Archive | March 2014

Not so much David v Goliath as David v David

Not so much David v Goliath as David v David

This was the battle of the political minnows. The debate on European Union membership that David Cameron and Ed Miliband were too busy to attend.

Last night Nick Clegg (the major victor from the TV debates prior to the 2010 election) met Nigel Farage UKIP leader in a debate on the pros and cons of Britain’s continued membership of the European Union.

The Lib Dems have been the 1/2 party in the UK’s 2 1/2 party system since the mid 1980s. Since 2010 they have been in government and with a hung parliament looking like the most likely outcome of the 2015 election Nick Clegg will be hoping for another term in office. In the opposing corner was Nigel Farage the somewhat populist leader of UKIP who has turned his party from an also ran to a significant political force looking on the Conseravtive’s right flank. UKIP were the second largest party in the last round of EU elections and will hope to increase their share of the vote from 4% in 2010- recent opinion polls have suggested that support could now stand at around 1:5 voters (comparable to the Liberal Democrats).

The general consensus was that Farage won the debate- with snap polling data suggesting around 60% of listeners supported his anti- European stance.

The battle over the EU is still an interesting political debate, but in many ways this debate was interesting electorally. With a hung parliament looking likely- the prospect of another coalition looms. This debate adds to the belief that if the Conservatives move too far to the centre there is now an effective challenge to them from the right as well as the left.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/nick-clegg/10725601/Nick-Clegg-and-Nigel-Farage-clash-over-EU-in-live-LBC-Radio-debate.html

Postal Voting

Postal voting on demand was one of the New Labour governments plans to deal with falling electoral turnout.

Postal votes had been available to those working overseas (for example servicemen) since 1945 but in 2001 the rules changed to enable anyone who wanted a postal vote to have one. The idea was to help the elderly and the disabled who may struggle to get to a polling station or people who were away from home while the polling stations were open but were normally resident in the UK.

However, the downside of a postal vote is that the security and secrecy of electoral ballots has been seen to be compromised. Is it democratic that someone else could fill in your ballot on your behalf, or is it fair for other people to watch and influence how you vote? Neither of these things are permitted at a polling station but in the privacy of your own living room the secrecy of your ballot cannot necessarily be guaranteed.

Earlier this month calls were made to scrap postal voting on demand for the good of British democracy.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-26520836  Read More…

Edmund Burke

Tory MP Jesse Norman writes books when he is not representing the constituency of Hereford and Hereford South

One of his books is a biography of Edmund Burke a man many people consider to be the ‘father of modern conservatism’. What Burke stood for is essential to understanding what the Conservative party thinks.

Jesse Norman goes one step further though and claims that Burke is a ‘textbook for what a really good MP should be”. Now this is a bold claim regarding a man who lost his Bristol seat as a result of championing a range of causes that he knew to be at odds with the will of his electorate- in essence Burke felt that he knew best and the role of a representative was to do what was best for his constituents not necessarily what they wanted him to do…

A short video of Norman discussing the impact of Burke can be found on the BBC website.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-26669924

Comment and Analysis- Budget 2014

There is a range of responses to the Budget in today’s press. The tone of the articles tends to fit with the political predispositions of the papers in question…

The pick of the analysis can be found in the following articles:

Vote Blue Get Grey?
This is a budget that is very pro- pensioner. This should come as no surprise to the psephologists amongst you. Not only are pensioners more likely to vote than under 30s they are extremely likely to vote Conservative. Pleasing the ‘grey vote’ is essential for a party looking to win in 2015.

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/03/george-osborne-shamelessly-courts-pensioner-vote

An end to coalition?
Despite the praise levelled at the Chancellor from sectors of the media the Telegraph rightly thinks the Conservative’s could struggle to win a majority in the 2015 election. If you look at the electoral maths this does seem likely with a profusion of safe seats and an electoral system that is arguably no longer fit for purpose as the stranglehold of the two major parties continues to look fragile, David might need to continue his friendship with Nick for five more years…

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/budget/10708724/Budget-2014-A-triumph-for-Mr-Osborne-and-atriumph-for-the-Coalition-too.html

Finally the LSE Politics blog can always be relied upon for some measured interesting analysis- it’s ‘Experts React’ page can be found here:

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/archives/40610

Grant Shapp’s Tweet causes controversy

Grant Shapp's Tweet Causes Controversy

Conservative Party Chairman tweeted this response to yesterday’s budget.

The cut in Bingo Tax and Beer Duty was an attempt by the Conservative Party to appeal to working class voters- a demographic that were relatively loyal to the party during the Thatcher era but who have been disillusionsed by Cameronism and the coalition. Many people assumed this tweet was a parody and it has sparked out cry in the left wing press.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/mar/19/grant-shapps-bingo-and-beer-joke-causes-twitter-storm

“The chancellor…

“The chancellor spoke for nearly an hour but he did not mention one central fact: the working people of Britain are worse off under the Tories. Living standards down, month after month, year after year.”

Ed Milband’s response to yesterday’s budget announcement,

The Budget: What did the Chancellor say?

The Budget is the one day every year when you can almost guarantee that a British political news story will top the news agenda. Elections may be more interesting but they only come around once every 4 to 5 years. The Budget is interesting because it gives you a snap shot of the major political priorities of the governing party, it also gives you important clues to the types of voters they hope to attract at the next election.

This brief guide to the Budget from the BBC news website will give you an understanding of the major announcements, once you know these you will be able to understand the analysis that is in the papers today.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-26648781

Hello

Welcome to the Ardingly College Politics Blog. We will be posting a range of interesting politics stories here from now on.

The articles we post may be linked to the Edexcel politics syllabus we will cover or they may just be of general interest to people who like current affairs or are looking to study Politics or International Relations at University.