Survey Respondents give their tips for improving self esteem

I’d thought about writing an article on self esteem for quite some time. This was before I’d read the headline that “British Youngsters rank amongst worst in developed world on mental wellbeing”. And before I’d surveyed 300 people, realising, to my horror, that low self esteem was far more prevalent than I’d thought. On the flip side, my survey allowed me to ask people what had really helped them improve their self esteem. Because self esteem isn’t fixed in the ground and can be developed. Her

A politician's guide to apology

It was late May when Dominic Cummings gave an apology in the Number 10 rose garden, reading his version of events from a sheet of paper. He adopted the calming voice of a father, spoke with the concision of a teacher, and waltzed in half an hour late, like he was preoccupied with bigger issues. 5.5 million of us tuned in for an apology – a literal captive audience, watching from the confines of our living rooms. Yet rather than any remorseful words, we got an extraordinary narrative, crafted ar

COVID-19 and student debt: Is the system broken?

Money is a paradox for students. We are the subject of student discount but extortionate tuition fees. Thankfully there are loans to cover them. Like a safety blanket at the bottom of a 9,250-foot drop. The only way to rationalise a bad deal is to ignore it. But student finance has been texting again. “Reapply now”, it cries into our consciousness; a brutal awakening from a dream. And once again, I’m reminded that this money is real. We are £9250 in debt from last year. For many, this ‘year’

1000 University of Leeds Nursing and Medical Students Fast-tracked into the NHS

To help reduce the pressure on hospital staff, over 1000 final year medical and nursing students at the University of Leeds have been fast-tracked into the NHS, enabling them to work as junior doctors sooner than under normal circumstances in order to help the NHS tackle coronavirus. The General Medical Council advised that all final year students who have met the requirements of their medical school can be registered as doctors, and many universities have complied with this. This nationwide s

The Controversial Power of Child Psychiatry

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week has an unconventional backdrop. Humans are social creatures; that is a given. Preserving the life of the nation has required us to abandon this instinct and reframe our lives within the proximity of four square walls. Being lonely can be as lethal as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and when isolation is a state policy, we are all suffering. I worry about my 90 year old Nan’s mental well-being. She was brought up in a time where mental health meant mental ho

REVIEW: A Little Life

If there’s any time to consume a 720-page book, it is lockdown. This was my thinking as I picked up A Little Life, alert to the fact that it would take a little lifetime to read. Yet by the end of this book, I felt like I’d lost my family as I closed the page on a sparser cast than I’d started out with. It is the kind of novel where you want to scream your way into the narrative, to have your own chapter intervening and sending the plot on a happier path. Yet Hanya Yanagihara refuses us the

How Coronavirus Spread Whilst The Government Slept

Lockdown is the new normal, yet it may not have had to be. In January, the coronavirus whipped round the streets of Wuhan, tallying up deaths in quantities that have only recently been revealed. Scientists at Imperial College London raised concerns that the virus could be more contagious than the Spanish Flu, and recommended preventative action. Meanwhile in the UK, the roads were jammed, lecture theatres were packed, and it was perfectly normal to stand within 2 metres of others. As the govern

Lockdown is a patchwork, not a blanket

Where are you right now? A house? A flat? A care home? A prison? Homeless? They say coronavirus doesn’t discriminate, but the distribution of property is the product of a rigid, highly discriminatory class system. The distribution of education is a postcode lottery, and, funnily enough, one that the wealthy tend to win. And the distribution of resources is in the hands of the government. This government has cut almost 200,000 council houses in the last ten years. Every stop on the Jubilee Li

The Police's Coronavirus Balancing Act

Desperate times call for desperate measures; that much is clear. The most invasive set of regulations ever seen in peacetime are currently being enforced in the UK, effectively putting the country under house arrest with limited ‘necessary’ excuses to leave home. The highly contagious coronavirus has warranted such drastic action, having claimed thousands of lives, with the potential to claim many more. Public opinion is generally in agreement with the new laws, acknowledging the importance of

Alex Salmond's "not guilty" verdict doesn't mean his victims are liars

On 23rd March 2020, former First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, was acquitted of thirteen sexual offences made against him. These included two counts of rape and nine counts of sexual assault. Salmond had always refuted the claims. His defence solicitor said that his client could have been “a better man on occasions”, but that he had not broken the law. The jury concluded that Salmond is not guilty of any crime. Yet, lying squarely between the parameters of guilty and innocent is proof

Is The Chinese Government Harvesting Organs From Prisoners?

As the first country to be affected by COVID-19, China has dominated the headlines in recent months. Yet, this overriding narrative has not inhibited another sinister story from reemerging. An independent tribunal concluded that it is “certain” China has been forcibly harvesting the organs of prisoners for use in transplants. Evidence suggests that victims include members of the Falun Gong movement, who have been the subject of persecution since 1999. These are not new allegations. Yet, as Ch

Leeds Student Action For Refugees Protests Outside Morton Hall

Last Saturday, Leeds Student Action for Refugees campaigners convened at Morton Hall Detention Centre to protest against the facility. Behind the grey, barbed wire topped fences are up to 392 detained people. Some of these people have fled war torn countries. Others have faced human trafficking. The government call this facility an “Immigration Removal Centre”, and just as the sanitised name might suggest, the conditions are notoriously inadequate. A detainee told the Guardian “We are all treat

4,600 Trees Financed by Leeds University Ecosia Installation

Last month, the University of Leeds left Google behind, switching its default search engine to Ecosia. This web browser uses ad revenue to fund tree planting and environmental projects across the globe. In the short time since installation, over 390,000 Ecosia searches have been carried out from University computers. This means the University of Leeds has helped finance the planting of over 4,600 trees so far. This is a great start to the year by all accounts, including that of student Hugh Ke

Beyond International Women’s Day

Last International Women’s day, I sat, overwhelmed by the gravity of everything that had led up the 8th March 2019. The space I inhabit, the breadth of it, the freedom within it, shaped by the actions of others. From Elizabeth Pankhurst to Margaret Thatcher, to the women of my own family. Like an eternal palimpsest, the idea of a woman has been redefined and expanded, as more and more women exceed expectations and enter previously ‘male’ spheres. Even now, I am writing this article under my own

The Weinstein Trial

Harvey Weinstein. Once one of Hollywood’s most powerful men. Now, a tragic reminder that unchecked potency can be abused, with devastating and far reaching consequences. In 2017, over 90 women came forward, accusing the mogul of crimes ranging from forcing them to massage him, to rape. The backlash saw Weinstein sacked from the board of his own company, expelled from the Oscars and Baftas and stripped of his Harvard University Dubois medal. As Tom Hanks commented, “his last name… will be an id

A "Shambolic" Response To Coronavirus?

The idea of the coronavirus spreading around the UK is a scary one, but not unfathomable. With a growing number of individuals in the UK recieving treatment or being held in quarantine, coronavirus is no longer an overseas threat, but a present predicament. People are fearful, misinformed and confused. You only have to take the train to York to see this in its raw form. After a University of York student was diagnosed, the university has been plastered with posters about preventing the virus sp

Let's Leave Meghan Alone

Megxit is an awful word. Like Brexit, the word seems impersonal. Unlike Brexit, the word concerns two actual people. In an age of digital media, where outrageous headlines are clicked on and truthful ones are not, the Royal Family are often subject to sensationalist reporting. Meghan, for instance, has been called a ‘master manipulator’ since the pair decided to give up their royal duties. The Express even claimed she is leaving to get out of the ‘shadow’ of Kate and William. It is the stuff of
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