Because Parliament is in recess most political news has moved into two distinct categories: commentary on reports that were going to come out anyway or political gossip and speculation. One story that is gaining popularity in some parts of the press is the idea of outspoken Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg launching a leadership to replace Theresa May as Tory Party leader. If such a bid was successful Rees-Mogg would also become Prime Minister, the third of which in two years. People began to talk about how ‘funny’ the idea of a Rees-Mogg premiership would be but the notion of the MP for North East Somerset becoming Prime Minister should jolt the Left out of any complacency that they may have slipped into after May’s failure to form a majority government at the last election. A side note is that all references to Rees-Mogg’s voting record come from TheyWorkForYou.com.
The general election result caught many by surprise but when it became clear that the Tories would fall short of a majority all media attention turned to the prospect of the Tory-DUP agreement to keep the government going. This went into overdrive when Lib Dem leader Tim Farron ruled out any coalition or agreement with the Conservatives. With all other MPs in parties openly hostile to the Tories, with the exception of the DUP, the Conservatives found themselves backed into a corner but there remain problems with what they wish to achieve.
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.
In December, Spain went to the polls to decide the composition of the Cortes Generales however this resulted in an election with no clear winner. After months of wrangling and negotiations, the time expired and new elections had to be called. The results are in, and nothing really changed. Spain’s second elections threw up results that still leave all parties and potential coalitions short of forming a government. Indeed for leftists, this election was a step backwards, and we need to re-evaluate our strategy in order to make substantive electoral progress in the near future.
Another Tory Budget and another round of austerity cuts. The cuts that have sparked the media furore have not been because of the scale of the cuts, per se, but mostly about who the latest welfare cuts impact the most. Although many people are speculating about his actual motivation, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith cited the cuts in his unpredicted resignation. All of the Tories’ welfare cuts have been ideological and unnecessary but they could be justified by a right-wing internal logic: cuts to welfare will encourage people to get back into work. Even if you agree with this logic, which I do not, these latest cuts expose the Chancellor to be acting in pure ideological terms.
Despite what Labour and Tory grandees alike have advised, George Osborne has become a very political Chancellor of the Exchequer. Indeed there are many examples of this such as the insistence that MPs say the phrase ‘long term economic plan’ every nineteen seconds, or the Orwellian renaming of the minimum wage as the ‘National Living Wage’ despite the fact that the wage is not national, as it is rightly higher if you work in London, and isn’t a living wage. Another such example was on the topic of the so-called ‘Fiscal Charter’ and surprise surprise that now looks like it will be another example of politics over policy.
Large parts of the UK are currently underwater. Yorkshire, Lancashire, and Cumbria have been worst impacted by rivers bursting their banks and heavy rainfall. We are flooded (pun intended) with stories in the mainstream media about the stories of people’s whose homes have been washed out and ruined by the rising waters, however I believe that this is a perfect example of how the government’s actions are adversely affect people’s lives.