Author: Contributor

The Coalition Government Policy Fault-lines

The coalition is generally united over policies and ideas, many of the big reforms of this government, austerity, health and education have all passed due to agreement at cabinet level. Both parties combined their manifestos and developed a working document for government in 2010 and suggested 70% of their manifestos were adopted. There are, however a number of areas where disagreement has emerged, particularly constitutional matters and Europe. 

Britain’s drug problem: Compassion vs Coercion

Over the last two weeks, the main talking point in British politics has been the televised debate between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage concerning the issue of Europe. As much as I hate to admit it, Nigel Farage came off far better, and Clegg was largely left mumbling about how Farage either loves Putin or was a conspiracy theorist who thought Elvis was still alive. It was clear that the two men are not obvious political allies, and that they are divided on almost every issue. I say almost, because there is one area on which the two men find consensus: drug policy reform. Farage declared that the war on drugs had been lost ‘many, many years ago’, and that he supported full decriminalisation. I never thought that I would say this, but bravo Mr Farage. Completely at odds with his party, the Ukip leader has bravely gone exactly where he should be going. Ukip advertises itself as a Libertarian Party, and by supporting full decriminalisation of drugs in the UK, Farage is showing that …

Maria Miller’s Mortgage Misconduct

Maria Miller, MP for Basingstoke resigned on Wednesday as the Conservative Culture Secretary. She was accused of claiming £90,000 in expenses towards mortgage payments for her second home in south London for four years. This was published in the Daily Telegraph in 2010 with the Telegraph claiming that Mrs Miller’s actions were breaching the rules for parliamentary allowances. These rules were implemented in 2010 after the wake of the MPs expenses scandal where MPs were banned from claiming mortgage interest on second homes, with tax-payer’s money. The MPs expenses scandal was made public in 2009 after a campaign by freedom campaigners using the Freedom of Information Act 2000 that allowed citizens to enquire about the expenses of MPs.

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 24th -30th March

Weekly Parliament Roundup- 24th -30th March   Is Miliband the right man for Labour? Following the announcement of the budget, many Labour MPs have criticised Miliband for not having a strong and and solid reaction, especially in the Commons Chamber. Before the budget, people were worried that Miliband’s constant stress upon the cost of living crisis was losing its momentum and many people have been waiting to get a sense of direction as to where Miliband is heading. Furthermore, there has been some questioning over his style of leadership and several members have implied that he always makes big policy announcements but leaves huge spaces in between. When he’s not making announcements, his silence creates a loss of spark within the party which then leads members into deciding amongst themselves what the party should be doing. Moreover, it has been hinted that there might be a divide within the party when it comes to the type of policies which the party wishes to bring forward. Some members want radical policies in order to get the …

The Impact of the NSA files on the Coalition’s civil liberty record

The Impact of the NSA files on the Coalition’s civil liberty record   The NSA files leaked by Edward Snowden to Glen Greenwald (former Guardian journalist) from June 2013 exposed the extent of international surveillance by, supposedly democratic governments, across the world. The leaks found Britain’s intelligence agency (GCHQ) working in conjunction with the National Security Agency (NSA) to bypass each other’s national laws for the sake of internet and communications surveillance. The leaks revealed that not only under the Coalition but under Labour, governments had been acting without any consent, collecting ‘meta data’ on mass, without even cabinet ministers’ knowledge. Many feel that the NSA and GCHQ have gone too far and that collecting hundreds of billions of international internet and telephone data items is a threat to their civil liberties. Edward Snowden, a self-proclaimed libertarian, perhaps with similar views to the conservative party on migration and welfare, did not intend to harm people’s safety; he also insists that he has not leaked information to Chinese or Russian officials. On an internet forum he …

Is the UK economy rebalancing?

Is the economy rebalancing as proposed?   It is coming up to 4 years since Osborne decided the UK economy needed to be rebalanced. By ‘rebalancing’, he proposed a self-sustainable and largely export led economy. An economy that no longer relied on the financial services of the City, which appears to benefit suited men who know better how to ruin an economy better than those on Downing Street know how to fix one. Moreover Osborne pleaded for an economy with a higher propensity to save as opposed to one which will pay the price for further unsustainable private and public debt. Four years on, there seems to be a lack of policy aimed towards accomplishing a rebalanced economy. When the economic recovery began in 2009 the conditions seemed to be in place for a manufacturing exports-led resurgence. The pound depreciated significantly during the financial crisis, providing UK manufacturers with a competitive edge. And with domestic spending still slow, it wouldn’t have been surprising for UK firms to look to overseas sales for growth. Manufactured goods …

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 10th March – 16th March

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 10th March – 16th March New Budget to be announced by Osborne George Osborne will be announcing his 5th and final budget on Wednesday. Conservative Backbenchers want more tax cuts for middle earners and they also whish for changes at the level at which which the 40p tax rates kicks in. However, he insists that his priority is to increase the personal allowance on which no income tax is paid. Furthermore, Osborne apparently said that if more people pay 40p tax rate. This is supposedly good news for the conservatives and will boost aspirations as they’ll feel like they’ve succeeded. There might be some big increases in the growth forecast but there is still little room for manoeuvre and Ed Balls has recently accused the conservatives of failing to stem the UK’s cost of living Crisis. Michael Gove calls Eton filled Tory inner circle ‘Ridiculous’ In a recent interview, Michael was asked if he was comfortable being Education Secretary taking into consideration the fact that there are so many old Etonians within …

AlevelPolitics Economy Update: March 2014

*** Economy update – March 2014 *** The tide has somewhat turned in the Conservatives favour. Less than 18 months until the General election and the economy seems to be resuscitating. Better late than never I suppose. With Mr Osborne revealing his last budget for this Parliament next week, the Tory party are trying to map out their economic stance. It is clear that the 2015 general election will be laden with tax and spend policies, as the main parties not only try to prove that they are economically credible but that their policies seek to benefit the hard working. The first three years of the coalition were characterised by flat lining growth, missed targets, a loss of Britain’s AAA debt rating and a triple-dip recession scare. However, the latter part of 2013 saw improvements in almost all macroeconomic sections. Economic growth for 2013 measured up at 1.8% compared to the sluggish 0.3% of 2012. Osborne insists that his “long term economic plan is working”, with economic growth complemented by increased investment and fast pace …

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 3rd March-9th March 2014

Weekly Parliament Roundup – 3rd March-9th March Liberal Democrats definitely Pro EU In his recent speech at the party’s spring conference, Nick Clegg reinforced the fact that the Liberal Democrats are the UK’s most pro-EU party. In the speech, he says that they are ‘’Britain’s only party of in’’ and that ‘’Britain stands tallest in the world when it stands tall in Brussels, Paris and Berlin’’. It might be suggested that this is a little audacious of Nick Clegg but in some way, he is finding an advantage in this as this might help him to broaden his voter range in preparation for next year’s General Elections. Clegg used his speech to claim responsibility for the economic recovery and defend the benefits of immigration and this might be seen as a way of him bashing the Tories. The Conservatives are trying to claim for themselves the elements of Liberal Democrat policies but the Lib Dems want the public to be well aware of which policies and ideas were theirs. Click here for more information from …

Woodhouse Weekly Pick of the Papers: 3rd March-9th March 2014

The Pick of the Papers (03/03/2014-09/03/2014) Woodhouse’ weekly pick of the papers is devoted to keeping A level politics students up to date with the political news and on track with the Unit 1 and Unit 2 syllabus. 1. Nick Clegg calls Ukip a ‘party of bile’ Source: The Telegraph Politics Topic: Party Policies and Ideas Summary: The leader of the Liberal Democrats will attack Ukip in his party spring conference, stating that they are a party of ‘bile and anger’ while he makes a case for Britain to stay in the EU. Making the Lib Dems look like the ‘cure’ to the Ukip party, the Deputy Prime Minister will claim that his party offers messages of hope rather than fear and will attempt to frame the European elections as a fight between the Lib Dems and Ukip.   2. Assisted suicide moves closer as Government allows free vote Source: The Telegraph Politics Topic: Parliament Summary: The bill which will allow doctors to help terminally ill patients to die is going to have a free vote, which has …

Tories plan to scrap the Human Rights Act

The Conservatives plan to scrap the Human rights Act After World War Two the European Convention of Human Rights was created to prohibit any breach of our basic human rights. This was a convention signed by European countries, so in order for it to be enforced you had to take the long road to Strasbourg for a decision to be made. The Human Rights Act was passed in 1998 so the UK could clarify and safeguard the rights of its people through bringing the ECHR on UK statute. Examples of these rights include the right to life and the right to a fair trial. Theresa May vowed to scrap the Human Rights Act back in September should the Tories win the next general election. The Home Secretary also spoke of a new Immigration Bill that would allow an easier deportation if there was no risk of serious harm to the deportee. It is understood that this is a reaction to the extensive effort to deport hate preacher Abu Qatada. Considering the consequences, Theresa May confirmed …

PCCs: Powerful, Capable Crime-fighting?

PCCs: Powerful, Capable Crime-fighting?   With a 14% average turnout to the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in November 2012, is it really any wonder that news regarding PCCs has disappeared from the mainstream media and government agenda. Simply put – no one cares; a notion reflected in the poor turnout. However, despite the obvious lack of attention from media outlets the Commissioners, and their £100k pay packets, have been busy at work fulfilling their jobs of helping to guide the police and create that all important community link. Or have they? This article will aim to assess the work of the PCCs up to now, whether they have been effective in aiding communities, or if they’ve been a waste of time and resources. For many areas, the introduction of PCCs has brought many welcomed changes and benefits. It seems like the majority of the 41 elected have taken their job seriously and introduced schemes, which benefit their community. The PCC for Cheshire, for example, has launched a mobile surgery so that he can speak …

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 23rd February-2nd March 2014

Weekly Parliament roundup 23/02/14-2/03/14 Ukraine Crisis The Ukraine government is allegedly saying that Russia has declared war on Ukraine. As for now we don’t actually know what President Putin’s intentions are and he has discounted most of the sanctions they’ve been getting from the West. He doesn’t believe that the threats from Western governments will be a great deal and one of his main fears is the fighting in Ukraine, if opposition rises, Putin is unsure whether his Military will be able to handle the Ukrainian people efficiently. In regards to foreign relations, Putin doesn’t really care what Cameron has to say about the issue but but is more concerned over Obama’s reactions. William Hague has been in Kiev urging restraints and there have been recent worries about the consequences for Britain’s defence posture if we get involved. Should Britain be dragged into another conflict when our money is tight? We can only take action to calm the situation down as if the issue continues to escalate the way it is now, we might be …

Woodhouse Weekly Pick of the Papers: 24th Feb-2nd March

The Pick of the Papers (24/2/2014-2/3/2014) Woodhouse’ weekly pick of the papers is devoted to keeping A level politics students up to date with the political news and on track with the Unit 1 and Unit 2 syllabus. 1. MPs summon security services watchdog over Snowden leaks Source: The Guardian Politics Topic: Parliament Summary: Sir Mark Waller, the intelligence service commissioner has repeatedly refused to appear before the Home Affairs committee over Edward Snowden leaks and other counter-terrorism issues, which has lead them to summon him in front of MPs. This is a rare move which the parliamentary committee has the power to send for people and papers. Keith Vaz said that he was ‘disappointed’ by his refusal to their invitations and said that this summons is the first of this parliament.   2. Tony Blair backs Ed Miliband’s internal Labour reforms Source: The Independent Politics Topic: Party Policies and Ideas Summary: Miliband has received a morale boost as the former Labour leader has backed his reforms which will allow people to register as ‘registered supporters’ who at …

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 17th-23rd February 2014

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 17th-23rd February Cabinet visits in Scotland The Cabinet will be heading for the second time in 90 years to North East of Scotland, Aberdeen, the home of the UK’s oil and gas industry. First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond will also be chairing his own cabinet meeting and both the Cabinet and he want to address the future of the North Sea oil industry. Alex Salmond believes that Scottish independence will bring great benefits to the sector. As the referendum is coming nearer, the UK is aiming to now make strong economic arguments in order to weaken the independence arguments. In addition, there have been slightly negative reactions to the visit as some Scotts believe that the three main unionist parties are trying to dictate the actions of the Scottish. Angela Murkel to visit Westminster on Thursday Angela Murkel will be visiting the UK this Thursday and she is here mainly going to have talks The Prime Minister and take a visit also see the Queen. They will talk about the troubled relationship …

Woodhouse Weekly Pick of the Papers: 17th-23rd February

Pick of the Papers 17/2/14 – 23/2/2014 Woodhouse’ weekly pick of the papers is devoted to keeping A level politics students up to date with the political news and on track with the Unit 1 and Unit 2 syllabus. 1. Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg back John Bercow’s plan to reform PMQs -but Conservative back benchers resist. Source: The Independent Politics Topic: Parliament Summary: The Speaker of the house is back by the Opposition Leader as well as the Deputy Prime Minister to reform the way PMQs are held and not to have degrade into ‘yobbery and public school twitchness’. However, some Conservative backbenchers feel that reform is not needed, pointing out that Bercow is just ‘whining’ and has a ‘biased approach’ towards PMQs and this didn’t happen under the last Speaker of the House, Baroness Boothroyd.   2. Nigel Farage accepts Nick Clegg’s challenge to debate Britain’s EU membership.   Source: The Guardian Politics Topic: Party Policies and Ideas Summary: Nigel Farage has accepted Nick Clegg’s challenge to debate whether Britain should stay or leave …

Woodhouse Weekly Pick of the Papers: 3rd-9th February 2015

Pick of the Papers (3/2/2014-9/2/2014) 1. Government launches new initiative to win hundreds of thousands of ‘missing’ young voters. Source: The Independent Politics Topic: Democracy and Participation Summary: A £4.2 million drive by the government is being set out to register hundreds of thousands of young voters who have not been added to the electoral register. It follows a survey that one in 4 young people are not a part of the electoral register, which could be an excess of 800,000 youth across the United Kingdom. 2. MPs should lose the right to vote on war, says former Middle East minister. Source: The Guardian Politics Topic: Parliament Summary: The government’s ability to call for war is now ‘in a mess’ and that if the government have to convince half of parliament plus one  before deciding on what to do on tricky foreign policy, how will it be able to cope with dealing with allies or prepare regional strategic defences, states Alistar Burt, former Middle East minister.   3. Party political system is in chronic decline, …

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 29th-5th February 2014

Weekly Parliament Roundup:  29/01/14-5/02/14 Conservative style Ofsted After the firing of Ofsted Chair and Labour peer Sally Morgan, Michael Gove has said that the next head of Ofsted will be appointed upon merit but has not yet ruled out appointing a Conservative peer.  A number of critics have been saying that Gove is trying to ‘politicise’ an independent body and the same argument has been said by Liberal Democrat Schools Ministers who have said that Gove is bringing his own people into an impartial organisation. However, Michael Gove has replied back by saying that it’s just time for a fresh pair of eyes and his decision on not ruling out the appointment of Conservative peers has nothing to do with politics. Formal Tests in Nursery Michael Gove has given an indication that he wants to introduce formal assessments for 4&5 year olds in order to measure progress more effectively. He believes that by children taking these assessments when they start school, their performance in year 6 will then be better contrasted. As a result, schools …

Cameron VS the Liberal Democrats: The Green Tax Promise

  David Cameron is said to be going back on his word about green taxes despite obligations from Lib Dems.   David Cameron has come under fire for his statement on reviewing energy bills. The Prime Minister said that the green taxes had helped push up household bills to “unacceptable” prices, but a source close to the prime minister said his message in private was blunter than that. He is claimed to have said, “We’ve got to get rid of all this green crap.” Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne’s Autumn Statement in December will set out new plans to reduce the impact of environmental impacts on fuel bills. The changes have set out to cause disruptions in the coalition government because the Lib Dems vowed to prevent in any falls in levies during this parliament.   The Lib Dems are also keen to keep the green taxes, arguing they are essential to creating a sustainable and environmentally friendly energy supply for the UK. Cameron wants to scrap most of the charges, which help subsidise wind farms and pay …

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 22nd-29th January 2014

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 22/01/14-29/01/14 50p Tax rate for the Rich: Ed Balls recently said that a future Labour government promises to achieve a budget surplus, falling national debt and a 50p top rate of tax for the rich. Businesses have criticised the third proposal by saying that it will harm the economy and put a stunt on job production. However, Ed Balls said that Labour’s Plans to reintroduce the 50p top rate of tax does not mean that the party is against business. Despite this, more business figures have said it is sending the wrong signals. Alistair Darling supported Ed Balls by saying that the timing for making this proposal was right since the General Elections are only about 15 months away. Even though there’s a lot of support for the proposal, Former trade minister Lord Digby called it ‘lousy economics’ in the sense that it might prevent businesses from investing in England. The Immigration Bill The Immigration bill was back in the Commons last week and Tory rebels have been threating to reinstate controls …

Woodhouse Weekly Pick of the Papers: 20th-26th January 2014

Pick of the Papers (20/1/2014-26/1/2014) 1. Talented MPs are turning their backs on Westminster Source: The Telegraph Politics Topic: Parliament Summary: After another Conservative MP has announced that she will step down in the 2015 general election, it raises the question why are MPs leaving Parliament. One explanation of this is that while Parliament may look grand on the outside, on the inside it is so dysfunctional that continuing as an MP seems like a real waste of time. 2. Labour toughens fiscal policy with promise to reduce national debt Source: The Independent Politics Topic: Party Policies and Ideas Summary: Trying to get back economic policy credibility is a tough job for the shadow Chancellor Ed Balls who has announced that Labour will still make cuts to the budget so per year they will have a surplus budget, which is seen as a toughening of fiscal policy for Labour.   3. Peers put Cameron under pressure to ‘heed the call’ and take in refugees. Source: The Independent Politics Topic: Party Policies and Ideas Summary: Members …

The Split Coalition

Coalition United? I think not When the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats formed a coalition in the aftermath of the general election of 2010, it was uncharted territory for the UK. Not only was it the first ever Coalition government between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives in history but  was also the first time the Lib Dems gained some real political power in decades – poor Lib  Dems. So the people of Great Britain were naturally curious to see whether the new government would last. Leading members of the Coalition David Cameron and Nick Clegg have continuously said that they support the Coalition and that it is ‘getting things done’, but today, the cracks are appearing within this partnership of parties.   Firstly, one of the big cracks is this issue about the European Union. Now this causes a huge divide already within the Conservatives as they are naturally sceptical about the European Union. The fact that Tory backbenchers want to leave the EU is quite drastic compared to the leading Tory MPs such …

Woodhouse Weekly Pick of the Papers: 13th-19th January 2014

Pick of the Papers (13/01/2014 – 19/01/2014) Woodhouse’ weekly pick of the papers is devoted to keeping A level politics students up to date with the political news and on track with the Unit 1 and Unit 2 syllabus. 1. UKIP tops Independent on Sunday Poll as the nation’s favourite party Source: The Independent Politics Topic: Party Policies and Ideas Summary: A shock to the Conservatives and the Labour Party as UKIP is seen as the nation’s favourite party. This will underline concerns that UKIP could come first in May’s European election and this could be potentially deny either the Labour Party or the Conservatives an outright majority in the 2015 general election.   2. Why the sudden Tory U-Turn on the minimum wage? Fear of Miliband Source: The Guardian Politics Topic: Party Policies and Ideas Summary: The Chancellor of the Exchequer reflects his party’s worry of Miliband and they are worried that Miliband is turning voters against them and onto things that matter. This is enough to stop a man who is wedded to his …

Would an A&E visiting fee be a ‘clear departure from the traditional NHS vision’

1/3 of GPs BACK £10 CHARGE OF A&E A poll carried out by Press Association for Doctors.net.uk with more than 800 family doctors found that 32% were in favour of the charge seeing it as the most cost effective way of cutting down on the people who could have gone to their GP or a pharmacist. One doctor argued: ‘If patients had to pay a £5 charge to attend A&E – that could be refunded for appropriate attendances – they would be more inclined to take their coughs to the pharmacist where they belong.’ Recent overcrowd and increased demand  of A&E have prompted some doctors to back the charge of either 10 or 5 pound to significantly reduce the number of  unnecessary visits where people are in no need of urgent medical attention. If the condition of a patient is shown to need attention then their money would be refunded to them. Around 30% to 40% of all visits to A&E could have been seen elsewhere because illnesses were minor or not urgent believed by A&E specialists.   …

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 13th-19th January 2014

Parliament Roundup – 13/01/14-19/01/14   Labour Speech This week, Labour leader Ed Miliband and his shadow ministers will make speeches for the electorate in order to announce Labour’s upcoming plans. The speeches are designed to broaden the debate away from spending and the deficit. Shadow Housing Minister Emma Reynolds made a speech on Tuesday reemphasising on Labour’s plans to build more than 200,000 homes a year by the end of the next Parliament in 2020 by stressing that we need to increase social housing. However, this might prove tricky for Labour as they will have to allow more borrowing in order to reach this ambitious goal. This goal in particular might be seen as Ed Miliband’s way of proving that Labour is not just about short term goals such as his established energy price freeze. Euro sceptics unsatisfied   95 of Conservative backbenchers have recently signed a vote for the law to be changed for the House of Commons to veto new EU regulations. There has been much recent disagreement with this vote and William …

Woodhouse Weekly Pick of the Papers: 5th-12th January 2014

Woodhouse Pick of the Papers (5/01/2014 – 12/01/2014) Woodhouse’ weekly pick of the papers is devoted to keeping A level politics students up to date with the political news and on track with the Unit 1 and Unit 2 syllabus. 1.  Political Parties must be reformed: they are the best ways of delivering democracy. source: The Guardian Politics Topic: (Democracy and Participation) Summary: Voters are engaged with issues that affect them and do want to get involved, but they are turned off by how politics is implemented in Parliament as well as the adversarial parliamentary style in the House of Lords. All of this has to change, writes the Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umuna. 2. Miliband’s enemies’ don’t know what to make of him- the trouble is, neither his friends. Source: The New Statesman Politics topic: Party, Policies and Ideas Summary: Miliband has split the Conservative opinion on him, whether he is dangerous to them or just outright ridiculous. Optimists write him off while pessimists respects him. But his own cabinet don’t know what goes through his …

Labour Leader Ed Miliband – Does he have what it takes?

 Does Ed Miliband have what it takes to be Prime Minister?     The views of the public depict conflict when addressing Ed Miliband as a leader, not only concerning his strength and influence within the Labour Party but whether he is indeed, too “weak” to act as Prime Minister. With those who are in favour of Miliband such as the likes of  political thinker Anthony Barnett who argues provocatively that “Ed Miliband is an exceptionally effective opposition leader, brave and an adroit party manager” and present PM David Cameron often highlighting his disproval of Miliband  and asserting his leadership as poor by stating “We know Labour’s approach, you go in with your hands up and a white flag” , the public are found torn between choosing Labour for their policies or abandoning the idea of Ed Miliband as Prime Minister out of uncertainty and scepticism. Following the conclusion of the Miliband brothers’ pyscho-drama in the battle to become leader of the Labour party, the aftermath of Ed’s victory seemed strangely anticlimactic. It didn’t seem …

Woodhouse Weekly Pick of the Papers: 25th November-1st December 2013

Pick Of The Papers (25/11/13-1/12/13) Woodhouse’ weekly pick of the papers is devoted to keeping A level politics students up to date with the political news and on track with the Unit 1 and Unit 2 syllabus. 1. Powerful swing voters say Labour lacks vision – and that the Tories are still nasty. Source: The Independent Politics Topic: Parties Policies and Ideas Summary: Voters in four key marginals were asked about the two main parties – neither came out well. Voters believe that Miliband lacks vision to become a future prime minister as his policy of an “energy freeze” is nothing more than a “sweetener” as well as the Conservatives due swing voters believing that they “favour the rich” and are associated with “cuts”. ALevelPolitics Help: Labour leading in YouGov poll but Cameron claims Miliband’s policies are “weak”   2. George Osborne: Boris Johnson is wrong to say low IQs were to blame for people who struggle to get on Source: The Telegraph Party Politics Topic: Policies and Ideas Summary: Chancellor says he does ‘not agree’ …

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 27th November – 4th December 2013

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 27/11/13-4/12/13 Autumn Statement George Osborne released an Autumn statement on which was said to concentrate on delivering a responsible recovery.  The statement aims to turn the political conversation back to the economy and to emphasise the fact that we are making considerable improvements as our growth forecast is upgrading and how we are now borrowing less. Coalition action on Energy Bill Crisis Recently, there have been Coalition plans to reduce energy bills by an average of £50 per year. In addition to this, the cost of insulating homes will be spread over a longer period and there are plans for a new £1000 incentive scheme given to new home buyers to help them insulate their homes. The government is hoping that this plan will turn attention away from Ed Miliband’s proposed plans to resolve the cost of living crisis which he has not failed to emphasise upon successfully for the last few months. However, there are many rising issues associated with the plans and the most important one is that the coalition …

Woodhouse Weekly Pick of the Papers: 18th-24th November 2013

Pick Of The Papers (18/11/13-24/11/13)  Woodhouse’ weekly pick of the papers is devoted to keeping A level politics students up to date with the political news and on track with the Unit 1 and Unit 2 syllabus. 1. Tories are in the gutter, says Ed Miliband Source: The Independent Politics Topic: Elections Summary: Labour fears dirtiest Conservative campaign in 20 years, as Attorney General withdraws attack on Pakistani community. Miliband accuses Cameron of using ‘smear and character assassination’ to get the Tories back into Parliament as their main election strategy.   2. The cracks are starting to show between the Prime Minister and Chancellor Source: The Telegraph Politics Topic: Party Policies and Ideas Summary: Far from ‘seeing eye to eye’, David Cameron and George Osborne are cut from different political cloth. Cameron is, at heart, a country Tory. Osborne is an urbanite, fond of the city’s networking opportunities, soirées and upmarket burger bars.   3. UKIP is ‘unpatriotic and betraying Britain’, Nick Clegg says Source: The Telegraph Politics Topic: Party Policies and Ideas Summary: Nick …

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 20th-27th November 2013

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 20th -27th November  Cameron to take on Brussels: A Liberal Democrat cabinet minister shared concerns that David Cameron is prepared to take on Brussels by imposing tougher conditions on European migrants. The minister claimed and stressed upon the fact that any rules on migrants’ eligibility to welfare payments should be discussed with all members of the European Union.  David Cameron wants to extend the time that migrants stay in the UK before they are eligible to receive welfare payments. He believes that this would be the best way to ensure that the migrants don’t take advantage of the welfare system which is put in place to help genuine citizens in need. However, he will need an agreement and permission from the EU to do this but it is not obvious on how the conditions will be imposed. PMQs:   In this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions there was an ongoing battle between Cameron and Miliband in regards to payday lenders and the cost of living crisis, including the proposed 20 month energy price freeze …

Old Labour vs New Labour: Labour’s ever-changing colours

Old Labour vs New Labour   At the start of this year, Ed Miliband had set a clear path for the Labour Party to follow. Fearing that a radical approach would further alienate voters, he declared that his ‘One Nation’ Labour would acknowledge the lack of relevance that both strands in his party’s post-war history hold in 21st century Britain. Miliband professed that his Labour will reach out to voters alienated by the party in the 1980s, while also standing up to the vested interests courted by the party in government over the past decade. “New Labour”, he continued, “rightly broke from Old Labour to celebrate the power of private enterprise to energise the country … From crime to welfare to antisocial behaviour, New Labour was clear that we owe duties to each other as citizens.” He went on to criticise New Labour’s feebleness under the influence of big businesses, declaring:

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 13th-20th November

Weekly Parliament Roundup – 13/11/13-20/11/13 Geneva II Conference November 2013   Over the last few weeks, the Geneva conference has taken centre stage in the news, in regards to Iran’s nuclear projects. The conference was postponed to the 20th and has resumed over the past few days. Even though definite decisions have not yet been made, following his visit to Geneva, Foreign Secretary William Hague states that Britain’s aim is to create a “Interim first step agreement with Iran that can then create the confidence and the space to then create a comprehensive and final agreement”. The main question is however, is it too late for Britain to step in and try to give Iran guidance on the decision that it should make? The country seems set on making the brave choice to go ahead with their plans without the restrictions from America. Hopefully, Hague will make an influential effort to try and impose financial and energy sanctions against Iran, with the help of other countries such as France and Germany. Increase in Tax Thresholds …

Pressure Groups

Unit 1: Pressure Groups A Pressure Group is an organised group that does not hold candidates for election, but seeks to influence and change government policy or legislation. They are also described as ‘interest groups’, ‘lobby groups’ or ‘protest groups’. In Britain, the number of political parties is on the small scale compared to the mass number of pressure groups that run into their thousands. Pressure Groups can be distinguished in a variety of different ways including; local/national/European/transnational groups and temporary/permanent groups, however the most common distinctions are between: Interest and cause groups / Insider and outsider groups   Interest groups (sometimes called ‘sectional’, ‘protective’ or ‘functional’ groups) are groups that represent a particular section of society, for example, workers, employers, consumers, an ethnic or religious group. Interest groups have the following features: They are concerned to protect or advance the interests of their members Limited membership to people in a particular occupation, career or economic position Members that are motivated by material self-interest Examples of this type of group are trade unions, business corporations, trade associations …

Who’s Who – The Shadow Cabinet

Who’s Who – Shadow Cabinet The Shadow Cabinet consists of only Labour MPs. It is the Shadow Cabinet’s job to criticise and challenge the policies and actions of the leading government, including the likes of Tory Prime Minister David Cameron. Here’s a list of the members and their roles. Why not check the links for recent news updates, it may just help you to learn about their past history and present position in politics…   David Miliband MP (Labour) Role: Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Labour Party. Education: Studied PPE at Oxford and at the London School of Economics. Political Career: Elected MP for Doncaster North since 2005. Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change from 2008 to 2010.  Leader of the Labour Party since 2010 having won against his brother. Extra Information: Click for the Miliband fact file  Harriet Harman MP (Labour) Role: Shadow Deputy Prime Minister and Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Education: Studied Politics at the University of York. Political Career: Elected MP for …

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 6th-13th November 2013

Weekly Parliament review – 6th -13th November 2013 Commonwealth Summit Prime Minister David Cameron will still attend the Commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka despite India and Canada boycotting the event. There have been calls for the PM to boycott the event, especially from Labour members who proposed that they would strongly support the Prime Minister if reversed his decision to attend. On the other hand, Foreign Secretary William Hague stated that if the Prime Minister decided not to attend the summit, it would damage the commonwealth without making any positive change in Sri Lanka. The summit will concern the country’s Human Rights records and Cameron has pledged to put ‘serious questions’ to the Sri Lankan President Mahinda  Rajapaksa  about his regime’s widely condemned Human Rights records and allegations of war crimes against the Tamil minority. Concerns over rise in personal debt in the UK The Conservative member of the Treasury Select Committee Mark Garnier has raised concerns over the level of personal debt in the UK. He recently stated on The World This Weekend on …

News Report: Labour Party becomes media target after Falkirk investigations

Union within Labour party creates false memberships in order to rig voting process in Falkirk.   The Labour party came under fire after it was found that Unite, Labour’s biggest union backer was accused of coercing members to join the Labour Party and signing up unsuspecting families without their knowledge to ensure the union’s favoured, now with drawn candidate, Karie Murphy was selected as the Falkirk MP. The investigation was first brought up by two families who suddenly found that they had become members of the labour party despite never signing the forms to join the party. The general secretary of the Unite union Len McClucky, denied fresh claims that the union was involved in the forgery and coercion and stated that it was a poor attempt from the Tories to discredit Ed Miliband, as the Conservatives take it upon themselves to leak emails of internal Labour reports of the Falkirk investigations to the Sunday Times. Allegations: In an interview with presenter Andrew Neil on BBC’s Sunday Politics Len McCluskey defends Unite by claiming “We didn’t thwart anything. The …

Woodhouse Weekly Pick of the Papers (4/11/13-10/11/13)

Pick of the Papers (4/11/13-10/11/13) Woodhouse’ weekly pick of the papers is devoted to keeping A level politics students up to date with the political news and on track with the Unit 1 and Unit 2 syllabus. 1.  Ed Miliband’s momentum confronts Cameron with a sharp dilemma Source: The Guardian Politics topic: Elections Summary: Labour is frustrated by Conservative stalling over agreeing to the general election TV debates between the leaders, Miliband has a “boost in ratings” and “most people, including Mr Miliband, mainly attribute this to the impact of his pledge to freeze energy bills”. 80% of voters “favour the energy price freeze but only half as many think he could actually deliver it”. ALevelPolitics help: Read the energy bill crisis article on Cameron’s dilemma 2.  Ignore Russell Brand: Vote and make MPs notice you, says think tank Source: The Independent Politics topic: Democracy and Participation Summary: Parties will change their economic decisions and policies to people who actually vote, not people who do not vote. Turnout has fallen among the young and the least affluent and “The cuts …

UKIP: U-keep Or U-Gone?

UKIP, the UK Independence Party is a right-wing political party that was established in 1993. Their views are often seen as being more radical than the other political parties, like their immigration policies and proposed EU referendum. There is constant controversy surrounding UKIP due to its proposal of radical changes to immigration, such as implementing a five year freeze on immigration for permanent settlement and disallowing immigrants to apply for public housing and benefits until they have paid tax for five years. Some argue they are racist, as they are exploiting immigrants’ rights. UKIP deny that, claiming they are not against race but against an ‘open-door’ policy. Nigel Farage stated that in the past 10 years, there has been more migration into Britain than between 1066 and 1950. Anna Soubry, the defence minister, said that Nigel Farage was ‘scaremongering’ and putting ‘fear in people’s hearts’ with his anti-immigration rhetoric and ‘prejudice’. Farage hit back at Soubry’s remarks by calling them ‘abusive’ and it showed how the Conservatives were ‘terrified’ about the rise of UKIP. Its policy to end …

Energy Bill Crisis: Cameron’s dilemma

Energy Bills – Is Cameron ‘panicking‘ yet? Over the past few months, we’ve witnessed politicians persistently speaking of energy prices rocketing and of the ‘Big Six’ making huge profits from the bills of their overcharged customer’s, of whom are without any knowledge of they came to be so high in price.  Many individuals who are unable to afford these high prices are left confused and deceived by their energy supplier and blame PM David Cameron for not taking action against this ever increasing issue. Recently, the problem has been addressed by Cameron in parliament and of who has even been in discussion with Neck Clegg in order to find a way to get household bills down and made sustainable. The “big” questions are;  how soon and how will he make changes to the British taxpayer’s energy bill? According to research by uSwitch, energy bill suppliers such as the likes of British Gas have a current bill at around £1,340 and the new bill is said to raise to a staggering £1,465 – an increase of £125 which …