Friday, 19 July 2013

Round Up of the Political Year

Parliament runs from September to July, just like a school. So what are the important events that have happened since last September.

The Parliament started with rebellion over the House of Lords. Since 2010 one of the dark clouds of the Coalition for the Conservatives was House of Lords reform. The Lib Dems had proposed the worst system in the world for reform with 15 year long stints for elected representatives to hold. Labour thus, seeing the discontent on the Conservative back benches, caused trouble by voting against a guillotine motion and so with the possibility of endless filibustering the government ditched the plans. So in response, ducking on the 2010 Coalition Agreement, Nick Clegg dropped the boundary review so now the Conservatives must fight on the grossly unequal boundaries for 2015. The Lib Dems really showed themselves to be a party of fairness.

The House of Lords is safe from reform, for now.

Party Conferences were next and yet again they were fairly uneventful. No arguments about cats or anything else from the Conservatives and the Lib Dems had another bash at Nick Clegg. Red Ed's 'One Nation Labour speech' was the highlight as it was a fairly good piece of public speaking. However, I look forward to the day when Labour spend only 9% of GDP like Disraeli. This secured Ed Miliband his job, it is unlikely that he will go now because he proved he can perform, sometimes. 2012 was a good year for Ed, but would 2013 be any better?

I'm personally looking forward to a time when Labour adopts all Conservative Party Policy, not that it will happen. 

Welfare at the end of 2013 became the big issue. A cap of £26,000 was proposed for people on benefits to make sure no one on welfare, unless they were disabled, could earn more than the average family. This also was shown to have the effect of giving people more impetus to find work. But this caused a major coalition row over 'shirkers and workers' or 'strivers and skivers'. The Lib Dems said they would never vote for any more welfare changes as the Conservatives were battering those who live more comfortably than the average worker. The Guardian also got on its high horse about how the Conservatives were vilifying the working class, or the non-working class in this case, although they used the words or 'skivers' and 'shirkers' more than anyone else in their newspaper.

Only the Conservatives can keep spending in the country somewhat in check.

The big issue of Europe appeared also and the tension came to the boil in the Tory Party. Parliament rebelled against the government and demanded David Cameron achieved a cut in the EU budget rather than a freeze. And he did. After much negotiation  the EU budget was cut in real terms by 3%. The EU parliament of course decided to reject this but finally agreed to it several months down the line. And then in January, the 'tantric speech' by Dave was finally delivered. A vote for the Conservatives in 2015 was a vote for a referendum on the EU. The Conservatives were now supposed to be free from European issues. Problem solved?

Vote Conservative to Vote on the EU.

Then came another big problem for the Conservative Party which was Gay Marriage. The Bill had been talked about till the cows come home and I, along with most, was sick of it. The problem was that it was made into such a big issue by opponents of David Cameron and also by those supporting it. Fair enough this Bill was about improving equality, but the wagers put on it were so high the debate became overly emotional, stressful and unnecessary. Just yesterday this Bill received Royal Assent and by summer 2014 same sex marriages can happen. Great for personal liberty bad for standards in Parliament.

Gay Marriage is now finally over and the Conservative Party can relax over social policy.

Sad news then hit the country as Baroness Thatcher died. Thatcher had saved the UK in the 1980s and the calls were quite clear from the debate going on about her in April. If only David Cameron was more like her. Thatcher managed to keep her books in good order and grow the UK economy by tax cutting and dealing with inflation. Although there were some major differences, there was still a big lesson to be learnt from Baroness Thatcher and Dave hadn't seemed to have got it.

"To Borrow, and to borrow, and to borrow is not Macbeth with a heavy cold but Labour Party Policy."

So on the back of the EU, Gay Marriage, a bad economy and immigration UKIP stormed in. They became a third place party and almost beat the Conservatives in several polls. They came second in the Eastleigh by-election beating the Tories in a must win marginal for 2015. And then they did very well in the local council elections. Dave seemed to be on the brink, the next few weeks could spell the end of his Prime Ministership because he had concentrated on policies that MPs and activists labelled as not Conservative. The Economy was going nowhere and nothing was going right.

UKIP have been the biggest winners politically so far in 2013.

Dave for once was very lucky he has a Chancellor and Lynton Crosby. The budget delivered by George Osborne hit all the right notes as it sounded reasonably good. Several well placed tax cuts for beer, petrol and income tax created a the idea of an 'aspiration nation'. Later last month it was announced fracking, which will boost the economy massively, is now going to get started and the spending for 2015/16 was spelt out. George Osborne in 8 years will have got rid of the deficit, much longer than predicted. But there was a changed it seemed more so like the Government is cracking down to tackle the problem. Because of the buzzwords of things are getting better it actually did, weak growth is returning and to quote another great Tory "perhaps it is the end of the beginning" of our economic rebalancing.

The Budget was not amazing but a few key policies have created a good spirit.

And where was the opposition? Nowhere. Ed Miliband was all over the place when it came to the economy. From what anyone can see, Labour will spend the same as the government but borrow more and not increase the deficit, how very oxymoronic. It's like we don't have an opposition in this country any more. Red Ed's policy announcements have been awful and then retracted. And to top it all off it is beyond doubt that Unite are fixing most of his MPs. Falkirk is a time bomb for Ed and it may go off very loudly now the police are involved. Red Ed showed himself to be a weak and tragic choice.

There is nothing more to know about Ed Miliband and the Labour party.

As for the Conservatives the last few months have been good. Lynton Crosby has been sharpening up what it is to be a Conservative with all the tax cuts being tooted. Abu Qatda is gone. Immigration is coming way down, although an impending explosion is about to happen with migrants from the Balkans. And the best is James Wharton's EU Bill; there is no doubt the Conservatives want you to have a say over Europe and no other party can deliver it. Optimism is the order of the day, so long as the economy holds together. 

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