Category Archives: News


Woodhouse Pick of the Papers 16th March-23rd March

1. Debate format finally agreed 
The following format has been agreed

26th March (6 weeks before election) : Live Q and A between Ed Miliband and David Cameron on Channel 5 and Sky News presented by Jeremy Paxman and Kay Burley
2nd April (5 weeks before election)- Main 7 Party leaders (Labour, Liberal Democrat, Conservative, UKIP, Green, SNP, and Plaid Cymru) all debate on ITV, moderated by Julie Etchingham
16th April (3 weeks before election)- Five opposition party leaders (Labour, UKIP, Green, SNP and Plaid Cymru) all debate on the BBC, moderated by David Dimbleby
30th April (1 week before election)- BBC Question Time programme with David Cameron, Ed Milliband and Nick Clegg

Farage is unhappy with the media surrendering to the demands of Cameron, and that his only means of challenging Cameron is with 5 other party leaders present.

Clegg is unhappy he has been shunned from 2 of the main debates.

Galloway, the DUP and Sin Fein are unhappy THEY are not being invited to any of the debates.

But everyone will FINALLY go along with the plans and we can (touch wood) finally stop talking debating about the debates and actually watch the debates. Now for news that is actually important

2. Dodgy Donors not just for the right.

Since UKIP and the Tories seem to get a large amount of mudslinging in the press for having dodgy donors, it seems only fair to expose some dodgy donors behind the other three main parties in this country, stories that have broken in just the last week.


The Labour Party has attempted to conceal the identity of a Martin Taylor- a hedge fund manager who has given the Labour party at least £600,000 since 2012, and has met Ed Miliband at least once. Officials in the Labour Party tried to hide his identity out of respect for his privacy but under the present rules all donations exceeding £7500 must be declared- and thus it is clear that the Labour Party have at least bent the rules when it comes to their 4th largest donor.

Liberal Democrat

The Liberal Democrat peer Paul Strasburger resigned from the party on Friday night after he was told Channel 4’s Dispatches will report “a £10,000 donation was paid by the stepfather of an undercover businessman which would be against the rules on donations”. He claims to be a victim of entrapment. Nick Clegg were also filmed meeting the fake businessman. An investigation is underway.


Activists from the Youth Wing of the Green Party have voted to ban Dame Vivienne Westwood (73) from a proposed tour of British universities after it was revealed the company she owned was dodging taxes by placing their money in an offshore account in Luxembourg. A central plank of The Greens’ election manifesto will be a ‘Tax Dodgers Bill’ that would outlaw payments to offshore companies in jurisdictions including Luxembourg. The Green Party also has a long-standing policy of refusing money from companies or individuals who do not pay their full share of tax. However their is no sign of the party returning the money Dame Vivienne Westwood has given to the party, or suspending entirely their involvement with her.

Now one could argue these infractions are not as severe as those of the Tories or UKIP. But if the offices of these parties are constructed with glass, hurling stones may not be the best idea.

3. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne Announces Budget 

The Chancellor of the Excheuquer George Osborne announced his new budget last Wednesday. Key policies include:

1. The income tax personal allowance is to rise to £10,800 next year and £11,000 the year after, making typical working taxpayer £900 a year better off and cutting tax for 27 million people.
2. New policies to clamp down on tax dodging to raise £3 billion a year by 2020
3. Above-inflation rise in threshold for 40p income tax rate from £42,385 this year to £43,300 by 2017/18
4. A penny a pint will be knocked off beer duty, cider duty will be cut by 2% and duty on Scotch whisky and other spirits also cut by 2%. Wine duty frozen and duties on tobacco and gaming also unchanged. No increase in fuel duty
5. Law change to allow pensioners to access their annuities with 55% tax charge abolished and tax applied at the marginal rate.
6. Annual savings limit for Isa increased to £15,240 and a new fully flexible Isa created.

This budget has been considered to be a very political one- with Osborne sending key messages to older voters and voters who save more that the Tories are on their side, as well as appealing to working class people by reducing their taxes and beer prices (marginally). The Liberal Democrats responded with a “yellow box” budget- in which they unveiled an agenda which will be in their manifesto, for higher taxes and more spending than Osborne. Ed Balls has declared Osborne to be “out of touch”. Nigel Farage has condemned the budget as a budget which kicks a lot of the big issues into the long grass.
4. SNP- We have a right to dictate policy for all of Britain 

The SNP, a party that denies the legitimacy of the United Kingdom, has a right to influence policy for all of the United Kingdom, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
With the party poised to hold the balance of power after May’s election, the Scottish First Minister said she would aim to bring “change right across the United Kingdom” and not just Scotland.Ms Sturgeon’s has pledged that she will seek to drive British politics to the left, easing austerity and abandoning the Trident missile system. This comes as Labour has ruled out a formal coalition with the SNP but not a confidence and supply arrangement.
Ms Sturgeon said voters in England should vote Green – or for Labour if their candidate is “progressive”. She insisted that voters in England could “trust” her not to use a hung Parliament as part of a plan to break up the country. While she still believes that independence is inevitable, it can only happen with a referendum, she said.

Woodhouse weekly pick of the papers 23/02/15- 01/03/15

1. Ed Miliband to cut fees and tax pensioners

Ed Miliband has set out a £2.7bn plan to slash tuition fees in England from £9,000 to £6,000 a year and increase maintenance support for students by £200m, funded by higher interest rates for wealthier students repaying their fees.

Learning from the Liberal Democrats Ed Miliband seems to have reneged on his promise to abolish fees, but lowering them will certainly be popular among young people.

The maintenance grant will be lifted from £3,400 to £3,800 a year for students for families who pay basic rates of income tax and will help about half of all students. The interest rate on loan repayments for the highest earning graduates will rise from 3% to 4% to pay for it.

The reduction in the cap on tuition fees from £9,000 to £6,000, to be introduced from September 2016, (so this will hypothetically benefit students currently in Year 12) will help 1 million full-time students. The faster-than-expected pace of the changes will mean current first-year students will not pay as much in their final year.

However the higher interest rates for students will only raise £0.2 billion of the £3.1 billion needed to reduce fees and so the rest will be funded chiefly via reducing the tax relief for people on very high incomes.

Although this move has rightly been condemned as populist headline seeking and financially illiterate, and it may backfire given the youth mainly affected by it will not be able to vote come May the 7th, it does seem to reverse the inherent bias fiscal policy has in this country towards the old and wealthy compared to the young and poor

2. Net Migration hits 300,000

The Conservative Party manifesto promise in 2010 to reduce net migration to less than 100,000 lies in shatters as net migration for 2014 was announced to be just shy of 300,000.

624,000 people entered the country last year, with 327,000 people leaving, thus leaving the net figure at 298,000. For reference in 2013 net migration figures stood at 210,000 and in 2010 they stood at 252,000. Of the 624,000 immigrants who came to the UK, 251,000 were from the European Union – a rise of 43,000 on the year before. There was “statistically significant increase” in Romanians and Bulgarians coming to Britain – up to 37,000 from 24,000 in the previous 12 months- a fact UKIP will no doubt capitalize on after the hype they raised at the start of 2014 was initially unfounded.

Non-EU citizens made up 292,000 – up 49,000 on the previous 12 months


1. Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said the Tories broken promised undermined the publics trust in politicians.

She said: “David Cameron and Theresa May have failed on​ their own measure, they have ramped up the rhetoric without ever bringing in practical measures to address the impact of immigration or make the system fair.

2. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the figures were “embarrassing” for the Tories.

Speaking on LBC radio this morning, he said: “I said to David Cameron he shouldn’t make the commitment because it was inevitable he was going to break it because you can’t control the net figure.

3. Ukip’s migration spokesman Steven Woolfe said: “The Government should be ashamed of its abject failure to keep control of the constantly rising numbers of those arriving here.

“They made that commitment – we said we were not going to do it as a coalition government .. and they are now going to have to suffer the embarrassment.

4.  Migrants’ Rights Network director Don Flynn urged politicians not to use the increase as an excuse to run divisive campaigns.

He said: “The latest migration figures reflect Britain’s growing economy and should not be used by the political parties as a launch-pad for their negative political campaigns shifting the blame for wider problems on to migrants.


3. Cash for access

Two MP’s, Jack Straw (Labour) and Malcom Rifkind (Conservative) have been kicked out of their parties on charges of wrongdoing in the wake of yet another “cash for access scandal”

Both MPs were filmed meeting undercover reporters from the Daily Telegraph and Channel 4’s Dispatches posing as a fictitious Hong Kong-based communications agency called PMR, appearing to offer to use their positions to benefit the firm in exchange for thousands of pounds.

Mr Straw, the former Labour Foreign Secretary, is said to have described how he operated “under the radar” to use his influence to change European Union rules on behalf of a commodity firm which paid him £60,000 a year.

Sir Malcolm, until last week the Conservative head of the parliamentary committee which oversees Britain’s intelligence agencies, also met with “PMR”.

“You’d be surprised by how much free time I have. I’m self-employed so nobody pays me a salary. I have to earn my income,” Sir Malcolm was filmed saying. For his services he discussed his usual fee of ‘somewhere in the region of £5,000 to £8,000’ for a half a day’s work. He earns £67,000 as an MP.

While both MP’s have denied wrongdoing both are expecting to stand down at this election. Jack Straw first entered Parliament in 1979 and in his 36 years as an MP, held the position of Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Leader of the House of Commons and Justice Secretary. Malcom Rifkind entered Parliament in 1974 and held the position of Transport Secetary, Defence Secetary and Foreign Minister. After losing his seat in 1997 he returned in 2005 and as stated earlier was the Chairman of the parliamentary committee which oversees Britain’s intelligence agencies.

This scandal tarnishing the reputation of two elder statesmen in both parties is expected to reduce the confidence mainstream politicians, since both figures were politicians, and deservedly so.

4. Boris Johnson criticizes May for being too libertarian

The supposedly libertarian Mayor of London Boris Johnson has criticized un-named politicians for relaxing control orders, which he thinks has given terror suspects like Mohammed Emwazi or “Jihadi John” the ability to evade the security services.

Mr Johnson did not name Mrs May but said that the politicians responsible “need to think very carefully about why they did it”.

It what seems like a prequel to a heated Conservative Party leadership contest should Cameron fall, Boris, the Conservative Party candidate for MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, said in his implicit attack of Theresa May, “The decision to modify the control orders, to water them down I think in retrospect looks as though it was a mistake because it is vital to be able, when you are controlling these people to be able to relocate them, (and) to take them away from their support networks”.

The control orders, introduced in the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 , were removed in 2011 and replaced with Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIMs). It ended the power of the home secretaries to order the virtual house arrest of terror suspects and to force their relocation.

However following May’s announcement that she will U-turn on this and reintroduce elements of Blairite control orders in response to Isis, Boris has said “We are now back on the right track”

This seems to be a contradiction of what he said 10 years ago, saying “I believe the control order – the suspension of habeas corpus – to be wrong”. He’s also famous for appearing in a documentary “Taking Liberties” in 2007, which was critical of control orders

5. School history biased in favour of the EU

Millions of children are being taught a “distorted” view of European history that deliberately promotes further integration of the European Union, one of Britain’s leading historians has warned.

Prof David Abulafia, a Cambridge University don, has said school textbooks are “papering over” past differences between European nations in favour of a misleading idea of European citizenship.

“There is a soft push to create a sense of European citizenship which is based on frankly an invented common history because the history of Europe is to a large extent the history of division, not the history of unity,” he said.

“When it has been the history of unity, as we’ve seen under Napoleon and Hitler or under the Soviets in Eastern Europe, it has gone disastrously wrong. It is a papering over the discordant elements in European history to create this idealised event.”

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of Business for Britain – the campaign backing renegotiation said the idea of a single European identity was “pervasive and dangerous”.

“The EU’s official motto is “United in diversity” – a laudable philosophy. Unfortunately, many of the EU’s policies seem intent on crushing that diversity, striving to replace Europe’s many historic identities with a single, artificial ‘European’ culture.”


Woodhouse Weekly News Roundup Sunday 22 February 2015

1. Former member of the Labour National Executive Committee Harriet Yeo joins UKIP.
A former chair of Labours’ National Executive Committee has left the party in order to support UKIP in the coming general election, Nigel Farage has announced.ember for eight years and chair in 2012/13. She will sit the remainder of her term as a councilor as an independent, after being deselected as a candidate for the 2015 local elections.

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Woodhouse Weekly News Roundup Sunday 11 January 2015

1. Party Political reactions to the Charlie Hebdo attacks 

On Wednesday the 7th 2 masked gunmen burst into the offices of French Satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo and killed 12 people, including the magazine’s editor in chief Stéphane Charbonnier  (known as Charb). The attacks have shocked millions around the world. Here are the party political reactions.

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Woodhouse Weekly Pick of the Papers – 14/12/14

By Theo Cox-Dodgson
 (Unit 1- Parties)
Jim Murphy has been elected as the Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, defeating Neil Findlay and Sarah Boyack with 55.8% of the vote. The Scottish MP for East Renfrewshire and former Secretary of State for Scotland stated confidently that the leadership election was a “good advert” for the party. The Labour Party haven’t been in power in the Scottish Parliament since 2007, and they face an unprecedented threat from the SNP, now lead by Nichola Sturgeon. Jim Murphy’s predecessor Johann Lamont resigned after accusing the Labour Party of treating the Scottish Labour Party like a “branch office” of the party overall, a feeling echoed by many grass-roots activists regretting voting NO in September.  How Jim Murphy can face all of these challenges only time will tell.
(Unit 1- Parties)
Documents unearthed by the Telegraph have revealed the full extent of communication between UKIP activists and Enoch Powell, the man who gave the infamous “rivers of blood speech” in 1968. The 29 year old Nigel Farage asked Enoch Powell to support him in the Eastleigh by-election in 1994. Enoch Powell, who was 81 at the time, declined. This was the last known communication between Farage and Powell before Powell’s death in 1998, however after the Eastleigh by-election party activists including the leader at the time Alan Sked, constantly lobbied him for support, and even went so far as to ask him to stand for them in the 1995 European Parliament elections. DJ Richards even asked Powell to stand as a UKIP candidate for South West Surrey in the 1997 general election.
Powell politely declined on both occasions, saying he had no intentions of returning to Westminster after his election defeat in 1987. However in 1994 he wrote an open letter to the electors of the Dudely West by-election which said “I hope the electors of Dudley West realise how privileged they are to able to ‘speak for Britain’ before the rest of the country: they can help to turn out a government which persists in Europe in stripping this country of its right to make its own laws and policies and to levy its own taxes. You will do this most effectively if you support Mr (Malcolm) Floyd”. Despite hopes such support from an infamous figure would gain them publicity and votes, Malcolm Floyd got just 1.4% of the vote.
These revelations have come after Russel Brand labelled Nigel Farage a “pound shop Enoch Powell” on Question Time this Thursday. Perhaps this accusation isn’t as slanderous as initially thought.
(Unit 1- Pressure Groups)
Activists have taken to “face-sitting” outside Parliament in opposition to the government’s new porn law which bans acts it deems morally damaging from being displayed on pay-per view pornography.  Other placards on display outside Parliament include “life will be fine if we 69” A spokesperson for the Department of Culture Media and Sport “The legislation provides the same level of protection to the online world that exists on the high street in relation to the sale of physical DVD”. Opponents of the bill claim that a lot of what has been banned is not dangerous and will harm small independent porn producers.
(Unit 2- Civil Liberties)
The torture report published on Wednesday, has ommitted the important role that the UK played in assisting the U.S in torture operations. On Thursday, the Prime Ministers Deputy Official Spokesperson requested the U.S senate omit details involving Great Britain, citing “national security”.
In the wake of the report there are increased calls for MI5 and MI6 to hold their own, more transparent, enquiry into British complicity in US torture. The Intelligence and Security Committee is currently investigating malpractice however the report won’t be finished before the general election. The ISC is going to hand the report to Downing Street for approval, sparking calls from all three major parties for a more transparent inquiry.
David Davis, the former shadow Home Secretary and opponent of Cameron in the 2006 leadership election, stated “Downing Street’s U-turn on its previous denial that redactions had taken place tell us what we already know – that there was complicity, and that it wasn’t reflected in the Senate report”. Diane Abott, who fought both Miliband brothers for the leadership election in 2010, has also called into question David Miliband’s role in torture during his three year time as foreign secetary, saying he needed to be “completely transparent.” The leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband, has defended his brother, saying ” He is never someone who would ever countenance the British state getting involved in this sort of activity”
(Unit 3- Enviroment)
Due to the environmental policies of the current government, including subsides to wind  farms, electricity costs may rise as much as 40%, official figures released by Department of Energy and Climate Change revealed on Sunday. And by 2030, when the planned offshore wind-turbines are expected to be completed, the total cost will be 60% higher, meaning the average electricity bill will go up by £350 a year.
These figures were initially kept secret because they contradicted the claim made that these policies were reducing bills by £90 a year. While this is true in the short-term, the long term data showing how these policies would increase bills, was omitted. A spokesperson claimed the data was omitted because it was “thought to be confusing”.
(Unit 1 Parties    Unit 1- Democracy)
As many as 50 Tory MP’s think David Cameron to abandon the Liberal Democrats and form a minority government after the New Year, governing as best he can until the dissolution of Parliament in March.
This proposal comes as the war of words between senior coalition figures escalated, Danny Alexander claiming the Tories were “pandering to UKIP” and pursuing “austerity forever”. Support for the Conservative Party remains just above 30%, just below the Labour Party. However one Tory MP says that the calls for the break-up of the coalition are not louder because the Tories needed Liberal Democrat candidates to do well at local elections to keep the Labour Party out. Don Foster said that the Liberal Democrats were going to “stick to the task right up until polling day” despite the ever widening gap in the coalition.

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. 


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 tax avoidance schemes. The motion, which bought together notable enemies UKIP and the French National Front, gained 101 votes in favor, 461 against with 88 abstentions. Nigel Farage, one of the sponsors of the motion,  failed to attend the vote, leading Catherine Bearder, Liberal Democrat MEP to claim it was “nothing more than a media stunt”.  While this may be good news for Mr Junker in the short-term, the investigation into Luxembourg’s tax affairs during his presidency are still ongoing, and with 101 MEP’s voting against him before the results of the investigation are  even published, indicates he may get into more trouble with the increasingly high number of Eurosceptic MEP’s before the end of his term in 2019.

3. David Cameron’s announces new measures to limit EU migration (Parties/Prime Minister/EU)

In response to the news that net migration has soared 38% to 243,000, David Cameron has made his long-waited immigration speech, attempted to strike a compromise between leaders of the European capitals and the threat from UKIP. While abandoning the  promise he made in 2010 to lower net migration to “tens of thousands” by the end of this Parliament, he has instead proposed to introduce stringent welfare restrictions on new EU migrants in order to deter those coming here seeking to claim benefits. Some of these proposals, which will be outlined in the 2015 election manifesto, include a ban on in work tax credits for four years, and the deportation of immigrants unable to find jobs. However he is not going to place any targets on migration, which has been seen by many eurosceptics as a concession to Brussels. However he later went on to say that he would consider withdrawing Britain from the union “as a last resort” if his plans were not agreed to.

Nigel Farage has claimed in response that David Cameron is deceiving voters on this issue, and that a limit on immigration while Britain is a member of the EU is impossible. Nick Clegg, the deputy Prime minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats, has questioned “whether they are deliverable”.

4. More powers are devolved to the Scottish Parliament (Parties)

The Scottish Parliament has been handed £14 billion of income tax and welfare benefits in plans supported by both the Conservative and Labour party. Amongst the welfare controls now devolved to Holyrood include the housing elements of universal credit, disability living allowance and carers allowance. Ed Miliband has supported the devolution plans, most likely in order to combat his plummeting poll ratings in Scotland and the threat the Scottish National Party presents to him coming up to the 2015 general election. However the deputy first minister, John Swinney said the proposals fell “far short” of the powers promised by the No campaign during the Scottish independence referendum. Calls for similar devolution measures to be given to England have been made by many Tory Backbench MP’s.

5. George Osbourne announces an extra £2 billion for the NHS (Parties/Welfare State)

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osbourne has announced that he will spend an extra £2 billion on the NHS to help modernize the healthcare system, support staff in their day to day work and meet a rapidly increasing demand. This announcement has been seen as an attempt to neutralize the promise made by the Labour party of a £2.5 billion spending increase in their first year of government. This announcement comes shortly before his Autumn statement next Wednesday, where he is also expected to announce a £15 billion spending investment on roads, a freeze on petrol duty despite falling oil prices and a law committing the government to eliminate the budget deficit by 2017. However the roads building programme and the NHS spending increases contradict the promise of a balanced budget, leading Paul Johnson to warn that severe spending cuts would be required in other areas.

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 Thornberry resigns from Shadow Cabinet (unit 1 Democracy)
The bad result for the Conservatives in Rochester  has almost been overshadowed by another scandal in the Labour party. The Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury, and a close ally of Ed Miliband, Emily Thornberry has resigned from the Shadow Cabinet after posting a controversial tweet of a man with a white van in his drive flying three different English flags with the caption “Image from #Rochester”The tweet was read by many, to be snobbish and mocking working class people who were proud to wave the english flag. Ed Miliband said the tweet made him feel “angry” and the view of working class patriots conveyed in the tweet “never will be our view”. However her senior position in the Labour Cabinet before Thursday have left many thinking that, secretly, it is the view of many people in the Cabinet.

3. SNP to form “Anti-austerity” bloc in Westminster (unit 1 Elections)
The SNP hopes to form an “anti-austerity” alliance with Plaid Cymru and the Green Party, Scotlands First minister says. With all three parties expected to do well next year, they could form a significant block for the alternative left in the Houses of Commons. The SNP’s membership has nearly quadrupled from 25,000 to 92,000 since the referendum, and they are expected to gain the majority of Scottish MP’s in the next election. Should this anti-austerity coalition succeed, they could seriously influence public policy, especially so if no party gains a majority at the next election.

4. 20% of crimes are not recorded (unit 2 Civil Liberties/ unit 3 Law & Order)
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary has released a report saying that more than 800,000 crimes  or 1 in 5, crimes reported across the 43 police forces in England and Wales are not recorded. This information is based off of an audit between November 2012 and October 2013. Failure to record these crimes usually result in no investigation into them.  A breakdown into individual crime categories is even more disturbing,   26% of reported sexual offences are not recorded, including 200 rapes, and 33% of violent crimes are not recorded. Theresa May has called the findings “utterly unacceptable” however the police have said things have gotten better since October 2013, although evidence they have for that is sparse.

5. Gordon Brown to resign as MP.
Gordon Brown is to resign as an MP before the next General election,  one of his closest political allies has revealed. He is expected to make the formal announcement before Christmas, citing his desire to spend more time doing charity work. The former Prime Minister has been an MP for 32 years and is credited with saving the Better Together campaign at the Scottish referendum back in September. He is not expected to take a seat in the House of Lords, continuing his job as UN Special Envoy for Global Education.

By Theo Cox Dodgson

Woodhouse Weekly Pick of the Papers: 8th-15th September 2014

Fracking is a toxic issue for Conservative party grassroots

Anti-fracking campaigners near Westby, Lancashire.

Source: The Guardian

As Topic: Elections

A2 Politics: Environment

Fracking has the ability to give the UK another supply for energy, which has the potential to drive down energy prices for the economy. However, this has caused great controversy in safe Tory seats, with constituents pledging to run anti-fracking campaigns and research from Greenpeace and the Guardian has shown that 120 safe seats have protest groups in them. On top of this, 31 of the 40 key marginal seats identified by the party have these protest groups. This bodes ill for the Conservative party, who have deviated from green policy.


The TTIP hands British sovereignty to multinationals


Source: The Guardian

A2 Topic: Economic Policy

The TTIP is a treaty between the EU and the USA, being marketed by its champions as a economic stimulus package for ailing Europe, providing up to £100bn in extra growth. It is presented as a free trade agreement, but existing tariffs on either side of the Atlantic are already weak because of common membership of organisations such as the World Trade Organisation. But you will not see UKIP nor Cameron riding to British defence as the actual aim is to strip away obstacles to large corporations making profits such as regulations that protect our privacy, the environment, food safety and the economy from a rapacious financial sector. And crucially TTIP further opens up public services to private companies motivated primarily by profit rather than people’s needs.


Chris Grayling unveils victims’ rights reform

Source: The Guardian

As Topic: Judiciary

A2 Topic: Crime and Order

The right of victims of crime to directly confront the offenders in court is to be enshrined in law, the government has said. And publicly funded lawyers are to be barred from taking on serious sex offence cases unless they have undergone specialist training. Grayling said: “Our criminal justice system can be daunting, and victims, especially the most vulnerable, can find it traumatic and difficult to know where to turn to for advice and support.” These reforms aim to put the victim first and solidify the victim’s rights in law.


Bank of England boss: interest rates likely to rise months before wages do

Mary Carney at the TUC congress

Source: The Guardian

A2 Topic: Economic policy

The Bank of England’s governor, Mark Carney, has warned workers that interest rates will rise before they see a rise in real wages. At the TUC conference in Liverpool, Carney cited bank forecasts of real wage growth about the middle of next year. Wages fell 0.2% in the three months to June this year, a decline that contrasted sharply with inflation of 1.6% in July. Carney warned that workers would have to improve productivity and skills to have any chance of getting real-term pay.


EU olive branch for David Cameron as Lord Hill appointed to senior financial services post

Source: The Independent

A2 Topic: Britain and the EU

David Cameron’s hopes of winning a better deal in Europe for Britain were boosted today after Lord Hill, the UK’s new European Commissioner, was chosen for the key financial services post in Brussels. But Lord Hill’s honeymoon lasted only a few hours, as Socialist and Green MEPs threatened to veto his appointment unless he promises to take a tough line on bankers’ bonuses.




Woodhouse’ Weekly Pick of the Papers: 1st-8th September 2014

Pick of the Papers

Examples to use for A-level Government and Politics exams. Click the links for articles and for more information.

General Election 2015: Housing and childcare  to be Lib Dems’ manifesto keystones.

Source: The Independent

A2 Topic: Welfare

AS Topic: Elections

Summary: Nick Clegg has launched 300 new policies in the pre-draft of his manifesto before the Glasgow conference which takes place in october. and it has emerged that Housing and childcare are the main priorities that the Lib Dems will prioritise if there is another hung parliament. Promising to build 300,000 homes a year and £2.8bn a year in expansion it is a key part of the Lib Dems’ dream to ” to help all families with childcare support and nursery education right the way through from the end of parental leave to the start of school.” The Tories to them “are more bothered about helping only some couples through a married couples’ tax break.”


Scottish Independence: George Osborne offers Scotland fresh powers, but says no to sharing the pound.

Source: The Independent

AS Topic: Constitution/Parliament

A2 Topic: Welfare state

Summary: As the Yes Campaign is gaining more support towards the referendum date of 18th of September, Westminster has panicked, offering more powers to Scotland, including more tax powers, welfare powers and control over the welfare state. However, Osborne is still adamant over the Scots not allowing to enter a currency union with the rest of the UK if it leaves the union.


Celebrity photos leak: Lib Dems pledge a digital bill of rights to protect privacy in its election manifesto.

Source: The Independent

AS Topic: Democracy

A2 Topic: Crime and Order

Summary: The Lib Dems have promised to crack down on intimate photos being posted online without the consent of the person in response to hackers who posted intimate photos of female celebrities. They have also called for a ‘digital bill of rights’ in which the individual has their privacy protected as well as giving them more control over their personal data. Julian Huppart, the Lib Dem home affairs spokesman has stated “Protecting people’s privacy is an essential part of building the society we want to live in, and when people violate that, there have to be proportionate powers available to hold those responsible to account.”


George Osborne denies UK defence spending will fall below 2% of GDP

Source: The Guardian

AS Topic: PM and Cabinet

A2 Topic: Economy

Summary: As austerity measures continue to be implemented in the UK economy, Osborne has refused to comment on the thinktank Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) which has claimed that defence spending will fall to 1.8%, instead stating that “I think we need to continue to meet the 2% commitment,” adding that as chancellor he will always put Britain’s security needs first. This is in response to the growing threat of Isis in which two American journalists have been executed and a third British person is under threat.


Rail fare rises will be capped, says George Osborne

George Osborne has outlined proposals to strip non UK residents of their personal tax allowances

Source: The Telegraph

A2 Topic: Economy

Summary: Osborne has announced that rail fares can only rise in terms of RPI (retail price inflation) which went up by 2.5 points this summer. Talking to the Sun, the Chancellor stated that “Support for hardworking taxpayers is at the heart of our long term economic plan” and has said that train firms will lose the flexibility to raise fares, thus giving more certainty to railway travellers.


By Kevin Augustine

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.

Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage


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 made it more possible for the legislation to pass. The government has made it clear that they will not stand in the way of a change in the law. However, the bill drawn up by Lord Falconer, a former Labour lord chancellor has come under criticism by doctors and Churches as they feel that it will cause damage to the  patient-doctor relationship.


3. Conservatives make U-turn on sacking errant MPs


Source: The Independent

Politics Topic:Democracy and Participation

Summary: David Cameron has revived plans to allow the public to sack MPs who behave badly, much to the surprise of the Lib Dems. This was the case as Lib Dems were angry over the Tory block on legislating ‘recalls’ before next year’s general election. The idea of recalls came back as MPs could be ‘recalled’ by their constituency if they have been sent to prison or are found guilty of serious wrongdoing by colleagues.


4. The Liberal Democrats: caught in coalition

Source: The Independent

Politics Topic:Party Policies and Ideas

Summary: As the general election is coming up within a year, Nick Clegg has the job of uniting the Lib Dems together if they have to form another coalition. But this seems uncertain as the party is split red and blue.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has a party to unite before the general election.


5. Digital bill of rights needed to safeguard online freedoms, says Lib Dem chief

Source: The Guardian

Politics Topic:Civil Liberties

Summary: The Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron has called for a digital bill of rights to ensure that online users are protected from the ‘untrammelled power of the state’.  He has criticised politicians for their muted responses to the leakage of the NSA documents and will call for in the Lib Dem spring conference the establishment of a digital bill of rights.

Tim Farron


6. Why Clegg and Farage will both win from their debates

A fight over the EU is good for both.

Source: The New Statesmen

Politics Topic: Elections

Summary: The debate which will be held in April and hosted by the BBC, is an important moment in British politics. This debate will indirectly influence the European parliament elections and that will in turn influence the general election next year. The two leaders, despite the result, will both benefit from the debate, as Clegg could restore some popularity and perhaps even some credibility. Meanwhile Farage has the ability to increase awareness of Ukip as well as continue the momentum Ukip have been building for some time now.


Kevin Augustine

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

Keith Vaz, chairman of the home affairs select committee i

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 the price of £3 can vote on the Labour leader. Blair himself said that ‘I should have done this myself’. The Conservatives however have responded to this, stating that this is just another way trade unions can exercise their power over the Labour leadership as ‘union bosses pick the leader, buy the policies and rig the selections’


3. Cameron’s lack of conviction is his undoing

Nick Clegg, left, and David Cameron hold their first joint news conference in 2010

Source: The Telegraph

Politics Topic: Prime Minister and Cabinet

Summary: There is disbelief with Cameron’s motive’s and policies as the Tory rank and file believe that whatever Cameron does, he does it only for the effect and is willing to abandon it if it goes wrong. Example of this is the anti-coalition promise that people close to the PM has said but then this conflicts with Tory modernisers who would find that to be insane and unrealistic. Clear conviction Cameron lacks.


Kevin Augustine

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.


Nigel Farage camapigns in Amershamthere

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 the EU ahead of May’s Elections. Speaking on LBC, Farage stated that he had ‘absolutely no choice’ in the matter and further stated that ‘I’m looking forward to the debate. I’ve spent years being told I’m a nutcase.’



3. UKIP should be dismissed as a modern day CND, says Lord Heseltine

Lord Hesteltine

Source: The Telegraph

Politics Topic: Party Policies and Ideas

Summary: Lord Heseltine, a former deputy prime minister in John Major’s government compares UKIP to the CND whose radical policies and huge demonstrations cost the Labour Party in the 1983 election. He called on the Tories to become more aggressive towards UKIP and resist the temptation to copy any of their policies running up to the general election.



4. Miliband: I’ll return politics to the people

Source: The Independent

Politics Topic: Democracy and Participation

Summary: Any senior politician would voice the same concern quietly to themselves; how do you connect to a public who care passionately about political issues but despises political parties? Miliband has put up his solution to this bemusing problem. For the grand sum of £3, people can opt as supporters and take part in the future of Labour politics instead of becoming a member.


5. Cameron’s zombie government has nothing to offer.

The lack of government legislation is so great.

Source: The New Statesman

Politics Topic: Parliament

Summary: The lack of government legislation has been so great that ministers are allowing more days to opposition motions on issues such as housing, the NHS and qualified teachers. The time spend on debating on government legislation for the 2012-2013 session has been 284 hours whereas in the equivalent year in the 2005-2010 parliament, Labour spent 373 hours on debates on government legislation.


Kevin Augustine

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.

Prime minister David Cameron addresses the Commons during a debate on military action against Syria


3. Party political system is in chronic decline, Lord O’Donnel tells MPs

Source: The Guardian

Politics Topic: Democracy and Participation

Summary: The party system has been in decline for the past 15 years and the public has a genuine right to be disillusioned with politics states the former head of the Civil Service. He also states that there must be ways to overcome the postcode lottery that has plagued the party system as well as the fact that adding the three political parties’ membership together is less than the Royal Society for the protection of Birds which shows how dire the situation is.


4. David Cameron’s EU referendum bill ‘unlikely’ to become law.

Source: The Telegraph

Politics Topic: Parliament

Summary: David Cameron is facing embarrassment over Europe as peers warn that his attempts to pass a referendum law face failure. The private members bill faces opposition from pro-Europe Lords in the House of Lords which could lead to stalemate between the two houses, which could in the end lead to usage of the Parliament Act or it being thrown out.It was an example of David Cameron's Big Society right on his doorstep – the local community clubbing together to buy a tent for a man temporarily made homeless.


Kevin Augustine

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.

Jessica Lee, seen above with David Cameron, has announced that she is stepping down as Conservative MP for Erewash in Derbyshire at the general election

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 of the House of Lords as well as Tory backbenchers are putting more pressure onto the prime minister to accept the United Nations programme and to allow Syrian refugees to come to Britain, despite Cameron wanting to get tougher with immigration laws.


4. Conservative bill pledging vote on EU’s membership called a dead parrot.

Source: The Guardian

Politics Topic: Parliament

Summary: The bill passed through the House of Commons has not been called a dead parrot, as Labour and Lib Dem peers in the House of Lords delaying the bill passing through as long as possible. Critics to this bill state that the bill is ‘inappropriate, confusing and potentially misleading’ while others say that ‘it’s a government bill trying to patch over divisions in the Tory party and outflank Ukip.


5. Nigel Farage still doesn’t know Ukip policies – but don’t expect it to damage him.

It is precisely the UKIP leader's flippancy and his lack of formality.

Source: The New Statesman

Politics Topic: Party Politics and Ideas

Summary: Nigel Farage has been found to be unable to talk about Ukip policies and completely bemused by policies which are on the website but unknown to him. This has made the Tories write him off as being incredible but to the voters, this just adds to his image of informality which they pay more attention to than policies.


Kevin Augustine

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

'As George Osborne and Cameron talk of billions and budgets, Miliband has flown at lower altitude.'

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 long term goal of shrinking the state and minimising government intervention.


3. Parliament need an emergency brake on EU legislation

Source: The Telegraph

Politics Topic: Parliament

Summary: When Cameron gave his speech last year on a EU referendum last year, it set a direction for the Conservatives but lacking in detail. It would be time for the European system to be brought back under clear, democratic control. But this has undermined a Government bill to promote EU citizenship, bringing ‘Europe closer to its citizens’, which is directly the opposite of Cameron’s speech stating that a ‘ever closer Union is not the objective’


4. Miliband’s big opportunity is to unite the middle class and working-class

The Labour leader can carve out a new coalition.

Source: The New Statesman

Politics Topic: Party Policies and Ideas

Summary: By promising big changes to the economy, the Labour leader has the ability to make a new coalition between two big areas of voters. But this is uncharted territory as the middle class tend to benefit from the success fro the City; where Miliband wants to break down the banks in the City.


Kevin Augustine

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.

Prime Minister's Questions, David Cameron, 2011

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 mind and don’t know if he can connect with the public to win the next election.

3. If the Tories lose the next election, Clegg must leave with them.

Source: The New Statesmen

Politics topic: Party, Policies and Ideas

Summary: If the Tories do lose the next election in 2015, and the Liberals do swap sides with Labour, there must be a price to pay which they must pay otherwise it would offend the essential order of our democracy as Nick Clegg has become a ‘poodle’ to the Tories.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg visit Wandsworth Day Nursery on 19 March 2013

4. House of Lords warned not to ‘ignore the public’s wishes’ on EU referendum

Source: The Independent

Politics Topic: House of Lords

Summary: The House of Lords has been warned by Conservatives that if they block the bid to put a referendum into the public’s hand they would be in a difficult situation as a unelected chamber is not representative of the people’s voice .

5. Will social media change the way Scotland votes?

Source: BBC News Politics

Politics topic: Democracy/Referendum

Summary: Joe Twyman, director of political and social research at Yougov, believes the role of social media is “overplayed”, with most people still relying on television, radio and newspapers for information. In the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum, 16 and 17-year-olds will be allowed to participate in the vote.

Click to read more on study that suggests most 16/17 year olds would vote ‘no’

Kevin Augustine

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’ with the comments the Mayor of London made arguing that because people have varying IQs economic equality is impossible. In a speech at the Margaret Thatcher lecture last week Mr Johnson suggested that economic equality will never be possible which some have suggested that he is Margaret Thatcher’s Heir. Mr Osborne has been the first Conservative to distance himself from the Mayor of London.

Boris Johnson tells George Osborne to cut NI and 50p tax


3. Cameron warned to protect green policies or risk party split

Source: The Telegraph

Politics Topic: Party Policies and Ideas

Summary: The Prime Minister has been told by a group of his own MPs that he risks division within the Conservative party if he waters down green policies to please the Right.

ALevelPolitics Help: Can Cameron claim a green government? 


4. The Lib Dems’ shift left could be more dangerous for the Tories than Labour

Source: The New Statesman

Politics Topic: Party Policies and Ideas

Summary: With the Tories his party’s main electoral foe, Clegg is seeking to woo the One Nation voters alienated by the Conservatives’ UKIP tendency. Any Labour/Lib Dem coalition after the next election is likely to be based upon common agreement in the policy areas of tax, the environment and housing. This is good news for Labour as Lib Dem voters believe that those three main areas plus jobs are the four key principles in the 2015 manifesto.

Clegg is seeking to woo One Nation voters.


5. Tories deny seeking Big Six energy price freeze

Source: The Independent

Politics Topic: Party Policies and Ideas

Summary: Downing Street is on the back foot over Ed Miliband’s energy price freeze policy as Labour suggests that the government is in disarray over energy freezes over energy companies stating that ministers asked them to halt energy price rises as well as condemning Labour for calling for energy freezes as they are a “con”.

ALevelPolitics Help: Cameron’s Dilemma 


Kevin Augustine


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 Clegg says Nigel Farage’s drive to take Britain out of Europe is ‘a betrayal of the national interest’. Since Labour and the Conservatives are split and don’t know what to do, Clegg believes that it’s up to the Lib Dems to make the case to stay in the EU.

4. Labour faces cash crisis as Co-op’s new bosses move to cut funding

Co-op Bank

Source: The Guardian

Politics Topic: Party Policies and Ideas

Summary: Flowers scandal fallout ‘could cost £850,000’ in what would be a major blow for the party in the run-up to a general election. Labour MPs were told that they will slash funds due to a new review into their historic relationship.


5. Generation Ed: Is Labour winning on the battle of ideas?

Source: The New Statesman

Politics Topic: Party Policies and Ideas

Summary: The Labour leader’s on a new mission to reshape capitalism in Britain and possibly to establish “Milibandism” while a hostile media loves to portray Ed Miliband as a left-wing fanatic.


6. David Cameron’s potty mouth revealed to the nation

Source: The Independent

Politics Topic: Party Policies and Ideas

Summary: On Thursday it was reported that Mr Cameron had instructed aides to “get rid of all this green crap”, referring to the levies that some members of his party believe are unnecessarily pushing up gas and electricity bills. In other news, Mr Cameron is said to have jokingly referred to Mr Clegg as an “idle f***er”  – not such a sweet coalition bromance after all…

Woodhouse Weekly Pick of the Papers (11/11/13 – 17/11/13)

Pick of The Papers (11.11.13-17.11.13)

 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. Labour Six Points ahead in new poll

Source: The Independent

Politics Topic: Unit 1 Elections, Parties and Democracy/ Unit 2 PM and Cabinet

Summary: In a new poll Labour are ahead of the Tories by six clear points, yet 53% of voters cannot imagine Labour Leader Miliband as Prime Minister. Trust in Ed Balls and Miliband is at its lowest despite pledge of 20 month freeze in energy bills. Although, the Conservatives have fallen by three points 27% of voters trust Cameron and Osbourne to “make the right decisions about the economy” and 44 per cent say they “expect the UK economy will improve next year”.

ALevelPolitics Help: Click for the Shadow Cabinet role in Government OR Info on Cameron’s Labour “20 month Freeze” panic


2. David Cameron orders inquiry into trade union tactics


Source: The Guardian

Politics Topic: Party Policies and Ideas

Summary: Cameron has ordered an inquiry into the tactics of trade unions due to the consequence of an industrial dispute which almost led to the closure of the Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland. However, a Unite spokesman said: “This review is a sorry attempt by the coalition to divert attention from the cost of living crisis. Vince Cable may not have noticed but the Grangemouth dispute has been settled. This review is nothing more than a Tory election stunt which no trade unionist will collaborate with.” There is no question that Cameron has mentioned the issue with Labours’s position towards the Falkirk investigations – check the link below for further information.

ALevelPolitics Help: The Falkirk situation explained


3. Clegg calls for £1bn income tax giveaway by 2015

Source: The Times

Politics Topic: Party Policies and Ideas

Summary: Clegg is calling out his coalition partners to give some money back to ‘the UK Economy’. The Deputy Prime Minister said that he was pressing his Conservative colleagues to agree to a £1 billion tax giveaway before the next general election and called for a further increase in the threshold for tax-free earnings, a move that would allow most workers to keep an extra £100 a year. He said he believed that a further increase in the personal allowance could be funded by a levy – such as a “mansion tax” on the very wealthiest however, the Conservatives are very much opposed to the idea.


4. Labour are cowards for racking up billions in debt, says Ken Livingstone

Source: The Telegraph

Politics Topic: Parties Policies and Ideas

Summary: The former Mayor of London criticises Labour for spending billions to avoid tax and spending cuts in the boom years and the article speaks of the repercussions of the £157 billion deficit, the Brown government left politicians to clear up. Conservative party Chairman Grant Shapps questions Miliband and Labour’s “addiction to borrowing”.


5. Northerners hate David Cameron but love his policies. UKIP will reap the rewards

Source: The Telegraph

Politics Topic: Party Policies and Ideas

Summary: David Cameron is hated in the North of England but his policies are agreed on there. Farage is going to reap the rewards. 72 per cent of Northerners think that the Conservatives do not understand their area well; 64 per cent think people from their part of the country are not well represented amongst the Tory leadership; 39 per cent say they would never vote Conservative. A quarter say they don’t know a single person who votes Tory whereas 50 per cent more Northerners think Ukip understands the North than think that the Conservatives do. Will the Northerners vote UKIP?

ALevelPolitics Help: Check out the UKIP article 


6. Apathy? Alienation? How ‘disengaged’ four in ten voters reject ALL parties

Source: The Independent

Politics Topic: Democracy and Participation/Elections

Summary: Watchdog findings pose worrying questions about future of democracy in Britain. Young adults are even more “disengaged”  from the party system, with 46 per cent of under-30s saying “none of the above” when presented with a list of the parties. Plenty of statistics and quotes to use for Unit 1 democracy and elections.

ALevelPolitics Help: Click for information on Apathy, Disengagement and General Election turnouts (Russell Brand Vs Jeremy Paxman)




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

Ed Miliband's popularity rating is rising

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 have disproportionately affected the young and the poor – precisely those groups that vote with least frequency,” says the report. “More worryingly, unequal turnout unleashes a vicious cycle of disaffection and under-representation among those groups. This downward spiral risks permanently excluding these citizens from electoral life… and thus threatens a central claim of democracy: that every citizen’s preference, no matter their status, should count equally.”

ALevelPolitics help: Read the Russell Brand Vs Jeremy Paxman article on the comedian/actor’s view on voting, apathy and indifference

3.  Has UKIP’s Nigel Farage finally grown up?

Getty Images

Source: The Independent

Politics topic: Party policies and ideas/Elections

Summary: UKIP, considered one of the smaller parties are on the “cusp of a national breakthrough” and are edging ahead of the Liberal Democrats in the polls. Farage’s main problems are the “squabbling” that is occurring within the party and the response to his policy on immigration.

ALevelPolitics help: Read the UKIP article on policies and elections

4.  Second witness stands by Unite vote-rigging claim: Decision piles more pressure on Miliband to reopen inquiry into the scandal

Ed Miliband, pictured in Edinburgh yesterday, is under increasing pressure to reopen an inquiry into Unite vote-rigging claims

Source: The Daily Mail

Politics topic: Party policies and ideas/Judges and Civil Liberties

Summary: The mess in the Unite vote-rigging scandal puts more pressure on the Labour leader to start an inquiry into it. Conservative MP Priti Patel said the tactics of the union were unacceptable and asked detectives in Hampshire and Scotland to investigate whether they had been in breach of the law.


5.  Legalising same sex marriage was “damaging” for Tories 

Philip Hammond

Source: The Telegraph

Politics topic: Party policies and ideas

Summary: Philip Hammond says the legislation of the same-sex message was “damaging” for the Conservative party because “it created a perception that the leadership was in a different place to the core of the party’s active supporters”. Hammond also believes that it was “pushed through too quickly” and that on a separate matter the party needs to continue in reforming its agenda (Education and Welfare state).

6. Nick Clegg is playing to his most loyal voters – the green middle-class 

Pressure is growing for Nick Clegg, the Deputy PM, to show that he believes in more than just stopping other parties doing things

Source: The Telegraph

Politics Topic: Party policies and ideas

Summary: Clegg has been tailoring his speeches to the most loyal of his voters and “pressure is growing for the Deputy PM to show that he believes in more than just stopping other parties doing things”. Clegg states he would not allow the Coalition to take its “foot off the pedal now” on cutting carbon emissions and The Lib Dem party are trying to be seen as capable of improving any government but one that shouldn’t be taken alone, therefore, supporting a future coalition.

 Kevin Augustine

Pick of the Papers, Sunday 16th September

1) Welfare bill won’t work, key advisers tell Iain Duncan Smith (The Guardian) (Welfare)
Committee condemns ‘unfair’ plans for part-time workers amid growing controversy over universal credit

2) Michael Gove to replace GCSEs with O-level style qualifications (The Guardian) (Education)
Education secretary’s major reform of the examination system for school-leavers scheduled for introduction in September 2015

3) Davey takes on Osborne over wind farms (The Independent) (Environment)
Lib Dem Secretary of State launches green initiative, while Chancellor pushes on fossil fuels

4) UK’s economic recovery has begun, says Sir John Major (The Independent) (Economy)
Speaking on the 20th anniversary of Black Wednesday, which marked Britain’s dramatic exit from the exchange rate mechanism, Sir John said the UK’s economic recovery was under way, despite gloom surrounding the eurozone crisis.

5) We must reform our justice system (Telegraph) (Judiciary and Civil Liberties)
Grayling, the new Justice Secretary, needs to modernise the system to diminish delay, increase efficiency, and make sure that the process is not intimidating for witnesses

6) Lib Dem president: Labour? Why not Labour? We can work with either party (Telegraph) (Parties)

7) Stop going on about ‘predistribution’, Ed, and talk like everybody else (The Independent) (Economy)
Labour tongues are wagging about Ed Miliband’s latest big idea, but what does it all mean?

8) In defence, as in finance, the truth is clear – our future lies in Europe (The Guardian) (Economy and EU)
The Eurosceptics are just like the Tea Party, living in their own parallel universe and making up the facts to fit their story; Will Hutton looks at possible BAE merger

9) Don’t turn off the future (New Statesman – not really a newspaper) (Environment)
The green economy in Britain is thriving – so why are politicians so reluctant to talk about it? Some nice facts.

10) Why the Tory right’s “growth plan” won’t work (New Statesman – not really a newspaper) (Economy)
Nice little overview assessing cutting taxes, labour market deregulation and planning regulation


Pick of the papers, Sunday 9th September

1. The prime minister’s masterclass in how not to conduct a reshuffle (Observer) (PM&Cabinet)
David Cameron failed most of the 10 tests on whether recasting a government has any serious point, says Andrew Rawnsley

2. Whitehall dares to whisper: we’re out of recession (Mail on Sunday) (Economy)
A look at some key economic policies that are soon to emerge

3. Owen Paterson has a fight on his hands (Telegraph) (Environment kind of but mainly Europe)
The ‘unknown Cabinet minister’ is uniquely qualified to lead Defra, says Christopher Booker looking at the Common Fisheries Policy and EU law

4. Draghi ‘rescue’ might deepen pain for recission-hit south (Observer) (Europe)
The ECB chief has been extraordinarily bold, but he has no lever to pull that will help bridge the rift between the ‘core’ northern economies and their neighbours

5. Cameron in battle to regain trust of women (Independent) (Parliament)
Following his unfulfilled pledge to have women occupy 1/3 of the cabinet , the Independent look at his reputation now with women voters

6. John Gummer warns: don’t dump green agenda (Observer) (Environment)
Incoming climate chief says growth impossible without renewable energy after chancellor supports new ‘dash for gas’

7. Britain must champion the wealth creators, says Tories (Telegraph) (Economy)
Britain should “salute” wealthy people who create jobs for others rather than looking for new ways to tax them, leading Conservative minister Michael Fallon has said, as he calls for an end to the ‘politics of envy in this country’.

8. ECB rescue plan boosts euro and makes markets purr (Independent) (Europe)

9. We need proper planning, not jerry-built economics (Guardian) (Economy)
The coalition’s decision to relax the planning laws is bad economics

10. Tories’ dash for gas risks climate target (Independent) (Environment)
Go green, vote blue, said David Cameron, but even his environment adviser thinks difficult decisions are being put off

Pick of the papers, Sunday 2nd September

1. UK economy is healing, says Chancellor George Osborne – Telegraph – Economy
George Osborne believes the UK economy is ‘healing’ but warned that more must be done to ensure a return to growth

2.Cameron roars back: I’m no mouse as he launches battle plan to revive ailing economy – The Mail on Sunday 
An interview with the man himself also some really good policy overview in the blue boxes

3. Reshuffles and Rodents Independent on Sunday – Parties and PM & Cabinet
David Cameron’s reshuffle plans have been torn asunder by the ominous rumblings inside both coalition parties. Jane Merrick and Matt Chorley analyse the priorities the PM and his deputy must juggle to survive

4. GCSE exams not ‘fit for purpose’, admits Michael Gove – The Independent – Education
Education Secretary pledges to reform the current ‘discredited model’ after outcry over English grade changes

5. Bank of England tipped to hold back from sanctioning further quantitative easing – The Independent – Economy
Seeing as Osborne is relying on the BoE to keep him afloat, this is a good article

6. George Osborne plans deregulation of planning laws – The Guardian – Environment
Campaigners’ fears raised as chancellor calls for ‘imaginative’ thinking over use of green belt land

7. Cut tax and spend less, Tory Right tells George Osborne – Telegraph 
Good article for most topics, examples for Parliament, Economy and Parties through an interview with David Davis

8. David Cameron’s first reshuffle expected next week – The Guardian – PM & Cabinet
Downing Street plans series of major policy announcements over weekend before prime minister wields axe

9. Lib Dems will continue to push for Nick Clegg’s ‘wealth tax’ – Telegraph – Parties
Vince Cable has said the Lib Dems will continue to push for a “wealth tax”, despite Nick Clegg’s plan being widely rejected by the Conservative Party.

10. Lib Dems won’t knife Nick Clegg – well not quite yet anyway – Observer – Parties
The misjudgments they have made in office have not been the leader’s alone – as Vince Cable surely knows


Elections Pick of the Papers

1. Labour (and Ed Miliband) are no longer doomed – Independent
The Labour Party is in real contention as an alternative to the coalition at the next election

2. Bruised and battered, Clegg will struggle to sell Coalition relaunch – Independent
A look at how the election and recent events in the Coalition shape the future of the two parties

3. This is the moment to revive the Conservative and Liberal Democrats Coalition, not to break it apart – Telegraph
An argument that the Coalition still remain the best option but an improved version is required

4. Local governance: mayor culpa – Guardian
Cameron’s promise of maverick mayors all round might have been expected to resonate, but his cry for a ‘Boris for every town’ fell flat

5. The real reasons Boris won and Ken lost – New Statesman
Both sides have drawn the wrong lessons from the result

6. How a once great party has become utterly pointless – Daily Mail
When trying to translate local opportunism into a national strategy, the Lib Dems came unstuck, writes Simon Heffer.

7. Penguin Candidate Beats Liberal Democrats In Edinburgh – Huffington Post
Need I write a sentence explanation?

8. Cameron can only win with true Tory values – Daily Mail
Voters want the PM to stop pandering so much to the Liberal Democrats, argues a Daily Mail leader.

9. Cameron faces Tory backlash after poll drubbing – Telegraph
PM faces calls for major shift in Coalition policy after disastrous performance in local elections

10. How do you get people to vote? Force them to when they’re young – Guardian
A look at the disaster that is turnout, ‘give them a ‘none of the above’ option but get them use to turning out – a generation is failing to pick up the voting habit

Pick of the Papers, Sunday 29th April

1. Get back to the Commons and tell us: Who do you really serve, Mr Cameron? – Mail on Sunday – Parties
This government is not serving the hard- working people of this country, but bending over backwards for the rich and powerful, writes Labour leader Ed Miliband.

2. Government in crisis: The 39 steps to metashambles – Independent – Parties
Really good overview of the terrible month the Tories have had…

3. We are rid of Murdoch and that is worth celebrating – Observer – Democracy
Rupert Murdoch did not do it all by himself, says Henry Porter. Leading figures from many walks of life have enabled his dark side.

4. If Hunt misled the House, it’s all over for him – Independent on Sunday – PM and Cabinet (Individual Ministerial Responsibility)
John Rentoul asks: what does it take for a minister to resign?

5. Our magistrates’ courts are being decimated by cutsNew Statesman – Judiciary (not really a paper but go with it)
“There is a horrible irony about a justice system that is supposed to make us safer leaving us more vulnerable”

6. Posh boys stood on the burning deck when all but they had fled– Observer – Parties
The government is being most undone by a combination of arrogance and inexperience at the highest levels, writes Andrew Rawnsley.

7. Cameron can’t put scandal behind him as Jeremy Hunt’s ‘firewall’ fails to hold – Observer – PM and Cabinet
PM under growing pressure to refer culture secretary’s conduct over proposed BSkyB takeover to adviser on ministerial code

8. Conservative party must disapprove fears it only looks after its own – Telegraph – Parties
Tories unpopularity among black and Asian voters is not simply a matter of class, says Lord Ashcroft

9. Clegg props up leadership with change of Whip – Independent – Democracy and Parliament 
With his key policy to overhaul the Upper House now in the balance, Deputy Prime Minister acts

10. Osborne is intellectually broken and the real enemy of business – Observer – Parties
It was obvious to everybody that the recovery the chancellor predicted could not happen. And so it has proved, writes Will Hutton.


Woodhouse pick of the papers, Sunday 22nd April

1. The cool Mrs Theresa May is acting like a hothead – Sunday Telegraph  – Civil Liberties and Judiciary
Peter Oborne writes that Theresa May has not displayed “the cool, calm deliberation one would expect from a Home Secretary”

2. The midterm elections are now crucial thanks to omnishambles – Observer – Parties
The outcome of these contests will make a huge difference to the morale and momentum of the rival parties, writes Andrew Rawnsley

3. Abolishing the Lords would be political vandalism – Observer – Constitution, Parliament, Parties (most topics really)
Nadhim Zahawi argues that an elected Lords would fatally injure the Commons, whilst on the other hand…

4. …Upper house: the case for Lords reform is undeniable – Observer – same as above
The flip side to the above article, arguing for Lords reform

5. Tory revolt over Lords reform spreads to cabinet – Observer – PM and Cabinet, Parties, Constitution 
As  5 ministers join revolt against Lords reform, party fears proposals for a largely elected second chamber could destroy the coalition

6. We’re British, which means Abu Qatada should stay – Independent on Sunday – Civil Liberties and Judiciary
John Rentoul writes that respect for “innocent until proven guilty” should extent to Qatada, or it doesn’t really exist at all.

7. Forget Ukip, David Cameron and explain what the Government is up to – Sunday Telegraph – Parties
Matthew D’Ancona has some advice for the PM in the lead up to the local elections.

8. Women’s alliance lobbies Clarke over legal aid reforms – Observer – Pressure Groups
Groups fear domestic violence victims will be denied support if proposed cuts go ahead

9. Labour aims to capitalise on anger at Clegg – Independent – Parties
May’s election will be a test of oppositions ability to attract votes from disillusioned Lib Dems

10. Yes, criticise individual cases but Strasbourg court should develop law – Guardian – Civil Liberties and Judiciary and Parliamentary Sovereignty
Has the human rights court gone too far? An examination of the relationship between the ECHR and the UK

Woodhouse pick of the papers, Sunday 15th April

1. Cunning Osborne sets a tax trap – Independent – Democracy
The Prime Minister and Chancellor manage to mention Mr Livingstone’s taxing problem every time they talk about disclosing minister’s tax details. Strange that.

2.  Some secrets must be kept – and no one needs to apologise for that – Telegraph – Civil Liberties and Constitution
“Human rights” are undermining the whole concept of national security, writes Charles Moore.

3. Doctors turn on No 10 over failure to curb obesity surgeThe Observer – Pressure Groups
Major food and drinks firms fuel crisis with irresponsible marketing, claims doctors, who call for ban on fast food sponsorship deals

4. Judges signal distaste for Theresa May’s human rights reformTelegraph – Civil Liberties and Judicary
Judges have fired a warning shot against Theresa Mays plan to stop  foreign criminals abusing human rights law

5. MPs and peers oppose Nick  Clegg on Lords ReformTelegraph – Constitution and Parliament
Nick Clegg’s plans to reform the House of Lords will next week be thrown into turmoil by a report drawn up by influential MPs and peers

6. Clegg’s drive to recruit 65,000 state nanniesThe Independent – Parties
“The Deputy Prime Minister plans to give those as young as two a fairer start in education”

7. Charity tax relief cap: Tory treasurer adds voice to criticism The Guardian 
Backlash against proposed policy continues with group of leading benefactors warning of a ‘brake on philanthropy’

8. Lib Dems face growing pressure as legal aid bill returns to CommonsThe Guardian – Parties
Coalition of charities, celebrities and Liberal Democrat activists urge party to oppose cuts in funding that they say will harm those less able to navigate the courts system

9. Arbitrary diktats are based on the whims of European judgesTelegraph – Civil Liberties and Judiciary (also Parliamentary Sovereignty)
This week in Brighton, the government will push for a ground-breaking declaration from 47 European nations, setting an agenda to reform the ECHR and meddling in British Law

10. Ministers sound retreat in charity tax rowTelegraph – Parties
Ministers are facing a climb down in the face of intense pressure over plans to cut tax relief on charitable donations