All posts tagged: Clegg

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 5th -10th January

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

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 13th-19th September 2014

Cameron promises more devolution after no vote in Scottish independence referendum After  Scotland’s  referendum results on Thursday which confirmed that the Scottish people wanted to stay in the United Kingdom with a no vote of 55%, David Cameron has  promised a ‘devolution revolution’ across Great Britain, including votes on English issues by English MPs at Westminster, as he hailed Scotland’s decision to remain inside the UK. In the speech that he made after the referendum results, Cameron made clear that the constitutional reforms, including in Scotland, would not be delivered until after the general election, and that Scottish measures would proceed in tandem with changes in England. He insisted that, “We have heard the voice of Scotland and now the millions of voices of England must be heard,”  Now that Scotland will be getting more powers, many cities such as London are able to look forward to the prospect of being able to make more independent decision. NHS is Labour’s priority for next General Election Ed Balls has recently expressed the idea that Labour will …

480696075-470034

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 …

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 …

European Union debate

Clegg’s Conscious Uncoupling

The debate political hacks were waiting for, Clegg Vs Farage on EU membership treated viewers and listeners to a spectacle generating more heat than light. Both sides were in combative mood. Farage playing the ‘I’m a real man’ act, not part of the ‘Westminster bubble’, ‘I feel the pain of ordinary hard-working people’. Whilst Clegg presented himself as a numbers man ready to undermine UKIP hyperbole on immigration and champion common sense liberal values over political scaremongering. Political pundits and pollsters now begin the work of chewing over the audience response. So who won it? Well there are no losers. Both win, some polls place Farage ahead but Clegg probably doesn’t mind very much.  A closer look at Clegg’s strategy shows us that he is not after the Farage vote, like Paltrow, Clegg is going through a conscious uncoupling of his own. 

graph-george-osborne-370x229

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: 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 …

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 …

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 …

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 15th-22nd January 2014

Weekly Parliament Roundup 15/01/14 -22/01/14   Lord Rennard causes trouble for Lib Dems Former Chief Executive Lord  Rennard  has threatened to sue (according to his legal advisor) if he isn’t allowed to re-join the party in the House of Lords after he was accused with sexual harassment claims from several women and was found not guilty by the courts due to lack of sufficient evidence. Nick Clegg said that he should apologise to the women before he is allowed to join his peers in the House of Lords but Lord Rennard refuses to do so. Lord Rennard has been given a temporary suspension from his House of Lords seat. In the upcoming days and even weeks, the way in which Nick Clegg handles this situation will illustrate his leadership strength.   However, this disagreement is seen to be potentially very damaging to the Local and European elections in May for the Liberal Democrat Party. Chris Davis MEP, also a friend of Lord Rennard recently expressed his support for the former Chief Executive by stressing on …

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 …

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 …

Weekly Parliament Roundup:4th-11th December 2013

Parliament Roundup: 4/12/13-11/12/13 MPs to receive 11% pay rise: Click for a video explanation IPSA(Independent Parliament Standards Authority) have recently proposed to provide MPs with a pay rise of 11% which will increase their salary to £74,000. They have stated that there will be changes to the pension scheme which will save tax payer 2.5 billion pounds if the rise is to take place. Even though this might be seen as a great thing for the MPs, lots of them are scared to state publicly that they think it is a good idea. The main issue with this proposal is that it might be the wrong time to make such high rises in MP’s salaries when other public sectors are facing difficult freezes. However, of this proposal is to go ahead, it will take legislation in 2015 to stop this from occurring. The public might not like the sound of the proposal at first because many might feel that the MPs don’t deserve such a high pay rise as they have failed to improve costs …

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: 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 …

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 …

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 …

David-Cameron-Nick-Clegg-006

The Policymaking ‘Fault lines’ in the Coalition

The coalition has had a rough few weeks with incidents including pastygate, a charity tax, a ‘granny’ tax and Clegg taking a hit along with his beloved Lord’s reform. The makeup of the coalition however doesn’t make running the coalition any easier. On Newsnight this Monday, political editor Allegra Stratton outlined what seem to be the two biggest fault lines within the coalition government.

Cameron-Clegg-Osborne-and-006

The Quad and Cabinet Government

The ‘Quad’ is a high-level executive committee that comprises of David Cameron, Nick Clegg, George Osborne and Danny Alexander and is one of the coalition’s key decisions making bodies. Typically the Quad meet to ‘iron out’ matters that may be contentious between the Lib Dems and Tories prior to formal cabinet meetings. Cameron has tried to set about changing the style of his premiership, away from Blair’s more informal style dubbed ‘sofa government’ and has been praised by officials for his ‘return to formality and commitment to process’. However can the Quad be seen as a considerable step backwards?