All posts tagged: Democracy

Five Lessons from the EU Referendum

Referendums in the UK are not be legally binding, but they might as well be David Cameron strongly supported the Remain camp during the EU debate, but even with a result as close as 52% leave to 48% remain, he accepted the decision made by the British electorate. To not do so would have almost certainly resulted in intra-party and wider calls for him to be removed as the Prime-Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party, especially with many of his own MPs, such as Boris Johnson, having campaigned against him. This also comes as on 22nd February 2016, Cameron addressed Parliament and said ‘For a Prime Minister to ignore the express will of the British people to leave the EU would be not just wrong, but undemocratic’.

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 …

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 …

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 10th March – 16th March

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

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

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

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

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

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 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 …

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 …

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 (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 …

“A Boris for every city” – Mayoral system rejected across the country

Along with a series of local election defeats the coalition’s localism agenda took a battering during their round of referendums. With people in Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Bradford, Coventry, Sheffield, Leeds, Wakefield and Newcastle voting against the idea in local referendums, only Bristol voters bucked the trend and provided the Prime Minister with some comfort.

Audio: Will elected police commissioners work?

From November 2012, voters will change the way the police are held to account, electing 41 police and crime commissioners across England and Wales. Lord Prescott, former deputy PM and standing for nomination as Labour candidate as Police and Crime Commissioner in Humberside, and Tim Brain, former chief constable of Gloucester and visiting professor of Criminology at Gloucestershire University, debate the idea of elected police commissioners. Today Programme Wednesday 15th February. Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSS