All posts tagged: coalition

Why I am Voting for the Liberal Democrats

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

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: 1/11/14-8/11/14

Merkel ready to let UK exit EU over migration rule changes It has been claimed that the German Chancellor Angela Merkel would rather see the UK leave the European Union than end the right to free movement of labour within the EU.Merkel reportedly warned David Cameron that he is approaching a “point of no return” if he continues to push for migration reform that requires fundamental changes to EU principles. Cameron wants to renegotiate the terms of the UK’s EU membership before holding an in-out referendum. He has said that the freedom of movement of workers would be at the “very heart” of his renegotiation strategy. But a German government source said: “Should Cameron persist, Chancellor Angela Merkel would abandon her efforts to keep Britain in the EU. With that, a point of no return would be reached. That would be it then.” A Downing Street spokesman said Cameron would make a speech on immigration before Christmas and stressed “You can be sure he will always put Britain first”. Norman Baker resigns with stinging attack on …

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

Fracking is a toxic issue for Conservative party grassroots 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 …

The Coalition Government Policy Fault-lines

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

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 24th -30th March

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

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

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

AlevelPolitics Economy Update: March 2014

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

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

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

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: 17th-23rd February 2014

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

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 …

The Timeline of the UK’s Uncodified Constitution

Timeline of the UK’s constitutional changes The role of a constitution is to organise, distribute and regulate state power. By doing so, the constitution creates the structure of the state and sets out the principles of governing for the state’s citizens, whilst also outlining the role of government. Britain is unusual in that it has an ‘unwritten’ constitution. Unlike the great majority of countries, such as the USA, there is no single legal document which sets out in one place the fundamental laws outlining how the state works. Thus, Britain’s lack of a ‘written’ constitution is often explained via its history. In other countries, many of whom have experienced revolution (E.G. France) or regime change, it has been necessary to start from scratch or begin from first principles, constructing new state institutions and defining in detail their relations with each other and their citizens. The British Constitution has evolved over a long period of time, reflecting the relative stability of the British Government. Britain has never truly been close to a written constitution, although the …

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: 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 …

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 …

Economic Policy differences and similarities – Labour and Coalition

1. Tax – Difference Labour argues that the Coalitions economic plans are hitting the ‘poorest, hardest’. The Conservatives have lowered the top rate tax to 45% and staged a decrease in corporation tax which is to be 20% by 2015. The corporation tax cut will cost the Chancellor 400m in 2015-16 and so he is taking a risk on business which links into a later point. The Labour party has said it would consider the mansion tax proposed by the Liberals. This was partly a political manoeuvre to appeal to the Liberals or cause tensions in the coalition but also to show they are the party on the side of the working class. Ed Balls claimed that the benefits of the rising of the personal allowance to £10,000 would be swamped out by the higher VAT and cuts to tax credits. Figures from the IFS supported this showing that one earner families would lose an average of just under £4,000. 2. The private sector – Difference Osborne went about such a strong cuts agenda believing …