Well, I Guess That’s Over…

…And after all the speculation from betting shops, opinion polls, and even Twitter, it turns out we’re still stuck with the Tories. Disappointing? You bet. At least now I know what that ominous building dread I’ve been feeling over the past week was for.

With very few seats left to announce, it’s already certain that the next five years will see Britain under the rule of the Etonites once more – 5 more years of hacking away at public services, 5 more years of NHS privatisation, and 5 more years of David Cameron’s insufferably shiny forehead glaring down at us through the TV. But why did they win? Was it the intense campaign of negativity they’ve been hauling around the country? Their assertions that Labour would ‘destroy’ all the ‘progress’ they’ve made since 2010? Perhaps it was the fact that Rupert Murdoch, notorious Tory lapdog and owner of a 5th of all news media broadcast in the UK, has been doing little more than belittling the Labour Party since the campaigning really started, or a combination of some of these factors. Whatever the reason, the case remains that policies of austerity which are designed to crippled the disadvantaged while David Cameron, George Osborne and all their banker friends get on with hiding their money in tax-havens, and securing the hold that big business interests have over UK politics will be what we’re facing for the foreseeable future. Yay. Let’s just hope that the alleged proposal to raise tuition fees again won’t come in until after I’m at uni.

I suppose some of the blame can be attributed to Nicola Sturgeon – I expect David Cameron will be sending her flowers to thank her for killing Labour support in Scotland, without which, Ed Miliband’s party had pretty much zero chance of success. Even though I’m feeling a little bitter towards them right now (“vote SNP to keep out the Tories” wasn’t such a great strategy, was it, Nicola?) it will be interesting to see what the strong presence of the SNP will mean for the future of the UK, though – as much as Sturgeon insists that she has little intention of holding another in/out referendum, it seems there are only few who believe her. Cameron once again has a shot at being the Prime Minister to preside over the breakup of the union, something I’m sure he’s thrilled about.

Actually, I’m sure he is thrilled, regardless of the big yellow question mark over Scotland’s future in the UK. Every sign indicates that Ed Miliband, the most leftist Labour leader we’ve seen in decades, is giving up the leadership, pretty much guaranteeing that whoever his successor will be is going to resemble no-one so much as Blair. Wonderful that we’re moving the centre-ground of politics to the right again. God forbid we ever try to do something that might benefit someone other than the elite, right?

(The one good thing that’s come out of this election – Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP, didn’t win his seat in South Thanet. It’s a small mercy, but I have to admit, the schadenfreude is strong with this one.)

– Lana Wrigley, A2 Politics

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Let’s Talk About UKIP

The UK Independence Party, better known as ‘UKIP’ or, ‘BNP Jr.’ has had a fairly interesting time of it, lately. Ex-Conservatives Douglas Carswell, Mark Reckless and Arron Banks (the last a Tory donor rather than an MP) have all three jumped ship, and joined Nigel Farage in his slimy pursuit of power. Now, recently, UKIP has been garnering a lot of attention from the media, a fact which is odd when you consider that, for the moment, at least, they have less (elected) MPs and Councillors than the Green party, and which has led to accusations (and fairly reasonable accusations, at that) that there is a bias in the popular media towards them. Personally, I don’t have a good word to say about Farage and his lackies – the reports of outrageous racism, misogyny and homophobia would have done enough to dissuade me without quasi-Conservative economic policies and a complete disregard for the environment added into the mix – but it would seem, judging by the fact that they won 23 seats in the European Elections earlier this year, that my opinion is not an especially popular one.

The party, which positively leaks xenophobia under its poor guise of stalwart patriotism, has as its flagship issue independence from the European Union, and it’s faced a fair amount of criticism for this, not only from the pro-Europe lot, but also from those who feel that at the end of the day, UKIP are a one-trick pony. Their rise to notoriety, then, might be attributed to the cringeworthy tactics leader Nigel Farage has employed to ingratiate himself with “the man on the street,” – someone he couldn’t be further away from, being a graduate of the infamous public school Dulwich College himself – rather than his policies. Farage likes to pretend that his party has something for everyone, but honestly, the only politician the man seems to admire (other than himself, of course) is Vladimir Putin, so can we really trust a word out of his mouth?

Probably not, considering that he’s been claiming an £83,000 salary plus expenses for a job he freely admits to not doing. And it’s not just him, but the rest of UKIP’s MEPs, too, who are renowned for their record as absentees from the European Parliament. Hardly what one might call toppling the institution from the inside.

There’s no doubt that the UK Independence Party has muddied Britain’s political waters, making David Cameron feel a little antsy, and unfortunately, making it a whole lot harder for the rest of us to have a sensible discussion about the UK’s place in the EU without being shouted down by Farage’s right-wing disciples, who tend to be either ill-informed working-class people supplied with a scapegoat, or the exceedingly wealthy, who know that Farage is really about pursuing the interests of himself and people like him, and exploiting the working-class to do it. A politician through and through, he and his party may well pose a threat to the Conservative party – but I’m far more concerned about the threat they seem to pose to simple common sense.

– Lana Wrigley, A2 Politics

The Iron Lady’s Calling Card

Margaret Thatcher. A name that evokes anger and rage in the hearts of some, whilst with others, it brings back some fonder memories of a political era like no other.

Thatcher’s name has been uttered a handful of times in the past few weeks leading up to the Independence Referendum in Scotland. Whether this is due to her infamous attitude towards Scotland’s now defunct industries, and how she dealt with them, or if it’s just a generational hatred for her which has been passed down to this new electoral generation, we cannot know. Some have even cast blame for the referendum upon her. This however, is simply speculation. One thing we can be sure of, is that her harsh, well articulated voice shall echo around the hollow, ligneous halls of the commons for many years to come. But what legacy did dear old Maggie really leave?

When Thatcher first took office in 1979, the country was in a state of disrepair worse than it had been since before the days of war. The Unions had finished off James Callahan’s political career and the public wanted a change, and what a change they got. The winter of discontent had struck deep into the heart of Britain during the later months of 1978, causing icy tensions on the streets and in the lower house. Thatcher swept to victory with a steady majority of 44, and would assert her dominance over Britain for the next 11 years. It was a shock to the world that a woman was now leading one of the most influential countries on the planet. She did not allow her gender to be an obstruction to the way she was viewed by the media, the public, or her fellow MP’s. Thatcher cast her iron fist down upon many more men than could ever have been perceived by the world at the time.

Thatcher reformed the way that people thought about the free market, as she subconsciously developed Thatcherism, a political philosophy and economic ideal during her time in office. In its most basic form, Thatcherism represents the idea of having a free market by which businesses have free reign and the Governments job is to stay as far away from intervention as possible. Thatcher wanted to make Britain economically great once more, and (to the dispute of some) she did. Thatcher pulled Britain out of the sinking hole that the previous Labour governments had thrown her into, and increased the country’s GDP by 29.4%, which is impressive. Thatcher also created a net 1.6 million jobs during her time in office, which is also an accolade to bear.

Thatcher-growth

It would be rude to forget Thatcher’s war, one of the only 20th Century wars to be dubbed a “good war”. The Falklands War lasted only two months, and a it was a war which created a wave of patriotism across the UK for Thatcher’s Government. Even though the Royal Navy took some serious losses during the conflict, Thatcher was still seen by the public as the woman and the leader, who had saved the Falkland Islands and lives of the British people who lived there. This would definitely not be forgotten.

For sure we can see that Thatcher was one of the greatest peacetime leaders we have ever had, it would be absurd to deny this. She managed to define what it meant to be a true, hardworking Briton again. Through her dominance in the commons and her staunch attitude for reform, Thatcher created a conservative vision that David Cameron could only dream to implement today. We can all rest assured that Thatcher and her actions have been immortalised, and what she did for this country will always be part of the lives of the forthcoming generations. Her calling card will remain, whether they like it or not.

Daniel Sulsh – A2 Politics Student

OMG Ed Mili!

Ed Mili has finally grown a pair! I must admit, he made a bold move. After listening to him on Tuesday when he said that the Labour Party would support intervention in Syria if it “was legal”, I thought “right…we’re in.” But no! Mili shocks us all by proposing an amendment to the government’s resolution.

The debate started in the Commons yesterday at 2.30 pm and ended very late into the evening when my BBC app alerted me that the Commons had voted; no! The government motion was defeated 285 to 272, a majority of 13 votes!

Mr Miliband has certainly up-graded himself within the Labour Party. As a member of the Party I received an email explaining the amendment put forward and I honestly got really excited for British politics. Historians last night were debating whether the last time a PM was defeated on a matter of peace and war was 1782 or 1855- either way it was a very long time ago! Not only was it an embarrassing defeat, but the fact that Cameron didn’t get full support from his own party and the fact that he recalled Parliament further adds to his embarrassment. Poor guy. If only the Commons had voted logically years ago, arguably tens, if not thousands of Arabs would still be alive today.
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David MiliBAD.

Now this, as far as I’m aware, is a neutral/non-partisan blog. That means I’m going to use every ounce of self-control to stop myself from saying anything partisan. For instance, it would be wrong of me to refer to Ed Balls as “that t#*t that won’t stop complaining” or to make the observation that the leader of the opposition “looks like Wallace, from Wallace and Gromit”. So you have my word, I will try and behave.

Ed Miliband’s resemblance to Wallace was picked up by Peter Brookes

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A Budget That Wants to be Prosperous, Solvent, and Free.

 Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer (Minister of Finance) George Osborne poses with his red despatch box outside his official residence 11 Downing street in  London,  20 March 2013 prior to delivering his budget to the House of Commons, Westminster later in the day.  EPA/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

It can be easy to lose track of what’s going on in UK politics this year seeing as my college studies American politics at A2. Before researching this year’s budget I could probably tell you more about the Fiscal Cliff than about how Britain’s economy was doing. Writing this was a nice way to get back into the swing of what’s going on in the UK, and so:

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