Tag Archives: Parliament

UK General Elections 2015

141013partyleaders_0

As voting begins after one of the longest campaigns in memory, opinion polls suggest that the UK general election remains too close to call. Nearly all the polls published in the last two days have Labour and the Conservatives tied, with only a handful giving one or the other a narrow advantage.

The lead has ebbed and flowed in the week’s before the election, and almost always remained within the margin or error, as likely to have been caused by statistical vagaries as by real voting trends. The bookies are convinced that the Conservatives will end up with more seats than Labour, but they too are little help when it comes to predicting who will be PM: many are offering the same odds on Ed Miliband and David Cameron.

When is the 2015 general election?

Today. Thursday 7 May was the date decreed by the Fixed Term Parliament Act, introduced by the coalition early in this parliament. 

Continue reading

Advertisements

Here’s what you should know about Syriza and the Greek election.

2015/01/img_0960.jpg

Explainer: why the Greek election is so important ?

This Greek election is the most important in recent memory. It appears Syriza has won win by a large margin, ending four decades of two-party rule in Greece.

Since 2010 – and as a result of austerity measures – the country has seen its GDP shrink by nearly a quarter, its unemployment reach a third of the labour force and nearly half of its population fall below the poverty line.

With the slogan “hope is coming” Syriza, a party that prior to 2012 polled around 4.5% of the vote, seems to have achieved the impossible: creating a broad coalition that, at least rhetorically, rejects the TINA argument (There Is No Alternative) that previous Greek administrations have accepted. In its place, Syriza advocates a post-austerity vision, both for Greece and Europe, with re-structuring of sovereign debt at its centre.

How significant is this victory for Europe and the rest of the world? Comments range from grave concerns about the impact on the euro and the global economy to jubilant support for the renewal of the European left. For sure, Syriza is at the centre of political attention in Europe.

But, what is Syriza?

The origins of the party are to be found in a series of splits and consolidations involving various left-wing political groupings that, in one form or another, were originally related to the Communist Party of Greece. Syriza in its current form is a strategic coalition comprising a variety of political platforms that include social democrats, radical socialists and communists, environmentalists, anti-globalisation campaigners and human rights advocates.
Continue reading


Guide to the 2014 European and local elections

20140529-141103-51063059.jpg

Latest updates
Farage: UKIP has election ‘momentum’
Eurosceptic ‘earthquake’ rocks EU
Under pressure Clegg: I won’t quit
There are local council elections in England and Northern Ireland – but the big one this year is the European election on the same day. It is the only time outside of a general election when all 46 million voters can take part. The European Parliament is the only directly elected institution in the European Union. So this is your chance to decide who represents you in Brussels and Strasbourg (Yes, they still shuttle between the two parliament buildings at regular intervals).

How do I know if I can vote?

Most people should have received polling cards through the post. To be eligible to vote, you had to be on the electoral register by 6 May. Anyone over 18 on 22 May who is a British citizen living in the UK, a qualifying Commonwealth citizen living in the UK, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland living in the UK, or an EU citizen living in the UK can vote if there is a local election where they live. British citizens living overseas can also vote in the European elections provided they have registered as overseas electors. EU citizens living in the UK can only vote in the European Parliament elections if they don’t vote in their home member state.
Continue reading


Is Democracy such a good thing?

20121127-210049.jpg

The concept of democracy in politics is still seen by some countries as “the best and most effective type of government” because it provides with the same opportunities and the same equality to all its members. However even when in Western countries democracy is effective and it seems to be partially fair; democracy still has a long way to come in developing countries. This essay will discuss Is democracy such a good thing?

The name of the greatest Greek invention is today known as democracy and had the principle of Isonomy which refers to the same rules for everyone. Therefore there was nobody up the law and obedience was a global concept. Nevertheless, democracy was born between conflicts and instead of solving them, they appear to grow partially even at a wide range in the 21th century. The reason is the more freedom we have the less tranquillity we live in. Moreover, Finer (1997)[1] was correct in acknowledging the Athenian contribution to Western politics: “the Greeks invented two of the most potent political features of our present age: they invented the very idea of citizen- as opposed to subject- and they invented democracy”.

Even so, to answer if democracy is such a good thing is necessary to define the vices and virtues of such regime so we can have a clear view of what we are dealing with.

Continue reading


“The era of two-party politics in the UK is over.” Do you agree? If you do, what is replacing it: multi-party politics or no-party politics?

In recent years the debate about party politics in the UK have been broadly discussed for several reasons, some argued that two-party politics in the UK is over and now it have been replaced by multi-party politics; in the other hand some argued that two party politics is not over and it may remain for the next years to come. This essay will discuss “The era of two-party politics in the UK is over.” Do you agree? If you do, what is replacing it: multi-party politics or no-party politics?

Political parties are now complex multilevel organizations, united by a common identity and, sometimes, shared objectives. ‘A party is not a community but a collection of communities, a union of small groups dispersed throughout the country and linked by co-ordinating institutions’ as Duverger described.[1] Now, the question for the twenty-first century is whether we are witnessing a crisis of parties or merely a change in their structure.

 Party politics in Britain date from the nineteenth century, and by 1900 systems of organization and electoral competition were well established. A dual system of Conservatives and Liberals was modified in the early twentieth century by the rise of the Labour party and a three-party system existed until about 1931 when the eclipse of the Liberals ushered in a new two-party system.[2] In addition, after 1945 the two parties, Conservative and Labour, totally dominated until the 1970s when the Liberals revived and, in Scotland and Wales, nationalist parties enjoyed a short-lived boom. By the 1980’s two-party politics appeared spent as the Liberals allied to a new party, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and gained 25.9 per cent of the Great Britain vote in the 1983 election, only just behind Labour. [3] So is revealed by history and facts that even when two-party politics remains and they still are a pillar in UK politics they suffer “up and downs” and that basis makes many scholars to believe that the political system is changing into multi-party system. However it does not mean a loss of power by the main parties that rule Britain. Today most of British history over the last 200 years  has appeared to be a two-party duopoly Whigs and Tories, then Liberals and Conservatives and more recently Labour and Conservatives. But still a two-party system that appears to sustain. And as a matter of fact most of the seats in the House of Commons (and sometimes nearly all of them) have belonged to the two major parties since 1945. It could be argued, however, that “Britain’s two-party system was in part a product of an electoral system which severely penalizes third parties, particularly those (like the Liberal Democrats) whose support is not concentrated in particular areas”. [4]

Continue reading


Why was the Major Government such a failure?

John Major and Margaret Thatcher.

In United Kingdom politics during the years of 1990-1994, John Mayor administration has been argued to be a failure because it was unsuccessful in different sectors. For the Conservative party; leadership has been a feature since at least the late eighties with the removal of Margaret Thatcher. Her successor, John Major, has a difficult leadership faced by rebellions, particularly over Europe, and the party appeared unmanageable by the time. On the other side, it has been argued that it was not a completely failure as he handled the issue of domestic policy with Ireland successfully. This essay will discuss:  Why was the Major Government such a failure?

Continue reading


British and US ‘special relationship’ (foreign policy)

 How far does Britain’s special relationship with the US constrain its foreign policy?

The ‘special relationship’ is a phrase used to describe close political, diplomatic, cultural and historical relations between the United Kingdom and the United States. The term was first used in 1946 in a speech made by Winston Churchill. In recent decades, it has been argued that the’ special relationship’ is about control and how to keep both interests aligned. Today, is to believe that to a very large extent Britain special relationship with the United States constrained its foreign policy. This essay will discuss: How far does Britain’s special relationship with the US constrain its foreign policy?

As a concept foreign policy aims to ensure the security of its people and territory, promotes its aims in the international arena, and encourage co-operation with other countries. The special relationship between Britain and United States is close and robust because British and American values are essentially the same, which explains why national interests are often aligned. ‘The US-UK relationship is strong because it delivers for both of us. The alliance is not sustained by our historical ties or blind loyalty. This is a partnership of choice that serves our national interests.’[1] Still, in many aspects for both parties foreign policy is dependant one on each other. At the moment, it is evident that there is a distinctive relationship between Britain and the United States, but it exists at the top and bottom with very little in between. At the top, the common language and a degree of shared relationship and culture between leaders has clearly provided Britain with some extra diplomatic leverage with US policy-makers. At the bottom, there is a degree of detailed co-operation and understanding between the armed services of the two countries and their intelligence organizations. However, Britain and the US perhaps understood one another much less well than they assumed, despite the link of a common language. Britain was a ‘little island’, the US a subcontinent; Britain believed in the committed to the welfare state and massive state intervention in the economy; the US, at least in theory, remained committed to private enterprise. ‘Anti-Americanism in Britain was matched by certain anti-British sentiments in the US, especially among the Irish.’[2]

Continue reading


%d bloggers like this: