Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

 

Today in the UK, the High Court ruled that the Government must put the triggering of Article 50 to a vote in Parliament so as not to undermine the sovereignty of Parliament. This ruling has, it’s fair to say, not gone down very well amongst some quarters of the political sphere.

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With a couple of weeks to go until the May 5th referendum both the “Yes” and “No” brigades are in full electioneering swing. There are “Party Political” style broadcasts on TV, and leaflets going through every door telling everyone and their dog what is wrong with the other’s system. Am I the only one that is just a little bit tired of the bickering and electioneering being employed by both sides?

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First of all, Happy New Year to all my readers, hope you had a great time and best of luck for the year ahead.

January 1st 2011 saw the rise in fuel duty (unchanged by George Osborne in his emergency budget after the election). The 0.76p rise in fuel duty, combined with a VAT rise from 17.5% to 20% on the 4th January, will see motorists in England paying more than £6 per gallon, and some areas of Scotland will be facing £7 per gallon of fuel. There is a further increase in fuel duty of 1p due in April which will push prices even higher.

All political parties see the fuel duty income as a vital part of reducing the fiscal deficit, and prices will no doubt continue to rise with each successive budget. But is it really the best way forward?

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From local and national news to a global debate. When President Barack Obama defended the controversial plans to build a 13-story Islamic centre and mosque just two blocks from Ground Zero, the issue became worldwide news.

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Over the course of the last week, the United Kingdom has been hit by a weather system moving from Siberia, which brought heavy snowfall and icy conditions. Many parts of the country, particularly the South-East, have become mired in transport problems with people forced to abandon cars until it was safe to retrieve them. In the last day or so, we have seen several accidents caused by the conditions. In Cornwall, a coach skidded on black ice into a ditch, killing two people and injuring many more. The first police car onto the scene also lost control and skidded into the coach. At Glasgow Prestwick, a Ryanair flight overshot the runway on landing, although no injuries have been reported as a result the airport has been forced to divert aircraft and cancel flights whilst the Ryanair plane is recovered. So why does the country go into panic mode at the first hint of snowy weather?

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These last couple of weeks have proved to be very tricky for Gordon Brown and his beleaguered Labour government. We had the row over immigration after Nick Griffin’s controversial appearance on Question Time, and the contentious sacking of Professor David Nutt after he dared to state his belief (and pretty much scientifically-backed view) that cannabis was far less harmful than alcohol and tobacco. Coming so soon after the scandal over MPs’ expenses as well as the general feeling of disappointment over how his Cabinet have handled the worldwide economic down-turn (in their defence I think they were damned whatever they tried to do), these represent damaging blows to a Government which is already holed below the waterline.

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Barack Obama signed a bill on Friday night declaring that the outbreak of swine ‘flu seen over the last few months has now become big enough to be declared a national emergency. Basically what this means is that local authorities will now have the power to implement their own emergency strategies and bypass the usual Federal channels they would need to go through to do so. It’s a good move because treatments for people can now be delivered much more quickly and effectively, especially as we are now heading into winter ‘flu season. But, this is the second wave of the swine ‘flu outbreak, and concerns will surely remain as to whether the virus has mutated into a version that is not susceptible to the vaccine that has been developed for it.

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