All posts tagged: Labour

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: 6th-12th September 2014

Weekly Parliament Roundup: 6th -12th September By Gloria Ganda 0.7% of national income to be given to foreign aid? MPs have backed a new law which commits to spending 0.7% of national income on foreign aid. This means that roughly £11bn per year will be given to international aid and development after the Tories have finally backed the Liberal Democrat bill which is also supported by Labour. The legislation was opposed by just seven Conservative MPs and both the Tories and the Liberals are one step ahead of fulfilling one of their manifesto promises to put the 0.7% measure into law. Despite the majority agreeing to the new legislation, the Tories primarily were hesitant towards the legislation as they thought it was unpopular with their grassroots in the difficult economic climate which we are in. However, it looks as though the Legislation could soon come to force. Polls tighten on Scottish Independence Referendum With the Scottish Independence Referendum only days away (18th September), the polls are illustrating that for now, it is too close to …

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: 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 …

PCCs: Powerful, Capable Crime-fighting?

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

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

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

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 …

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: 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: 20th-27th November 2013

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

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 …

Energy Bill Crisis: Cameron’s dilemma

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

Labours welfare policies

It has become an unspoken known that the 2015 general election would rely purely on which party had the strongest economic policy. However, Labour at its party conference in Brighton has tried to turn the tables and turn the clamour for power into a debate on childcare and living standards. De ja vu perhaps? Reminiscent of Blair’s plans to eliminate poverty and introduce a system of tax credits? Lest we forget measures such as the minimum wage, sure start and the new deal. Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has announced that Labour will offer parents of primary school children guaranteed access to childcare from 8am to 6pm. As part of proving Labours commitment to those struggling with falling living standards, Miliband also gave a firm commitment that a future Labour government would abolish the controversial bedroom tax. Latest evidence of a growing economic divide came as figures showed that UK living standards had dropped to their lowest in a decade after average real incomes fell a further 3% last year. The IFS has said the …

Changing relationship between Labour and the Unions

Over the summer Ed Miliband announced drastic reinvention of his party’s relationship with the trade unions.  He wants affiliation to the party on the basis of individual choice, rather than a collective affiliation in which the union member has no say. What has led Miliband to make these changes? For a long time, the Conservative Party has criticised the Unions’ power within the Labour Party, this is one possible reason. Or perhaps these reforms are driven by the Falkirk controversy, where Ed Miliband accused Unite (Britain’s largest union) of tampering with the candidate selection procedures for the Falkirk By-election. Dave Prentis (Unison’s General Secretary) believes reforms are a “knee-jerk” reaction to Falkirk and describes the changes as “off the wall”. Ed Miliband admits that these changes to the link with the Unions are a “risk” and a “massive challenge”. In his speech in Bournemouth he described how he was “proud of the 3 million working men and women affiliated with his party, but they’re affiliated in name only” and that “We can be a Labour …

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 …

A Summary of the Labour Conference – Autumn 2012

The quote ‘One Nation’ has become a National mantra for supporters of the Labour party after the recent party conference in Manchester came to a close this week. Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour party, demonstrated what some critics have described as being the ‘utmost resilience and determination’, in an attempt to restore the Labour party to its former glory. Miliband spoke candidly about his hopes to advocate a ‘One Nation’ party, which to many people is a simple reminder of an earlier broadcast by the post – 1945 One Nation group of Tories led by Tory Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. Disraeli had hoped to unite the country through fiscal discipline, self-reliance and building on historic strengths, unlike Miliband’s hope of leading the country on the basis of sufficient support from active trade unions and diligent Labour supporters.

What the local election results mean

For the Tories ‘A tough night’ was what Conservative chairman Sayeeda Warsi predicted for her party, and so it proved true as the party  faced a mass rejection from voters across the country as they lost 403 council seats, 12 council majorities and 2 London assembly seats. With articles questioning Cameron’s competency floating around, these elections alongside a disastrous response to the mayoral system across the country, have served a severe blow to the Conservatives in moving forward. These loses have provoked Tory backbenchers to demand that the Prime Minister drop unpopular policies such as gay marriage and House of Lords reform. Senior Conservatives blamed the results on “mid-term blues” and said that the turnout was just 32 per cent nationally. Party strategists pointed out that Tony Blair lost more than 1,000 council seats in the late 1990s but still won a landslide majority in the 2001 general election. The London mayoral contest provided some respite for the Prime Minister with Boris Johnson winning, although the results were far closer than expected and much of …