A few days ago Hillary Clinton announced Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia as her running mate. There are a number of solidly logic reasons behind this pick, including that he has blue-collar roots, is fluent in Spanish, and comes from a state which will be important in November, however I still believe that this was the wrong choice. The press reaction has largely been favourable, which is surprising given that ordinary people don’t know who the hell the guy is. Clinton should have gone with someone to fire up the base and put forward solutions that inspire a brighter future, not an incrementalist that resembles the establishment orthodoxy of the last thirty years.
Since securing the Republican nomination Donald Trump has unsuccessfully tried to portray himself as more presidential but there is an alarming fact that people are not talking about. Trump’s relationship with the press is already ludicrous, with stories of him holding grudges for years against journalists because of articles they have written, but this was never really a problem when he was an erratic businessman. Now that he is running to become the most powerful person in the world his comments about press freedom should be alarming. Continue reading →
The English council elections were good for Labour, and also quite bad. The Tories had a did well, and also didn’t. Minor parties had good results, and they were also a poor outcome. Why so many contradictions? English local elections give the media something to talk about and give political parties a chance to say how well they are doing with ordinary people outside Westminster, irrespective of the actual results. However there are also some massive caveats that need to be pointed out, rather than just the results themselves.
One of the things that right-wing politicians and commentators talk about is the need to increase growth in the economy and the wastefulness of government bureaucracies. However there has always been one sacred cow: the military budget. Republicans always emphasise how, irrespective of their tax policies or which cuts they would make, they want to increase the military budget. This isn’t a unique problem to nowadays, it was an idea that came from Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of inane policy, but this has led to self-styled ‘deficit hawks’ refusing to consider cutting the military. It’s time the military budget was cut and where I would start is nuclear weapons.
The Northern Ireland Assembly held elections on Thursday and the final results have been announced. Unlike other pieces I have written about the elections in other parts of the UK, I want to focus on themes that emerged rather than breaking down the election along party lines. The headline is that that the DUP remains the largest party and Sinn Féin finished second. This will probably result in a similar political settlement as before the election, which may well lead to the same stalemate, but the specific results show that there is a growing hostility towards the traditional parties.
Because of the devolution of powers to City Hall, London also held local elections, one for the city’s mayor and one for representatives in the London Assembly. There was an expected swing to Labour due to the unpopularity of Tory candidate Zac Goldsmith, especially in comparison with outgoing mayor Boris Johnson, as well as the widely known fact that London is traditionally more left-wing than most of the rest of England. Out of all the elections that took place, the results in London were Labour’s strongest and because of this London will see more left-wing policies implemented in areas like housing, transport, and policing.
In the second national election since the referendum on independence, Scotland has voted to support the SNP in overwhelming numbers. The voter turnout remained markedly higher in Scotland when compared with England (29.1%) and Wales (45.3%), however it wasn’t at the same level as the general election. This is probably because the SNP’s momentum from the referendum is probably starting to slow down, purely because of time, and there remains the perception of Holyrood not having enough powers. Nevertheless, there are many stories from the night’s events, and each relate to the individual parties.