19th January 2016 | Politics
On the 7th January earlier this year, when three perpetrators caused the deaths of 17 innocent lives, we were quick to band behind France. We were quick to defend Charlie Hebdo’s right to freedom of expression, and quick to shame these terrorists for trying to curtail Charlie Hebdo’s right to express their opinions, no matter how controversial. ''Je suis Charlie Hebdo'' for weeks after the attacks was our nationwide motto, but since then that sentiment has languished.
The fight to defend freedom of speech as curtailed as shown by when Oxford University banned a free speech magazine deemed to be to offensive and then, at the same university, protests against the leader of the controversial right-wing National Front Party in France, Marine le Pen, took place in an attempt to prevent her from speaking. From petitions to ban Katie Hopkins, to protesting against a stand-up act because of her beliefs, it seems we have forgotten what it was we stood for with Charlie Hebdo to defend proudly, freedom of expression. The next test has now presented itself with Donald Trump.
Donald Trump has odious opinions. From wanting a ban on Muslims, to building a “great wall” on the Mexico-United States border, the very fact that Trump is still seen as a reasonable candidate is a surprise to many. Donald Trump however is not a fringe candidate, rather the frontrunner for the Republican Party nominations. He is a candidate who has millions of supporters, and is at the forefront of American politics.
Donald Trump is not a zealous, iconoclastic demagogue appearing once in a while on Newsnight. He isn’t the American Russell Brand, a so-called ‘revolutionary’ we can avoid, but rather Donald Trump is in the running to be the President of the United States and how we,…
18th January 2016 | Politics
2016 has only just started but this doesn’t mean a slow down for David Cameron in setting out his plans to get the EU question to the electorate, to begin the process of setting the all important date to change a part of the constitution.
Only this week David Cameron has said that he is looking to finish renegotiations, about our place in the EU, after a meeting with other EU leaders in February/March which could lead to the date for the referendum being set at around June. The reasoning behind a June estimate is that the campaigning period is set to last 10 weeks. ''The campaign cannot clash with the forthcoming Scottish elections'', Philip Hammond said this week.
It is seen as a good move for David Cameron to speed up plans as it could catch people off guard and gives the ‘leave EU’ groups less of a chance to educate the electorate on the flaws of the EU and the ‘stay in EU’ groups to reinsert the positive EU message. To have the EU referendum in June would also mean that it would avoid coverage of the migrant crisis which will start to increase during the summer, which may see a gain to the ‘leave’ campaigners.
Cameron, it would seem has copied Harold Wilson in 1974 and given his MPs a free vote in whether to campaign to, as it was then, join the EEC (European Economic Community) or not. David Cameron said that his cabinet ministers can campaign for which ever side they wish, with the government saying they want to stay. This has still left some with doubts however, as to whether or not the Prime Minister actually means what he says or whether what they say now, will have repercussions in…
8th January 2016 | Politics
The Prime Minister’s Questions known by the abbreviation 'PMQ’s', is a weekly tradition that has occurred for decades. It is a weekly chance for the leader of the opposition to challenge the prime minister and for other members to ask questions directly to the prime minister. The now common Wednesday half an hour - midday session was introduced by Tony Blair at the beginning of his first term in government, before then it had been one quarter hour sessions on a Tuesday and a Thursday.
Parliament is seen as the democratic body of the United Kingdom, however, the ballot system in which members are chosen to ask a question is completely random. There are ten questions chosen at random, this means the chances of an MP getting picked is very very low, this is very undemocratic as important issues that need to be raised by constituents either have to wait and hope, or try another method.
The leader of the opposition automatically receives 6 questions to ask the prime minister and the third largest party’s leader receives 3 questions. Members of the government mostly use the time not to ask meaningful questions, but to promote the governments ‘achievements’, which is wasting time and prevents ‘real’ questions being asked. Jeremy Corbyn has been trying to turn it back in to a time to hold the government to account by asking for questions from the public, this has seemed to engage voters.
Nowadays Prime minister’s questions has descended into a shouting battle, of which side can jeer the loudest. This issue was raised by the Speaker, John Bercow, who has frequently raised the issue shouting over MPs to calm themselves and allow the question and the answer to be fully heard. However, there is also the issue of whether…