The Conservatives entered government in 2010 on a manifesto pledge to reduce government bureaucracy and restore decision-making power to the people. Indeed the word they used was ‘localism’ which was evidently a repackaged way of calling for more decentralised government. And I’m here to say that I actually agree. I think that power should be returned to the people and a good thing to do would be to massively decentralise power away from Westminster. A good place to start would be the government departments who oversee devolved administrations.
On 24th November the Colombian government and FARC signed a revised ceasefire to bring the Colombian conflict to an end. The conflict began in 1964 and the end of hostilities marks a significant step forward for the country which has been been held back socially, politically, and economically since the conflict began. Colombia’s conflict has been largely unreported in recent years because of the length of the war, but appears that behind the scenes work by diplomats from across the region have managed to achieve a tentative peace.
Back in October India ratified the Paris Agreement and by doing so agreed to massively increase the nation’s green energy generation capacity. In the agreement India, the second most populous nation on earth, committed to generating 40% of its electricity from sustainable sources by the year 2030. However, in a surprising announcement, the Indian government has announced that it expects to produce 57% of its electricity from green technology by 2027. The benefits to the environment from this policy document shall be incalculable and hopefully will put India in a position of leadership in the global fight against climate change.
Spanish politics until recently had been characterised by the political intrigue resulting from indecisive elections. At first the shift change in politics was between the old major parties and the new populist forces of the Left and Right. After the PP managed to remain in power after the second general election in June 2016, the Left have attempted to revitalise their grassroots campaigning. The latest example of this took place last week when PSOE and Podemos joined the CCOO and UGT unions for a protest through the streets of Madrid. Approximately 30,000 people attended the protest in the Spanish capital against government spending cuts.
A few days ago I wrote a piece outlining the industrial action that will be affecting Britain in the next few days. Without repeating myself the premise was that we need to stand in solidarity with those on strike, but I also warned: “the government may then to seek to take advantage of this public sentiment towards the unions and push through stricter anti-union measures”. In cases like these I hate being proven correct because Tory grandees are now calling for restrictions on the rights of workers to collectively bargain and conduct industrial action.
In a move that could be described as inane and Orwellian, the government want civil servants to swear an oath of loyalty both to set an example to new migrants and to combat radicalisation. Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, writing in the Sunday Times, wants the oath to include an acknowledgment of key ‘British’ values like equality, democracy, and freedom of speech. Not only is this a terrible idea for a number of reasons, but this stunt illustrates how remarkably oblivious Sajid Javid is.
Earlier this month the housing charity Shelter analysed the number of homeless people in the England. The analysis combined the official figures from four different sources: national government statistics, the number of people in hostels, those in temporary accommodation, and the number of people on waiting lists for social housing. From these figures, it’s estimated that over 250,000 people are homeless in England alone. Labour has worked with Shelter for a number of years and it appears that the party are proposing bold solutions to this injustice.