Posts Tagged ‘Conservatives’

Over the past few days, weeks and months, there have been some incredibly insensitive, badly-thought-out and quite simply crass attempts by this Government (led by Conservatives, but aided and abetted by the Lib Dems) to change the whole fabric of this country to suit a few rich people in Whitehall and London’s business district. Most recently is the furore over the NHS reforms that virtually nobody in this country wants, nobody asked for and which will be steamrollered in by Cameron by any means necessary. Then there’s the welfare reforms that will lead to millions of genuinely disabled and ill people being forced to take up voluntary work of indeterminate length or risk losing their benefits. Then there’s the housing reforms that will lead to massive upheaval in many thousands of families throughout the country as the Welfare Office looks to reduce its bill without actually tackling any of the root causes of the rising bill. The list goes on and on.

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On Monday 8th August, I (like many others across the country) watched in horror as the citizens of this country turned on it, and bit hard. I watched as young people of all types set fire to a car and pushed it into a wall. I watched the police standing back, not wanting to let the rioters and looters have their way, but unable to make a stand against them. I was amongst those who called for David Cameron to stop tipping Italian waitresses and come back to England to try and sort this mess out.

In the aftermath, I kind of wished he’d stayed on holiday and let someone else take charge.

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On Thursday 5th May 2011 the public went to the ballot box to register their vote on the Alternative Vote referendum, as well as many areas of the country facing local council elections. Many comentators saw this as the first chance for the voters to pass their judgment on Nick Clegg after his decision to take his party into a coalition with their political opposites, the Conservatives. Indeed, the No campaign on the AV vote implicitly used their campaign literature to press this home.

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We are coming close now to learning whether a referendum will go ahead on the same day as local council elections, as the House Of Lords begins the run of concessions needed to ensure a vote is won by the Conservatives. Just last night, Labour forced an amendment allowing the referendum to be discarded should turnout be less than 40% (which in my own opinion it will be). The Lords are arguing over more and more concessions each day, although the major one, the one that has caused all this ruckus in the Lords in the first place, remains.

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Okay, so by the narrowest of margins,the Coalition Government got its proposals through the House Of Commons. Lucky for Nick Clegg, who had a face like a wet kitten before the vote…

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On Tuesday 30th November, the House Of Commons had an Opposition Day debate on the tuition fees, with Labour tabling a motion requesting the Government to publish a white paper on its proposals and details of how it will affect the poorer students, which was voted down by 307 votes to 244. This is seen as a precursor to the main debate which is scheduled to take place on 20th December, although the voting figures on this can’t be used as a reliable indicator as many Lib Dem MPs voted no to this motion. The fact that this motion was voted down means that the Government will not need to publish any report on how their proposals will affect the entry levels of students planning to go to university. During the debate the Rt Hon Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable admitted that he has considered abstaining on the vote (on a policy which comes from his own department).

On Wednesday 1st December, during Prime Minister’s Questions, David Cameron gave an indication that he would consider a u-turn on Education Secretary Michael Gove’s School Sports Partnerships proposals – something which he admitted had caused concern at local levels.

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Today, The Guardian Newspaper revealed that before May’s General Election, the Liberal Democrats held secret meetings aimed at agreeing coalition terms in the likelihood of a hung parliament. During these meetings, the planned pledge on University tuition fees was discussed and it was acknowledged that the Lib Dem pledge to cut tuition fees would have to be scrapped. This article was leaked, marked confidential and dated 16th March. Despite this, Nick Clegg continued to campaign based on this pledge, as he knew it would gain the votes of many students, especially in his own constituency of Sheffield Hallam.

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