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

Shuffling towards the end?

This week one of the big announcements within government was the cabinet reshuffle, but what is it exactly? And what did the reshuffle of Autumn 2013 change?

 

Firstly, the proper definition of a reshuffle is the informal term for a change up of who holds the role of cabinet ministers, instigated by the head of government. I personally prefer the definition of a former politics peer of mine who said she liked to think the reshuffle consited of David Cameron “putting all of the ministers in a cabinet and shaking it lots”. In short, it is an opportunity for Cameron to replace any ministers he feels haven’t performed as well as they could have done since the last reshuffle, and an opportunity to present his party as more of a microcosm of society. It is not just the party in government that is shuffled either – today saw Ed Miliband shuffle his shadow cabinet in order to make it a more appealing cabinet to voters, so what happened this time?

It started with pre-emptive departures which left gaps for Cameron to fill, namely:
John Randall stepped down as the ‘workhorse’ of the Whips’ Office and Chloe Smith stepped down from the Cabined Office. The first of Cameron’s cabinet to be booted was Michael Moore, the Scottish Secretary, who was replaced by Lib Dem chief whip, Alistair Carmichael.  His role will be particularly watched as people focus on the state of the union, and whether Scotland will secede.

Following this, Don Foster was appointed to fill Carmichael’s shoes as the Lib Dems’ new chief whip, and shortly after it is followed by news that one of David Cameron’s original leadership backers in 2005, Richard Benyon left DEFRA, while George Eustice became a minister in the department.

This was followed by a short break, after which Greg Hands was promoted as deputy chief whip – Hands is one cabinet member who is a key supporter of Osborne and so received backing from him. Another supporter of Osborne, Matthew Hancock was appointed Minister for Enterprise

Next to the cabinet was Nicky Morgan who became Economic Secretary – interestingly in this cabinet Cameron has introduce more female members, perhaps in an attempt to attract the female voter base that Labour so regularly dominates.

Continue reading

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.
Continue reading

The Liberal Democrat Problem.

[Another one of the entries for the Politics Prize 2013 within College]:

There is a better way of doing things if only you bother to look for it” according to Nick Clegg, a theme which he believes stands at the heart of the Liberal Democrat party. Liberal Democrats are about freedom; they believe that “power belongs, first and foremost, with the people” and that in the idea that we deserve to be able to use our civil liberties as much as possibly, granted that we do not infringe on others. The 2010 election saw a surge in support for the Liberal Democrats with ‘Cleggmania’ gripping the nation, mainly thanks to the televised debates. Before this election the Liberal Democrats struggled on the fringes of the politics, a third party in a two party system. A joke. The Liberal Democrats promised so much but they broke those promises, in so many different ways.

There is no doubt that the Liberal Democrats had some success in 2010. Before this election the last Liberal Democrat Prime Minister was David Lloyd George and even he headed a Conservative-dominated coalition government. He stepped down in 1922 – nearly a hundred years ago, not exactly the political standing of a key political party. The Liberal Democrat party as we know it today was formed in 1987 when it the Liberal Party and the Social Democrat party merged. Key events such as the Iraq War helped to boost support for the parties, as those opposed to it turned away from the Labour Party following Tony Blair’s decision to intervene in the conflict. Perhaps one of the biggest contributors to the success of the Liberal Democrat party in the 2010 elections was as a result of the TV debates and of Cleggmania. While Brown and Cameron bickered across each other, Nick Clegg was able to step in with clear concise points. According to The Guardian he ‘stole the first televised leader’s debate’ by presenting himself as a “fresh and honest alternative”. Perhaps one of the biggest successes of Clegg in this election is that he led to the questioning of Britain’s two-party system, even if the result of the election was a coalition government.

Continue reading

The People’s Politician? Gavin Shuker, Part Two.

A continuation of the last post on the blog, click here to read the first part!

Lisa: A lot of the students we asked today said they didn’t know your vote on gay marriage.
Ellie: Yes, they asked ‘ask him why he said yes’, ‘ask him why he said no’. How did you vote?
I felt I couldn’t support the legislation as it was for a very simple reason, which is we’re signatories to the European Court of Human Rights, and my read of the legislation says it would make it more likely for a successful challenge for religious institutions being forced to marry. Any individuals could go through. I went from the starting point of, why would you not want to extend rights to every group? And I come to the position that is; it would be ironic that you would abridge the rights of religious institutions and individuals to extend them in another group. That’s a very difficult thing to square off. So I took the view that to not vote for the legislation was the right way through. That’s a bit of a nightmare because obviously it frustrates everyone. The hundreds of people that got in touch with me and said I want you to vote against this legislation. The handful- honestly the handful- who got in touch with me and said I want to vote for it. And ultimately this is politics right? You don’t do what is always popular, you do what you think is right in that situation. I appreciate it isn’t the right situation and it looks like you’re sitting on the fence. But for me, the right decision I felt to make was to say I’ll start from the position that if I can vote for this I will and I feel like I can’t, so I’m abstaining on the legislation. It’ll go through with a massive majority, go through to the Lords and probably get picked apart but it will be passed into legislation.

Continue reading

The People’s Politician? Gavin Shuker

Q:How did you become an MP after studying for your degree at Cambridge?
Oh my goodness, so let’s go back to when I was your age, so, grew up in Luton and went to school here – Icknield – and went to Sixth form, studied Politics and thought it was quite interesting and really enjoyed it at A-Level. I thought I’d go on to study it at degree, not because I wanted to become a politician actually, which I know sounds strange, but genuinely I really enjoyed it and through a weird twist of nature I managed to get a place in Cambridge. I think if I were to apply now I don’t think I would get in, it is so much harder for you guys.

Aysegul: Yeah, these two are Oxbridge rejects.
Oh wow, well if it’s any consolation, I wouldn’t now either. Do you know where you want to go?
Ellie: Well I’m planning to go to Kings in London.
Lisa: York.
Aysegul: Warwick.
I applied to Warwick as well – didn’t get in but yes, sorry I need to answer the questions don’t I? – I moved to Cambridge and worked for a local church for three years and then moved back here in 2006. When I moved back lots of my friends went off to be consultants and bankers and work in big business. That’s a great thing to do, don’t get me wrong, but I wanted to move back to Luton and I think one of the biggest problems we have is a lot of our talented people move away and we never seem them again and I would like to see more people come back here. I moved back here, I worked for a local church and joined the Labour party on the same day I moved back.

Continue reading

Why I Love Kelvin Hopkins

kelvin-hopkins-get_1404377c

As a student living in Luton, Kelvin Hopkins MP is somebody who plays a hugely crucial role in my daily life. Luton is split into two constituencies, Luton South and Luton North, with Kelvin Hopkins holding jurisdiction over the North. He has served in Parliament for 16 years (since 1997) and is clearly very popular within Luton, winning his 2010 seat with a majority of 7,500 votes. It is hard not to like Kelvin, not matter what your political standing is. He is straight-talking, welcoming, and above-all seems keen to really represent his constituents. As one of the governors at the College where this blog is run from he paid a visit to an AS politics class, and they got to hear him speak on his time in Parliament and ask him a few questions.

Continue reading