All posts tagged: News

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

By Theo Cox-Dodgson 1. Jim Murphy announced as leader of the Labour Party in Scotland  (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. 2.UKIP members, including Nigel Farage, asked aged Enoch Powell for support  (Unit 1- Parties) Documents unearthed by the Telegraph have revealed the full extent of communication between UKIP activists and …

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 …

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 …

Is the UK economy rebalancing?

Is the economy rebalancing as proposed?   It is coming up to 4 years since Osborne decided the UK economy needed to be rebalanced. By ‘rebalancing’, he proposed a self-sustainable and largely export led economy. An economy that no longer relied on the financial services of the City, which appears to benefit suited men who know better how to ruin an economy better than those on Downing Street know how to fix one. Moreover Osborne pleaded for an economy with a higher propensity to save as opposed to one which will pay the price for further unsustainable private and public debt. Four years on, there seems to be a lack of policy aimed towards accomplishing a rebalanced economy. When the economic recovery began in 2009 the conditions seemed to be in place for a manufacturing exports-led resurgence. The pound depreciated significantly during the financial crisis, providing UK manufacturers with a competitive edge. And with domestic spending still slow, it wouldn’t have been surprising for UK firms to look to overseas sales for growth. Manufactured goods …

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: 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 …

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: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 …

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 …

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 …

Brand Vs Paxman: Can apathy change the democratic system?

Setting aside Russell Brand’s notorious eccentric persona, his interview with Jeremy Paxman that aired 23rd October on Newsnight, highlighted his perspective that the UK’s current democratic system ‘favours the elite’. Brand has indeed never voted nor is showing any signs of wanting to participate in the future. He firmly believes that “Government is not working” and there is great and evident need for change in how the UK’s “democracy” works. “It is not that I am not voting out of apathy. I am not voting out of absolute indifference and weariness and exhaustion from the lies, treachery and deceit of the political class that has been going on for generations” Despite his radical approach to the interview, he was able to articulate his strongly felt discontentment with the current system. Presenting elitism, not only by politicians, but suggesting that it is occurring within the Houses of Parliament itself. Brand says that it is “decorated for a certain type of people” that excludes part of the population and causes their disillusion. However farfetched this specific reason may be for a declining political …