Author: Contributor

The War on Terror and Human Rights

The relationship between human rights and combatting terrorism is increasingly prominent, especially since the ‘war on terror’. Human rights are rights which people are entitled by virtue of being human. It could be argued that an infringement on human rights is acceptable as it is the lesser of two evils compared to terrorism. However, others may argue that an infringement is simply unacceptable and can never be justified. It is also argued to be counterproductive in terms of countering terrorism. There is often much debate regarding human rights and terrorism as it is often seen as a government’s responsibility to protect the right to life of citizens therefore suggesting that both human rights and combatting terrorism should complement one another, in reality however, this is not the case. This essay will explore the ways in which terrorism is combatted, for example through: military, state security and ideological approaches, and the ways in which they do and don’t undermine human rights.

How important are backbenchers?

Backbenchers are Members of Parliament who do not have ministerial roles, be this in the Government or as part of the Shadow Cabinet. Their importance is highly debatable, with their potential for impact upon the legislative cycle being weighed up against the significant impact party politics, patronage and discipline has on mediating these powers. Ultimately, this essay shall conclude that backbenchers only have any real or significant importance beyond their constituency roles where they band together to produce certain outcomes, such as in backbench rebellions.

To what extent are Human rights protected in the modern world?

Human rights are rights to which people are entitled by virtue of being human, and it is thought to be universal, fundamental and indivisible. There has been increasing efforts within the international community to enforce more mechanisms and laws to ensure that human rights are protected around the world, this includes the International Criminal Court and UN Human Rights Council etc… There are also thousands of NGO’s around the world which now have a crucial role in protecting and promoting human rights, particularly through their use of the media. However, human rights can only be protected to an extent because these organisations and institutions are limited by their lack of authority to enforce action upon a state. Therefore, state sovereignty and national interest are fundamental within global politics, which impedes attempts to protect human rights.

To what extent has the power of the Prime Minister increased in recent years?

In the last 50 years of British politics, a series of Prime Ministers have been seen to utilise prime ministerial powers in as increasingly independent and arguably presidential way. However, have the powers of the Prime Minister actually increased, or have a number of recent Prime Ministers simply been more bold in harnessing the powers in place and more smart in managing and tackling the political environment of the United Kingdom? The latter currently seems far more tenable for reasons that will further be discussed.

To what extent has combatting terrorism undermined human rights?

The overt and unapologetic violation of human rights frameworks has been an integral element of the West’s ‘war on terror’ across the last 16 years. Rooted in the attack on American soil of September 11th 2001, American interventions across the Islamic world have aimed to eradicate the threat that terrorism supposedly poses to the Western world, with little regard for the rights of both civilians and combatants in the implicated states. Meanwhile, questionable domestic policy decisions have been driven by such an assumed threat, manifesting both in security measures and in legislation applied to citizens, often entailing the violation of civil liberties in one realm or another. To many, these are ‘necessary evils’ – former Vice President Dick Cheney proclaiming that in the war on terror, the USA ‘had to work sort of on the dark side’, using ‘any means at its disposal’ – there is, at the least, an acknowledgement of the harm measures could cause. However, a more ignorant view is that these violations of human rights have not occurred whatsoever. This essay …

Do the main UK political parties agree or disagree on policy and ideas?

The ‘main’ political parties can be defined as The Labour Party and The Conservative Party, who have been the only political parties to gain a majority for over a hundred years. Despite other smaller parties such as UKIP, the Green Party and The Liberal Democrats building in popularity they are none of them big enough to act as a real challenger to these two. Despite Labour and Conservative being very different by definition; Labour being left wing and Conservatives right wing, in more recent years, in the terms of Tony Blair and David Cameron they have been often more similar than different both settling on centrist views trying to please the whole population. However, since the appointment of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn this has drastically changed and with Corbyn especially being so notoriously left wing the two are arguably more different now than ever. Despite this there are still surprising similarities remaining between the two.

How far do the main political parties differ on policies and ideas?

Traditionally, political parties have been characterised by very different ideologies. The policies of the three main parties were underpinned by a coherent set of ideas and beliefs, which were particular to that party. Although the three main parties still have distinct ideological traditions, they have evolved since their conception and as a result of Thatcherism and ‘New Labour’  – the once distinct policy boundaries have become blurred. All three parties now subscribe to the Thatcher concept of a free market. In recent years the parties can be said to have moderated their traditional positions as part of an effort to appeal to as wide a range of voters as possible. All three parties are now essentially social democratic in nature and are more concerned with making piecemeal changes to current arrangements as opposed to imposing an ideological model. As a result, it can be seen that there are considerable similarities in policy and the differences are usually one of approach in achieving the goal – for example, in the 2010 election, in the economic policy, …

Viewpoint – “We feel that our futures were risked by the choices of people – older, often geographically distant people”

91% of our school voted to stay in the EU in our internal referendum. As one might expect, a school fiercely proud of both its ethnic and cultural diversity, as well as its political engagement, is distraught. Almost none of us could vote, and 75% of the young people who could vote, voted to Remain. For the people we know and whose views we share, it’s hard to understand that this result really happened, and often in the name of our ‘future’.

Is the UK constitution no longer fit for its purpose?

The constitution is a set of rules by which a country is run, it establishes the distribution of power within a political system, relationships between political institutions, the limits of government jurisdiction and the rights of citizens. However, these functions have been criticised and it could now be said that the UK constitution specifically is no longer fit for its purpose.

To what extent are Human Rights globally accepted?

The concept of human right including principles such as freedom of expression and the freedom of religion became a popular concept, adopted by many nations following the end of the Second World War in 1945. Today, the principles of Human Rights are promoted by many non-governmental organisations who survey abuses of Human Rights globally; many states also act on the international stage in a way to promote the ideas of Human Rights, an approach often criticised by Realist thinkers. However to say Human Rights are globally accepted is wrong as many non-westerners see Human Rights simply as a form of western imperialism and argue organisations such as the International Criminal Court are flawed. Therefore Human Rights is accepted as a fundamental doctrine primarily in western nations.

To what extent has the powers of the Prime Minister grown in recent years?

In recent years, it has been noticed that various Prime ministers have attempted to reduce the amount of formal powers they have, largely due to public and political pressure. Whilst formal powers derived from the Prime Minister’s prerogative have decreased, there has been a growth in prime ministers exercising their use of informal powers that give the PM undefined authority. This was particularly the case in the Blair years when he was accused of manipulating government through the use of informal powers to suit his own interests. However, these powers are subject to the limitations that appear in government at any one time, with each prime minister facing different challenges, such as growing  back bench activism, in Cameron’s case, or decreasing popularity in the case of Brown. 

Is terrorism is a major threat to Global security?

  Terrorism is the use of violence for furthering political ends; it seeks to create a climate of fear, apprehension and uncertainty. Global terrorism is aimed at inflicting damage and humiliation on a global power or at transforming global civilisational relations with the key example being 9/11 and al-Qaeda. The significance of terrorism has increased as its impact has become more threatening on global security, for instance 9/11 demonstrated how a global hegemon could still be struck by terrorism – the idea that no country is exempt from terror. However, this argument is limited, while America was attacked, it only happened once, proving that terrorism does not pose a ‘major threat’ to global security as it it is quite rare compared to other global disasters such as famine. However, it is undeniable to ignore that terrorism has acquired a truly global reach. Mass fear has been prompted by terrorism, attacks has quadrupled since 9/11. The Global Terrorist Index showed that in 2002 there were 982 separate attacks. By 2011 that had risen to 4,564.

The EU referendum and the left’s dilemma

Following the EU Summit, leaders of the other 27 member nations of the EU have approved a deal which will see: a seven year term in which EU migrants in the UK will be restricted from claiming in-work benefits; child benefit payments proportionate to the cost of living for children living outside the UK for all new arrivals to the UK; ability for any single non eurozone country to force a debate among EU leaders about problematic EU laws; and an unambiguous opt-out stating in any future EU treaty references to ‘ever closer union’ are not applicable to the UK. Following the summit, the Conservative Party has been divided between those that wish to remain in the EU and those that hope for a Brexit.

To what extent is there a political participation problem in the UK?

In the UK, the level of political participation is measured by the turnout in general elections that take place every 5 years, although there are other means by which a person can be politically active. As a representative democracy, elections are the cornerstone of democracy in the UK. The level of electoral turnout must therefore be an important indication of the health of the larger democratic system. However, in recent years, the percentage of the general public voting in general elections has reached new lows since universal voting was introduced in the UK. It could be argued that the UK is suffering from a ‘political participation crisis’ where the public are becoming increasingly disengaged with UK politics. But, this diagnosis may be a little premature as the problem might not be about a decline in the overall level of political participation but instead about a shift from one kind of participation to another. Thus, it is difficult to decide whether the problem is about the apathetic nature of society or a more fundamental issue surrounding …

Is globalisation a form of ‘Americanisation’?

Globalisation is an umbrella term for a complex series of economic, social, technological and political changes seen as increasing interdependence and interaction between people and companies in disparate locations since the 1980s. This has replaced the “billiard-ball model” with a “cobweb model” as states become increasingly interdependent. There are also broader cultural, political and environmental dimensions of globalisation. Critics of globalisation say this is spreading US domination around the globe and as a result has created a global monoculture which benefits US interests. However, hyper globalists argue this has benefited multiple countries and has positively created a borderless world, supported by liberals who suggest this has improved international relations. 

Asses the different criticisms of electoral systems in the UK

There are numerous widespread criticisms of electoral systems in the UK, such as some systems such as FPTP and AV’s clear disproportionality and voter wastage, as well as the tendency towards a two party system which give the established parties too much power. However, the alternate voting systems of STV, Party list and AMS, proposed to remedy these problems also fall under criticisms because of their over proportionality, which some argue gives a chance to ‘extremist’ groups and can often lead to weak and inadequate government. The most significant criticism of electoral systems such as FPTP and AV is that it provides a disproportionate result, which effectively doesn’t represent the will of the electorate. For example, in the 2015 general election, despite UKIP winning 12.6% of the vote (4 million) this translated into only one seat in the house of commons; clearly exemplifying that the electorates votes are being wasted, as well as a whole host of problems that are argued to all stem from the disproportionality of the system. Despite AV being proposed as …

To what extent do the political parties agree on ideas and policies?

  The major political parties often disagree on many issues and one of these particular issues is tuition fees. Currently, the conservative standpoint is to maintain the £9000 a year cost. Furthermore, William Hague said the party would not rule out an increase in fees. This is very contrasting to the Labour policy which would see a decrease to £6000 a year. A reduction is the general party agreement, however, Jeremy Corbyn wishes to scrap fees entirely. The Lib Dems disagree with Labour and believe that cutting fees would be stupid. They believe in keeping the current yearly fees which partly agrees with the Tory party view. UKIP is the only party which wish to scrap uni fees entirely. Despite this, Nigel Farage wants students of the arts to still have to pay the full fees.

Pressure groups – UK uncut

UK uncut, a movement which started in 2010, have raised awareness about tax dodging and its implications- before UK uncut tax dodging was not a central issue in British politics. UK uncut engage in non violent action, by peacefully occupying tax dodgers’ businesses and in addition bringing to light the public services which are being cut as a result of insufficient government revenue from tax. UK uncut have brought to our awareness the fact that tax avoidance by corporations and the rich cost the UK public exchequer £95bn a year – suffice to say a significant amount.

Corbyn’s Labour Shadow Cabinet

  Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet is one like we’ve never seen before, comprising of MP’s from diverging ends of the left wing spectrum of politics. He has appointed a cabinet that to some extent can be viewed as a milestone for gender equality in British politics with female ministers outnumbering male ministers 16 to 15 but at the same time it has been denounced for assigning women to mediocre or ‘junior’ positions. However, despite the new found egalitarianism on the grounds of gender there remains a significant under-representation of ethnic minorities with only 3 of the 31 shadow ministers coming from black or Asian backgrounds. Corbyn’s cabinet is also far older than its predecessors, with an average age of 53 as well as consisting of more previously rebellious MPs, with Corbyn himself having defied the party whip over 500 times and John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, having done so 469 times since 1997.

Why I am Voting UKIP

This article is one of a series about why Lower 6th students are voting for a particular party in this Thursdays Mock elections. Please find the “Parties” section of the website for other articles in the series. It’s not popular to be a young person voting for UKIP. According to polls they barely pick up 3% of the people of my age-group, and my age group are far more likely to be in favor of membership of the EU. A lot of them will be affiliated with the National Union of Students, an organization that has spent more time condemning UKIP than ISIS, partly inspired in this by the toxic ideology of “political correctness”. Well I guess I must be the one who looks at the emperor’s new clothes critically (a beautiful metaphor before Russell Brand used it). The new clothes do not deal with many of the problems the main political parties won’t talk about- because they aren’t listening. That the size of the state and its debt is unsustainably large and cannot be …

Why I am Voting for the Liberal Democrats

This article is one of a series about why Lower 6th students are voting for a particular party in this Thursdays Mock elections. Please find the “Parties” section of the website for other articles in the series. British Liberalism is rather in trouble. A force that gave us prosperity, social democracy and human rights are under systematic attacks from both left and right. It was Tony Blair who introduced the ID Cards Act and the Prevention of Terrorism Act (amongst others) which undermined our civil liberties given to us since Magna Carta. The Tories want to repeal the Human Rights Act, leave the European Convention of Human rights and scapegoat immigrants for everything, taking us back to the 1930’s on every which way possible it would seem. UKIP are stirring up fears about immigrants and homosexuals, as can be displayed by their leader’s comments on the debate recently. The supposedly libertarian Greens say “there are difficulties with the liberal approach… it has failed”. No Liberal Democrats are not perfect. Yes ISIS and Putin both pose legitimate …

Why I am voting for the Green Party

This article is one of a series about why Lower 6th students are voting for a particular party in this Thursdays Mock elections. Please find the “Parties” section of the website for other articles in the series. I’ve always been on the left wing libertarian side of the political spectrum, but that gives you a decision – Labour or Green? For me, the overwhelming reason that lead to my eventual membership of the Green Party in January 2015, was a question a friend who was already a Green Party member asked me – ‘How many planets do we have?’. And this got me thinking, because we do only have one planet, and even quick research on climate change can bring up indisputable and terrifying facts, which none of the mainstream parties seem to care about. Before the 2010 election, Cameron promised to be environmentally conscious, but since his appointment at Prime Minister, not one of his speeches has mentioned the environment. Arguably, Blair’s attitude was equally as PR motivated as Cameron’s, with promises that haven’t …

Why I am voting for the Conservative Party

This article is one of a series about why Lower 6th students are voting for a particular party in this Thursdays Mock elections. Please find the “Parties” section of the website for other articles in the series. When the Conservative Party took power in 2010, Britain had the highest deficit in Europe. It was expected that Britain would be worst hit by the financial crisis because, after all, our key export is financial services. After 5 years of competent planning on the part of Cameron and Osborne, we’re now the fastest growing economy in the G8, we’ve created more jobs than every other Eurozone country combined, and the deficit has been cut by 1/3. Inflation, running rampant under Brown, is now down to 0% and this means the “Cost of living” may very well fall for millions of working class families Labour claim to care about. A lot of what we’re criticized for is simple fairness. Raising the tuition fees to £9,000 a year has allowed standards for universities to increase. For people who do …

Why I am Voting for the Labour Party

This article is one of a series about why Lower 6th students are voting for a particular party in this Thursdays Mock elections. Please find the “Parties” section of the website for other articles in the series. A lot of people are disillusioned with Politics because there is a perception that the two parties are exactly the same. Perhaps this was true before 2010, but since Ed Miliband has been elected leader he has taken Labour significantly to the left away from the failures of New Labour. Likewise, Cameron has taken it to the right under the influence of UKIP, and consequently there are now clear differences between the two parties. For example, how our parties will balance the budget and deal with our skyrocketing debt is different, and significant for the future of the country. The Tories have done so by making cuts which hit the poorest in society, and they fail on their own terms by hardly making a dent in the welfare budget. The bedroom tax is the best example of this. …

The Snoopers Charter- Supporters and detractors

The Draft Communications Data Bill (nicknamed the Snoopers’ Charter) is draft legislation proposed by the Home Secretary Theresa May which would require Internet service providers and mobile phone companies such as BT, Virgin and Sky to maintain records (but not the content) of each user’s internet browsing activity (including social media), email correspondence, voice calls, internet gaming, and mobile phone messaging services and store the records for 12 months.    

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 18th -24th January

Mandelson Attacks Mansion Tax Lord Mandelson has warned Ed Miliband that he won’t win the election by “clobbering” the wealthy a “crude, short-term” mansion tax. Speaking on BBC Newsnight, Mandelson supported instead a Lib-Dem plan to increase the council tax bands to raise the tax on homes worth more than £2 million. “It will be more effective and efficient in the long term,” he said. Alongside Mandelson, other Labour members such as Tessa Jowell and Diane Abbot have criticised what is seen as a “London tax” because of the high property values in the capital. Despite this, there seems to be a support for the mansion tax as a recent YouGov poll shows that 72% of all voters support the mansion tax and among Labour voters, 85% support it. Additionally, support is also shown by Tory voters with a 58% vote for the tax. But it’s Mandelson’s critique that Miliband can’t win by “clobbering” the rich alone that will strike a chord with former New Labour MPs who never voted for Ed as party leader. …

Is there a Democratic Deficit in the UK?

A democratic deficit  occurs when government or government institutions fall short of fulfilling the principles of democracy in their practices or operation or where political representatives and institutions are discredited in the eyes of the public. In the UK there has been a discussion in recent years that Britain’s democracy is flawed. Politicians are held in low esteem. Parliament seems outdated and the expenses scandal exposed just how many politicians had lost a duty to public office. One of the main factors forwarded to argue there is a democratic deficit in the UK is the low levels of voter turnout and widespread disillusionment with the political system. In 2001 the UK received a general election turnout of 59.4%, the lowest since the start of universal suffrage in 1918. A greater number of voters voted against the Labour government than those that elected them. In 2010 it increased to just below 65%. In effect, low turnouts bring to question government legitimacy and the strength of it’s electoral mandate. Ergo, if citizens are having little influence in politics, democracy weakens as it is no longer …

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 11th -17th January

Osborne ‘to back Boris over Theresa May’ It has been speculated that George Osborne’s hopes of becoming the next Tory leader have apparently been dashed. Osborne was thought to be running hard for the leadership, undergoing a regrooming exercise and slimming down dramatically, ready to take over when David Cameron stands down – either in May because the Tories lose the election, or in 2017 because he loses interest once the EU referendum is out of the way. But Sam Coates of The Times reports today that Tory MPs have made it clear they do not see Osborne as a contender:” he is viewed as too distant and cliquey, preferring to surround himself with members of his inner circle rather than engage with the wider party. “As a result says Coates, Osborne is to make a spectacular U-turn and back Boris Johnson in a bid to stop Theresa May who is unpopular with Cameron’s inner circle, Osborne included. Miliband on the hunt down for student voters Ed Miliband launched a drive on Friday to get around a million people, …

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 5th -10th January

‘Empty chair’ threat for Cameron if he doesn’t participate in TV debate Miliband, Clegg and Farage have recently expressed the fact that they are ready to ‘’empty chair’’ David Cameron by going ahead with the leaders’ election debates on TV without Cameron if he keeps on stressing upon his demand that the Green Party leader Natalie Bennet also takes part. The leaders’ wishes might come true as Ofcom and the TV broadcasters are able to legally ‘’empty chair’’ Cameron, as long as his views are represented within the debate. Cameron’s recent insistence on the Green Party joining the debate if he is to participate has been seen by the other leaders as his attempt to go Green again and that this is his ‘’Naked device to sabotage the TV debates, by tying up the broadcasters in interminable red tape’’. Ed Miliband plans four million doorstep visits in bid for No 10 Ed Miliband is urging Labour activists to carry out four million conversations with members of the public before the general election in May. According …

Woodhouse Weekly Pick of the Papers: 30 November 2014

By Theo Cox-Dodgson 1. Theresa Mays announces new anti-terror bill (Civil Liberties/Parties) Theresa May introduced new security measures to the Commons on Wednesday with the aim of combating “extremist ideology”.  Provisions of the bill include an obligation for schools, prisons and councils to draw up policies dealing with radicalism and an obligation on the part of internet service providers to retain users information so it can be handed over to the Home office on request. The bill would also contain provisions preventing British people fighting for ISIS from returning to the UK. The Home Secretary described the measures of the bill as “considered and targeted”. There are concerns however that forcing Internet service providers to hand over user information to the government would violate user’s privacy, and some campaigners such as Big Brother watch have called into question whether this is even possible or not.   http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/islamic-state/11254950/Counter-terrorism-Bill-What-it-contains.html    2. Censure motion against Jean-Claude Juncker fails (EU) Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, has survived a motion aiming at censuring him over his role in …

Woodhouse Weekly Pick of the Papers: 23 November 2014

1. Mark Reckless wins by-election for UKIP (unit 1 Parties) The much anticipated by-election has resulted in a victory for UKIP’s Mark Reckless, winning over the Conservative candidate by 2920 votes. In his victory speech, Mark Reckless said “The radical tradition that has stood and spoken for the working class has found a new home in Ukip.” He went on to remind UKIP activists that as Rochester and Strood had been declared UKIP’s 271st most winnable seat “if UKIP can win here, we can win across the country”. Ladbrokes have opened up odds for which Tory MP to defect next- with Philip Hollobone at 2/1. However all is not good news for UKIP,  the margin of victory was tighter than expected, Reckless only winning by 42.1% of the vote on a turnout of just 50%. The Conservatives were only slightly behind on 34.8%. This has led David Cameron to state confidently “I am absolutely determined to win this seat back at the next general election”. So UKIP’s position in Westminster is not secure yet. 2. Emily …

The rise and rise of UKIP

Most political pundits have been forced to acknowledge that, at least in terms of the popular vote, UKIP are easily the third party, out-polling the Liberal Democrats and the Greens. But in some areas it is even better than that for the party. In the by-elections on October the 9th, two key insights into the power of UKIP were revealed. In Heywood and Middleton they lost to the Labour party candidate by just 617 votes, leaving the Conservative candidate (Ian Gartside) far behind with just 12% of the vote. In the Clacton on sea by election on the same day, Douglas Carswell won over 21,000 votes, whereas the Labour candidate, Tim Young, got less than 4,000. This left the Conservative party ineffective in Heywood and the Labour Party inadequate in Clacton. A similar result occurred in the Rochester by-election, the Labour Party, having held the constituency while it was called Medway from 1997 to 2010, came a distant third in Thursdays by-election, with just 6713 votes to the Conservatives 13,975 and UKIP’s 16,867.

The coalition government’s deficit reduction programme

The coalition agreement states that “the deficit reduction programme takes precedence over any of the other measures in this agreement”. Deficit reduction is the raison d’être of the coalition government, and so it is always important and relevant to analyse how far this flagship policy has been achieved. The Labour opposition have often criticised the coalition for cutting “too far, too fast”, and failing to find a healthy balance between the need for growth and the desire to cut. Although it must be considered that it is the Labour government who ultimately left an economic mess behind them, it can certainly be argued that the Conservative and Lib Dem coalition’s deficit reduction programme has gone too far and too fast in order to deal with the problem.

Weekly Parliament Roundup : 17th September – 25th September

Britain to pay extra €2.1 bn into EU budget by December Britain has been told it must pay an extra €2.1bn (£1.7bn) into the European Union budget by the end of next month because the UK economy is doing better compared to to other European economies. This demand will definitely be used by the euro sceptics as another reason why Britain should leave the EU. British and European commission officials confirmed that the Treasury had been told last week that budget contribution calculations based on gross national income adjustments carried out by Eurostat, the EU statistics agency, showed that because of the UK’s economic recovery, there was a huge discrepancy of what they were asked to contribute and what they should be paying realistically. Cameron currently refuses to pay the EU budget. Nigel Farage also condemned the EU budget demand by stating, “Having come to Britain to set fire to David Cameron’s migration ideas, José Manuel Barroso [European commission president] has returned to Brussels to pour more fuel on the flames.’’ Johann Lamont quits as …

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 3/10/14-10/10/14

Government commits further £330K to stop practice of FGM The government is to put forward an additional £330,000 towards the battle against female genital mutilation (FGM). This plan was announced on the UN’s International day of the girl (11/10). The announcement came after campaigners had complained that while £35m was promised by the government to eradicate FGM abroad, just £1m has been allocated to tackling the problem in the UK. The new funds from the government equalities office will be used for projects that offer expertise and support to vulnerable groups, with £100,000 for work to support victims and survivors of forced marriage, and £150,000 for community engagement in the highest risk areas for FGM and forced marriage. Red Ed under pressure to toughen immigration policies After a very slim by-election win of of 617 votes in Heywood and Middleton, Labour has put Ed Miliband under pressure to toughen its immigration policies. The small victory has led Labour to have a sense of unease towards the fact that UKIP’s growing influence could deprive them of …

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 26/09/14-3/10/14

Cameron pledges to scrap Human Rights Act for British Bill David Cameron has announced during the Conservative Party Conference that a future majority Conservative government will repeal Labour’s landmark legislation and replace it with a “British Bill of Rights”. The proposed British Bill of Rights will intend to transform Britain’s relationship with the European court of human rights. There have been many criticisms towards this new proposal and some argue that the British Bill of Rights would be ‘incoherent’ in the sense that  it will only increase the number of cases that go to Strasbourg, and will almost certainly produce more, not fewer, negative rulings against the UK. Cameron and some Tories would argue that the Human Rights Act gives Strasbourg the power to order British judges around. However, it is evident that it does not since Strasbourg’s power is derived entirely from the international agreement from which we are not withdrawing (for now). All the act does is advice UK courts to take Strasbourg jurisprudence into account. More tax cut promises from Tories During …